Why Is Tummy Time Important?

Parents :breast_feeding: often have the question “Is tummy time actually important for my baby’s development :baby:?” And if so, how much time :alarm_clock: does he/she :baby: need to be in this position each day?

The relatively new phrase, “Tummy Time” sprung up soon after the “Back to Sleep” Campaign was initiated in 1994 . It was around this time that back sleeping was identified as a way to lower a baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the launch of that campaign, Pediatricians have been urging parents to put babies on their backs to sleep and their tummies to play. This public health initiative is a good thing, right?

Yes! Except that many babies HATE tummy time because it’s difficult! Ideally, tummy time should begin at the moment of birth, skin-to-skin with mom or dad and continue throughout infancy. When a baby is placed on his tummy, he has to work very hard to lift his head against gravity. As he spends more of his waking hours in this position, he is developing strong neck and back muscles. With continued practice and time, he will begin to prop himself on his elbows, strengthening his arm and shoulder muscles, which are required for rolling, crawling, walking, and even handwriting! Yep, it begins that early!

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