I frequently discuss infants and floor time in my appointments. I ask new parents how often they put their baby on the floor for time to explore their surroundings freely. They usually respond with “Do you mean tummy time?” While it’s important for infants to spend time on their tummy, that is only one side of their body. The other sides need attention too.
Pediatricians and parents often discuss tummy time in their appointments. There are several different ways to accomplish this and we want to make sure that we are starting early and spending time here often. I have written a previous blog about this exclusively here.
This position is easiest since it is recommended for sleeping. Newborns spend a lot of the day in this position. As your child begins increases awake hours, they’ll begin to roll around. It will be beneficial to add some dedicated play time on their backs. When given the opportunity to play on their backs, infants figure out how to bring their hands to midline and bring their hands and toys to their mouth. Hanging a toy at their chest level so they can reach for it will teach them hand eye coordination.
Side Lying Time
This is the position that is most often forgotten, so I suggest implementing it next. This has tremendous benefits and can start at a very young age. Start your child on their back and roll them to their side. You want their bottom arm to be at shoulder height extended in front of them and you want their top leg to drape towards the front. Use a rolled towel or blanket behind them to prevent them flopping to their backs. Just make sure your child is supervised anytime there’s a blanket nearby. I use this when an infant has torticollis because we need to strengthen muscles as we loosen them. This also helps combat any flexor or extensor muscle dominance as a result of spending too much time either on their tummy or back.
Aiming for a good balance of infants and floor time in all of these positions each day is ideal. I know those early weeks it can be hard to do anything because babies aren’t awake for very long. Balance it by choosing one position for each wake window to make this feel less daunting.
As always if you have any questions, reach out to me: [email protected] and I will do my best to answer them.