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Tummy Time!

While your baby should sleep on her back, she still needs time to be on her stomach: It'll give her a chance to strengthen the muscles she uses for rolling, sitting, crawling, and standing (and can help keep the back of her head from getting flat). Some fun ways to play together:

[STYLE {From birth} {SECTION}]

Belly bonding Lie on your back and place your baby tummy-side down on your stomach so her head rests just below your chest. Talk to her, sing, roll gently from side to side, or lie still and let her feel your heartbeat. Over time, she'll try to lift her head to see your face and even scoot herself toward it.

[STYLE {From 2 months} {SECTION}]

Have a ball Drape your baby over a slightly deflated beach ball or a stack of pillows  -- holding on tight, of course. Gently rock her while you sing "Rock, rock, rock the ball!" or talk in time with the movement.

Towel time Tightly roll a bath towel and prop it under her arms for extra support. Get down on the floor facing her, and encourage her to lift her head by playing peekaboo or holding up a plastic mirror.

[STYLE {From 4 months} {SECTION}]

Shin swing Give your baby an airplane ride: You're on your back, with her stretched along your shins, belly down. Hold on tight and raise and lower your legs. Sneak in some sit-ups by lifting your upper body and giving her a smooch.

Light show Prop your little one up on her forearms, dim the lights, and shine a flashlight on the wall in front of her. Move the beam around to encourage her to lift up her head and follow it with her eyes.

[STYLE {From 7 months} {SECTION}]

Pick-up game Put your baby in the center of a blanket, lift up two corners, and pull her around the room (make motor sounds for an added thrill). Say "Stop!" and stand still, then "Go!" as you start driving again. (Be sure to yield to the coffee table!)   -- hollace schmidt

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