Babies NEED tummy time! At 11 months old, this little cutie should have a nicely rounded head, developed S curves in his neck and low back, and flexible legs that move in and out of various sitting positions. But, largely due to lack of time on his tummy and OVERUSE of “baby containers” such as bouncy seats, swings, and car seat carriers that go from car to grocery store to restaurant, he has positional plagiocephaly (flat skull) a big ol’ C curve in his spine preventing him from getting on hands and knees to crawl, and hips and legs so tight he can’t even straighten his knees! And these are only the outwardly visible problems…too much pressure on baby’s spine and vision centers of the brain from lying on their backs are detrimental to development! So….tummy time, tummy time, tummy time! Do it!
Tummy time IS absolutely important for development! It doesn’t have to be on the floor, but can be on the caregiver’s chest, supported over their lap or bent knees, or on a nursing pillow for younger babies. Many of the comments we’ve read are stating babies shouldn’t be placed in “unnatural” positions or those they can get out of. As developmental therapists, we specialize in the timeline of babies moving from the flexion posture (fetal position) through anti-gravity extension. The ONLY “natural” position for a baby is flexion. If you lay an infant on their back, i.e. In extension their arms flail and they think they’re falling (this is the Moro reflex) and is why we swaddle babies to keep their arms and legs tucked in close like they were in the womb. The flexion tummy time provides is in fact very safe and natural. We urge you to find a specialist in your area if your baby struggles with reflux and isn’t tolerating tummy time that can help develop strategies that will promote being off of their backs. AGAIN, this post is directed to parents and caregivers of babies who are typically developing and not those with special needs or other medical diagnoses. The baby in the picture fits this description. It is not meant to be judgmental but informative on what CAN happen. We are so pleased that it has opened up conversation between parents and health care providers to help prevent these issues from occurring.
Credit to Kids Unlimited Facebook page.