Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Baby Steps for New Parents

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Tummy Time Tools helps you make sure your baby gets enough time on his tummy each day. This is done through activities such as handling, carrying, diapering, positioning, feeding and playing with your baby. All of these should take place while your baby is awake and supervised. Developed by:Colleen Coulter, P.T., D.P.T., Ph.D., P.C.S., Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Dulcey Lima, C.O., O.T.R./L., Orthomerica Products Inc. Having your baby spend time on his tummy is a good thing. It helps: • Develop the muscles in his neck and shoulders. • Prevent tight neck muscles and the development of flat areas on the back of your baby's head. • Build the muscles your baby needs to roll, sit and crawl. Why do babies need Tummy Time? • This flattening may be made worse by a Babies need tummy time because they spend a lot of time on their backs. This is because: condition called torticollis. This is when there • Most parents put their babies on their backs is a single muscle or group of muscles that are tight or weak on one side of the neck. This while they sleep. causes your baby to tilt or turn to one side. The • A lot of parents use baby carriers that double muscle fibers can shorten when your baby rests as car seats and carriers. in one position for long periods of time. • This combination of sleeping on the back at night and having pressure on your baby's It is important that your baby be put on his back to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics says this helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). head during the day can cause a flattening of the skull. • These flat areas develop on the back of the head and on the forehead. This is called It is also important to your baby's development that he get supervised tummy time and be put in different positions during the day. plagiocephaly. Tummy time is: Tummy time can: • Any activity that keeps your baby from lying • Help babies of all ages. flat in one position against a hard, supporting • Be fun. surface • Be easy or challenging for your baby. • Anytime you carry, position or play with your • Change as your baby grows and gets stronger. baby while he is on his belly • Be a great time to bond with your baby. Always stay with your baby during his tummy time. Do not leave him alone on his tummy. 26

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