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5 Benefits of Tummy Time for Babies

19 March 2023

You may have heard that tummy time is important to prevent babies developing flat spots on their head, known as brachycephaly. However, you may not know about the additional benefits of your little one spending time on their front. It helps them develop strong muscles, including the ones in their neck and shoulders. Being in this position can also help babies learn to roll over and crawl sooner. Here are five reasons you should make sure your baby gets plenty of tummy time every day:

Strengthens their muscles

Babies need to spend time in different positions to help strengthen their muscles, which will help them reach developmental milestones like holding up their head and rolling over more quickly. When your baby is lying on their stomach, they have to use their neck and back muscles to lift their head and chest off the ground. Raising their head helps build strength in these areas and can also help develop their arm and leg muscles.

Aids in digestion

Tummy time can help your baby’s digestion. When they are positioned on their tummy, gravity helps move the stomach contents through the intestines, aiding in digestion. In addition, tummy time helps to stimulate the digestive system, promoting regular bowel movements. This means you will have a happier, healthier baby, with less indigestion.

Helps babies hit movement milestones

One of the benefits of tummy time for babies is that it helps them learn to roll over and crawl. When babies are placed on their tummies, they have to use their muscles to lift their heads and move around, building strength and improving their coordination. Being positioned on their front allows babies to practise new movements, such as rolling over and, in time, crawling. By giving them a chance to try out these new skills, tummy time helps babies on their way towards these important milestones. 

Provides mental stimulation

Babies enjoy looking at their surroundings, and seeing the world from a different angle, on their stomachs, can be stimulating for their brains. Since babies need to be closely supervised during tummy time, this is a good time for you to play with them. You could also try putting on some music to encourage your little one to move their body. This time together is a valuable way to strengthen the bond between you and your child. 

Develops gross motor skills

When babies are born, they spend most of their time lying on their backs. This position is important for allowing them to rest and heal after birth, but it doesn't provide much opportunity for movement. As they move around on their tummies, they learn how to control their bodies and develop gross motor skills. These are the large-scale movements that use the body's arms, legs, and trunk. While they are on their fronts, they can practise moving their bodies in new ways to improve these skills.

Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of the reasons tummy time is such an important part of a baby's development. It strengthens their muscles, including the ones in their neck, shoulders, arms and legs, which helps them reach movement milestones. Being positioned on their front helps with digestion and gives them opportunities for mental stimulation and bonding with their caregivers. If you have any further questions, speak to your health visitor, GP or paediatrician. 

Photo by Anastasia Nelen on Unsplash

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