Baby Tips

What Happens If You Don’t Do Tummy Time?

Infants include various reactions when you place them face down on the bed or floor. Most of the babies hate tummy time and cry indignantly. 

They squall during their tummy time until they have the necessary muscles for lifting their heads from the awkward facing positions. 

Some babies love the view during tummy time, while others are indifferent no matter which side they are on. 

But you must surely keep in mind that whatever is your baby’s reaction, tummy time will assist him/ her in developing the motor skills that will ultimately lead to crawling. 

By now, most parents are more than well aware of the dangers of putting their babies to sleep on their tummies, but not as many know just how important it is for them to spend some time on their stomachs when they’re awake. 

Sure, “tummy time” is a term you’re probably familiar with, but you might not be as familiar with what can happen if your little one doesn’t get enough. My Baby Nursery is your one-stop baby product store.

In this write up we will be considering the meaning of tummy time, ways to do it, and various tips for encouraging your little one so that he/she will prefer to remain in a belly-down position.

Definition of Tummy Time

Tummy time means placing your infant on his/her stomach for playing

Practising tummy time assists in the rapid muscle development required for lifting their head and eventually crawl, sit, and walk. 

But remember, your naughty one should always remain awake while you are giving them a tummy time and is under the careful supervision of the adults. 

Why Tummy Time?

Since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) began recommending that babies be put “back to sleep” more than a decade ago, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome has dropped drastically. 

But back-sleeping has led to more infants developing flat spots on the back of their skull, a condition called positional plagiocephaly. 

What’s more, always lying belly-up can delay motor development because a baby gets less chance to work the muscles in his upper body. Lack of tummy time can not only affect how long it takes for your little one to master such basic skills as lifting his head and turning over. It may also have an impact on physical milestones like sitting, crawling, and walking.

When to Start the Tummy Time?

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The AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents start giving tummy time to their newborn babies from the first day after coming home from the hospital.

Tummy time should start when your baby is a newborn, according to the AAP. 

Start by placing her belly-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes at a time, so she gets accustomed to the position. 

Just don’t do it right after a feeding—pressure on her whole abdomen may cause her to spit up. Ideally, you want to do tummy-time activities when she’s most awake and alert, such as after a diaper change or nap.

Process of Doing the Tummy Time

The perfect time for tummy time is when the kid lays flat for a change in the diaper or when they wake up from a nap/sleep. 

Clean and clear a small area on the floor or bed, place your little one flat on his/her tummy on a play mat or a clean towel. 

Surround the giggling baby with some of his/her favourite toys. Try keeping down the baby for at least 4 to 5 minutes two to three times a day. 

When your baby will start enjoying the tummy time, begin to keep them for a longer duration, thus shortening the sessions in the entire day. 

Never put the kiddo to sleep on their stomach. Sleeping in this position can significantly lead to SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

You can keep changing the sleeping position of the baby by giving tummy time. 

Place the kid with their feet in one direction for one week and repeat the same process in the opposite direction for the next week. 

Ways for Increasing the Tummy Time Duration

Now in this section, you will know various ways to boost the baby’s tummy time duration. They are:

Keep an Unbreakable Mirror

If you keep an unbreakable mirror in front of the baby, he will see his face, which will be pretty fascinating for him. Keep changing the position from in front to the sides of the baby.

Prop the Baby Up

You can always prop the kind up by putting a firm cushion or a nursing pillow under his arms and chest whenever he/she begins protesting the process. Then when the kid is slowly comfortable, wean them off from the prop.

Be With Your Baby

Sleep on your tummy on the floor with your little one side to side or face to face. You can offer some toys or chat with them for entertainment.

Tempt the Kid

You can tempt the kid with enticing toys. Circle the little one with those toys so that they will get tempted to reach them out.

It will eventually develop their muscles and will help them to walk, sit, and crawl.

Place Your Baby on Your Belly.

You can also give the baby a beautiful tummy time while placing them on your belly and lying flat on the bed. 

But do not forget about the drool, kisses, and silly noises that will get as a bonus.

Signs Your Baby Needs More Tummy Time Asap

Flattened Head

There’s a reason why you see so many babies wearing cranial shaping helmets these days: 

The same survey by the American Physical Therapy Association that linked a deficit of tummy time to delayed motor skills also correlated to an increase in misshapen infant heads.

Since the early 1990s, we have seen a significant decrease in SIDS cases while simultaneously witnessing an alarming increase in skull deformation.

This flattening, known medically as deformational plagiocephaly, generally manifests on the back of the infant’s head and is most often more pronounced on one side.

Not Meeting Motor Skill Milestones

Worried that your little one is falling behind when it comes to developmental hallmarks like sitting up and rolling over? You guessed it: Not enough tummy time could be the culprit.

By spending time on their tummies, babies learn to move from side to side, which helps them learn to reach and crawl.

‘tummy time’ help with coordination, balance and postural control, which is the foundation for all movement skills. Still, it also increases babies’ confidence and independence, helping them become motivated to explore their surroundings as they learn to control their bodies.

When back-sleeping babies were placed on their front for extra time during the day, they were able to roll over, crawl, sit up, pull to standing and walk earlier than those who spent more time on their backs. 

But it’s also important to note that babies who are later to develop these skills do eventually tend to catch up.

Head Tilt

If your baby’s head seems to tilt to one side or has a hard time lifting her head when she’s on her belly, she might have a condition called positional torticollis (which can occur when the muscles in a baby’s neck become stiff or tight). 

As explained by Pathways.org, an American Academy of Pediatrics supported not-for-profit child development organization, and this can develop when babies don’t get enough tummy time because their neck and core muscles don’t have the opportunity to strengthen. Physical therapy can help to remedy this issue, thankfully, mainly when it’s detected early.

Trouble Following Objects With Eyes

That’s right, tummy time (or lack thereof) can even influence your baby’s vision for better or worse. 

Tummy time supports visual development by giving babies the chance to “track movement and focus on objects.

Babies who spend time on their tummies look at the environment around them from a different perspective.

Even before they are crawling, they can explore their world by rotating their head and rotating their bodies in different positions. This may ultimately help with cognitive development.

Digestive Troubles

Because tummy time serves as a sort of infant massage, it can also be beneficial for babies struggling with digestive issues. 

In particular, tummy time can help to relieve painful gas. The gentle pressure on the abdomen moves gas along when the gas has built up.

Importance and Benefits of Tummy Time

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Tummy time comes with a lot of benefits for your loved one, which is as follows.

Allows Development of Various Muscles

Babies with more tummy time develop muscle strength more rapidly than those who always lay on their back. 

Due to the practice of pushups, the baby will develop the muscles in the shoulders, neck, arms, and upper back. It will also help him in lifting his head quickly.

Development of Motor Skills

Tummy time sets an early stage for developing the motor skills like crawling, reaching, sitting up, and rolling over. 

Prevents Flat Head Formation

Tummy time stops any flat spot formation on the back of the head of your baby.

What to Do If the Infant Hates Tummy Time?

In the first go, a lot or most of the newborns hate tummy time. But after some time, they begin to enjoy it as they develop the required muscles for lifting their heads. 

If your infant hates tummy time and starts crying each time you place him/her down, then you can do the following tips to make this process less tortuous for them.

Change the Locations

A scenery change sometimes makes the tummy time tolerable for the baby.

Try for Shorter Sessions.

Try to do tummy time for 1 to 2 minutes for the first time. The baby can do longer belly sessions when they become comfortable with the process.

Massage the Feet 

You can start massaging their feet to make them feel relaxed and enjoy their tummy time.

Invite Any Older Sibling to Join the Tummy Time

If you have an older child, you can, in fact, invite him/her for the tummy time of the younger ones. 

It is easier for the kids to get down on the floor than the adults. But remember to close watch on both of the kids during this time. 

Different Moves During Tummy Time

You can try the below innovative moves during tummy time with your kid. 

Tummy to Chest or Tummy to Tummy

Lie down on a bed or floor, propped up or flat on the pillows. Place your kid on your belly or chest so that the baby is face to face with you. 

Remember to hold the child firmly for safety. We have the best range of baby nursery blankets to keep your baby just right day and night.

Lap Soothe

You can keep the little one across the lapped face down to soothe or burp them. Place your hand on the bottom of your child to keep them calm and steady during the process.

Tummy Minute

Place the baby with the face down on the tummy for two or more minutes after each diaper change time.

Begin for a few minutes and try to increase the time for shorter intervals at the end of three months.

Football Hold or Tummy Down Carrying

In this position, place one hand between the legs and under the tummy for carrying the baby down. 

Use another hand for supporting the neck and head of the child. Keep the kid close to your body so that they can quickly be accustomed to this position.

Eye-Level Smiling

Get on the same level as your child for encouraging eye contact with you. Place a rolled-up blanket under the upper arm and chest of the baby for additional support. 

How Does Tummy Time Help in Baby’s Development?

Tummy time is significant for every child for sensory, visual, and healthy motor development. Some of the most important stories are as follows.

Motor

Strengthen the neck, core muscles, and back of the child Lay motor development milestones foundation like sitting, crawling, rolling and many more

Vision

Assist in the hand to eye coordination. They look down at their hands and observe how they move and what they can do with them.

Sensory

Development of a different sense of touch on the cheeks, arms, and hands of the kids Develops a body awareness sense with their movement and shifting of weights Changing the position of the baby helps in creating a vestibular sense in them.

How Much Tummy Time?

In the beginning, newborn tummy time should consist of two to three 3-minute sessions daily. 

As he gets older and more robust, he gradually increases the length of time, working up to a total of 20 minutes a day.

By about four months, your baby should be able to lift his chest off the floor and lean on his elbows with his head upright. 

He may even be able to lift his arms off the floor, arch his back, and kick his feet. As your baby stretches and pushes on the bed, he may accidentally lean to one side, fall over, and roll from his belly onto his back. 

Don’t worry; that’s normal. At 5 or 6 months, he will begin to pivot on his belly and use his arms to reach in front of him or to the sides.

When your baby learns to make his body do new things, he feels a sense of accomplishment. 

This gives him the confidence to try new skills as he grows and his coordination improves.

What Activities Can I Do With a Baby?

The more fun you make the experience—with plenty of face-to-face eye contact and tummy-time toys—the less your baby will fight being on her belly. 

Try the following:

  • Recline on your back with Baby on your stomach, her head facing yours, then talk to her. She will try to lift up her head to see your face.
  • Lay your little one down on a flat, clean surface, such as a blanket or playmat on the floor. If she squirms or cries, roll up a small receiving blanket and tuck it under her chest for extra padding. 
  • Lie down on the floor with your baby and make funny noises and expressions, or sing songs to her. You might feel silly, but she’ll be distracted from her challenging workout.
  • Place your brightly coloured stuffed animals around your baby on the floor and help her reach for and play with them. Or hold a mirror in front of Baby to capture her attention.

Tummy Time Safety

When playing with your child in this position, make sure he is on a low, solid surface so he doesn’t risk rolling off of a couch or bed. 

Utting Baby on the floor on top of a blanket is the best bet for your child’s safety. Also, if you have other children or pets, make sure your littlest one is safely out of their (and harm’s) way.

Never leave an infant unattended on his belly as he could get into a position that is dangerous and suffocate. 

Suppose your baby gets drowsy or falls asleep while on his tummy. Switch him to his back for a nap. It would help if you never let him sleep on his stomach because this could put him at risk of dying of SIDS.

Final Thoughts

Tummy time prepares the child for the developmental milestones they are going to achieve in the coming time. 

By the age of three months, most babies can lift their heads to 45 degrees angle and up to 90 degrees by the 4th month. 

So always keep an eye on these milestones and keep doing the tummy time now. Check out our article about what bedding to use to give your baby the perfect night’s sleep.

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