Tummy Time is a very important activity for infants, and needs to be a part of your baby’s daily routine. Infants spend so much time in a “flexed” position where the head and arms/legs are flexed into the torso while they are constantly being held. Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign babies have been sleeping on their backs instead of their stomachs. This has made a huge difference in preventing SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) which is wonderful, however babies are therefore spending much less time on their stomachs! Tummy time is essential to promote head control, spinal/trunk extension, extension of the head and neck and strength of the arms and shoulders. Babies need to learn how to move independently, shift their weight from side to side, and develop movement skills that are required to roll over, sit up, crawl, and stand. This starts with spending as much time during waking hours in the “prone” position, which means on their tummies.
Many babies do not enjoy tummy time. They may cry or fuss, and you may think your baby cannot tolerate tummy time! Even if they cry through it, it is very important to make sure they are on the stomachs approximately 1/2 of their waking hours. Babies should begin tummy time immediately, and the more it is encouraged at an early age, the more they will tolerate it. If you baby does not enjoy tummy time, try using a towel or sheet rolled up under their arms (picture below), placing them on a boppy pillow (picture above), or on a yoga/therapy ball with the adult stabilizing the infant and ball (picture below)! This way your child does not feel as threatened in the prone position, and has more to see and look at. Help your infants become strong and confident! ?