Tummy Time

Speaking of the Nanny State, babies. There's a lot of advice given to new parents, and a lot of the suggestions have reasoning and justification that is poorly understood or even completely irrelevant. In this latest filler post, I'm going to talk about back sleeping and tummy time. If you can make it to the end, there'll be Ultra Ninja stuff as reward.

One of the pervasive pieces of advice is that only the back is safest for sleeping infants. Since the "Back To Sleep" program was instituted in the early ninties, the fraction of babies sleeping face-up has increased dramatically, and the rate of SIDS cases has decreased just as dramarically. The connection between the two is still hypothetical and scientifically speaking, poorly developed - but that doesn't change the fact that it is empirical shown that only the back is safest for sleeping infants.

One of the drawbacks to all this back sleeping is delays in physical and social development, which completely vanish by the age of 18 months. Since there is no long-term negative effects of back sleeping, you would think that it gets left at that. But no, new parents apparently always need advice on what to do with their babies - and so we have tummy time.

Tummy time is supervised lying on your stomach time. Not kidding. You are supposed to place your infant on their stomachs and leave them there until they freak out. Up to 30 minutes a day starting in the first week of life. Keep going for as long as the baby can stand it. All to mitigate developmental delays whose effects are completely invisible by 18 months.

There's all sorts of resources now to help parents get their babies to tummy time longer. I've met parents who were traumatized by tummy time and have given up on it. And while it's great that they are no longer subjecting their infants to things that are guaranteed to make them cry, it kinda sucks that they all feel guilty about it. But that is the nature of how society treats new parents - as totally valid targets for judgement and scorn. Because making parents feel guilty and forcing them to second guess their every decision is what's best for baby. Or something.

Anyways, we lucked out (yet again) in that Ultra Ninja loves tummy time. No joke, we roll her onto her stomach to stop her from crying. So despite being a back sleeper, she's gotten a fair amount of tummy time and is pretty advanced in some aspects of physical development. This means that I already get to carry her around with her sitting on my shoulders. I do keep a hand on her just in case, since her grip comes and goes But she sits up there with no problems - looking around and laughing.

Which brings us to the quote of the day:
On the plus side, I can now scratch "baby vomit in the ear" off of my life list.

Here is a pic of UN being horribly tortured by being forced to lie on her stomach:


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

On the plus side, I can now scratch "baby vomit in the ear" off of my life list.

You are my hero. And hurray for your quality tummy time!

vacuumslayer said...

It's weird you're writing this now. We just started doing Tummy Time. DS only enjoys it for about 15 minutes and only if he is bolstered by his Boppy pillow.

I'm glad I read this entry...because honestly I don't think I could have handled strewing over it. Not after the hysteria I worked myself into over breastfeeding.

Ps--those new pics of DS? Tummy Time. ;)

UN is adorbs.

vacuumslayer said...

Strewing aka stressing.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Not kidding. You are supposed to place your infant on their stomachs and leave them there until they freak out.


vacuumslayer said...


Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

vs, kinda neat that you posted tummy time pics today. re: developmental effects of back sleeping - here is a link:

Findings: At 6 months of age, infants put to sleep on their front had a mean score 0.38 SD higher on the gross motor scale, 0.11 SD higher in the social skills scale, and a total development score 0.20 SD higher than those on their backs. These differences were no longer apparent at 18 months.

Conclusions: There is some evidence that putting infants to sleep in the supine position results in a reduced developmental score at 6 months of age, but this disadvantage appears to be transient.

truculentandunreliable said...

I don't know wtf is wrong with some of these babies. I *love* tummy time!

fish said...

But woe be to the parent whose child sleeps much better on their stomach. If they chose to selfishly let their child sleep instead of cutting the nightmarish 0.1% chance to 0.05%, they will be shunned for all eternity. I am pretty sure all these recommendations are designed to make parents psychotic in the face of uncertainty.