Last week our blog focused on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Some strategies we recommended were practicing safe sleep, using pacifiers, breast feeding and tummy time! The first discussion of tummy time started in 1992 when the “Back to Sleep” campaign was launched to encourage parents to place their babies to sleep laying on their backs. Tummy time is the time a baby spends laying on their stomach and should only be practiced while awake. As the baby grows and shows enjoyment of tummy time, you can lengthen the sessions. As babies grow older, more tummy time helps build strength for sitting up, rolling over, crawling, and walking.
Benefits of Tummy Time:
- Helps infants hit milestones
- Helps prevent flat spots on the baby’s head
- Helps increase neck movement
- Improves head control
- Decreases reflux
- Helps with digestion
- Helps improve range of motion in an infant’s tongue
- Provides fantastic interaction between parent and infant
How to Create a Fun Tummy Time Routine:
- Designate a tummy time area in your home – on the floor with a carpet or blanket
- Roll your infant (2 weeks old – crawling) into tummy time 4 times per session, about 4-5 sessions per day. Check out this video for tips!
- Make sure to get down on the floor and interact with your baby. You can even have older siblings join in on the fun!
- As soon as they get fussy, roll her out of tummy time, pick her up and hug her close. Then start again if the session is not complete.
- Choose times when your infant is calm and relaxed, like right after a feeding session, after a nap or a diaper change.
During tummy time, you can read to the baby or place a book in front of them to look at. This will also help improve their eye site. Another way to make tummy time fun is to put some of his or her favorite toys within reach. When a routine is established, and your baby seems to enjoy it, you can try new places like the park.
Tummy time can be a great way for you and your other family members to bond with your baby. Make sure to always supervise your baby when they are in tummy time and do not let them fall asleep. If your baby has special needs, reflux disease, or was premature, tummy time might not be safe so talk to your doctor for other safe options!
Don’t forget this month we invite you to participate in the #SafeSleepSnap activities. Take a cute and creative picture of your child in their safe sleep position and post it to help show your friends and family what safe sleep looks like.
As always, feel free to call our Parenting HelpLine at 1-800-243-7337 with questions or concerns about safe sleep, tummy time, and SIDS.