Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tummy Time Activities

Babies need tummy time because they are spending more and more time on their backs. In the early 90s, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to Sleep program successfully decreased the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the United States by 40 percent by encouraging parents to place their babies on their backs to sleep. Around the same time, a number of infant carriers that doubled as car seats and carriers became widely used. This combination of back sleeping at night and daytime pressure on the infant’s head can create a flattening of the skull.
Increasing the amount of time your baby lies on his or her tummy:
• Promotes muscle development in the neck and shoulders
• Helps prevent tight neck muscles and the development of flat areas on the back of the baby’s head
• Helps build the muscles your baby needs to roll, sit and crawl

Activities that provide tummy time for your children:
1- Sit your baby on your lap, facing you. Provide support as needed, and encourage the baby to hold his head up and centered. Turn his head equally to both sides. It's a good position for feeding.
2- Lie on the floor with your baby, face-to-face. Help your baby push up on his elbows to lift his head to look at you.
3- Provide support under the chest to make lifting the head in the middle easier.
4- Place toys in front of your baby while he is lying on his belly to encourage reaching and playing with both hands. Your baby may begin propping up on both arms and moving around the floor on his belly. Your baby may also begin to crawl from this position.
5- While watching TV or visiting with friends, place your baby on his tummy over your lap. Change the baby’s position to encourage looking to both sides.
It is important to remember that these activities can be changed to meet your baby’s needs, and some babies will progress to skills sooner or later than others. Not all babies have tightness in their necks, and many have very well-shaped heads. The activities in this program can promote normal development for all babies. The time you spend on these activities will bring you and your baby closer together.

For more information see http://www.orthomerica.com/pdf/tummytimetools.pdf

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