Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tummy Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics formally launched a "Back to Sleep" campaign, instructing parents to put babies to sleep on their backs during their first year. The campaign has been hugely successful. Since it started in 1992, the SIDS rate in the United States has been cut in half. That is pretty awesome, however there has been a dramatic increase in babies with plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. About 13% of healthy infants have a funny shaped head these days. Max is one of those babies, Sleeping on his back has undoubtedly lead him to get a flat head. I will for sure take it as the alternative could be far worse.

I did not realize how important tummy time is until I had a son with a flat head. I think a lot of new mommies don't realize it either. Maybe it is assumed that tummy time could be dangerous or the threat of SIDS outweighs the benefits of a strong baby. I mean it actually does, right?

Baby Center states other benefits of tummy time besides preventing flat head. They are:

  1. It helps strengthen the baby's neck, back and trunk muscles. Babies need strong muscle groups in order to sit, crawl, and walk.
  2. Babies who spend time on their bellies look at the environment around them with different perspective. Even before they are crawling, they can explore their world by rotating their head and rotating their bodies in different positions. This may ultimately help with cognitive development.
  3. Tummy time also helps with visual development as your baby learns to track movement and focus on objects,
  4. Babies who spend more time on their bellies are less likely to develop torticollis. Torticollis is when the neck muscles tighten and pull the head in a specific direction. and many other sources recommend introducing your baby to tummy time around three to four months. Oh no. Not when your son has a flat head. We have been doing tummy time with Max since around two months or before. Of course my husband and I were there to catch his bobble head when it fell.

This kid is now a pro at tummy time. Sadly his head is still flat, but his torticollis is almost completely gone and it is pretty awesome to see how strong a four month old baby can be with lots of time spent on his belly.

Max's great big baby muscles have helped him master rolling over too. Max can go from back to belly no problem. We like to think he is advanced since this is a five to six month milestone. He sure did feel accomplished when he learned this trick. So much so that on his four month birthday he kept us up for hours because he wanted to practice his new trick all night long. Back to belly and then stuck until Mommy or Daddy turned him over. Back to belly and then stuck until Mommy or Daddy turned him over. Back to belly and then stuck until Mommy or Daddy turned him over. He was like a broken record, but he was so proud of himself and that was the cutest thing. Eventually with all that working out he crashed and slept until we woke him the next morning. Thank God!

As strong as this kid is, it wouldn't surprise me if he is walking at ten months. I think that is a good thing!


  1. Very interesting. It's amazing how soon his head got a flat spot. Do they estimate that it will just slowly go away?

    1. He actually has to get a helmet in a couple of weeks. That is supposed to be 100% effective. He had torticollis when he was born because of the position in my uterus. I think that was a huge contributor to the flat head.

  2. This is so interesting and what an important message.