I was thinking of a new topic to write on since last 2-3 days when I got to meet an acquaintance who had just become a new mother. while talking, I was surprised and taken back that she did not know about tummy time. Well, I did my part of letting her know what and why of it, but sometimes people take advise in a negative manner or it seemed from the way she reacted to it- although I have no clue why )
What is Tummy Time – it means placing a baby on his or her stomach only when awake and supervised. Tummy time can also prevent the back of your baby’s head from developing flat spots. It’s sad that even after so much importance given to tummy time, many parents are still unaware of this wonderful thing and whats more saddening is that some paediatricians do not recommend it EVER.
Why is it SO important – The popularity and increased use of infant seats, swings, and carriers have meant less tummy time. As a result, today’s babies have fewer chances to practice using their arms, back, neck, and head to lift themselves up. Consequently, they are taking longer to develop the neck, trunk, and arm strength they need to roll, crawl, pull up, and walk.
How can tummy time be made easier
- Never ever try tummy time when the baby is sleepy, fussy or hungry. Baby should be active and in a playing mode when you do this.
- Try to prop up on their elbows for further support
- You can place a toy that makes the sound or gives out light to make it interesting for the baby
When a baby is placed for the first time on his tummy, the baby may fuss. He may not like the new position and discomfort it brings with it. Most babies will cry a lot but that should not dishearten you. Keep trying.
Start it with 30-second routine and gradually increase daily. It’s very important as the child’s back, neck and shoulder muscles get strong. this can begin as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital. The baby should be on a hard surface like floor because when baby pushes down on the floor, the body gets the developmental exercise it needs. A baby’s 80% awake time should be spent on his tummy. As your baby grows, strive for a minimum of 15 minutes of tummy time per day, while encouraging him to play longer.
The AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) recommends that babies sleep on their backs for safety reasons, babies need enough supervised Tummy Time during the hours they are awake to strengthen head, neck, and upper body muscles. Tummy Time helps to build the strength and coordination needed for rolling over, crawling, reaching, and playing.
For babies, who are fussy and don’t like lying down on the floor, making them lying on your chest is also counted as tummy time. Gradually move the child to the floor as he gets comfortable lying on his tummy.
Points to remember regarding tummy time –
- Never let you, baby, sleep on his stomach. This can be a huge SIDS risk and can be fatal. Once the baby has learnt the skill of rolling over from tummy to back or back to tummy, then it is fine to let them sleep on their tummy.
- Never do tummy time after a feeding session. Leave at least a gap of 45 minutes before attempting one
- During tummy time, take care of not letting the child be on a sofa or bed to avoid the risk of slipping or falling down
- If there are any pets at home, take care them do not come in between and scare the child or cause any harm.
If the baby gets sleepy while being on the tummy, pick the baby and put the baby for the nap.
Every bit of Tummy Time with your baby makes a difference. If you have done plenty of Tummy Time with the baby, but are concerned they are not meeting their milestones, bring your concerns to baby’s paediatrician or healthcare provider.
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Until next time –