The benefits of tummy time

Whether your baby hates tummy time or loves it, it’s extremely important to your baby’s continued development. Not only to improve physical strength, but also to provide sensory stimulation for left and right brain coordination. It improves near vision and helps overcome primitive reflexes such as step and startle reflexes.

Since 1994, parents have been encouraged to put babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This sleeping position has seen a massive decrease in SIDS, but now parents seem fearful of putting babies to sleep on their tummy. This lack of tummy time has seen an increase in flattened head shapes and overuse of baby sitting aids.

Tummy time describes dedicated time set aside to lay the baby on their tummy. As a newborn, this position could be skin-to-skin on your chest or lying on your forearm or thighs. Start with short intervals offered frequently, and by three months expect your baby to have about an hour of cumulative tummy time throughout the day, not including tummy time. Giving tummy time in short bursts and often at first allows muscles and ligaments to slowly strengthen, which helps your baby become more comfortable as he learns to lie in a forward-facing position .

The floor is a good place for tummy time. Prepare a suitable area with a firm rubber surface covered with a colored quilt. This will bring comfort and visual stimulation. If you have a rambunctious, clumsy toddler or preschooler in the house, place your little one in a playpen for tummy time. When your baby is on her tummy with her knees slightly bent, place your hand against the soles of her feet and feel her push against you, propelling her forward.

You can support your baby’s chest on a rolled-up bunny rug or towel during tummy time to encourage him to stay on his tummy a little longer. You can also try lying down in front of him to keep him entertained or place a mirror or some colorful toys nearby that will catch his attention and tempt him to stay on his tummy longer. Your baby’s head is heavy and hard to lift when he is tired. For this reason, try to have tummy time during the first half of your waking time and not near the end when you’re tired and getting ready to sleep. Forcing your baby to spend time on her tummy when she hates it will only be a negative experience for everyone. Another way to give her tummy time is to hold her securely in her arms facing the floor and swing and rock her in the air. Move to the music to increase interest and stimulation.

Lying on his tummy allows your baby to see the world from different angles and perform different actions. Provides the continuous opportunity to lift the head and chest, strengthening the ligaments, the muscles of the neck and back and the development of the forearm. Tummy time helps drain the tubes between your ears and nose that, when clogged, cause ear infections. Holding her head up is hard work at first, but with regular repetition it gets easier and your baby will learn to love this position and all the stimulation and development it provides.

As your baby grows and develops, he will begin to coordinate his body to slide forward, backward, and in circles. These are important actions to connect pathways in the brain. These pathways form the foundation for developing more advanced coordinated movements, such as crawling.

If you’ve encouraged your baby to enjoy tummy time in every way possible, but he still hates it, there may be a number of reasons for making it difficult or painful. For this reason, it is important to be evaluated by a child health professional as soon as possible. Once treatment is given and the cause is resolved, her little one will be able to do what she’s supposed to do: spend tummy time with her until she’s up and walking.

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