Are you a new parent wondering what tummy time is and why it’s important for your baby’s development? You’re not alone!
Tummy time is a crucial exercise that helps your baby’s physical and cognitive growth. In this article, we’ll explore the scientific research behind tummy time and its impact on your baby’s development.
The Physical Benefits of Tummy Time
Tummy time is an exercise that is critical for your baby’s motor development. When your baby is on their tummy, they use their neck and upper body muscles to lift their head and look around, strengthening their neck, shoulder, and arm muscles.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), tummy time also helps to develop the muscles in your baby’s hips, back, and legs, which are essential for crawling and eventually walking.
In addition, tummy time can prevent the flat head syndrome, a condition where a baby’s skull becomes flattened in one area due to prolonged pressure on the back of the head. By spending time on their belly, your baby will be able to evenly distribute the weight on their skull and avoid this issue.
The Cognitive Benefits of Tummy Time
Tummy time also has cognitive benefits for your baby. According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, infants who engaged in tummy time had higher cognitive and motor scores than those who did not.
Furthermore, tummy time promotes sensory-motor integration, which is the connection between sensory input and motor output. According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, infants who engage in tummy time have better sensory-motor integration than those who don’t.
Tummy time also provides opportunities for your baby to explore their surroundings and take in new sensory experiences. This sensory integration is crucial for your baby’s brain development and will help them understand and process the world around them.
The Science Behind Tummy Time
Several studies support the benefits of tummy time. In one study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that tummy time was associated with improved head control, early rolling, and sitting skills in infants.
Another study published in the journal Early Human Development found that infants who spent more time on their bellies had better overall motor skills than those who didn’t.
How to Implement Tummy Time
It’s essential to start tummy time early in your baby’s life. The AAP recommends starting tummy time from the first day of life and increasing the amount of time gradually. Here’s a table to help you determine how long your baby should do tummy time based on their age:
|Age||Tummy Time Duration||Frequency Per Day||Type of Tummy Time|
|0-2 weeks||1-2 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on your chest while lying down or carry baby over your forearm|
|2-4 weeks||3-5 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up|
|1-2 months||10-15 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up|
|2-3 months||20-30 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up|
|3-4 months||40-60 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up and reaching for toys|
|4-6 months||60-90 minutes||2-3 times||Place baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up and reaching for|
To make the tummy time fun and engaging for your baby, you can try different types of tummy time.
Here are some examples:
- Chest-to-Chest: Place your baby on your chest while lying down or sitting up. This type of tummy time is perfect for newborns and helps to establish a strong bond between you and your baby.
- Tummy Time with Toys: Place your baby on a flat surface with toys or a mirror to encourage looking up, reaching for toys, and exploring their surroundings.
- Tummy Time on a Ball: Place your baby on a large exercise ball and gently bounce them up and down. This type of tummy time helps to improve balance and coordination.
- Tummy Time with a Partner: Lie down facing your baby and gently play or talk to them. This type of tummy time helps to establish eye contact and strengthens the bond between you and your baby.
It’s important to note that every baby is different, and they may have different preferences for tummy time. It’s important to observe your baby and see what works best for them.
Tummy time is an essential exercise for your baby’s physical and cognitive development. It helps to develop your baby’s muscles, prevent the flat head syndrome, and promote sensory-motor integration.
By starting tummy time early and increasing the amount gradually, you can help your baby reach their developmental milestones and grow into a healthy and happy child. So, make sure to add tummy time to your baby’s daily routine and have fun watching them explore their world!
If you are interested to learn more about tummy, please refer to the below sources
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). Tummy Time for Infants. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Tummy-Time.aspx
- American Physical Therapy Association. (n.d.). Tummy Time Tools. https://www.choosept.com/resources/detail/tummy-time-tools
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Developmental Milestones. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2019). Tummy Time: Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sids/conditioninfo/tummy-time
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