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Five Benefits of Tummy Time

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Added on March 9, 2018

If you're a parent, you're probably familiar with "tummy time." For those of you who might not know, tummy time (or tummy play) refers to an activity where a baby spends a certain amount of time on their stomach. It's recommended that babies begin tummy time shortly after birth. Starting with 30 - 60 seconds of tummy time, a baby will incrementally increasing with growth up to 30-60 minutes a day. While it's only done for short periods of times, tummy time can provide many health and wellness benefits.

Here are 5 benefits of tummy time:

1. New views

There isn't a whole lot to see when babies are on their backs. On their stomachs, babies can see the world from a different perspective - observing more and beginning to understand how the world works.

2. Shifting their weight

Being on their belly, babies learn to shift their weight, preparing them for future controlled movements, like rolling, crawling and eventually walking.

3. Building and tuning muscles

Eager to explore the world, babies strengthen major back, neck, shoulder and arm musculature required for good posture and stability.

4. Finding their place in the world

Gravity can be tricky. Tummy times allows babies to master changes in the center of gravity to help establish body control. Babies will learn how  to right their own head in order to view and interact with the world around them.

5. Interacting with their environment

By stimulating the nervous system, tummy time helps babies learn concepts of distance and space as they interact with the world around them. It provides the opportunity for a baby to experience sensations, such as deep pressure and touch.

A word about safety

Babies should always be supervised during tummy time. While positioning babies on their stomachs during play, changing, and other activities is perfectly safe and holds many significant benefits - the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, that all healthy infants should be positioned for sleep lying on their backs. This is because infants lying on their backs have a lower risk of developing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

The Gist…

Tummy time provides many benefits: strengthening, promotion of proper posture, mental and visual stimulation, and exploration and interaction with the world around them. While some babies may not tolerate more than one minute in the beginning, it's ok. Continue to engage with them and play with them in this position, and they will learn to tolerate it. All babies grow and learn from the environment surrounding them, and tummy time provides them a way to explore in a different position. If you have questions or concerns about your babies development, we're here to help you. Click here to find a clinic that offers pediatric physical therapy.

Elise Burnett
Ivy Rehab in Union, NJ

 

 

 

 

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