Are you afraid to put your little one on his tummy? I was! Once my mom told me to put my son on his belly I was afraid that he would suffocate. I knew babies needed to spend some time on their tummies but I was afraid and I didn’t know how and where to start.
There are many reasons why tummy time is very important for babies. First of all, it is important to achieve, complete and advance his movement skills set. There is a sequence in a baby’s development where he has to achieve pushing on his elbows before crawling, or standing before walking. In order to advance to the next skills set, he has to achieve the previous one. For example, in order for the baby to crawl has to be able to push to move his arms support his weight, master how to wight shift from one arm/leg to the other arm/leg in order to move. Unless he spend adequate time on his belly, he’s not gonna be able to master those skills. after spending some belly time, my son started gaining more head control; he was able to lift his head up, prop himself on his elbows and also turn his head to find a more comfortable sleeping position.
Another importance of tummy time is developmental. Babies are born without any spinal curvature. You can appreciate that adults have curvatures. Our neck and lower back are lordotic while our mid back is kyphotic. In order for the babies to develop proper spinal alignment and posture, they need to move against gravity. Since the gravity is always pulling down towards the floor, against gravity would be moving one’s body towards the ceiling. Tummy time allows for the baby to lift his head, push into his hands/elbows to lift his chest that will develop that neck and low back curvature.
Once my son was three weeks old, he started getting a lot of gas. Not are if it was a growth spurt or my food choices. Gripe water and Windy helped but it was becoming a routine that he almost appeared to be colicy. Moms know it all right?! So when I talked to my mom, she suggested supervised tummy time. First time I put him on his stomach, I checked on him periodically. I was nervous. After an hour, I realize that he started passing gas like there’s no tomorrow. I let him sleep on his stomach during daytime and he became less and less fussy. In about two weeks he was able to lift and turn his head, and I started getting more confident and less worried about letting him sleep on his stomach. Tummy time assisted with passing gas as well.
My pediatrician encouraged tummy time then to put him on his back to sleep because the medical world is afraid of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you do a little research about SIDS, they don’t know what really causes it. Was I worried about it? Absolutely yes! So what did I do? I made sure I eliminated all the factors that may have led to SIDS. I laid him only on a firm surface (his mattress is firm). I made sure to take off his hat and bib to eliminate the possibility of airway blockage. Also I removed all the toys/stuffed animals so he wouldn’t be able to get to them. I also periodically checked on him.
Let me know what you think! As mothers we know our children the best because we have this gut feel/ instinct that tells right apart from wrong. I chose to put him on his stomach to sleep because of previously stated reasons. My purpose in sharing my experience is not to convince any one to put their infants on their stomachs. Just like my other blog posts, I would like to share my experience and hear about yours.
Please comment below and let me know what you think!
Until my next blog. Stay awesome mama!