Why is tummy time so important for young babies?
A: Babies begin their gross motor development by learning to lift their heads when they are on their tummy. Tummy time also develops the strength in their shoulders, and gradually they learn to reach for toys, pivot, army crawl and push into a sitting position. From there, they learn to crawl on their hands and knees, stand, and take steps. Without a lot of time on their tummy, a baby will have delays in achieving their developmental milestones.
What are the most common challenges physical therapists see?
A: In babies, the most common challenges involve some flattening on the skull’s back or side or a gaze preference to one side. Other times physical therapy will uncover other neuromuscular challenges, torticollis included. These challenges improve with home recommendations, including changes to your baby’s environment, gentle stretches, and the physiotherapist’s education and monitoring. Developmental activities will help decrease pain and discomfort, increase range of motion, and prevent future injuries. Physical therapists also see sports injuries and help prevent future injuries and improve movement from previous injuries. Physical therapy practitioners develop home exercise programs to increase your child’s range of motion, strengthen skills needed and improve developmental delays.
What are the most common reasons for delayed rolling, sitting, or crawling in babies?
A: If you have concerns about how long it takes your baby to achieve one of their milestones, it is essential to bring this up with your pediatrician. They will rule out any more serious reasons that could be causing these delays. There is often a combination of factors that can contribute to gross motor delays, such as limited tummy time, too many toys in the play area, toys that are too close, and the baby’s personality. Perhaps you have concerns about your child’s gait, walking balance, or movement patterns. Perhaps your child has cerebral palsy or another developmental challenge. A physical therapist will teach kids exercises designed to stimulate their gross motor development. A physical therapist will work with your baby or child on balance and coordination activities and other kids’ exercises to improve movement, improve gross motor skills. Physical therapists work on existing and potential problems, develop prevention programs, and design a treatment plan to teach kids the skills they need.
Why does my baby dislike tummy time so much?
A: Learning to lift their head against gravity is very challenging for young babies as their head is very heavy compared to the rest of their body. Unless your baby has a medical reason to avoid being on their stomach, it is best to start tummy time as early as one month old. Strategies to help babies tolerate tummy better include starting tummy with your baby on your chest. At the same time, you are in a reclined position, prop their elbows under their shoulders and gently push downwards on their bottom. It helps pay lots of special attention to your baby while lying on their tummy, i.e., talking and singing to them. Aim to do tummy time several times throughout the day, and the ideal times will be when your baby is well-rested and well-fed.
Toronto Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN)
Individuals can self-refer for therapy in the home, school, or community. This care is funded by OHIP.
Pediatric Physiotherapy Associates
Provides excellent physical and occupational therapy in the home or virtually.
Toronto Early Childhood and Family Resource System
There is a wide range of services for children in Toronto compiled on this website.