Why You Should Be Giving Lots of Tummy Time (and How)

importance of tummy timeSince the 80s and 90s, parents all over have been urged to place their children to sleep on their backs. This simple practice has greatly reduced the number of children who die of SIDS. However, it’s had a small side effect (although it’s one we’ll gladly deal with if it means fewer crib deaths): children tend to spend a lot of time on their backs during the first six months of their life. To compensate, we have to offer lots of tummy time. Here’s why…

1. Tummy time builds strength

On their stomachs, babies never get to work out their back, shoulders and neck muscles. If they don’t strengthen these muscles properly, their motor development could be delayed.

2. Their heads could go flat

“Positional plagiocephaly” is the condition when the back of a baby’s head is flattened by spending too much time on his back. It’s an easy to treat condition (usually solved by those cute helmets that maintain around shape for baby’s head to grow into), but it’s a hassle to deal with.

3. They need the perspective

Young minds soak everything in. If your baby is constantly in the same position and using his body in the same ways, he will lack opportunities to learn. He needs to be constantly put in new positions and brought to new places so that active mind can use its wondrous learning potential.

At first, your baby is going to be uncomfortable on his tummy because he’s used to his back. Here’s how you can offer tummy time.

4. They move around sooner

Research shows that children who spend lots of time on their tummy tend to roll over, crawl and sit up sooner. Not only do they have the necessary muscles, but they don’t mind the position.

  1. Make sure baby isn’t hungry or tired or otherwise agitated. Don’t place him down on a newly-full belly, as this can be painful.
  2. Stay with your baby. This is a new experience, so he’ll want to have someone close.
  3. Distract your baby. Don’t let him think about how uncomfortable this position is. Play with a toy or touch his hands or face so he focuses on you.
  4. Start small. On the first day, only do tummy time for a couple minutes. You can practice at first right after diaper changes. Slowly increase how long you do it.
  5. If your baby really hates it, place him tummy-down on your chest so he can look at you.

Eventually, your baby will be rolling on to his tummy all on his own and you won’t have to worry about dedicated tummy time again.

Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip

The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.

When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and everyswaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.

Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!

To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!

Interested in writing a guest blog for Sleeping Baby? Send your topic idea to pr@sleepingbaby.com.

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