We hear from parents all the time that their babies don't like being on their bellies. The dislike that babies have for being on their bellies is due to several factors - being abruptly put on their tummies, the back to sleep recommendation and the myriad of container devices likes swings, bouncy chairs and sleep devices being used today.
The back to sleep recommendation must be followed because studies clearly show that babies who sleep on their back are much less likely to die from crib death or SIDS. However, during awake times, we can encourage belly time.
There is a daily 90 minute recommendation for infants to be on their belly. Studies show that achieving this over time increases the success of mastering motor milestones at 4m of age. As babies spend more time awake and are active, they should spend more time on their belly.
Babies 0-2m: belly time for 30minutes total daily
Babies 2-4m: belly time for 45-90 minutes total daily
Babies 4-6m: belly time for 1-2 hours daily
One way to improve the accepatance of belly time is to gently ease your baby onto their belly by rocking them side to side and eventually rolling onto the abdomen. Lay down with your baby and look them in the face ~ babies love this! Ensure that a baby gets equal time with the head turned in both directions. Babies love mirrors so you can put this in front of them to encourage them to enjoy belly time.
Why is tummy time so important?
- Helps improve feeding patterns. Gravity helps improve tongue function.
- Improving breastfeeding and feeding patterns helps motor development
- Regulates the nervous system so that helps fussy and irritable babies become calmer
- Helps postural asymmetry e.g. torticollis
Tummy Time is fun time! Learn to incorporate this into your baby's daily routine.
We have the only Tummy Time class offering in Columbus, Ohio! Taught by our wonderful lactation consultant and physical therapist, Allyson Wessells. Our next 4-week class series will be starting on Tuesday, November 7th. If you are a WholeKids patient, you get 10% off this class series and other classes in our wellness studio. Email Jenni (our studio manager) for questions or assistance with registration at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you taken care of!