Watching your little one accomplish milestones can be such a heartwarming experience, and as a parent you want nothing more than to see your little one flourish. Tummy time is such an important way to help encourage their brains and bodies to develop correctly and give them the best possible start to life.
From the moment a baby is born there is a precise order in which they will reach certain milestones. This ensures that they are developing correctly to become strong, capable grown ups. Each milestone builds on another so that we can grow from a tiny little human into a big human. Tummy time is one of these incredibly important initial skills a Bub will learn to pave the way forward.
Tummy time is so much more than what you may think. Not only does it help with neck, back and shoulder strength it helps with posture and brain development.
When babies are born, they are born in a C shape, which needs to develop and reshape into a S shape. As they learn to lie on their tummies this shape starts to form. This time is incredibly important as the development of this S shape curve is a vital step in your bub being able to roll over, sit upright, then crawl and then walk. Without the development of these curves, these steps would not occur. It also drives feedback into the brain to allow important connections to grow and develop so that your little one can develop their balance, coordination, visual tracking and their vestibular system (visual senses, motion equilibrium, spatial orientation and proprioception/touch, muscular control).
More and more I am noticing that the importance of tummy time is being underestimated. Tummy time can be hard! So often I hear ‘oh but they don’t like it’. I get it, it can be hard, and some bubs don’t like it. However they need it for all of the vital reasons I mentioned above. So how do you do this and how often?
Tummy time can begin and should begin from the moment they are born. A newborn needs roughly 5-10 minutes per day, and then this gradually increases. By 3 months old they should be comfortable to lie on their tummy for 2-3 minutes at every nappy change, or roughly 45 minutes per day in total. By this stage they should be comfortably turning their head side to side whilst on their tummy. Sometimes bubs are unable to lie comfortably on their tummy due to a number of reasons such as an upset tummy, restrictions in their spine or dural tension. If you are noticing this it is important you have your bub assessed by a paediatric chiropractor.
There are many ways you can make tummy time fun such as lying them on your chest or tummy, holding toys in front and playing with them, getting siblings to play with them on their tummy, or by rocking them on a ball.
I am seeing a lot more bubs with flat spot on their head because they are spending too much time on their back, or they have subluxations throughout their spine (misalignment that cause interference to the nervous system) which is significantly limiting their ability to enjoy tummy time and develop appropriately.
If you would be interested in learning more and attending a tummy time class then please click here to express your interest. We are hoping to organise one in the coming months or in the new year.
This class would be design to teach you more about the importance of tummy time, and how it assists in paediatric brain development. You would learn some effective strategies to make your bub love tummy time, and how to trouble shoot when things aren’t going so great.
As always if you have any questions in regards to your bubs development or tummy time please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Have fun with your tummy time!
Dr Jess x