Like the foundation stone that lends strength and stability to a building, tummy time serves as a pivotal stepping stone in a baby’s developmental journey.
Tummy time is any activity that involves putting a baby down on its stomach, and it helps develop motor skills and prevents positional plagiocephaly.
Traditional tummy time involves placing the baby on the floor with a blanket spread beneath them, but other positions such as tummy to chest, eye level, lap soothing, and the football hold also count as tummy time.
Babywearing is an alternative to tummy time that encourages muscle building.
Tummy time should be started from day one and can be done for short periods several times a day for newborns, and as the baby grows, they can tolerate up to one hour of tummy time a day.
|Muscles Targeted||Babywearing primarily targets the baby’s neck, back, and core muscles, improving their overall strength and posture.||Tummy Time targets the baby’s neck, shoulders, back, and core muscles, promoting motor skills development.|
|Benefits||1. Promotes physical development and coordination|
2. Enhances emotional bonding and provides a sense of security
3. Aids digestion and helps relieve gas
4. Provides dynamic motion experiences
|1. Strengthens neck, shoulder, and core muscles, helping in key milestones like rolling over and crawling|
2. Prevents positional plagiocephaly (flat spots on the head)
3. Enhances cognitive development by providing a new perspective to explore surroundings
|Other Considerations||While it doesn’t replace Tummy Time, babywearing is a valuable complementary practice that provides a different set of developmental and emotional benefits.||Despite the benefits, some babies may initially resist Tummy Time due to the unfamiliarity and physical demand. It’s essential to introduce it gradually and make the activity enjoyable.|
Understanding Tummy Time
Tummy Time refers to the time a baby spends on their stomach while awake and supervised. It is a critical developmental exercise that helps infants build strength and motor skills. This practice is encouraged from the baby’s first day home from the hospital.
Benefits of Tummy Time
Strengthens Muscles: Tummy Time helps strengthen the baby’s neck, shoulders, arms, and trunk. These muscles help infants roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually stand.
Prevents Flat Spots on Head: Regular time on their stomach can prevent positional plagiocephaly or flat spots on the baby’s head, which can occur from spending too much time lying on their back.
Promotes Motor Skills: By practicing Tummy Time, babies learn to push up, roll over, sit up, crawl, and reach, all of which aid in their overall motor skill development.
Enhances Sensory Development: Tummy Time offers a different perspective and sensory stimulation. It exposes infants to new textures and experiences, aiding in their sensory development.
Why is Tummy Time Essential?
Tummy Time is a valuable practice recommended by pediatricians worldwide due to its significant role in a baby’s overall growth and baby’s development. This activity forms a foundation for key milestones like rolling, crawling, and walking, and enhances their sensory experiences.
Besides, it promotes better posture, prevents flat spots on the head (caused by baby spending too much time on their back), and is beneficial for cognitive development.
The Role of Tummy Time in Physical Development
Tummy Time has a crucial role in a child’s physical development. Babies build strength in their neck, shoulders, arms, and torso during this activity, which is crucial for them to start rolling over, sit without support, crawl, and eventually walk.
This time also helps in reducing the risk of developing a flat spot on the back of the head (positional plagiocephaly), a common concern with babies who spend most of their time on their back.
Tummy Time and Cognitive Development
Although often overlooked, Tummy Time also plays a significant role in a baby’s cognitive development. As the baby pushes up, reaches out, or rolls over, they are also exploring the world around them, which helps enhance their spatial understanding.
This varied perspective stimulates curiosity and contributes to cognitive milestones such as problem-solving and understanding the relation between their bodies and the environment.
Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Tummy Time
Despite the numerous benefits, Tummy Time can sometimes be challenging for both babies and their caregivers. However, understanding these challenges and having appropriate solutions can make the process smoother and more enjoyable.
Common Difficulties Faced by Parents
Some babies might resist Tummy Time initially due to discomfort in a new position or because it can be physically demanding. This resistance can lead to fussiness or even crying during Tummy Time, which can be stressful for parents. Moreover, juggling the demands of a new baby, along with existing responsibilities, can make it challenging for parents to find adequate time for this activity.
Tips for Making Tummy Time Easier
To make Tummy Time more manageable and fun try these:
Start Early and Gradual Increase: Begin with shorter periods of Tummy Time, as early as a few days old, and gradually increase the duration as the baby gets comfortable.
Engage and Interact: Use toys, mirrors, or even your own face and voice to engage the baby during Tummy Time. This interaction can make the activity enjoyable and provide additional sensory stimulation.
Make Use of Awake Time: Utilize the baby’s awake and alert times for Tummy Time. Remember, it should never be done immediately after a meal or when the baby is sleepy.
Use Supportive Props: Using a tummy time mat or a rolled-up towel under the baby’s chest can help make the position more comfortable.
It’s important to clarify that Tummy Time is for when the baby is awake and under supervision. It should never be used as a sleeping position for an infant, as it can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death syndrome SIDS. Always remember the “Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play” motto to ensure the safety of your baby.
Alternatives to Traditional Methods
Despite its benefits, babies might resist tummy time initially due to their lack of strength to push up and explore their surroundings. This begs the question: can we find an alternative to tummy time?
Tummy Time Alternatives
The ‘front carry’ method in babywearing allows the baby to strengthen their neck and spine, which is a key component of tummy time.
Side lying is another viable option, offering a safe and comfortable position for babies while also promoting motor skills development.
Does Baby wearing Count As Tummy Time?
While babywearing doesn’t replace tummy time, it complements the practice by promoting similar development goals. Babywearing encourages babies to lift their heads and strengthen their neck muscles, much like Tummy Time.
However, Tummy Time offers a unique set of benefits, including exploring the world from a different perspective, so it’s important to incorporate both.
Complementing Tummy Time with Babywearing
Babywearing and Tummy Time, when combined, can provide a well-rounded approach to a baby’s physical development. Both practices work towards the common goal of strengthening the baby’s neck, back, and core muscles and both help with the digestive system leading to a less gassy baby and provide gas pain relief.
While Tummy Time allows a baby to explore and interact with their surroundings, babywearing offers dynamic motion experiences and a sense of security.
How Babywearing can support Tummy Time
Babywearing can serve as a supportive tool for Tummy Time in several ways, and a baby carrier is one of the best bit of baby gear your can get for your newborn:
Easing the Transition: For babies who are initially uncomfortable during Tummy Time, babywearing can help ease the transition. The infant carrying promote attachment that can comfort the baby, making them more accepting of the prone position during Tummy Time whilst you keep baby close to you.
Building Strength: The baby’s effort to hold up their head while being worn can help develop neck and core strength. Baby wearing helps build up their shoulder muscles allowing them to start crawling.
Adding Variety: Combining babywearing and Tummy Time adds variety to the baby’s routine, providing different perspectives and stimuli for the baby’s cognitive development.
Babywearing as a Form of Tummy Time
When a baby is worn correctly in ergonomic baby carriers, they’re typically in an upright position against the caregiver’s chest. This position indeed encourages babies to use their neck and core muscles to hold up their head, similar to what happens during Tummy Time so in thisrespect babywearing counts as tummy time. This exercise helps enhance the baby’s motor skills, muscle development, and coordination.
Babywearing also provides relief to the baby’s body parts. For example, it helps prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat spots on the head) by relieving the pressure on the back of the baby’s head, much like Tummy Time.
Complementing Tummy Time with Babywearing
Despite the similarities, babywearing does not replace Tummy Time, but rather complements it. Tummy Time provides a unique perspective and set of challenges for the baby, such as learning to push up, roll over, and eventually crawl, which cannot be replicated in the upright position of babywearing.
Conversely, babywearing offers dynamic motion experiences, helps regulate the baby’s heartbeat and temperature, and enhances the emotional bond between the baby and the caregiver – aspects that are less prominent during Tummy Time.
While babywearing may challenge your baby’s muscles and provide relief to certain body parts like Tummy Time, it’s best to incorporate both practices into the baby’s routine to ensure well-rounded development and child health. This combination allows the baby to benefit from the unique advantages each practice provides, promoting optimal physical and emotional growth.
FAQS on Baby Carriers and Tummy Time
What counts as tummy time?
Tummy Time is when your baby spends awake time lying on their stomach while supervised. It’s an important practice for infants that promotes muscle development and motor skills. It includes any activity where the baby lifts their head or moves their limbs while lying on their front.
Does babywearing count as exercise?
Yes, babywearing does count as a form of exercise for both the baby and the parent. For the baby, it helps improve their balance, strengthens their neck and core muscles, and promotes physical development. For the parent, it can add extra weight that can increase calorie burn during regular daily activities.
Does baby sleeping on tummy count as tummy time?
No, a baby sleeping on their tummy does not count as Tummy Time. Tummy Time should only occur when the baby is awake and under supervision. Sleeping on the tummy is not recommended for infants due to the increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Does holding baby up on shoulder count as tummy time?
While holding a baby up on your shoulder can help strengthen their neck muscles similar to Tummy Time, it is not considered the same thing. Tummy Time specifically involves the baby lying on their stomach and pushing up with their arms, which helps develop different muscles and motor skills.
Does babywearing help baby relieve gas?
Yes, babywearing can help relieve gas in babies. When babies are held upright, as in a baby carrier, it can aid digestion and help the release of trapped gas. The gentle pressure on the baby’s abdomen and the natural movements of the caregiver may also soothe the baby and help alleviate symptoms of gas or colic.