Newborns enter the world all curled up and soft with very little muscle strength and flexibility. As adorable as this stage is, it is vital for the development of strength, posture, balance, muscle tone, coordination and skull bone formation that babies have ample freedom of movement and opportunities for play. Experts find that babies that don’t spend enough waking time on their tummies can have some delays in their development of motor skills. Tummy time gives your baby the opportunity to strengthen the muscles they need to prepare them for rolling, sitting up, crawling and pulling to stand.
**Tummy time as demonstrated by Flynn Foster** Please note that babies should be awake whilst attempting tummy time**
Daily tummy time and side lying when your baby is awake is important to prevent ‘Flat Head Syndrome’ plus provide valuable developmental benefits for your baby's motor, cognitive and sensory development.
Tips for tummy time:
- Aim for 1-5 minute bursts for newborns then increase as able.
- Pick a time where they’re awake, content, not hungry or tired.
- Put your little one at table height, get down onto a floor playmat or place your baby on your chest.
- Encourage your baby, talk to them, sing to them, make funny faces etc.
- Use toys, rattles, mirrors and other interesting items to keep them interested.
- Stop when your baby seems unsettled or uncomfortable.
Rachel Coley is a pediatric Occupational Therapist whose website www.candokiddo.com is full of information about your baby's development. She covers topics such as; developmental milestones, playing with your baby, tummy time and avoiding a flat head (positional plagiocephaly).
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