One of the questions that we get very often is about developmental stages, especially the topic of tummy time. With the Anat Baniel Method, we generally suggest that babies not practice tummy time and that the parents not be beholding to the milestones. I plan on addressing this topic more specifically in the future. But, in the meanwhile, please read this excerpt on tummy time that I wrote for Kids Beyond Limits.
In addition, when told not to practice tummy time with a baby, parents often express the concern about a condition called plagiocephaly, characterized by a flattening of one side of the head.
My response to this concern is twofold:
1) Even if you put babies on their bellies once or twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes, before they are ready to do it for themselves, it doesn’t decrease, in any significant way, the amount of time they are going to be on their backs.
2) Babies are not supposed to lie on their backs all day long during waking hours. Before they can roll on their bellies by themselves and displace themselves in space by crawling or walking, they need to be carried and held—not all the time, but some of the time.
When babies are on their backs, you may want to change the way you position them in their crib so in order to see the door or respond to the light coming from windows, they will turn their head to the right when lying in one position. When you reposition them 180 degrees, they will then turn their head the other way.
For this, you need to get more flexible and be able to interact with your child when they are lying in one direction and then lying in the other direction. And, unless babies always turn their head to the same side when they sleep, they shouldn’t be getting a flat head.
If your baby always holds her/his head to one side, you might want to first check with your pediatrician to make sure that everything is okay. Then, perhaps get a couple of lessons from an Anat Baniel Method practitioner so that your baby doesn’t have such a discrepancy in the preference of turning her/his head.
NOTE: I also want to share that a short time ago, I went to the Marin General Hospital for their Grand Rounds Presentation. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to present to a group of pediatricians who were very interested in the outcomes I am getting in my work. It was exciting to discover that two of the pediatricians had already decided against recommending tummy time, and a couple of other pediatricians were also considering it, to allow more harmonious and successful brain development for the babies.
Would love to hear your feedback!