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Four Things to Know about Tummy Time

Four Things to Know about Tummy Time

by Malvika Sampath, PT, DPTLeave a Comment

There is so much for new parents to know, including concerns as parents bring home their new baby. A huge need for babies is tummy time. As a physical therapist, I recommend to my parent patients that they should attempt to perform a few minutes of tummy time every awake period. This allows for the baby to avoid constantly laying on their back after and right before a nap. Below are four things you should know about tummy time:

1. Acclimate the baby to tummy time

Many times, a baby does not like tummy time and as a parent you do not want to see your baby unhappy. It is important to try different techniques and even let your baby cry a bit to get them used to tummy time. The goal is that they will eventually enjoy being on their tummy and start to develop higher level skills from this position.

2. Increase muscle control

Your baby will develop improved head, neck, and upper back muscle control and increase visual stimulation through tummy time. This allows the baby to improve the ability to push up, sit, and crawl. Also, this allows the baby to look around and see things at eye level versus looking up at the ceiling.

3. Different ways to perform tummy time

There are many different ways to perform tummy time with your baby and it is important that you find one that your baby enjoys. Some examples of tummy time include:

  • Putting your baby on your belly: This is a great form of tummy time without lying your baby on the floor.
  • “Airplane”: Lift your baby in the air as if they are an airplane. Before performing this activity, your baby should demonstrate some strength in their back and neck muscles.
  • Baby on legs: Lay on your back with your baby laying on the front of your legs. Move your legs up and down while holding onto their hands for safety. This allows for movement while performing tummy time.
  • Elevated tummy time: Some babies do not like being flat on their tummies, so you can roll up a towel or utilize a small wedge under the baby’s trunk to elevate them slightly. They can play easily with toys in this position because their hands will sit up over the pillow.

4. Decreased likelihood of positional plagiocephaly

Increased tummy time can lend itself to a decreased likelihood of positional plagiocephaly. This means that your baby will be less likely to develop a flat spot on their head from the constant pressure placed on their head due to being on their back. It is important the baby changes position to relieve pressure from the one spot in which they always lay their head. Since babies are napping a lot of the time, it is very important to utilize their awake periods to get them on their tummy in various ways.

Just as it is important for adults to change positions, it is also crucial for your baby. There are many positional devices out there to put your baby in which may cause an increase likelihood of babies to be on their back, thus creating decreased time on their tummy. An easy way to incorporate tummy time is to get on the floor and play with your baby. This will allow your baby to enjoy being on their belly and allow for bonding between parent and child! If you are having difficulty with tummy time, notice a flat spot, or issues with your child’s development, contact an Athletico near you to find a pediatric physical therapist that can help.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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