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Is tummy time essential?

(65 Posts)
Mybellyisaneasteregg Wed 30-Apr-14 06:50:50

With ds I did tummy time every day from birth a few times a day, gradually building up in duration. He rolled early and then went on to crawl and walk early.

Am pregnant with my second baby and I'm wondering how essential tummy time is. I don't want an early crawler/walker (didn't realise the implications of this with ds obviously) so I was wondering if there are others out there who didn't do any at all or who only did it occasionally it or when it occurred naturally.

laura2323 Wed 30-Apr-14 07:01:43

My dd is 6 months and doesn't do tummy time unless you count lying on me tummy time. She absolutely screams if put on her tummy. However she can sit up, roll around etc. I've heard tummy time is to also stop "flat head" too. Sorry doesn't really answer your question but for me, at the moment, it's not that important.

Lj8893 Wed 30-Apr-14 07:06:19

I only did it occasionally and not from birth.

I had never heard of tummy time until dd was about 6-8 weeks old so didn't start doing it until then, and she hated it so I only ever did it maybe once a week and only for about 5 minutes at a time. I then started to panic at about 4 months because I kept seeing babies on Facebook doing tummy time and looking really strong, so tried doing it more often but she still hated it so I just gave up.

She is now 6 months and for the last month has been constantly rolling onto her front and is incredibly strong and already trying to pull her legs up to start crawling (which I'm terrified about!!)

Busymumto3dc Wed 30-Apr-14 07:07:29

I do personally think it's important

I know several tummy time refusers who have then struggled and not crawled, a lot of these children become very very clumsy walkers as the haven't worked out their balance yet. They also tend to have poorer coordination, stability and muscle control

Busymumto3dc Wed 30-Apr-14 07:10:14

Also just because you do tummy time doesn't mean you will get an early crawler. Dd had daily tummy time and did not crawl until 10 months. Older dc had same tummy time and crawled at 6&7 months. It depends on the baby

countingtotwenty Wed 30-Apr-14 07:12:37

I didn't realise it was a thing until ds was several months old, but by then he'd already learnt to roll over (3m) and commando crawl (5m). I think it's just genetic I'm afraid - probably not what you want to hear!

I don't understand the whole flat head thing either. surely if they have a reasonable amount of time being held or in a sling then it doesn't make much difference to have 20 minutes of tummy time or however much it is.

Busymumto3dc Wed 30-Apr-14 07:13:17


slugseatlettuce Wed 30-Apr-14 07:14:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Busymumto3dc Wed 30-Apr-14 07:15:43

I agree it part it is probably down to the individual baby if/when they crawl etc. But I also think environmental factor matter too. I don't see how a baby who rarely got floor time (not just tummy time) would learn to crawl! Sadly I do know of several people who's dc spent most of their baby months in bumbos and swings and jumpers and walkers. Unless they have time on the floor to practice and experiment with moving I don't think they would have much chance of learning so move about. I think floor time possibly more important than tummy time.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 30-Apr-14 07:17:59

You really want to delay your child's natural development?shock

It's essential. Don't forget until SIDS got coverage babies slept on their tummys.

Busymumto3dc Wed 30-Apr-14 07:19:03

I don't get people wanting to limit mobility

Having a crawler isn't that bad, as long as you baby proof!

Artandco Wed 30-Apr-14 07:21:48

It's important combined with behind held/ in sling to avoid a flat head and development neck/ head muscles. So many babies are put in pram, then car seat, then bouncer chair, then cot on repeat all day that they are constantly laying in/ on something unnatural

Mybellyisaneasteregg Wed 30-Apr-14 07:26:21

I don't think it is about delaying a child's natural development.

The only reason I did it with ds was because the hv was very keen on it. Otherwise it wouldn't have been part of our routine at all. I would have just propped him up happily in swing/bouncer (this takes pressure of head as well) or put him down on his back to look mobiles/hanging toys. So therefore it wasn't something that came naturally to me as a parent. I wouldn't have thought of doing it myself so it was quite an artifical part of parenting.

Also there are a lot of drawbacks to having an early crawling/walker and it is not just about baby proofing hmm

ZingWatermelon Wed 30-Apr-14 07:28:07

mine never liked it. they used to get tired quickly, banging their heads accidentally when couldn't hold it anymore so after a few incidents I stopped bothering about it.
and as a result rolled over much later than tummy time babies we knew, but all sat up around 6 months, crawled around 8-9 months and took first steps at a year and walked by 15 months

mine loved sitting in those big inner tyre looking donut baby things then get mobile in the sit-in baby walkers.

ZingWatermelon Wed 30-Apr-14 07:29:02

none of them have flat heads or any other problems (apart from being bloody naughty at timesgrin )

captainproton Wed 30-Apr-14 07:30:00

My DC1 hated tummy time but she had torticolis (birth injury to her neck undiagnosed for 14 months). The GP said some babies hate it and not to worry if she is later doing neck, rolling milestones. Paediatrician at 4 months said just use a flat head pillow.

Well I can tell you about the guilt i now have over my DCS neck being twisted for life because we never did enough tummy time. Trying to correct it after 12 months is very difficult and she is being referred to specialist for operation now as physio is not working.

My DC2 also had same, persistent tummy time forced his neck muscles to get stronger and not have one grow longer than the other. He is now 9 months and cured.

Btw both my babies born unassisted and no one can tell if they damaged their neck muscles as it's invisible. They can't tell you.

So if we have DC3 the little one will be doing tummy time whether they like it or not.

callamia Wed 30-Apr-14 07:33:38

I didn't really DO tummy time because DS didn't like it when he was a small baby. However, he did spend a reasonable amount of time in a sling, and as soon as he learned to roll onto his tummy he did, and now this is all he wants to do (6m). He's looking at being able to crawl soon regardless of his dislike of tummy time. I guess there are some things you can't really control.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 30-Apr-14 07:37:44

Drawbacks to early walking and crawling? really? Can't see any myself.

It's a natural part of development. It wouldn't have occurred to you to put your baby to sleep on it's back at one point either.

Some babies don't like it and that's always been the case.

I've seen lack of tummy time linked to other development issues on a child development course I went on - can't find it thigh to link to.

ZingWatermelon Wed 30-Apr-14 07:47:26

Actually mine have never slept on their backs but on their sides!

and as soon as they could move around they'd sleep in a hedgehog position they'd put themselves into.

I get SIDS guidelines, yet sleeping on your back is the most unnatural position IMO.
and with sickly babies I always worried they'd choke.
so sleeping on the side it is for us

just saying

mummytime Wed 30-Apr-14 07:47:28

The only time there are "drawback to early walking/crawling" is when it is very very early, and then it is indicative possibly of other problems. It doesn't cause them it is just linked to them.

Actually the only other issue is to do with finding shoes the right size and other people reacting oddly or assuming the child is older (and possibly unusually small).

colleysmill Wed 30-Apr-14 07:51:21

Lying on your front gives opportunity to practice lifting the head up against gravity and helps develop head control.

But the thing with tummy time is that it doesn't mean you must put baby on the floor at regimented times of the day. Some babies loathe being on their front on the floor, some love it. Generally though if you think about how you hold your baby throughout the day you will probably find you have them on their tummy at some point be it on you, whilst playing, carrying them on your shoulder etc and this is a perfectly fine way of doing tummy time.

I think iirc the term tummy time came about after parents took the sids advice on board but stopped putting babies on their front at all so it was to encourage parents to give babies an opportunity to practice this.

The chartered society of physiotherapy have some good advice on this.

ipswichwitch Wed 30-Apr-14 07:51:47

DS1 hated tummy time with a passion so didn't do much. Wouldn't tolerate a sling either but was always a mobile baby (lots of wriggling and squirming about on his play mat). He never crawled, bum shuffled instead and walked at 14mo when he went from tottering about with his push along walker to running unaided in about 2 weeks! He was prem and small which is probably why he didn't walk til 14mo, but has absolutely no issues with balance etc.

EatsCakeForNoReasonWhatsoever Wed 30-Apr-14 07:52:53

Those playnests/doughnuts are good because they don't put pressure on the back of the head, but bouncers and swings do. I'm another one saying try a sling if you don't want to do 'tummy time' because at least it helps them develop neck muscles and don't apply any pressure to the back of their head. Babies will crawl when they crawl and walk when they walk. Tummy time does nothing towards these except provide the opportunity.

ipswichwitch Wed 30-Apr-14 07:53:10

Forgot to add that when he started rolling at 6mo he would sleep on his side. I'd put him down on his back and he'd always roll.

fuckwitteryhasform Wed 30-Apr-14 07:55:15

Depends on baby, like you I really did not want an early crawler/walker with DD3 so I never set out to do tummy time. However she was an early roller and then was constantly on her tummy despite my best efforts to put her on her back lying nicely batting at her toys. She crawled before 6 months and I never actively 'did' tummy time. DD2 in contrast I put on tummy a lot as she loved it and she crawled months later.

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