Why is Tummy Time So Important?

tummy time to prevent positional plagiocephaly

Tummy time can be fun for your baby

Tummy time does more than just prevent baby flat head syndrome


You have probably heard from your health care practitioner or read about the importance of tummy time for your baby.  This article will tell you more about why it is so critical for you to make tummy time part of your regular routine, and not only to prevent baby flat head syndrome.  Some babies do not enjoy tummy time at first, and if this is the case you can find some tips to make it more fun here.


The risks of lying on the back for babies

Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are two common problems that are found in infants. Both these conditions arise due to excessive resting on the back. Under plagiocephaly a baby’s head develops flat spots. In brachycephaly, the infant’s head becomes disproportionately wide. In this condition the head flattens uniformly leading to a wider head.

The back to sleep campaign has saved lives of millions of babies. But researches have shown that it leads to certain problems in babies.  Resting on the back has been associated with milestone delays in development. Babies who rest on their back have been found to reach early milestones late.  All the figures indicate that lying on the back all the time is not good for future development of infants.  Fortunately by introducing tummy time at the right time, you can avoid these conditions.


Benefits of tummy time – why it is good for your baby

Flipping your baby on his belly will do him loads of good. To sit, crawl and walk a baby needs strong trunk, back and neck muscles. By putting him on his tummy you can help him to develop these muscles and gain control over his body. The American Association of Pediatrics has conducted several studies on the benefits of tummy time. From these reports it is evident that a baby should spend many of the waking hours on the tummy.

Here are some of the benefits discovered by the studies:

  1. Tummy time reduces chances of developing flat head or plagiocephaly.
  2. Tummy time ensures proper gross motor development of a baby. When put on their belly, babies kick and push which develops their gross motor skills. They also learn to roll and crawl and this helps in strengthening the torso and large muscle groups of the body.
  3. Tummy time develops eye-hand coordination of the baby.
  4. When the baby lies on the tummy, he tries to grab the blanket or the parents’ outfit. This develops the fine motor skills.
  5. Tummy time aids in cognitive development. A baby lying on his tummy gains a different perspective of the environment. He can rotate his head and observe things around him. He can even rotate his body. This helps him to speed up cognitive development.
  6. It is important for a baby to develop his vision. Resting on the tummy makes the baby aware of the objects around him. It also helps him to track the movements of people and objects. This aids in his vision development.
  7. Torticollis is a condition in which the neck muscles get tightened. This stretches the head in a certain direction. By putting the baby on his belly you can avoid this condition.

So, for proper milestone development of your baby it is essential that you make him lie on his tummy while he is awake.

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