Parent ResourcesTummy Time: What is it and how can you increase an infant’s tolerance to it? - North Valley Pediatric Therapy

Tummy time: an infant activity that many parents dread, but with the right strategies, that does not have to be the case! What is tummy time? It can be defined as time spent laying on an infant’s belly in a horizontal position. For example, when a baby is positioned on their belly while playing on the floor, this activity is considered “tummy time.” Ideally, this time is used to work on the baby’s head and neck strength, thus increasing their ability to reach various gross motor milestones such as head control, propping up on elbows, and crawling. Additionally, spending time on the belly reduces the risk of developing plagiocephaly, which is a flattening of the head.

It’s a common theme for lots of babies to not be a fan of tummy time because, in reality, this activity can be challenging for them. Think about it. It is difficult at first for an infant to hold their head up when being held, so when gravity is added to the mix, this task becomes even more challenging. For babies, when something feels different or requires work, frustration sets in, and then usually the tears start flowing. It’s not easy for a baby to hold their head up while on their belly, which is why babies usually roll belly to back first – they are trying to get out of tummy time.

There are many ways to sneak in tummy time without actually having to lay your baby’s belly directly on the floor. For example, your baby can lay on your chest while you are sitting/laying on the couch.

 

#1: This position can provide comfort to your baby as well as give parents an opportunity to gently rock their baby from an up/down position.
#2: Another way to incorporate tummy time is to have your baby lay on their belly while they are propped up on your knees.

Placing a rolled-up towel or using a boppy pillow is also a great way to work on tummy time. This position places the baby at somewhat of an incline, taking some of the gravitational stress off of their head and neck.

All in all, tummy time is a crucial part of the development of a baby’s gross motor milestones and will set them up for success as they start their functional mobility journey.

 

 

Author – Alecia Ann H.
DPT, PT

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Copyright by North Valley Pediatric Therapy. All rights reserved.

Copyright by North Valley Pediatric Therapy. All rights reserved.