Tummy time is such an important activity for your baby’s development. Babies should always sleep on their backs as per the Safe Sleeping Guidelines at rednose.com.au, However, for play and AWAKE time we need to get babies on their tummies.
The two main reasons for this are:
1. To take pressure off the back and sides of their heads. As the bones in babies’ heads are very soft and malleable, prolonged pressure in the one spot can start to cause flattening to the rounded head shape.
2. Tummy time play is important to develop strength in the neck, shoulders, girdle and arms of your baby. This upper body strength is essential to progress onto other milestones such as crawling, reaching and grasping objects. (the benefits of good shoulder girdle strength and stability can even be seen right into preschool and school age, as children with weaknesses here can have more difficulty with good posture, handwriting and other fine motor tasks).
Tummy Time can start from the moment you and your baby come home. Lying on your chest is a great position – the more upright you sit, the easier it is for baby to tolerate.
If you are struggling to get baby comfortable think about placing baby’s arms tucked under their torso, this brings their head away from the ground and gives them something to push up on as they develop arm strength.
If you are worried that your baby is getting some head flattening or you would like more tips and tricks for tolerating tummy time, book in to see our Physiotherapist who specialises in Paediatrics or perhaps one of our ‘Tummy Times’ Workshops designed to teach parents practical positioning and handling techniques to promote development.