Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tummy Time is essential for your baby

We are all told that tummy time is critical in our baby’s development and growth but not all tummy time is created equal.
Many babies are not getting enough quality tummy time. Your child by three months should have at least 1 hour total per day- this is a minimum requirement for a healthy baby to foster proper neurological and physical development. One hour of tummy time is critically important to your baby’s health.
Brain facts:
The infant brain grows by 64% in the first 90 days!
The cerebellum is the fastest growing brain region and it doubles in size in the first 3 months of life!
A baby that has a traumatic birth, cesarean, induction, or mechanical type delivery (vacuum or forceps) needs even more tummy time to reverse some of the possible neurosensory damage that may have occurred. There is research that now states that 1 in 6 children will have a neurodevelopmental disorder or sensory processing disorder -SPD.
Some babies do not want to lay on their stomachs at all, so we need to assess these children to see if there is neck or upper back subluxations (the vertebra being out of alignment), reflux, gastrointestinal issues, TOT’s (tethered oral tissues), retained Moro reflex. Ensure your baby has a proper examination and assessment done by an experienced pediatric chiropractor.
Proper tummy time must be 1 hour or more per day- this can be in 5-10-15 min increments at a time.
The child is on their stomach extending their neck looking upwards at first then the upper back and visually focussing on an object in front of them. Tummy time strengthens the postural muscles. This position links several areas of the nervous system- vestibular, visual and proprioception to name a few to enhance healthy integration of primitive reflexes and foster development of the cerebellum and nervous system.
The minimum of 1 hour per day does not include babywearing in a sling or carrier.

Ways you can do tummy time effectively:
    Place baby on their stomach on your chest facing you- your child can then raise the head to look at mom or dad
    Place a folded blanket or towel under the arms/chest while your baby is on the stomach- place toys in front of them, encourage them to reach out towards the toys
    Place your child on their stomach on a physio/gym ball and support them, so they do not roll off, encourage them to raise their head

Always supervise and ensure your baby can see you when doing tummy time as if the baby cannot see mom then I may cause your child into flight/fight/freeze /scared mode and start to become extremely upset. We want this time to bond with your child and to be happy and fun for you both.

Dr. Joelle Johnson is a mother of 3 amazing boys and has practiced chiropractic since 1999, in 2000 Dr. Johnson completed her certifications with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association- ICPA and focused her practice on prenatal and pediatric health in Central Alberta. Dr. Johnson practices at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness 142 Erickson Dr. in Red Deer. www.family1stchiro.ca 403-347-3261 to book an appointment.  

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