Dear parents, have you ever wondered why your baby seems to have a mysterious aversion to being on his stomach? Well, fear not, because we’re about to tell you about the importance of tummy time for your little one’s development. Find out how this seemingly simple activity can have a big impact on your baby’s muscles, comfort, and even her adorable little head. So let’s explore the importance of tummy time and why it’s an essential part of your baby’s early development.
What is tummy time for newborns?
As a parent, you may know the importance of giving your baby tummy time for development. Tummy time involves placing your baby on their tummy while they are awake and under your supervision. This simple activity offers many benefits and plays a crucial role in promoting your baby’s physical and cognitive growth.
Importance of tummy time for babies
1. Muscle building
“Tummy time gives your baby a great opportunity to strengthen their neck, shoulder and back muscles,” says Dr. Manish Malik, Director and Head of NeonataI Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics (Ped), neonatology, Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, Saket. . He further explains that when babies raise their head and body against gravity, these muscles are engaged, helping to develop essential motor skills. Regular sessions of tummy time help gradually improve muscle strength and control, laying the foundation for future milestones such as rolling over, crawling and eventually walking.
2. Tummy time reduces discomfort and gas
Another benefit of tummy time is its ability to relieve gas discomfort and colic (abdominal pain caused by gas). “When your baby is lying on their stomach, the gentle pressure on their abdomen can help expel trapped gas, reducing the chances of colic and irritability,” Dr. Malik says. The natural movement and positioning during tummy time promotes healthy digestion and can provide relief to your little one.
3. Promotes Healthy Head Shape
Tummy time also plays a vital role in preventing the development of flat spots on your baby’s head. Since infants spend a lot of time lying on their backs, the back of the head is likely to flatten out. By making tummy time part of your baby’s routine, you relieve pressure on the back of her head and encourage her to move her head from side to side. According to Dr. Malik, this helps promote a more rounded head shape and reduces the risk of developing positional plagiocephaly.
When to start tummy time for baby?
Dr. Malik advises starting tummy time a few weeks after birth, starting with short durations of 1 to 2 minutes and gradually increasing the duration as your baby grows. By 5-6 months, your baby will have developed enough strength and control to explore other positions independently. Constant supervision of your baby during tummy time is essential to ensure their well-being.
What if your baby hates tummy time?
Some babies may initially resist or hate tummy time. If your baby finds this difficult, start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as he becomes more comfortable. Use engaging toys that move or make noise to capture their attention and make the experience more enjoyable. However, never force your baby to spend tummy time if he is really upset or distressed. If they continue to show resistance, you can try placing them on your chest or in your lap while lying down, which still provides the same benefits as tummy time on a mat or bed.
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Tummy time is a crucial aspect of your baby’s early development. With regular tummy time sessions, you set the stage for your baby’s physical and cognitive growth, providing a solid foundation for future milestones.