Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why is Tummy Time So Important?

Approximately 10 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics launched a “Back to
Sleep” campaign in an effort to reduce the number of infant deaths due to Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Now, a decade later, the incidence of SIDS in the
USA has declined by approximately 50%. That’s the good news!

However, as is often the case, along with good news comes some bad news. In this
case, it involves the negative effects that have sometimes resulted from babies
spending too much time on their backs, including sleeping on their backs, but also due
to the amount of time spent in baby equipment, such as car seats, strollers, bounce
chairs and swings.

One significant negative consequence of the “Back to Sleep” campaign is what is
referred to as “misshapen head” (or in medical terminology, Plegiocephaly), a condition
that is characterized by a flattening of the back of the head. In addition, when
babies spend too much time on their backs, it can result in a tightening of the muscles
on one side of the neck, a condition known as Positional Torticollis.

In addition to these medical conditions, pediatricians worry that not enough tummy
time can result in significant motor delays, such as in rolling over, sitting up and even
crawling and walking. And believe it or not, motor delays such as these can actually
impact brain development. Lack of tummy time can also impede the development of
strong necks and arms and affect the development of balance and coordination.

To avoid these negative consequences, pediatricians encourage parents to put their
babies on their tummies (supervised, of course) for short periods several times a day.
Parents are advised to begin tummy time within their baby’s first week. While awake,
parents should place their baby on her tummy 2 to 3 times each day, beginning with
about 3 to 5 minutes and increasing the time as she gets older.

However, babies do not like to be on their tummies and cry and fuss when put in this
position. Parents, out of frustration, often give up and end up relying more and more
on baby equipment like swings and bounce chairs. The problem for parents is that,
while they are told that tummy time is necessary, they aren’t told how to make it
enjoyable (or at least tolerable) for their babies.

That’s just what Rumble Tumble Tummy Time™ is designed to do!
Email to request a class. - Sign Language for Babies