T is for tummy time and T is for together time which a new mother spends with her child. Nearly five years into motherhood, I can clearly vouch for what I just said. Newborn tummy time is one of the best ways to bond with your little bundle of joy. Apart from this, it also offers growth which is crucial in a child’s developmental milestone.
Most doctors suggest that you can start it as soon as you bring your newborn from the hospital. However, some parents wait for at least two weeks before they can actually begin this routine with the newest family member! In layman terms, tummy time is the time spent by your baby when he is relaxing in a belly-down position.
For starters, it can be the most joyous cum playful time with your little one. But lo behold, it could also turn out to be the most trying time for both mother and child. There are many cases where a child has not taken to tummy time well. Parents shuddered at the thought of newborn tummy time that they altogether decided to do away with it.
Pediatricians and major physiotherapists suggest initially your newborn may fuss or show zero interest in tummy time. This is perfectly normal since babies spend a bare minimum of 15 hours per day on their back facing the ceiling. With the advent of strollers, rocking chairs, this time has only increased. As a mom, I cannot stress enough the importance of this daily routine during the first 8 months of a baby’s physical growth. These are some of them, which I experienced firsthand as a first-time mom.
Why tummy time is important for your newborn:
1. Flex those muscles
One of the most significant benefits of tummy time is the development of core muscles of the neck and back. In addition to this, it gives ample opportunity to flex and relax those muscles which help in building a steady back. It also ensures your baby learns to hold up his head in a sturdy position. This otherwise wouldn’t have been possible on the back-down position facing the ceiling.
2. Work on motor skills
Very popular research from the American Occupational Therapy Association says that the lack of tummy time can lead to motor delays in children. When they reach out for toys kept around them, it helps in the development of hand-eye coordination.
Tummy time video
3. Develop that bond
If you thought that only breastfeeding helped in cementing that special bond with your newborn, you’d be in a for a quick surprise if I’d tell you that tummy time also does the same thing! Yes, you heard that right. In fact, doctors suggest it to be as best as skin to skin technique with your newborn. Even daddies can sit with their little ones!
4. Stimulate the senses
Reflexes are something all newborns are born with. The responses are the reactions that vary from child to child. Tummy time is one of the best activities which help in invigorating stimuli of the newborn. When they are on their tummy, they will reach out for toys kept all around, leading to a better vision and focus. Being on different kinds of mats exposes them to varied textures as well. Make different kinds of sounds and they are sure to follow that as well!
5. Prevents flathead
A newborn can have a flat head due to many reasons. But one of the ways in which it can be lessened is by providing ample tummy time. When a baby is lying on his tummy, it ensures that there is an even amount of flat on all sides of the head and thus prevents plagiocephaly – which is an asymmetrical distortion to the baby’s soft skull.
Providing tummy time is one of the most understated advice. But pediatricians these days are suggesting mothers provide tummy time to their newborns so that they develop skills such as rolling over, crawling and pushing up.