Have you ever wondered why so many people speak about the importance of tummy time for babies? And if so, have you ever asked yourself how you could improve your baby’s ability to perform this movement? In this blog post we are going to answer these two common questions.
SIGNIFICANCE OF TUMMY TIME
Supervised tummy time is an important physical movement that helps to encourage the development of neck, back and upper body strength. It also allows your baby to view the world from different angles, which helps with brain development.
A baby’s innate ability to progress through their physical milestones is something I have always found extraordinary. Tummy time enhances your baby’s potential to start rolling, sitting, crawling and if we look further down the track, it forms the building blocks for standing and walking.
Another benefit of tummy time is helping to prevent the development of a flat spot on the baby’s head (plagiocephaly). When a baby spends more time on their front, this reduces the pressure placed through the baby’s skull, which is still quite soft. This is a topic we will be discussing in another of our blogs on flat heads.
Tummy time can be performed from birth and in most cases this has happened. When you are experiencing chest to chest bonding on the day your baby was born, this is a form of tummy time.
TIPS FOR ENHANCING THE TUMMY TIME EXPERIENCE-
1. PICK YOUR MOMENTS: Something to keep in mind is really thinking about WHEN you are choosing to do tummy time with your baby. A baby who is hungry, overtired or who has just had a big feed isn’t going to be very comfortable on their stomachs and may be quite irritable.
2. VARIETY: Supervised tummy time doesn’t always need to be done directly on the floor, it can also be done chest to chest with parents or even over your lap. Offering up a variety of positions that tummy time can be done in will increase the success and improve strength.
3. “FREQUENCY AS OPPOSED TO DURATION”: This statement is something I mention to the majority of the families who present with tummy time complaints. With babies who aren’t fans of tummy time, focussing more on the number of tummy time opportunities throughout the day, as opposed to worrying about how long they are lasting for, can work wonders.
Babies are always doing their best quality tummy time at the beginning of each tummy time session. As a baby gets tired and fatigued from tummy time they may not necessarily be pushing up and lifting their heads, and as a result they are not getting that real active period of tummy time that we are after.
4. MAKE IT INTERESTING: As your baby becomes older they will start to show an interest in looking at things. Something that can really help with tummy time is the use of a mirror in front of their face. Babies love to look at themselves, so by using a mirror, we are able to increase the quality of tummy time that they are achieving.
5. USING A PILLOW OR FOLDED TOWEL: The use of a wedge pillow or folded towel underneath a baby’s chest and arms can help with increasing tummy time quality. This type of tummy time needs to be done supervised, and can really be a game-changer if done correctly.
By helping your baby improve their tummy time, you open up a whole world of new opportunities for enjoyable play time and this is a wonderful thing.
If you notice that your baby is irritable or uncomfortable with tummy time, please feel free to reach out to us at the clinic.
This blog post is an educational tool only. It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.
Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us! Phone: (03) 97738085