Tummy Time for Babies

Kavi. November 21, 2022

Babies spend a considerable amount of time on their backs – in the cot, in the car seat and on your body. Placing them on their tummy gives them a completely different perspective of their world. It promotes their motor, visual and sensory development.

You don’t need to wait to start tummy time! Babies can go on their tummies as a newborn (just make sure they are fully supervised). It is not advisable to place babies on their tummies for sleep as there are risks involved e.g., SIDS.

There are a million benefits of tummy time and too many to list here. These are my Top 5 reasons why playing on the tummy is so important for newborns and infants.

1. Facilitates Motor Development:

When babies spend time on their tummies, they lift their head up and take the weight through their shoulders. This strengthens their neck, shoulder and back muscles. Tummy time activities are crucial for upper limb strength and directly impact fine motor activities and writing skills at school at a later age.

2. Reduces any Head shape or Neck deformities:

By spending time on their tummies, babies move away from being on their backs for long periods of time. This reduces the influence of gravity and the weight going through the back of their heads. Hence, deformities like plagiocephaly (flat head posture) or torticollis (tight neck muscles on one side) are avoided.

3. Improves Sensory Development:

By being on their tummies, babies are allowed to experience the world from a completely different angle and it aids sensory development.

Tactile (Touch) - Blanket fabric or mother’s body provide great tactile/touch sensation to babies’ arms, bellies and legs.

Proprioception (Joint pressure sense) – body weight that goes through the shoulder joints, spine, hips and knees sends positional sensations to babies’ brains and helps them to understand the position of their body in space.

Vestibular (movement sense) – babies experience a sense of movement by their head movements and this serves as the foundation for balance and coordination in the later years of life.

Visual (eyes) – Babies are unable to explore their full visual field when they are on their backs. Peripheral vision is sometimes blocked by the edges of cots or car seats. By being on their tummies, babies can lift their heads up and look around to get a full view of their surroundings which is very important for their development.

4. Cognitive Development:

Both motor development and sensory development are the two main building factors for cognitive development. Studies involving neuro-imaging have found that increased physical activity promotes the formation of grey matter in the brain which is important for cognitive functions.

5. Bonding, Fun and Trust:

Although tummy time can be hard work in the beginning, babies build up tolerance very quickly and engage very well with activities. Fun, interactive activities motivate the babies to sustain this position and develop their skills. Soon tummy time can provide great bonding opportunities for parents/carers with their new born.

We don’t see a lot of babies currently at our Physiotherapy Clinics in Sittingbourne, Maidstone or Bexley, but this is an area that is developing quickly as new parents begin to understand more about supporting the early development of their babies.

If you’d like to find out more, then please give us a call on 01795 60 60 66 or 01622 942033 and we’d be delighted to give you more information.

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