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Tummy Time and Babywearing

Welcome to the world of parenting, where every moment with your little one is an opportunity for growth and development! One crucial aspect of infant development that often takes center stage is "tummy time." It's a term you've probably heard before, but do you know what it entails and how to integrate it into your daily routine? Well, stick with us because, in this article, we're about to explore the wonderful world of tummy time and discover how babywearing can be a game-changer.

Tummy time is more than just a buzzword; it's a crucial component of your baby's journey toward achieving developmental milestones. The benefits are numerous, and it's not just us saying this; we've invited one of our favorite pediatric physical therapists, Dr. Bonnie, to share some insights!

Baby practicing tummy time on floor with a white blanket

“You might hear older family members say they never did tummy time with their babies, but that’s not necessarily true. Before the early 90’s, babies used to sleep on their bellies and would get many short bouts of tummy time throughout the day. But when back sleeping was found to reduce the incidence of SIDS, the National Institute of Child Health and Development implemented the “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994. However, studies then found that back sleeping was changing the timeline of motor skill achievement, at least in the short term, because of less time in that belly down position and impacting head shapes. This is where the “Tummy to Play” campaign really took off."

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

1. What Exactly is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is what it sounds like! You place your baby on their stomach while awake and under supervision. It's recommended by pediatricians and experts worldwide because it plays a crucial role in your baby's growth. During tummy time, your little one has the opportunity to lift their head, push up on their arms, and even kick their legs. It's all about letting them flex those muscles and explore the great unknown from a new angle, and it's fantastic for building their strength!

Baby supporting themself during tummy time on floor

"Tummy time is an opportunity for your baby to stretch out from that flexed fetal position and remove pressure from the back of their head. Tummy time is a foundational activity that strengthens neck, shoulder, and core muscles to prepare a baby to move: roll, sit, crawl, and walk. Tummy time also stimulates your baby’s sensory systems in novel ways. Tummy time allows your baby to explore the capabilities of their body and to then go on and explore their environment.”

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

2. Benefits of Tummy Time:

The benefits of tummy time are far-reaching and go beyond physical development. Yes, your baby will build those all-important neck and shoulder muscles, but there's more to it.

“Tummy time can stimulate a baby's sensory systems. When you are getting ready to do a bout of tummy time consider starting with the baby on their back. Engage them in play and connection here to assess their readiness for the challenge. Cool, calm and collected is the goal! Slowly get them to track a toy off to the side while helping them roll in that direction, if they can’t do it themselves yet. Continue having them follow a face or a toy until you have helped them get into the belly down position. The gradual change in position will stimulate the baby's sensory systems. It will help them begin to create the motor plans to roll themselves, Tummy time can have a huge impact on baby, and parent’s, feeding journey- whether breast or bottle feeding. Tummy time is often started from day one and that golden hour (and beyond) of skin-to-skin is baby’s first tummy time. That positioning of skin-to-skin tummy time positioning helps with openness of the body and movement of oral structures for a deeper latch.'

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

Plus, tummy time provides an opportunity for bonding with your baby. As you get down on their level and interact with them during tummy time, you're creating precious moments of connection!

A black dad wearing their baby in  an alice carrier

“Tummy time can also help promote a rounded head shape. Babies spend a lot of time sleeping during the first few months of life and a lot of time on their backs. This does put them at higher risk for development of flattening on their head shape. Tummy time can be used as a tool to prevent flattening. But, most of all, tummy time is truly a time for connection between a baby and their caregivers. It is a string of many short moments throughout the day for baby and caregiver to check in with each other- whether it is on the parent’s chest, on the floor, or elsewhere. It’s a time for social and emotional connection. It is a time for language development. Talking, singing, reading books while in tummy time. Through tummy time you can become more attuned to baby’s cues of hunger, happiness, discomfort etc. It is a time for growth and strengthening of the relationship between baby and caregiver.”

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

3. Babywearing as Tummy Time:

Ok, so you get it. Tummy time is important! But sometimes, it's hard to squeeze in, or your baby doesn’t love being on the floor. We’ve got you covered! Babywearing counts as tummy time. What?! Yup. 

“Babywearing is a great part of a tummy time program. While babywearing, a baby has contact through arms and body to press into you just like when they are on the floor. Their head can lift, balance, and move around in all directions. I love babywearing because it requires a baby to use the full extent of their neck range of motion to turn to both sides and look up at their parent. Babywearing as part of a tummy time program can be very rewarding because the baby is close to you, which is calming for them. While we can’t roll in and out in a baby carrier, baby’s senses are being stimulated by the movement that you provide- whether you are doing things around the house or out running errands. Babywearing does not replace tummy time on the floor; bouts of this are still important, but it is a great way to make tummy time easier for everyone!”

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

Exciting, right?! So if you’re already babywearing, congrats, you are getting those tummy time hours in. And if you’re not babywearing yet, now you have even more of a reason to give it a try!

4. Tips for Babywearing During Tummy Time:

So, how can you effectively incorporate babywearing into your tummy time routine? Here are some practical tips:

  • Choose a comfortable baby carrier (we can help you with that) that provides proper support for both you and your baby.

  • Ensure that your baby is positioned safely and securely in the carrier, with their head and neck well-supported.

  • Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your baby gets more comfortable.

  • Use this time for interactive play and bonding with your baby.

Our baby carriers are designed with your baby's comfort and safety in mind. Here's how they contribute to a successful tummy time routine:

baby practicing tummy time

“As a pediatric PT, I am very picky about the baby carriers that I use and recommend to my families. Because babywearing can have such a positive impact on the baby, parent, and the whole family unit the carrier needs to be a practical and sustainable tool. Carriers need to appropriately support the baby’s spine, place the hips in the M shape position, and be comfortable for the caregiver’s body too. hope&plum carriers meet all of that criteria!”

- Dr. Bonnie (PT, DPT)

Tummy time is a vital aspect of your baby's development, and babywearing with hope&plum carriers makes it even more accessible and enjoyable for both you and your little one. Remember that every moment of interaction with your baby counts, and these precious moments contribute to their growth and well-being.

As you explore our range of hope&plum baby carriers, you'll find options that are perfect for integrating tummy time into your daily routine. Whether it's bonding, strengthening, or simply making memories, hope&plum is here to support you on your parenting journey.

Ready to enhance your baby's development through tummy time and babywearing? Visit our website today to discover the perfect hope&plum baby carrier for your family. Share your own tummy time and babywearing experiences in the comments below, and let's continue celebrating the joy of parenting together!

Pediatric Physical Therapist Dr Bonnie on benefits of tummy time and babywearing

Dr. Bonnie

Meet Dr. Bonnie: Your Friendly Neighborhood Pediatric Physical Therapist

In the ever-expanding universe of parenting tips and tricks, one guiding star shines brightly: Dr. Bonnie, our favorite pediatric physical therapist! With her vibrant presence on TikTok, Dr. Bonnie has become a go-to source of wisdom and inspiration for parents far and wide.

Dr. Bonnie is not your average expert; she's a true superhero in the world of infant development. With her boundless enthusiasm and a knack for breaking down complex concepts into bite-sized, engaging videos, she's made learning about your baby's growth and milestones not just informative but downright fun!

As parents, we've embarked on countless adventures with Dr. Bonnie, soaking up her knowledge like sponges. From tummy time tips to decoding the mysteries of motor skills, Dr. Bonnie has been our trusty guide through the exciting terrain of infant development.

So, whether you're a seasoned parent or just starting your parenting journey, keep an eye out for Dr. Bonnie's insights. Her TikTok videos are like treasure troves of wisdom, helping us navigate the ever-evolving world of parenting with confidence and a smile.

Thank you, Dr. Bonnie, for being our beacon of knowledge and our partner in the incredible adventure of parenthood!

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