If you are a client of Cradle 2 Kindy you will know how we stress ‘tummy time’. Tummy time is time on tummy. Due to SIDS stressing that you should not sleep your baby prone most parents are nervous about putting their baby tummy down. Because babies these days generally sleep, play, and are in the car or pram on their backs their development of back, shoulder and neck muscles is hampered. There can also contribute to misshapen heads and torticollis (taut neck muscles causing babies to favour looking one way). To avoid these problems it is advisable to give your baby plenty of tummy time when awake. In fact most of the awake time, other than feed time, should be on their tummy. Your baby is never too young to spend his awake time prone but babies under nine months should be supervised. I recommend at least 60% to 80% of their up time on their tummy. Up time is the time they are out of bed and involved in activities such as feeding, bathing, playing.
The benefits of tummy time:
Tummy time helps to strengthen baby’s back, shoulder, neck, arms and legs in preparation to roll, crawl, sit and stand. It helps baby to develop eye to hand co-ordination. It gives baby the opportunity to explore their surroundings by reaching out to feel and touch, to use their gross motor skills in movement and balance.
How to encourage tummy time:
Begin early. Supervise your newborn on their tummy during their up time and extend this time as their need requires. If you haven’t given your baby lengthy periods of tummy time they will most likely protest loudly. Start with short periods of two to three minutes or until their protests become loud. Then turn them onto their side till they calm down. Once they are calm turn them back onto their tummy. You may need to rub or massage their back and shoulders to encourage them to stay longer on their tummy. You many need to do this several times during their up time and repeat it during every up time during the day. As you persist in lengthening the period they spend on their tummy they will begin to enjoy it. Tummy time should be continued till they are old enough to be able to push themselves up to a sitting position by themselves.
Tips: Start tummy time from birth. I recommend at least 60% to 80% of baby’s up time, apart from feeding, on their tummy. Up time is the time they are out of bed and involved in activities such as feeding, bathing, playing.
Remember: The younger your baby starts and the more tummy time they have the more they will enjoy it.