Tummy Time – Times Ahead for Infants

Infants: Importance of Tummy Time

Tummy Time Conundrum 

Over the years, baby-rearing has changed in many ways. Sleeping styles for babies always seem to be a hot-button topic. Formula or breastmilk is another conversation many parents have before and after welcoming their new bundle of joy. However, one thing seems to stay the same. Tummy time. Most infants fuss about it, and parents feel guilty because their babies dislike it, but doctors are always recommending it. Most pediatricians will also ask a parent during their infant’s checkups how often they spend on their tummies.  Why is tummy time important? Where can a parent see the benefits of the proper amount of tummy time? Is tummy time really worth it? 

Tummy time is important for many reasons and during different stages of development. For those new, fresh-out-of-the-oven babies, tummy time helps develop their neck muscles so they can hold up their own heads as well as prevent a flat spot on the back of the infant’s head. They’ll need these muscles to eventually be able to crawl, roll, and even sit up. Babies a little older, around 4-7 months, need tummy time too. Even if they can roll over or sit up, they still need supervised time on their squishy little tummies too. The time spent on their tummies will help them get stronger arms and chest muscles for crawling and just overall healthy development. 

Tummy Here? Tummy There?

The next question might be, how do I create a successful environment for tummy time? New babies are pretty simple and it can also be used as bonding time. A parent may lay the baby on their lap or even chest to chest. A new parent may even be able to use this time as skin-to-skin contact as well. The skin-to-skin time can help in developing the positive attachment babies need to their person. However, in an early childhood education center, the teacher would be able to also use chest-to-chest in a rocking chair or laying the baby in their lap to develop a positive attached bond too. The best results for a happy baby during tummy time mean the baby is fed, diapered, and decently happy before starting the “workout”.

Tummy Time is Learning Time

Older babies may need a little more stimulation. Using high-contrast cards in front of the baby could extend their interest time. Finding a blanket or sheet to lay them on with different shapes, colors, and textures can also keep the baby more entertained and extend tummy time. Early educators and parents alike, can try new and different things with each child to see what keeps the baby happy and engaged. A happy baby is an active baby. An active baby is a learning baby! 

In conclusion, there are many reasons why tummy time is important and why it has always been important. Every child will react differently to tummy time, but the adults must stay true to the goal of aiding in the child’s development and growth. Sometimes the steps may seem difficult, but they do pay off in the end. Once the child is crawling and exploring, the parent and the educator both may see the benefits of difficult and stressful tummy times! 

This Blog was created by Ashlie Turner. Ashlie is a current Child Development Associate Certificate student with www.CDAclass.org. Ashlie holds an A.A. in General Studies from American Public University and currently works as a lead teacher in an infant room in an early education learning facility. She has three children of her own and has been a military spouse for 16 years.