Baby Steps: 1 Month

img_8887Mix it up to keep baby moving!

Starting tummy time early and scheduling routine tummy times—like after diaper change—can make baby accept and enjoy this time “face down.” Change up the surface for baby: different textures, different colors. Sing and talk and gently touch baby and name body parts. Never leave baby unattended during tummy time.

If you didn’t start tummy time from day one, never fear. No one trains for a marathon by going out and running one. Some may even walk a block then run a block. Build up tummy time and watch baby’s neck, back, and arm muscles strengthen.

Don’t force tummy time on an upset baby. Start when she’s settled and build duration and frequency day by day. You can start tummy to tummy with baby, or lie baby on your lap. You can also supervise baby and place a rolled up blanket behind the back to support baby in side-lying. Never leave baby unattended in this position.

To keep your baby’s skills on track, avoid baby positioning gears like infant seats, swings, carriers, and the car seat whenever you can. This means at home and at daycare. If you must use them, limit your baby’s time in the gear to no more than 2-3 hours per day.

Don’t let your baby sleep in baby gear. You don’t want a light sleeper! Have baby fall asleep where baby is supposed to sleep: in the crib, tummy-up.

Alternate everything to make baby strong!
Breast fed babies change positions to nurse on the left and the right. Bottle-fed babies can too! Switch the hand you use to hold the bottle. This goes for burping and carrying. Change the location of toys and mirrors to make baby look around. Rotate the position of the baby seat, the high chair, everythi


About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at,, and She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit
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