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Baby’s Development – The Benefits of Tummy Time

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play

September 2013

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending parents put their babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Since its inception, the Back-to-Sleep Campaign (now called Safe-to-Sleep) is credited with reducing SIDS deaths by 50%.

What Are The 2 Most Important Things To Remember About Safe Sleep Practices?

  1. Healthy babies are safest when sleeping on their backs at nighttime and during naps. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised.*
  2. Tummy time is for babies who are awake and being watched. Your baby needs this to develop strong muscles.*

Tummy Time for Baby’s Development

Tummy time can help your baby develop strong head, neck and shoulder muscles and promotes certain motor skills. It also prepares babies for the time when they will be able to slide on their bellies and crawl.  As babies grow older and stronger they will need more time on their tummies to build their own strength.

A few tips for making the most of tummy time:

  • Start Small – start with just a few minutes 2-3 times each day, increasing the amount of time as baby begins to enjoy the activity. A great time to do this is following a diaper change or when the baby wakes up from a nap.
  • Keep it Comfy – prop baby with a pillow like Boppy® Tummy Time to position baby comfortably.
  • Have Some Fun – Surround baby with toys.  Reaching to different points will allow her to develop the appropriate muscles to roll over, scoot on her belly, and crawl.
  • Make a Face – get down on the floor with baby and make funny faces.  Baby will lift her head and use her arms to try to see your face.

Remember, safety should never be secondary. Tummy time is ultimately intended to benefit babies by helping them develop strength and motor skills. But don’t compromise on safety. If you see your baby is tiring or if she is unable to shift her head to the side from a facedown position, pick her up immediately and try again later when she’s well-rested. Never leave a baby alone on the floor or any other surface; adult supervision is a must for safety.

*Source: Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics, Revised 10/2011)

**The information contained on this website should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


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