Not lying on belly hinders babies’ development

August 7th, 2008 - 12:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 7 (IANS) Parents and caregivers should ensure that babies get enough time to lie on their bellies and not on their backs, especially while awake, to prevent them from retarded development, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has advised. A national survey of 400 paediatric, physical and occupational therapists found two-thirds of them reporting they’ve seen an increase in early motor delays in infants over the past six years. They attributed it to lack of lying on their bellies while awake.

APTA spokesperson Judy Towne Jennings said: “We have seen first-hand what the lack of tummy time can mean for a baby - developmental, cognitive, and organisational skills delays, eye-tracking problems, and behaviuoral issues, to name just some complications.”

Jennings, who co-authored the study, explained that because new parents now use car seats that also serve as infant carriers - many of which fasten directly into strollers and swings without having to remove the baby from the seat - this generation of babies spends prolonged periods of time in one position.

She recommended that babies be placed in a variety of positions when awake, including on their bellies, as soon as they return home from the hospital. “Ideally, babies should be placed on their tummies after every nap, diaper change and feeding, starting with 1-2 minutes,” she said.

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