Not Enough Tummy Time Could Hinder Your Child's Physical Development
The overuse of baby containers could be affecting your baby's physical development
Not enough tummy time could be impeding your child’s spinal development.
According to a post by Kids Unlimited, as the baby in the photo is 11 months old, and should already have developed “S” curves in his spine, as well as flexible legs. But because of the overuse of baby containers or toys that have limited his movement and taken away the need for his body to support itself, the baby has:
- positional plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome—this usually happens because of a baby’s sleep position, but prolonged use of car seats, carriers, and bouncy seats also cause this problem. According to KidsHealth, this does not affect brain development or damage, and can be fixed by:
- changing your baby’s sleep position
- holding your baby
- providing tummy time
- lessening the use of baby containers
- C curved spine—babies are born with C-shaped spines. This alignment is called the “primary curve,” and is normal for infants who do not have sufficiently developed muscles to hold up their head and straighten their back, reports Intellidance. Because the baby in the photo is already 11 months old, he should already have developed S curves.
With its post, Kids Unlimited stressed the importance of tummy time and the pitfalls of using baby containers.
On the next page: more on the importance of tummy time and some tips.
Your baby might not take to tummy time immediately because they probably aren't used to being placed on their tummy, but the benefits of tummy time are well-documented. “Tummy time helps your infant build strength in his back, legs, arms, and neck,” Dr. Joanne Cox tells Fit Pregnancy. "This helps with further development, such as rolling over and sitting.”
Eventually, with enough time, your baby will grow comfortable with the position and build their strength.
Here are some tips on doing tummy time
- Do tummy time an hour after feeding so your baby isn’t hungry or tired so he’s in a good mood, advises BabyCenter. Placing him on his tummy on a full belly isn’t a good idea, for obvious reasons.
- Fit Pregnancy recommends starting tummy time at 2 weeks old with short sessions, ranging from 30 seconds to one minute long. If your baby cries and won’t calm down, you could pick him up and try again later. Work your way up to three 5-minute sessions every day when he’s 2 months old, with the aim of at least 15 minutes of tummy time per day.
- Get down on his level on the floor and entertain him to help him get used to being on his belly. BabyCenter recommends talking to him, entertaining him with a toy, pulling a funny face, etc.
- If your baby doesn’t have enough strength to get up on his forearms but can already hold his head up (this usually happens around 3 or 4 months), BabyCenter advises placing a towel or pillow under his chest and armpits for support. Once he can get up on his arms by himself, you can remove the support.
- According to Fit Pregnancy, once your child starts rolling over (this happens typically around 6 months old), “you can stop dedicated tummy time.”