Is tummy time really needed?
This question plagues modern day parents as the unsolicited advice rolls in hot and heavy about whether tummy time is needed or not. Many 2am google rabbit holes lead parents to feel even more confused. For every article they read saying tummy time is needed, they find another saying it isn’t needed. This leads to confusion and then dismissal of the concept. If it were really important I would be able to find solid information saying it was needed right?
The world has changed a lot in the last 30 years, there has been a rise in baby’s spending excessive time in baby containers (jolly jumpers, baby swings, walkers etc), babies across the board are spending less time any positions other than on their back and this has resulted in an overall generational shift in how we are handling, holding, interacting and playing with our babies.
With this generational handling shift we have seen a rise in delayed early development as well as an increase in structural distortions such as plagiocephaly (an uneven headshape).
Free play, free movement, time spent in as many different positions as possible, interaction and connection are the foundations for what a baby needs for movement development and development as a whole, but why aren’t we seeing that? Where have these age old customs of baby handling disappeared to?
There has been a massive misinterpretation, including in the professional world, about what tummy time actually is. Tummy time is simply a term coined for facilitating and optimising “interactive head control”. Stay with me here. Interactive head control is about facilitating a baby to build head control, neck strength and build pathways in the brain that set the foundations for a lifetime of development.
Tummy time is not just about dumping your baby on the floor on their stomach. Tummy time is how we hold, handle, interact and play with our babies. There are many different ways we can facilitate and optimise interactive head control and a lot of them are NOT putting a baby on their stomach on the floor.
Not only has there been a massive misinterpretation of what tummy time actually is, but there is a HUGE educational gap for how to do tummy time. Parents are plagued by thoughts like:
- What age should I start?
- How long is each session?
- How many times a day is it needed?
Tummy time should be about supported, respectful interactive head control done in a way that is effortless to fit into your day and isn’t yet “another thing to do”.
If you would like to find out more about tummy time or “interactive head control”, then The Tummy Time Project is an online self paced course where you will find everything you need to know about tummy time from the history, to what the research says, to the nitty gritty details of how to do it, as well as how to fit it into a day easily without it being “yet another thing to do”.
Dr Ainslee Roughan
Chiropractor + mother
Want to learn more? Dr Roughan has over 16K followers on social media and actively shares her knowledge and tips through posts, educational videos + online courses. Invaluable information for parents of babies and children of all ages. Follow along @Ainsleechiro on Instagram or check out her website HERE. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Ainslee!