I was just reading an article on how babies are no longer being put on their tummy to play. Because they are not sleeping on their tummy to prevent SIDS, and there are so many carriers available, mothers are not putting them on their tummy to play. The results are alarming with respect to infant development. Babies who do not get tummy time every day are likely to develop weakness with head, trunk, and upper extremity control. And being weak in these muscles increases the likelihood that they spend even less time in prone. There is also an increase in the number of babies with flat heads out of this.

There are many reasons to put babies on their tummies to play for good development. It develops the shoulder muscles and coordination, balance, strength and inclination to crawl, which is good for learning, developing the connections between the side of the brain that are needed. Every baby should be placed on his tummy every day for play, even if its only a few minutes or even seconds and then increasing the time.

So take your babies out of their carriers and place them on their tummies. You can do this in the first week of life to help them develop. And make it at specific times during the day, like after diaper changes, naps or bath time, but not immediately after eating. It is beneficial even for a few minutes at a time. To make the baby more comfortable, you can place them on their tummies on your reclined chest, over your leg, or even over a rolled up towel. Put toys in front of them while they are on tummies. Sing or talk with them there to encourage them to like it. They will develop faster and be stronger for it.

Author: Sally Stepath, OTR/L