During their first few months of life, one of the most crucial things for your baby is tummy time and floor play. This is their first opportunity to learn how to move their bodies against gravity being outside of the womb. Not only is tummy time beneficial for gross motor development, it is also beneficial to many other systems in your baby’s body. During tummy time and floor play your baby learns to explore, figures out independent movement while gaining strength, and gains motivation.
Need some tummy time tips? Try these out! ● When burping, slightly recline yourself back. These slight instances of muscle activation are helping introduce strengthening to the extensor muscles. ● Have your baby on your chest while you are reclining back in a chair/on the couch. This also promotes activation to those extensor muscles. You can increase this time slightly each day, helping increase their tolerance to tummy time. ● As your baby grows (6 weeks or so), try tummy time over a cushion or a boppy. Then, lower the amount of support - from cushion/boppy to a rolled towel, then to flat on the floor. Assist in their success by remaining engaged with them throughout their time on the floor! ● Try to aim for 3-5 minutes at least 3-5x during the day. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t achieve this every time! It is normal to build up tolerance and continue to increase tummy time. Do not let tummy time stress you out! Use this as a time to engage with your baby and document their growth along the way. You’re doing a great job!
By: Lauren Segrest, LPTA
Throughout your pregnancy, you may hear many people stress the importance of tummy time once your little one comes into the world. But why is this position so important? Why do we stress aiming to get ‘x’ amount of tummy time per day?
When a baby is in the womb, they are curled in the fetal position (a flexed position of the body). With their body being flexed for months during development this puts their posterior muscles in a lengthened position. During tummy time, this position allows the anterior muscles to be lengthened rather than the posterior. They are contracting those posterior muscles to gain strength for further developmental milestones.
As a baby develops the proper balance between the anterior and posterior musculature, they end up working together to progress them to age-appropriate milestones. These muscles are crucial to strengthen and maintain in order to achieve positions that require proper core stability and coordination. Without proper trunk strengthening, it will be difficult to achieve further positions, transitions, and activities.