Why “tummy time”?
Pediatricians recommend that infants spend a minimum of 30 minutes per day in “tummy time” positions, starting as early as the first several days of life. Research shows that tummy time lays the foundation for developing motor and sensory skills, musculoskeletal strength and flexibility, eye coordination, feeding skills, optimal digestive function and proprioceptive/postural awareness. Unfortunately, most babies do not get nearly the amount of tummy time that they need for optimal health and development. Parents often say that they are confused about how to “do” tummy time, and that their baby hates it.
What is TummyTime!™ Method?
TummyTime!™ skills were developed by an occupational therapist (Michelle Emanuel, OTR/L) to help parents and babies feel comfortable and confident with tummy time. TummyTime!™ classes are relaxed and light-hearted, the emphasis is on enjoying the process rather than focusing on an outcome. The instructor leads parents/babies through a series of gentle movements that scaffold the way toward enabling babies to lie on their bellies. Babies move at their own pace, in accordance with their developmental ability, so that they feel safe exploring new movement. Parents learn how to keep the process fresh by incorporating massage, reflexology and baby yoga into various tummy time routines. Ample time is provided for parents to ask questions and for the instructor to give individualized instruction. Parents and babies leave class with simple, practical exercises that they can use every day at home.
TummyTime!™ classes are typically 45 minutes long, which is enough time for babies to learn new skills without becoming overwhelmed. Class size is kept small (6-8 babies), so that the atmosphere remains calm and the teacher can attend to individuals’ needs. Offering separate classes for 0-4 month olds, and 4-8 month olds allows the teacher to address the specific developmental stages associated with each age group.
Does TummyTime!™ Method work?
After teaching TummyTime! ™ skills to hundreds of families (in classes and private sessions), I can answer this with an unequivocal “YES!” I am consistently amazed by how quickly babies and parents respond to the concepts and exercises. TummyTime!™ provides a framework for families to immediately incorporate more tummy time into their daily routine. While this is beneficial to all babies, it is especially important for those who suffer from breastfeeding issues, colic, reflux, nervous system dysregulation, torticollis, tongue tie, plagiocephaly or motor skill delays.
Contact me for a current listing of upcoming classes. I also offer private sessions for families who are not able to attend class, or who wish to receive more specific, in-depth instruction.