July 15, 2020

What time is it? Tummy time!

Tummy time matters. Let’s talk about why.

What time is it? Tummy time!

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Put the pups away and place a blanket on the ground… it’s tummy time!

We all know what tummy time is – your infant spending dedicated time lying unassisted (though supervised) on their stomach – but do we know why it’s important? And do you know the downsides to ignoring tummy time? Per usual, that’s exactly what I’m here for!

tummy time

Tummy time is like an all in one gym for little. As soon as he or she is full term and healthy, you can start placing them in this position. Once there, they will begin using neck muscles, developing core strength, and working muscles all over their bodies. It boosts gross motor skills and helps babies master head control.

If we’re naming the benefits, I can’t forget how tummy time prevents flat head, aka plagiocephaly, and torticollis! In fact, looking at the Stretching Out Torticollis blog, you’ll see tummy time related activities as some of the best possible treatment.

While you can start tummy time as early as is healthy for your kiddo, it’s still important to remember a few key things. First, you should always be there to supervise them. Second, build up the amount of time they are on their bellies. Work your way up to 10 minutes or so in the first month. After that, a good rule of thumb is adding an extra 10 minutes by the end of each month. Third, avoid tummy time right after your kiddo has eaten.

“But Emily, what if my little HATES tummy time?” That’s a great question – and honestly, not all that rare. This activity can be uncomfortable to start, so most kiddos really don’t enjoy it at first. I recommend using toys (light up or with sound, while in general are terrible, are fantastic for keeping infants’ interest during tummy time) or you as an incentive. Anything they love that can draw their attention is a great thing.

I also recommend trying to do shorter time periods, but more times a day. While I typically recommend the 10 minute interval (or more depending on the month), two to three times a day, if your little hates tummy time, try doing five minutes four times a day. It’s extremely important we don’t neglect tummy time simply because our littles get fussy about it.

Let’s talk about why.

tummy time 2

Skipping tummy time can lead to a complete delay in development. Like we mentioned earlier, this activity is one of the best ways to build muscles throughout the body. The core and neck are vital to sitting up, crawling, and eventually, walking. Allowing your little to skip this development can delay the entire process. Even if your infant goes straight to sitting up, I still highly recommend forcing some tummy time.

Let’s not forget, if tummy time can help prevent flat head and torticollis, a lack of it can also mean it increases the chances your kiddo gets them! If you think your little is frustrated by tummy time, just wait until they have neck pain or need to wear a helmet to reshape their head!

At the end of the day, tummy time is clearly important. Make sure you carve out some time to get your little developing correctly and keep it up for roughly six months, or until they start rolling on their own.

If you are having trouble with tummy time, you’re not alone. Send me a message and we’ll help you get on the right path.

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