Why Motor Skills Matter

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Newborn Tummy Time

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By Tara Liddle

TUMMY TIME

Is important for both gross and fine motor development.


Helps to stretch the front muscles and strengthen the head/neck, shoulder, back, abdominal, and hip muscles. All of which are needed to maintain good alignment, movement and balance.

Prepares and strengthens the hands for manipulation skills later on.

Helps to prevent plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) and Torticollis (tightness and/or weakness of the neck).

Can begin as soon as you bring your newborn baby home. There is no need to wait for the umbilical cord to fall off.

Essential Points of Tummy Time:

Never leave your newborn infant unattended on their belly. Your baby may not be strong enough to lift their head up enough to clear the surface to breathe.

“Back to Sleep”-Do not put your baby to sleep on their stomach.

Your newborn will not tolerate belly time for long periods of time.  Some babies may only tolerate belly time for 10 seconds to 1 minute.

Read your baby’s signals. They will let you know when they are tired of playing on their tummy.

Helpful Hints:

Begin to incorporate belly time into your general routines: diaper changes, massaging, burping on your lap. Short sessions throughout the day work well based on tolerance and temperament.

Many newborns prefer belly time on their parents’ stomachs or chest rather than the floor.  Try lying down on your back and place your baby on your chest or stomach. Sing, talk, and encourage your baby to look at you.

Place a rolled towel under the arms. This can help to shift the weight back to assist with head righting.  Make sure your baby’s weight is distributed evenly over the roll.

A baby proof mirror may also help encourage your baby to look up at themselves.

Placing your baby on blankets with different textures will enhance their sensory experience while they play on their tummy.

 

Connor McCarthy