What is tummy time and why is it so important
Tummy time is the name given to the amount of time on their tummy a baby spends when awake and the benefits to both baby and parent/carer are huge.
Tummy Time was a term coined in the 1980’s when studies found that it was safer for babies to sleep on their backs and in doing so, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) was greatly reduced. The Back to Sleep Campaign launched by The Lullaby Trust in the 1980’s saw incidence of SIDS fall by 80%. However, whilst this is undoubtedly the safest way for babies to sleep, the effects on babies gross motor development and the meeting of developmental milestones was subsequently affected.
In research, it has been shown by many paediatricians that front sleeping babies developed gross motor ability and met developmental milestones on time, or earlier than babies who slept on their back. Whilst it would never be suggested to return to a front sleeping method for our babies, this research did promote the ‘Back to Sleep Front to Play,’ advice promoted in the late 1990’s.
So what is tummy time and what are the benefits?
Tummy time as suggested earlier in the article is simply the time a baby spends on their tummy during their waking time and the benefits to baby are plentiful
- Builds neck and shoulder muscles
- Helps prevent flat spot forming on head
- Promotes gross motor skill
- Helps lifting head
- Helpful for torticollis – shortening of the neck muscles on one side
- Helps prepare for rolling, sitting, standing and crawling
- Develops hand eye co-ordination
- Strengthens hands and extremities
- Helps visual focus
- Develops eye tracking
- Strengthens jaw muscle and tongue – beneficial for breastfeeding and weaning
- Increases cognitive development stimulates senses
- Encourages independence
- Can alleviate trapped wind and soothe colic
- Helps develop babies sense of touch
- Develops mind and body awareness and co-ordination
- Regulates and strengthens digestive system, respiratory system and stimulates circulatory system
- Aids overall development
As you can see theres plenty of reasons for babies to spend some time whilst awake playing on their tummy.
Tummy time is a proven method of increasing cognitive development and gross motor development and should be practiced from birth.
Our next blog will give you some handy hints on how to incorporate tummy time into your daily routine for different age groups and how to support your baby during this time.
If you need any further support with this information please do join our baby group on Facebook linked here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinebabyfun
Looking forward to seeing you in a class soon
Founder of Beautiful New Beginnings