As a result of the “Back to Sleep” campaign, promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, many new parents know and understand the importance of placing Baby on his back to sleep at night. However, sometimes parents don’t realize the importance of tummy time when Baby is awake. The American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes that playtime should occur while Baby is on his tummy. The “Tummy to Play” method dictates that under the supervision of an adult, Baby should play while awake 2 to 3 times a day. This tummy time play can occur from the moment your newborn comes home from the hospital. Tummy time offers various benefits to your baby that aid in his development.
Benefits of Tummy Time for Baby
- Reduces development of Plagiocephaly or flathead syndrome
Tummy time reduces the likelihood that your baby will develop flathead syndrome by providing bouts of time in which your baby is not laying on her back. Due to the softness of your growing baby’s skull, spending too much time lying back-down on a firm mattress can cause a portion of your baby’s skull to flatten. Tummy time can prevent or provide a remedy for this syndrome.
- Strengthens back, neck, and shoulder muscles.
As your baby holds himself up during tummy time and moves his neck to look around, he is strengthening these muscle groups. The strengthening of these muscles will later aid in your baby’s ability to sit and eventually walk.
- Prevents and alleviates torticollis
Torticollis is a condition in which your baby may have a tilted head or struggle to move his head in a certain direction as a result of tight neck muscles. Torticollis can be present after birth or develop within the first three months. By incorporating tummy time into your baby’s schedule, your baby will look around and turn her head, stretching her neck muscles, which can prevent torticollis or alleviate an existing condition.
- Promotes visual development
As your baby enjoys tummy time, she is looking at all her surroundings. Moving her eyes to follow objects in the room helps develop her eye muscles as well as aiding in the development of visual acuity as she focuses on various objects.
“Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play.” HealthyChildren.org. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
Gupta, Rupal. “Infant Torticollis.” KidsHealth – the Web’s Most Visited Site about Children’s Health. The Nemours Foundation, 1 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
“Tummy Time for Your Baby: What It Is and How to Do It.” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.