– It is well known that placing babies on their backs is the safest position for babies to sleep, as it significantly reduces the risk of cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
– The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP) have noticed however that since the SIDS campaign fewer babies are receiving protected ‘tummy time’.
– The result of this is a delay in these babies reaching important developmental milestones such as crawling and walking.
– Research shows that babies who are placed on their backs to sleep but who are then placed on their front for extra time during the day were able to roll, crawl, sit, pull to stand and eventually walk earlier than those babies who were predominantly placed on their backs.
– Research has also shown that a lack of ‘Tummy time’ can also cause an increase in cranial asymmetry, or ‘flat head syndrome’. Babies skulls are still quite soft and lying in the same position on their backs all the time can put pressure on the skull causing a flattening effect.
– Some babies love it, some hate it, but tummy time – during which your baby lies tummy-down on the floor is essential for her development. It’s a crucial first step toward important developmental milestones such as rolling over, sitting up and crawling.
– Statistics show 19% of mothers with children under six months old never put their babies on their fronts to play and only 22% regularly give their babies “tummy time”.
– By spending time on their tummies babies learn to move from side to side and this helps them learn to reach and crawl.
– Not only does “tummy time” help with coordination, balance and postural control, which is the foundation for all movement skills, it increases babies confidence and independence helping them to become motivated to explore their surroundings as they learn to control their bodies.
– Your baby must be awake and alert and never left unattended during tummy time.
– Simply lay your baby down on a flat comfortable surface with their arms out beside them near to their head.
– It is recommended that you introduce tummy time from birth for a few minutes several times a day.
– I always advise parents to do tummy time following each nappy change for a short amount of time. Increase the length your baby spends on her tummy in one particular go as your babies tolerance, confidence and strength increases.
– Lots of parents report that their babies do not like tummy time and that they cry. However make tummy time fun! Lay with your baby and talk to them to reassure them. Use your voice, mirrors and colourful toys near to your baby to encourage them to lift their head. Your baby will soon learn to enjoy tummy time and start showing off her new skills.
Please remember your baby should only ever be placed on their backs to sleep
Would you like to find out more contact the Physio Hub Team based in the North East of England Send us a message or call us on 01429 869283.