Along with a multitude of benefits, tummy time supports their gross motor skills by strengthening the large muscle groups and helps in development of core muscles
Benefits of tummy time
- Helps baby develop muscle control
Tummy time is critical to your baby’s development because it allows them to feel different large muscles working together
- Strengthen muscles of your baby
Tummy time helps to strengthen their neck and upper back muscles, building the foundation that leads to the ability to sit up, crawl and eventually walk
- Facilitates coordination
Placing your baby on their tummy for play provides them an opportunity to move from side to side, which can help with coordination, balance and postural control
- Prevents flat head by relieving pressure off the head
Tummy time gives your newborn a break from spending too much time on their back and prevents positional plagiocephaly (flat head)
- Helps baby explore the environment around them
It also gives your baby the chance to view the world from a different angle – which helps their brain develop
- Lays foundation for future fine motor skills
As your baby begins to gain head and neck control on their tummy, they will be able to prop themselves up on their forearms and then hands. This input is important for shoulder stability as well as hand strength and future fine motor skill development
- Alleviates gas pain and helps with digestion
Laying your baby on their tummy across your stomach or lap may help calm some colicky babies. You can also rub your baby’s back in this position, which is both soothing and may help gas pass through
- Helpful for babies with torticollis
Laying your baby on them tummy and encouraging them to turn their face towards you or opposite to the preferred side helps elongate the shortened neck muscles
- Helps improve range of motion in an infant’s tongue
Tummy time facilitates the tongue’s greatest range of motion and improves oral functions. The method uses gravity as an assistant to improve tongue function helping to unwind your baby from physiological flexion commonly known as the “foetal position”
When to start tummy time
Tummy time should start soon after birth as part of a daily routine – so long as you and your newborn are both active and alert.
New mothers can start earliest by providing tummy time in a skin to skin position or Kangaroo Care position which also promotes bonding between and helps babies develop early feeding skills.
How long should it last
Babies usually don’t like being put on their tummies and get cranky. Aim for 2-3 sessions per day for 3-5 minutes with breaks in between to start with. As your baby gets older and begins to enjoy this workout, gradually ramp up the number and duration of tummy time sessions.
Aim for around 90 minutes per day of tummy time by the time your baby is 3 – 4 months old. Keep practicing until your baby begins to roll over.
Tummy time safety
Tummy time should always be supervised and should be performed when your baby is awake and playful. Never put your baby to sleep on their tummy.
In rare cases, tummy time may not be safe and a recommendation from the paediatrician is required if:
• You have a premature infant
• Your baby has special needs
• Your baby has extreme reflux , colic or GERD
Play safe and make tummy time a fun time for your baby and your entire family.
Play with Purpose !!