Lying your child on his stomach instead of his back for play time is known as ‘tummy time’. This time is crucial for children, from birth, as it helps strengthen certain muscles (including neck and shoulders) and practice movements that are important for proper development.
Back to sleep, tummy to play!
You should always put your child to sleep on his back, as recommended by professional healthcare organisations. Because of these sleep recommendations, it is important for children to have time on their tummies when they are awake. Tummy time must always be supervised.
When your child first comes home from hospital, tummy time can be just for a few seconds at a time, repeated a few times throughout the day.
Spending time on his tummy also has a positive effect on the way your child’s head shape develops. If your baby spends too much time on his back, the back of his head can flatten. Longer amounts of time on his tummy will help lessen the pressure on the back of his soft skull.
Include tummy time in your routine as a way to help your child’s development as well as introduce the idea of play. Make it fun!
American Academy of Pediatrics. Back to sleep, tummy to play. 2011
https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Back-to-Sleep-Tummy-to-Play.aspx (Accessed December 29 2016)
Last revised: November, 2016
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