By Dr. Annika Rogers
Many parents are told by health care practitioners that they need to do tummy time with their new baby. But what is tummy time and why is it important, is a commonly asked question here at The Chiropractic Works.
Why is tummy time important and what does it do?
A lot of parents have heard that tummy time helps to develop strength in the neck and create the curves of the spine, which is true, but there is other aspects of tummy time that are important. When a baby lies on their tummy the action of lifting their head stimulates nerve receptors, this stimulation to the nerves then fires impulses into the brainstem (the base of the brain). Our brainstem and cerebellum is responsible for growth, development and learning.
Spending time on the tummy also activates what we call ‘extensor muscles’ which are the muscles along the side of spine, hips and shoulders (which hold us upright) these muscles provide feedback to the brain. This feedback provides strength to these muscles and is required for the progression of important milestones such as rolling, sitting, crawling and of course walking.
My baby doesn’t like tummy time?
It is not uncommon for parents to report that their child doesn’t like tummy time, this can obviously mean it’s a bit of a challenge, however it is still vitally important. If this sounds familiar, start but trying to do 1 minute of tummy time at each nappy change and gradually increase the time.
Top tips to improve and help with tummy time
Here are some tips to help make tummy time easier for you and your little one.
- Interaction- get down on the floor with your baby and do tummy time with them, they want to interact with you- not a screen.
- Frequency- 1 minute at each nappy change is a good starting point, then gradually increase the time. Plus try and aim for a couple of longer sessions each day too.
- Ball rocking- using a fit ball, place your baby on their tummy and gently rock them back and forward.
If you would like to talk to our team about tummy time or book your baby for an appointment, you can click here to book online or call our team at your preferred location.
Henley Beach: 08 8235 1922
Norwood: 08 8363 5773
Normanville: 08 8558 3834