I recently conducted a literature search on the benefits of tummy time to find any new information available. I came across some excellent recent articles . The more we learn, the better we can help the babies and families we work with at Dynamic Solutions.
A recent 2020 systematic review on the benefits of tummy time for infants has found that it improves overall motor development and prevents brachycephaly ( flat head). The World Health Organization recommends over 30 minutes of tummy time per 24-hour period. Babies who spend over 30 minutes on their bellies by the age of seven weeks have better outcomes than those who spend less than 30 minutes a day. The same goes for babies that do tummy time 3 x a day versus no tummy time. Additionally, another study using EMG shows that activation of neck and back muscles is best while babies are on their tummy. The study also noted activation of postural muscles when babies are held in arms or worn in a carrier. However, sitting in containers such as car seats did not activate neck or back muscles. Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants spend supervised time in the prone (tummy) position to foster motor development and prevent cranial deformities. Another great article is “Tummy Time without the Tears: The Impact of Parent Positioning and Play.” This article emphasizes the importance of parent interaction during tummy time. Hence, we always recommend you keep your hands on the baby during the beginning days of tummy time and help motivate the baby with a visual stimulus. Lastly, “I Am Afraid of Positioning my Baby in Prone”: Beliefs and Knowledge about Tummy Time Practice” discusses the importance of parent education.
Tummy time is essential for many reasons for babies. Furthermore, having a tool and directions makes tummy time more likely for parents to carry over recommendations at home. Check out the Tumtum, the only wedge on the market specifically design to help babies with prone positioning.
Hewitt L, Kerr E, Stanley RM, Okely AD. Tummy Time and Infant Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics. 2020;145(6):e20192168. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-2168
Mendres-Smith AE, Borrero JC, Castillo MI, Davis BJ, Becraft JL, Hussey-Gardner B. Tummy time without the tears: The impact of parent positioning and play. J Appl Behav Anal. 2020;53(4):2090-2107. doi:10.1002/jaba.715
Palmer CF, Rindler D, Leverone B. Moving into tummy time, together: Touch and transitions aid parent confidence and infant development. Infant Ment Health J. 2019;40(2):277-288. doi:10.1002/imhj.21771
E Silva BFV, Sampaio SSS, Moura JR, et al. “I Am Afraid of Positioning my Baby in Prone”: Beliefs and Knowledge about Tummy Time Practice. Int J Pediatr. 2023;2023:4153523. Published 2023 Apr 19. doi:10.1155/2023/4153523
Siddicky SF, Bumpass DB, Krishnan A, Tackett SA, McCarthy RE, Mannen EM. Positioning and baby devices impact infant spinal muscle activity. J Biomech. 2020;104:109741. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109741