Spending time on your tummy is a recommended activity for babies to strengthen their neck and back muscles. The fact that it strengthens these muscles allows your baby to hold his head and prepares him so that he can turn, sit and crawl. But the one that plays face down while you supervise it, seems that it is not as necessary for the motor development of the babies as was thought.
If you have a baby, you will surely know that it is not recommended that you sleep on your stomach because it may increase your risk of suffering from sudden infant death syndrome (“crib death syndrome” or sudden death). As you probably know, the baby’s head at birth does not have strength or stand on its own, so turning it upside down can cause it to suffocate if an object such as a blanket or stuffed animal blocks your breathing .
With this in mind, pediatricians over many years have recommended that babies spend time on their stomachs during the day, always under supervision. Spending time on your tummy while playing makes you develop both physically and mentally . Thus, it strengthens the neck, the back, the arms and also sees the world from another angle.
Strengthening the muscles of the neck and back is key so that your baby can sit, roll over, and crawl. In addition, spending time upside down or on your tummy, prevents the head from becoming flat by spending too much time lying down.
Many pediatricians recommend that you start putting your baby upside down as soon as possible, that is, when the umbilical cord falls off. At that time, ten minutes a day may be enough. As your baby grows, you can have him play lying on his belly throughout the day, for short periods.
But as it seems that lately nothing is absolute, a research published in the journal Early Human Development , says that time upside down, may not be so important in motor development.
Researchers in Canada compared 1,114 babies born between 1990 and 1992, before the campaign began to insist that babies sleep on their backs with 351 babies born 20 years later. The surprise was that they did not find any difference between the two groups in the age at which they started to turn around and not when they started to have that ability.
The researchers clarified that they were not able to accurately measure the effect of the time the babies spent on their stomachs and that they could not establish clearly how long the parents put them on their tummies. What caught their attention is that those parents who said they put their bellies on, also admitted that it was hard for them to keep their babies in that position for a certain time.
For the authors of the study, beyond whether playing face down serves or not, the important thing was to realize that since the sleep-up campaign began, the motor development of the babies has not suffered any alteration. In short, motor development happens, regardless of the circumstances.
Talk to your pediatrician about this topic, it may be worthwhile to put your baby to play face down for a few minutes a day while you supervise, because it is already clear from previous research that put them belly, helps strengthen the muscles and incidentally, it motivates them to explore the world from another point of view.