All parents recognise the importance of the early formative years on their children’s development and try hard to implement any advice, and indeed natural instinct, to make sure that their offspring have the best start in life.Yet one area of essential development has been widely neglected over the past 15 to 20 years, and more and more evidence is emerging that links it to later problems.
This year, around one third of four-to-five year-olds in the UK will start school not knowing if they are left or right-handed. A similar number is likely to display delayed development and a shorter attention span. Lack of tummy time in infancy is cited as a major cause.
Babies need tummy play to help develop their motor and sensory responses, yet despite the fact that all parents leaving hospital with their new-borns are advised on the importance of tummy play when their infants are awake, many babies never have the opportunity to spend time on their tummies.
Another fall-out from lack of tummy time is the large percentage of babies today who have varying degrees of flat head (positional plagiocephaly) – not surprising given the amount of time babies’ heads are pressed against hard surfaces like car seats and floor mats.
Even a few minutes a day spent on the tummy can help prevent flat head, yet even those parents who know of its importance choose to ignore it. Why?
Some have misinterpreted the 1994 ‘cot death’ campaign. That campaign has saved many infant lives through its advice to put babies on their backs to sleep. However, the second part of the campaign slogan, “Back to sleep and tummy to play” has been widely disregarded.
Another factor is physical and emotional discomfort. Some parents give up on tummy time early because they are uneasy when they see their infants frightened and insecure face-down on the floor. From the parents’ perspective, comforting and consoling distressed babies in this position is also difficult for mums and dads as they have to squat awkwardly on the floor to bond with their infants. Faced with those difficulties, it is easy to see why tummy time is often abandoned.
A clear solution isto take tummy time up off the floor. Tummy With Mummy®, the world’s first off-the-floor tummy time platform with a built-in seat, recliner and a crawl and play mat, has been designed with both parents and babies in mind. It offers babies a different but emotionally comfortable perspective on the world on their tummies, and gives parents peace of mind.
Tummy With Mummy’s off-the-floor sloping platform helps to make babies feel safe, and strengthens the upper body muscles so that they can be confident in learning crawling techniques so important for their later development.
Brightly-coloured with wipe-clean surface and washable mats, it folds away for storing or taking on trips. Babies can sit up, lie back for massage and play on the crawl mat – but most important of all, they can enjoy tummy time exercises that will set them up for life.
Note Tummy With Mummy® was created by a mother of five (now grown-up) children who enjoyed daily sessions of tummy time when they were babies. For further information about Tummy With Mummy® go to www.tummywithmummy.com