Do you want to have the smartest, cutest, most advanced baby on Facebook? TUMMY TIME is all your baby needs to become an all-around rock star. No, really! That’s it!
Did you buy all the videos, flashcards and high-tech baby toys in your quest to be Mom of the Year, or to have the baby everyone is comparing theirs to? Well, guess what?
None of that matters!!!! It’s all just marketing mayhem, trust me.
From the first day of life, babies need to be on their tummies as much as possible when they are awake.
Yes, when they are awake. All babies need to be put to sleep on their backs. (Read this important post about SIDS)From the first day of life, babies need to be on their tummies as much as possible when they are awake.Click To Tweet
Why is Tummy Time the only thing your newborn needs to get started on becoming totally awesome?
Thanks for asking! Where should I start?
Let’s go back in time, not too long ago, when everyone slept their babies on their stomachs. (If you were born before the mid-’90s, you were one of them.) This is actually the way newborns are meant to sleep (think fetal position.)
So think about it. How often do newborns sleep in the first few months? 16-17 hours a day! And while it is safest for them to sleep on their backs, they are missing out on 16-17 hours of tummy time everyday!
Here are 5 great benefits to tummy time that are all important to healthy development:
1. It helps with reflux (painful, excessive spit up).
The “door” between the bottom of the throat and the stomach is not fully developed at birth. It does not close all the way at first. This is why it is common for babies to spit up or suffer from reflux. Pressure on the abdomen during tummy time actually helps the door close better to decrease the amount of stomach contents going the wrong way.
2. It helps the lungs develop.
Pressure against an infant’s chest gives needed resistance for the lungs to grow and strengthen. This is especially important for preemies, since the lungs aren’t fully developed until 34 weeks gestation.
3. It helps the abdominal muscles develop.
Babies are born with ribs that look more horizontal, making the chest area look somewhat boxy or broad. As their abdominal muscles start to kick in, they pull down on the ribs, bringing them down in a more diagonal or triangular position. This is necessary for good core strength as well as breathing.
4. It helps the sensory system develop.
Have you heard of “sensory processing disorders?” They are common in children with ADHD, autism, and Asperger’s as well as typically developing kiddos that seem to be more picky or sensitive to stimulus like noises, textures, lights, etc.
When babies are born, most of their senses are underdeveloped. The sense of touch is most prominent because of the constant pressure from the amniotic fluid in mom’s belly. So tummy time promotes skin contact and allows babies to use their tactile senses to gradually adjust to the real world of air and gravity, without over-stimulating their newborn brains.
5. It helps them prepare for the next phases of motor development.
What does tummy time have to do with sitting and walking? Everything! Our human brains are hard-wired to go through a developmental sequence of gross motor, fine motor and language skills in a particular order and pace. Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s OK if your baby doesn’t crawl! (Subscribe via email to be the first to read my upcoming article: Why Crawling is the Most Important Developmental Milestone.)
There are very important reasons why babies naturally sleep on their tummies (but you must put them to sleep on their backs to decrease the risk of SIDS,) and why they need to spend most of their awake time playing on their tummies. They need to move from flexion (fetal position) into extension (superman position) before being able to roll, sit, crawl and walk. As babies start to lift their heads and push up on their hands while they are on their tummies, they are systematically working against gravity to build future skills.
Now, do you see why I’m such a stickler about tummy time?
I’m sure you are already saying to yourself, “But my baby hates tummy time.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I could retire…but then again, I wouldn’t be able to help babies get more tummy time…nevermind that!
Did you know, it only takes four days for babies to become adverse to tummy time? That’s why it’s so important to start tummy time on day one! But don’t worry, it’s not too late to try.
Read this post: “10 Great tips to Increase Tummy Time“
I hope you enjoyed this article. I love babies!
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Does your baby struggle with tummy time? Please! Tell me more!
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