When I had my first baby I followed all the rules… when people were looking.
The rest of the time I followed my instincts and did what I wanted. Tummy time was one of those things that I didn’t do and avoided talking about. All my children hated tummy time until they were a few months old. All of them.
Because the skull bones in your baby’s head are soft for the first year, flat areas can develop if your baby spends most of their time lying flat. These changes to your baby’s head or face shape will not effect his/her development, or physical and mental growth but are obviously undesirable. Called plagiocephaly, flat areas on your baby’s head can be permanent if not treated soon enough.
Should your baby develop a flat area on their head, your doctor may recommend a special helmet to correct the baby’s head shape.
Flat spots on your baby’s head are completely preventable.
One of the most popular recommendations for preventing plagiocephaly is to allow your baby to have plenty of tummy time when awake but I know I am not the only one who has been frustrated by tummy time. Many babies dislike tummy time.
Alternatives to tummy time and other ways to prevent flat spots on your baby’s head:
- Wear your baby, especially with his face towards you
- Practise tummy time when your baby is on your chest by lying flat on your back and interacting
- Change the arm you use to carry your baby frequently
- If breastfeeding, use both breasts at each feeding
- If bottle feeding, alternate the arm you hold baby with when feeding
- Move frequently used safety seats, bouncy chairs, swings, and other devices around the room so that your baby can look around and isn’t holding his head in the same position often.
- Try rolling a towel tightly under your baby’s chest with arms in front for added support that may make tummy time more enjoyable.
Always place your baby on his back to sleep to prevent SIDS. Supervise your baby when he is on his tummy or side, and always move him to his back if he falls asleep.
“Back to sleep, tummy to play!”