What is tummy time?
Tummy time is when your baby lays on his stomach on a flat surface or your chest - awake and supervised - for a period of time.
As a new parent, you must be hearing about tummy time a lot of times, and you might have a lot of questions about it on the top of your head:
Is it safe?
Does my baby really need it?
Will he be able to breathe if he lies on his tummy?
Now, if you’re wondering if it’s really essential for your newborn, we listed down 6 top benefits your baby can get from doing tummy time.
Benefits of Tummy Time for Babies
1. Helps prevent plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly is the condition when infants are developing flat spots on the back of their skull which is mostly associated with babies always lying on their backs. With tummy time, your baby gets in another position when he can move his head around - helping the skull to round out.
2. Strengthens muscles and builds endurance
Newborns can’t really do much, so there are muscles that they don’t use very often such as their core, back, shoulders, neck and arms when they are sitting or lying down. When babies lift their heads during tummy time to look around, it’s the start of their motor milestones. Not only their muscles are strengthened during this time, their endurance to more physical activities also developed.
3. Jumpstarts gross motor skills
When it becomes a daily routine and your baby goes from a minute of tummy time to a longer duration, it will pave the way to developing more advanced motor skills like crawling, sitting, and walking.
4. Enhances cognitive and sensory development
Being on his belly lets your baby see different things around the room. He will touch different things like the carpet or blankets to feel their textures, follow new sounds when you speak or sing to him or entice him with rattles. All of these activities during tummy time help to build your baby’s cognitive and sensory functions.
5. Helps avoid torticollis
According to KidsHealth, in newborns, torticollis or twisted neck can happen due to the baby's position in the womb or after a difficult childbirth. You may feel upset that your baby suffers from this condition, but most babies don't feel any pain from torticollis. This problem can be remedied with simple position changes or stretching exercises done at home - like tummy time.
6. Improves hand-eye coordination
Babies’ hand and eye coordination is developed when they lie on their stomachs to play and reach for their toys, or track objects around the room and touch them.
We totally understand if your baby doesn’t like tummy time when doing it for the first time, but encourage him to do it and be persistent as a parent so you can help your baby reap the benefits of this wonderful activity.
Note: It is best to let your baby do tummy time when he is awake and supervised. Doctors advise to always let babies sleep on their back to lower the chance of getting Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Banner Credits: Canva