Ann Blackford

By

College: Health Sciences

Make Tummy Time Fun for Infants

Published: Jul 9, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) -- Many parents and parents-to-be are aware of the “back to sleep” recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises that infants sleep on their backs. Making sure your baby sleeps on his or her back significantly reduces the chance of sudden infant death (SIDS). However, when infants are awake and being watched, they should spend time on their bellies, starting from the first few days of life.

 

Many infants today spend far too many of their waking hours on their backs or in sitting devices such as car seats, swings, and carriers. Too much time spent on their backs and in devices has led to increases in head and neck deformities in infants and delayed motor development. Infants need to be on the floor on their bellies learning to move and explore their environment.

 

Infants should be encouraged to lift up their heads and look around while on their bellies. As their motor skills develop, teach infants to reach for objects and prop up on their elbows or hands during "tummy time," which helps to build strong back and neck muscles important for later activities such as sitting, crawling, walking, and talking. 

 

If infants don’t have tummy time during their first few weeks of life, they might dislike being on their tummies. Parents can get on the floor lying on their backs and place the infant on their bellies, so they are tummy-to-tummy and face-to-face. Infants love that time looking at the parent’s face and don’t seem to mind being on the tummy as much.

 

Parents can try that several times a day for a few minutes and then progress to both parent and infant on their tummies face-to-face on the floor. That gets the infant accustomed to a firm surface, while still looking at the loving parent who (if not accustomed to being on the floor) is probably making some interesting faces! Eventually the infant will not mind being on his or her tummy if there are fun, appropriate objects placed at eye-level. Of course, the floor must be baby-safe: all small objects, which they might get in their mouths, must be removed.

 

Ultimately, infants will learn to roll from their tummies and soon crawl and creep around the house, exercising their independence and learning about their environment. Crawling and creeping are important motor skills that should be encouraged long before walking.  Remember: for infants, it's back to sleep and tummy time to play.

 

 

Susan Effgen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, Division of Physical Therapy.

 

This column appeared in the July 5, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

 

effgan_susan.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 01
Labor Day - Academic Holiday 09/01/2014
Reset Page