Giving babies sufficient tummy time and exploring chiropractic for newborns
Working as chiropractor I see a lot of babies with a deformation in the shape of their head. This has been increasing over the years and has been more noticeable since the introduction of the back to sleep campaign, the recent addition of tummy time advice appears to be the solution for this problem.
The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in England and Wales fell by two thirds following the introduction of the “back to sleep” health education campaign started in 1991, advising parents to place babies on their back or side to sleep, to avoid overheating and smoky environments, and to contact a doctor if their baby was unwell.
Since this introduction, the cases of sudden infant death syndrome has reduced dramatically although the incidence of positional plagiocephaly (flattening of a baby’s cranium) has increased from 1 in 300 to 1 in 60 infants. The main cause of plagiocephaly in infants is lying in the same position regularly and for long periods of time. Young babies’ skulls are soft and malleable, they can adjust over time to adapt to the shape of the surface that they are lying on, creating a flat area.
Tummy time helps to develop the neck, back, and shoulder muscles of your baby. This will help them meet their needed milestones (ability to roll, crawl and sit) and progress through childhood. It may also aid in the prevention of early motor delays. In this position a baby learns to take weight through their arms, push up and move weight from side to side which helps the baby to reach and crawl. As a baby gets stronger it provides a good position to learn to move and explore their surroundings.
Tummy time should always be done supervised and is best done when your baby is alert and awake. See how long your baby can happily stay on their tummy and try to increase this time by a minute every 3-4 days.
Tummy time tips:
- Tummy to Tummy or Tummy to Chest
Mum or dad lie down on the floor or a bed. Place your baby on your chest or tummy, so that you’re face-to-face. Always hold firmly for safety.
- Lap Soothe
Place baby face down across your lap to burp or soothe them. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
- Eye Level Smile
Offer additional support to your baby by rolling up a blanket under baby’s chest and shoulders.
- Tummy Minute
Place baby on their tummy after routine activities such as bathing or changing their nappy. This will help to get your baby used to tummy time as part of their daily routine.
How does tummy time help?
It helps the:
- Neck – Strengthens the muscles of the neck and improves head control.
- Brain – Sensory integration, cognitive development, environmental awareness.
- Head – Prevents a flat head or plagiocephaly.
- Eyes – Visual motor development and depth perception.
- Arms – Strengthens arms for reaching and crawling.
- Hands – Formation of hand arches for fine motor skills.
- Tummy – helps with tummy issues such as constipation or gas.
- Hips – stretches and develops hip muscles.
- Legs – helps develop muscles for crawling.
- Back – Improves postural strength and skeletal alignment.
Thank you for reading my blog post. You can read other information here in my other blogs.
Want to find out more about paediatrics?
We have a huge variety of blogs and advice for babies. If you’ve found this blog helpful and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs below.
|Why Doesn’t My Baby Sleep At Night?|
|Eastbourne Chiropractor for Babies|
|Back pain in young children|
|The importance of Tummy Time|
By Caroline Mulliner
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