Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's "Tummy Time"!

I think these two photos of my infant granddaughters having "tummy time"--taken during our recent visit with them at their maternal grandparents' house out in the Midwest--are just precious. My question, though, is this: who is enjoying the experience more--the babies, or their Papa and their Daddy? I love seeing these two grown men lying on their tummies next to the girls, talking to them and encouraging them to exercise. (Daddy even demonstrated some push- ups for them, but they weren't having any of it.)

"Tummy time" is a new term for a couple of oldsters like my husband and me (and it's a very cute term, too; I love to say it). This activity has become a normal part of infants' lives since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended putting babies "back to sleep" more than a decade ago. When my four oldest boys were infants, it was the custom to put them down in their cribs on their bellies. By the time we had our fifth, this had changed, because research had found that there was a possible link between babies sleeping in that position and SIDS. So our youngest child slept either on his back or on his side, propped into place with rolled-up receiving blankets (another position we were told was safe) during the infant stage. At first, this change to sleeping on the back was difficult for my husband and me to get used to. Our every instinct was to put our little one down on his belly. But even though our other four had thrived despite sleeping on their bellies, we weren't about to disregard the latest recommendations of the pediatrics profession; and our youngest son, of course, did absolutely fine.

With the change in sleep position, however, it was found that more infants develop flat spots on the backs of their skulls; they also get less chance to work the muscles in their upper bodies. Lack of "tummy time" can delay how long it takes a little one to master such skills as lifting his head and turning over. It may also have an impact on sitting up and crawling. The solution is simple: you flip your baby onto his tummy several times a day, when he or she is awake and you can be there to supervise. "Tummy time" promotes trunk stability, limb coordination, and head control.

It was very exciting for the two men in the picture above--and for Mommy and me, too--any time one of the twins would stretch, arch her back, kick her feet, or lift her arms. I think my son and my husband had more fun watching those two babies squirming around on a blanket than they do watching television coverage of Olympic athletes competing for gold. "Tummy time" is not only good for little babies, it's entertaining for their parents and grandparents, too!

(Some information courtesy of an on-line article from Parents magazine, "Tummy Time," by Sheryl Berk.)

No comments:

Post a Comment