Tummy time is an important part of a baby’s development, as it helps them strengthen their neck, back, and arm muscles, and improves their gross motor skills. However, some infants may struggle with tummy time due to discomfort or lack of strength. Physical therapy can play a key role in improving tummy time for these infants.
Assessment: Physical therapists will conduct a thorough assessment of the infant’s motor development, including their ability to hold their head up, reach for toys, and roll over. This information will help the therapist determine the best approach to improving tummy time.
Strengthening exercises: Physical therapists may use various exercises and play-based activities to help the infant build strength in their neck, back, and arm muscles. This can include gentle movements and activities that encourage the baby to lift their head, reach for toys, roll over and crawl.
Sensory stimulation: Physical therapists may use various sensory stimulation techniques to help the infant become more comfortable with tummy time. This can include using toys, bright colors, mirrors and other objects to engage their senses and encourage movement, as well as providing a soft, supportive surface for them to lie on.
Positioning: Physical therapists can help position the infant during tummy time to ensure they are comfortable and properly supported. This may involve using props such as rolled towels or pillows to support the head and neck.
Parent education: Physical therapists will educate parents on the importance of tummy time and how to properly support their baby during these activities. They may also provide tips and techniques for making tummy time more enjoyable for both the infant and the parent. Physical therapists can also provide education and guidance on how to incorporate tummy time into their daily routine.
Manual therapy: Physical therapists may also use manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, trigger point release and other manual techniques to relieve any discomfort the infant may be experiencing and promote activity tolerance with tummy time.
Overall, physical therapy can play a critical role in improving tummy time for infants who may struggle with this activity. With the help of a physical therapist, parents can ensure that their baby is getting the appropriate support and stimulation they need to thrive. Physical therapists can help the infant develop the strength and stability they need to comfortable spend time on their tummy, and provide sensory stimulation and positioning to make the activity more enjoyable. If you are a parent concerned about your baby’s ability to participate in tummy time, consider seeking the help of a physical therapist for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.