Tummy Time Benefits

baby on tummy

What Is Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is the time during the day your baby spends on their tummy while they are awake. Tummy Time is an important activity for your baby’s development and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Because the AAP 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. This will help their head control and core muscles develop and allow them to reach their expected developmental milestones.

Why is Tummy Time Important?

Thanks to guidelines established by the AAP in the 1990’s, parents’ awareness has been improved of the importance of putting infants to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

But, all that time spent on their back can cause a flat spot on your child’s head, known as Positional Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome, as well as causing twisted neck or positional torticollis which is when the neck muscle is stiff and tight. Getting your child time off of their backs can help prevent this, which is another reason why it is so important for babies to receive supervised Tummy Time every day.

Risks of Not Incorporating Tummy Time with your Baby

New parents are told of the importance of babies sleeping on their backs to avoid SIDS, but they are not always informed about the importance of tummy time. The popularity and increased use of infant seats, swings, and carriers have also 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 and there has been an increased frequency of early motor delays in babies younger than six months. Infants who spend too much waking time on their back may have an increased risk of delayed motor development, as well as cognitive and organizational skills delays, eye-tracking problems, and behavioral issues.

There has been an increase in babies that have gross motor and fine motor developmental delays. They can have atonicity, which is a lack of muscle tone for various reasons. Besides back sleeping and lack of tummy time, other factors can cause this, such as prematurity, increased numbers of twins and triplets, and increased survival of children with cardiac, neurological, and genetic disorders. Babies after cardiothoracic surgery usually stay off their bellies and chest for 2-3 weeks postoperatively, and those few weeks in a developing baby can cause some delays.

Benefits of Tummy Time

Giving Tummy Time can help babies meet their milestones, such as strengthening the baby’s back, neck, and core muscles to help build a foundation needed to meet motor milestones including head control, reaching, rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking. Also, can help develop eye and hand coordination. By looking down at their hands, the baby is seeing how they move and what they can do. It also can help their sense of touch by feeling different textures such as blankets, playmats, carpet, etc. on their arms, hands, and face. Positioning the baby differently helps develop their movement and balance as well as them moving they gain a sense of body awareness.

When Should Baby Start Tummy Time?

Tummy Time can start as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital, although some providers recommend starting it once the umbilical cord falls off. Aim for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.

You can begin with 3 to 5 minutes per session, doing at least 10 minutes a day, to eventually working up to a total of 30 to 60 minutes daily as your baby grows. Tummy Time can be done in short sessions throughout the day, based on your baby’s tolerance and needs. Some babies like being on their tummies, but many dislike it at first. Some don’t like the world from a face-first perspective. You may have to help your baby learn to enjoy tummy time.

Once your child is rolling over and independently spending time on his stomach, usually by 6 months old, you can stop dedicated tummy time since they will be doing tummy time all on their own.

Have you Heard about Tumzee?

Tumzee is designed for babies who are old enough to hold their head up on their own and can be used until your baby has learned to crawl and no longer needs daily Tummy Time. The unique
design allows for babies to be positioned on their tummies on a 15-degree incline, letting your baby engage with toys, games or books and easing the frustration that many babies feel during Tummy Time.

Tumzee is built with a unique “T” support to prevent your child from sliding down the incline and raised sides to prevent your child from rolling off the side of the support. This provides a secure environment for your child’s Tummy Time, allowing them to play and develop in a safe way. No other product on the market offers the stability and support to prevent your baby from sliding down or rolling out or off of the product.

Tumzee is made of Polypropylene and is BPA and phthalate free. Its soft yet firm design allows your baby to be comfortable while still providing them with full support.

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash