Tummy Time Mats: Advice and Tips
Ask your mom or dad, do they remember tummy time? Bet the answer will be “Huh? What’s that?” Yep, tummy time is a relatively new concept in the world of parenting.
In 1994, the American Academy of Pediatrics and various child health advocates joined together on a campaign to combat Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The campaign, called the Back to Sleep Campaign, centered around placing all infants to sleep on their backs as well as several other recommendations
The good news: the campaign has been so successful, it has cut SIDS deaths in half (SIDS research continues to look at other factors and one day hopes to cut it down to no deaths). The less good news: sleeping exclusively on the back can lead some babies to suffer “positional plagiocephaly” or, as it is more commonly known, flat head syndrome. Babies with severe positional plagiocephaly need expensive treatment including helmets to correct head shape.
There are some things you can do to avoid or lessen prevent this, among them practicing “tummy time” with your baby. Tummy time is just a cute moniker for the practice of encouraging your baby to spend time on her tummy playing, stretching and strengthening back and neck muscles.
Here are our tips for successful tummy time:
• Start with a few minutes at a time during waking hours every time you do a diaper change.
• For babies under two months of age, aim for one to two minutes of tummy time about eight times a day.
• For older babies (older than two months), gradually increase tummy time . . . you can stop when your baby tells you that’s enough.
What if your baby hates tummy time? Well, exercise is hard work (don’t we adults know that!) and it’s the same for babies. You can get down there on the floor with baby, so it isn’t so lonely. And, of course, there are products that can help make tummy time more fun—which is why we wrote this article!