Tummy Time

You ever get the feeling that young moms are relying more on the internet for advice than that of their pediatrician?

I was amazed when my younger sister (and new mom) showed me this article that an “expert” mom posted in one of her online mom groups about why tummy time is bad for your baby. I certainly got a little fired up about it, but I also gained a better understanding of information that is being presented to young parents today, now that my children are older and I am out of that “circle”.  http://www.deliberateparenting.net/2012/02/01/three-good-reasons-to-not-do-tummy-time/. 

As you know we have our rebuttal of the many reasons why tummy time is important: strength of the hands for fine motor control, sensory integration, bilateral coordination, vision, strength, and so on…

A study published by Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology in 2009 investigated if children with torticollis (tight neck muscles) where more likely to have delays in their motor skills.  They found that “the CMT (children with Cervical Musculature Torticollis – tight neck muscles) group achieved early motor milestones significantly later than the control group until the age of 10 months, but the risk of delay seems to be more strongly associated with little or no time prone when awake than with CMT”.  They also found that “only about one-fifth of the infants spent at least three times a day in the prone position when awake at this age [2 months]” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03195.x/full

Let’s face it, in our busy world, babies are given less opportunity for playing on their belly than they used to.

Are there kids who never had tummy time who develop perfectly fine.  Of course!   The challenge is we can’t see into the future lives of our children and we can’t go back and do it over again.  I was treating an infant for torticollis and plagiocephaly (flat shaped head)and the mom told me, “My pediatrician told me I should put her on her tummy to play, but I didn’t know what could happen if I didn’t”.

I want to hear less parents say, “I wish I had known”.

There is no doubt that it can be a struggle for new moms who are trying to do all the right things for their new baby while getting conflicting advice.  If tummy time is easier, the conflict would not exist and we would have happy babies playing and developing on their tummies!   

written by Sarah King, PT, MPT

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