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Why is ‘Tummy Time’ so Important for Babies?

baby hot sleeping t

After extensive research being done into SIDS and cot death, we are now advised to put our babies to sleep on their backs, with their feet to the end of the cot to promote their safety and minimise the risk.

As a result, some babies have some flattening to the back or sides of their heads. This is very normal, as they spend a lot of time in the first few months asleep or laying down.

Tummy time helps to build the muscles your baby needs for sitting and crawling.

It is very important to allow your baby some ‘Tummy Time’ throughout the day, so that their head can benefit from having less pressure on it.

All babies have a favoured position while they are sleeping, some lay completely flat, whereas others lean slightly on one side of their head than the other.

Lots of babies do not like the ‘classic’ Tummy Time, this is where you lay a baby on their tummy and leave them, supported. As you can appreciate, for some babies, this feels a bit like they are ‘free falling’ and, because they have limited strength in their head they tend to just ‘face plant’ the carpet! Bless them, so there are many other, kinder ways to do this, which they will tolerate better.

  1. From birth, you can use ’Skin to Skin time’ as Tummy Time. Lay your baby on your chest and cover them over with a blanket, so they feel secure. They will be very happy in this position, especially if they are suffering from reflux or wind problems. Dads tend the be the best ones to do this, as the baby can lay totally flat and stretch out.
  2. Another position you can use is sitting with your legs in a V shape and then putting your baby in-between your legs and supporting them to sit up. It will give your baby a great new view of the world, while helping them to develop upper body and core strength. This is best at around 6 months, or when your baby has more head control.
  3. You can lay your child on the floor and put a rolled-up towel under their armpits to allow them to have some distance between the floor and their face, they will be more inclined to stay there in this, slightly elevated position. A great thing to do is to give them lots of exciting things to look at, such as bright toys, musical toys and mirrors to encourage them to stay there for longer each time.

Even if your baby only manages 5-10 minutes of tummy time every day, that is a brilliant, and the older, and stronger they get, the more they will enjoy it!!