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Is-tummy-time-really-that-important

Is tummy time really that important for baby’s development?

Our baby development expert discusses the importance of tummy time for baby's development.
Tummy time is often interpreted as placing baby on her tummy and just hoping she will like it! As a result, baby cries, and for mommy and daddy this can be very distressing and rightly so. This in turn results in minimal or no tummy time being done which, for some babies, can have a negative effect on their overall development. Unfortunately at this early stage of development, it is not always known whether your baby will be the one who goes on to struggle with later development.

These difficulties are not always visually obvious. It can be easier to spot if your baby is having difficulty crawling than having difficulty with things such as paying attention. Not being able to sit in a chair in a classroom and concentrate can be a negative result of lack of or difficulties with tummy time during the early months. An interesting fact and not one we often realise.

 

What is tummy time?

Tummy time means placing your baby on her tummy. In the early days this can be your chest. However the crucial ingredient is to interact with your baby whilst in this position and always to supervise your baby.


This interaction during the early days, cooing, smiling and facial expressions are what will make the difference to your baby wanting to spend time in this position. Who, after all, would want to be plonked on their tummy and left there? Not very enjoyable, unless you have mom and dad to entertain you while you’re there.

Your baby may initially only tolerate a few seconds and with interaction this time period can slowly be built upon. When your baby cries lift her and try again later. The key is not to engage your baby in tummy time when she is hungry, tired or soiled nappy.

As your baby’s back, neck, shoulders and arm muscles strengthen, your baby will be able to spend time engaged in tummy time on a play mat. Again, a visual toy, which makes lots of noise and you on the floor with your face close to your baby’s face will encourage your baby to spend time in tummy time.

You will have heard from various sources, your public health nurse for example, how tummy time is important for your baby’s development. However the success and implantation of tummy time depends on knowing what exactly it means and the important ingredient of engaging baby whilst in the position and not attempting it when baby is tired, hungry or has a soiled nappy.

If you find your baby continues to dislike tummy time, this can be as a result of something more serious and needs to be checked by a medical practitioner such as your GP, Pediatrician, Chartered Physio or Occupational Therapist specialising in Pediatrics.

Remember, keep tummy time fun and ensure your baby is safe at all times, never leave your baby unattended, ensuring she is awake and can breathe.
For information on Fiona’s upcoming ‘No Tears Baby & Toddler Sleep Workshop’ and 1 to 1 Consultations visit www.fionaofarrell.ie or Call 0879144323

About the Author

Fiona O’Farrell is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in baby development, premature babies and is an experienced sleep consultant, validated by the department of health. For information on workshops and sleep consultations visit fionaofarrell.ie or Facebook. Call Fiona on 0879144323

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