Why is tummy time important for babies?
Tummy time is important for babies because it helps them develop the muscles in their neck, shoulders, and upper back, which are essential for sitting, crawling, and walking. Tummy time also helps prevent the development of flat spots on the back of the head, which can sometimes occur when babies spend too much time on their backs.
In addition, tummy time allows babies to explore their surroundings and interact with the world around them, which can help stimulate their senses and support their overall development.
What exercises can parents complete with their baby?
There are several exercises that parents and babies can do during tummy time to help develop the muscles and promote healthy development.
Some examples include:
1. Gentle lifts
Gently lift the baby’s chest off the ground, supporting their weight with your hands. This can help strengthen the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Placing toys in front of the baby and encouraging them to reach for them. This can help develop their hand-eye coordination and arm muscles.
Supporting the baby’s chest and gently moving their legs in a pedaling motion. This can help develop the muscles in their legs and prepare them for crawling.
Gently massaging the baby’s back and legs to help relax their muscles and promote overall relaxation.
5. One to one
Singing songs, reading books, or making funny faces at the baby to engage them and help stimulate their senses.
Make it fun
Overall, the key is to make tummy time fun and enjoyable for both the parent and the baby and to encourage the baby to move and explore their surroundings.
However, it is important to keep a close eye on the baby during tummy time and to never leave them unattended. If the baby seems uncomfortable or unhappy during tummy time, it is okay to stop and try again later. In addition, it is important to avoid placing the baby on any soft or uneven surfaces during tummy time, as this could increase the risk of suffocation or injury.
Tummy time typically progresses through several stages as the baby grows and develops. In the early stages, the baby may only be able to tolerate a few minutes of tummy time at a time, and may need frequent breaks to rest and recharge. As the baby gets stronger and more comfortable on their stomach, they may be able to spend longer periods of time in tummy time, and may even start to lift their head, chest, and shoulders off the ground.
As the baby continues to develop, they may start to use their arms to push themselves up and lift their chest off the ground, which can help strengthen the muscles in their upper body. They may also start to kick their legs and attempt to roll over, which can help develop the muscles in their legs and prepare them for crawling.
Eventually, the baby may be able to crawl and move around on their own during tummy time, which can help them further explore their surroundings and interact with the world around them. As they continue to grow and develop, they may even be able to sit up on their own and play with toys during tummy time.
Check out our series of videos demonstrating various exercises and activities of best practices for Tummy Time.
PMC Physio Dunboyne recommendation
It’s important for parents to have patience with the development of their babies during tummy time. All babies develop at different rates and some may take longer to enjoy and become comfortable with tummy time. Therefore, parents should be patient and not push their babies too hard. If you are concerned that your baby consistently resists tummy time, please make an appointment to speak with our expert paediatrician physiotherapist Caitriona to ensure that the baby is developing properly.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997