Peter Walker on Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play Peter Walker 18 January, 2013 Expert, Health & Fitness, Living Research from America which followed 350 babies from birth to walking shows that babies who spend time on their tummies are able to roll over, sit up, creep crawl and pull themselves up to standing significantly earlier than babies who remain on their backs. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) now recommends that babies sleep on their backs but spend wakeful time on their tummies. “Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play.” They five reasons given for encouraging babies to spend waking time on their tummies are 1. It helps strengthen the baby’s neck, back and trunk muscles. Babies need strong muscle groups in order to sit, crawl and walk. 2. Tummy time will help avoid flathead syndrome known as positional plagiocephaly 3. Babies who spend time on their tummies explore their world by rotating their head and rotating their bodies in different positions. This may ultimately help with cognitive development. 4. Tummy time assists visual development as the baby learns to track movement and focus on objects. 5. Babies who spend time on their tummies are less likely to develop torticollis whereby the neck muscles tighten and pull the head in a specific direction. Here are some other good reasons why babies should spend time on their tummies: 1. Lifting up from the floor in this way stretches open the baby’s chest allowing the baby to breathe deeper and take more oxygen for less effort. Improved functioning for both the baby’s lungs and heart. 2. Simultaneously while lifting up from the floor this allows the baby to stretch and relax their tummy and this will improve the baby’s digestive rhythm as well as their general disposition. 3. Making ‘friends with gravity’ in early infancy plants the seeds of good posture for later adult life. It gives strength to the muscles that lift and support the spine that the baby cannot obtain in any other natural phase of their development. ADD TO YOUR SKILLS TEACH ‘DEVELOPMENTAL BABY MASSAGE’ – TECHNIQUES FOR ALL BABIES Two day certificated teacher Training course for health professionals and children’s centre staff Website www.babymassageteachertraining.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.