Tummy time, as the name suggests, simply means laying your little one on a flat surface on their stomach for 1 to 2 minutes when they are awake and under supervision. According to a study, you can start giving your infant tummy time soon after their birth. Doing this at least 2-3 times a day and gradually increasing the tummy time to up to 10-15 minutes is found to help with early childhood obesity.
But why is it important for your baby to get enough tummy time?
Let's discuss the top three benefits of tummy time which may help in your baby's development.
Prevention of Flat Head
According to a 2016 research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies who sleep on their back are less likely to fall victim to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But keeping your baby on their back for a longer period can cause 'plagiocephaly.' Plagiocephaly is a condition where a baby develops a flat head due to constantly laying on the back which creates pressure on your baby's head leading to a flat head.
However, this can be avoided as a 2017 research shows that plagiocephaly can be prevented by giving your baby regular supervised tummy time. Whenever your baby is awake, take them out of their crib and lay them on their tummy. It is important that you remember to avoid doing this immediately after you have fed your baby, as this may cause them to spit up.
Development of Gross Motor Skills
Everyday functions like standing, crawling, running, walking, sitting upright, are all a part of gross motor skills. Tummy time ensures the development of your baby's gross motor skills.
When you place your infant on a flat surface for tummy time, you will find that they will kick and resist, which will help them develop gross motor skills and strengthen their various large muscle groups. This allows them to eventually learn to crawl and grab toys that are in their vicinity.
Stimulation of Your Baby's Senses
Tummy time is an activity that can stimulate at least 3 of your baby's senses at once. During tummy time, your baby experiences the surface using their palms while lying on their stomach. This helps them develop the sense of touch.
Keeping your baby's favourite toys around them during tummy time greatly helps in developing their sensory receptors. It allows them to easily identify their favourite toys, which can enhance their visual senses.
Moreover, calling out your baby's name will help them recognise your voice. It will allow them to develop their hearing ability and also distinguish between different sounds.
Things To Remember
Tummy time should always be a fun experience for both you and your baby. Make sure you evenly divide the tummy time sessions throughout the day, so that your baby does not feel tired. Remember that your little one is experiencing new things during tummy time every day, so make sure you enjoy this experience with them!