by Lauren Gibson PT, DPT
As a new parent, you may have heard tummy time is important, but you may have no idea why. Maybe you have even attempted it with your baby, but they were fussy and you decided it was easier to skip the tears and reposition your baby on their back where they seem so much more content.
However, by skipping tummy time, your baby is missing out on core strengthening that is essential to their development of other milestones down the road such as sitting, crawling, and pulling to stand.
Being on their tummy, allows babies to develop neck strength by lifting their head, which improves head control. As they get stronger, they will push up on their forearms and eventually their hands, which promotes strengthening of their arms and strengthening of their back and belly to improve posture for sitting upright!
Tummy time also decreases your baby’s chance of developing a flat spot on the back of their head by taking pressure off their skull.
Tummy time does not have to be a dreaded experience for a baby or parents. By incorporating the tips below, you can improve your baby’s tolerance to tummy time and set them up for developmental success!
- Start with 1 or 2 minutes and work towards longer bouts of tummy time. If your child only tolerates brief periods of tummy time, increase the frequency of times you attempt it each day.
- Establish it as part of a normal routine. For example, allow your child to spend some time on their tummy after every diaper change.
- Engage your child visually by getting down on their level or place colorful toys or a mirror in front of them to encourage them to lift their head up.
- If your child does not tolerate being placed on the floor or a flat surface, attempt tummy time over your lap. You can also try it in a reclined position with the child on your chest while you are leaned back in a chair. Work towards increasing your child’s tolerance to being completely flat on their tummy by increasing how much you are reclined back.
- If your child has difficulty pushing up on their arms, place a small towel roll under their upper chest with their arms positioned over the towel.
- Always complete tummy time while the child is awake provide direct supervision
- Aim for a total of at least 30 to 60 minutes of tummy time each day.
- Contact a Physical Therapist if your child continues to resist tummy time!
Lauren Gibson works at Optimal Therapy an Affiliated Company (previously Affiliated Therapy) located in northwest Las Vegas.
The address is 9050 W Cheyenne Ave. Ste 210, Las Vegas, NV 89129.
To schedule an appointment call 702-564-6712 or click here to see a list of our locations.
Lauren was born and raised in Huntington, WV. She received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Marshall University in 2012. She then moved to Nashville, Tennessee and completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Belmont University in 2016.
Following Physical Therapy school, Lauren remained in Nashville until 2019 where she worked in the pediatric setting. While there, she gained experience working with a wide variety of diagnosis as well as providing aquatic therapy. She also received advanced training in treating torticollis through the Total Motion Release method.
Lauren moved to Las Vegas in the fall of 2019 where she continues to enjoy working with the pediatric population. While not working, Lauren enjoys climbing, playing volleyball, hiking, snowboarding, and eating ice cream.