Pregnancy pillows are an essential part of most moms’ lives. They provide excellent support and comfort when pregnant and help you get some much-needed sleep. Pregnancy pillow will also move with you post-partum to alleviate back pain and become a nursing pillow. What many don’t know however is that you can also use a pregnancy pillow for tummy time.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy time is defined as the time you place your baby on their stomach when they are awake. According to the AAP, infants should always sleep on their back because it lessens the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. When your baby is awake though, you should try your best to place them on their stomach several times a day for short intervals. You can do this on a flat surface like a carpeted floor, firm bed, on your chest, or across your lap. The idea is to ensure the baby is comfortable and safe, and you must keep your eye and a hand on them throughout.
Tummy time helps strengthen the baby’s back, shoulder, and neck muscles which will be instrumental later on when they need to crawl, walk, sit and use their hands. This time on their stomach also prevents conditions like flat head syndrome and twisted neck. But more importantly, this exercise helps with motor, visual and sensory development.
The AAP recommends aiming for a whole hour of tummy time by the time your baby is 3 months old, but you can start with 20 minutes a day and build it up. This time should be distributed throughout the day so you can do two minutes of tummy time and grow to 5 minutes each time.
When Should I Give My Baby a Pillow for Tummy Time?
Ideally, you should start tummy time by placing the baby on your chest from day one. Recline to a 45-degree angle and put the baby’s stomach down on our chest so they can feel your heart and exercise their muscles as well. Note that you should never lie flat because that will not be comfortable for the child.
When your baby is about a month, however, feel free to move them to a firmer surface. This could be the floor, firm bed, or even our lap. Using a pillow at this stage is necessary because it will prop their midsection up and reduce the discomfort. A pillow underneath also puts the baby in a reclining position so they can see better and have an easier time moving their head, neck, and shoulder muscles.
How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow for Tummy Time?
The best way to prop up a baby with a pillow is to place it under their chest at a 30-45 degree angle. The baby’s chest, arms, and half of their bell should be on top of the pillow, while the head/neck and the rest of the body are not. This angle works well because she/he will be able to lift their head and shoulders, which is exactly what you want. As for location, you can do it on the bed, on the floor, or your lap. The surface should be flat, firm, but comfortable, so make sure the floor has a thick carpet or yoga mat.
To make the time less boring, place some age-appropriate toys in front of the baby or have someone lying/sitting in front of the child entertaining them. The simple act of lifting their head and trying to catch the toys will exercise and strengthen their muscles. Be sure not to keep them in this position for too long though, even if it looks comfortable. 5-20 minutes at a time will suffice, depending on age.
What Is the Best Pregnancy Pillow for Tummy Time?
Best Overall: Bamibi Baby Nursing Pillow for Breastfeeding & Maternity
Bamibi’s multipurpose pregnancy pillow provides full-body support during pregnancy and will be the ideal pillow for tummy time support for your baby. The shape of Bamibi’s pillow is a c-shape with an insert that closes to a donut hole shape at the center, allowing it to be adjusted to many different positions. The big plus of this pillow is that it is hypoallergenic, and the cover is removable and machine washable.
Best Versatile: Unilove Hopo 7-in-1 Pregnancy & Nursing Pillow
Besides comfort, you want a pregnancy pillow that can be used for a variety of purposes. The Unilove Hopo is a multi-purpose pillow that can be used as a maternity pillow, nursing pillow, baby lounger, and much more. Two covers are included so you can use the pillow both during pregnancy and after giving birth, for nursing, nesting and tummy time.
Other Possible Uses of the Pregnancy Pillow
Again, you don’t have to throw away your pregnancy pillow after giving birth. It is an extremely versatile investment that will serve both mom and baby in several ways. Some of these uses include;
Instead of buying a nursing pillow to elevate the baby while breastfeeding, you can use the pregnancy pillow. They are basically the same thing, except one is bigger, which is not a bad thing. Fold the pillow into a nice ring and place your baby on top so they are closer to your chest and you don’t have to bend over to breastfeed.
Once your baby is well-fed and changed, prop them up with the pregnancy pillow on the floor. It is comfortable and will envelop the baby safely, so you don’t have to worry about them sliding off the pillow. Make sure to place some cushioning on the floor though to ensure the baby is really cozy.
Contrary to popular belief, you need a pregnancy pillow more after birth than when pregnant. Most women develop back pain after birth, and the pillow helps them get some comfort and sleep. A pregnancy pillow also takes the pressure off the C-section wound and brings relief from episiotomy pain. Sleeping after birth becomes so much easier and more comfortable when you have a pregnancy pillow, and this helps you recover faster.
Whether sitting down breastfeeding the baby, reading a book, or watching TV, a pregnancy pillow supports your back and shoulders. It covers the pain points and helps you sit in the right posture, alleviating back and neck pain.
If you made it this far, you probably agree that pregnant women can make a wise investment by investing in pregnancy pillows. Don’t forget mommy! The comfort and wellness of both you and the baby must remain your top priority even after the baby has arrived! Utilize the pregnancy pillow during your healing period, nursing time, and when you are spending quality tummy time with your baby.