The importance of placing your baby on his back or in the supine position at bedtime has been pointed out for many years. It’s done to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, there are several reasons why you should place your baby face down, also known as the prone position, during the day.
We’ll show you three compelling reasons to do so. In addition, we’ll add some practical tips to make it easier for your little one.
Why you should place your baby face down during the day
1. Development of motor functions.
Spending enough time on his tummy will help your baby develop balance as well as visual and auditory skills.
It will also help strengthen the head, neck, shoulder and back muscles. All of this will be necessary for everyday actions, such as sitting, getting up and crawling.
During the first months of life, babies must learn about the movement of their body and how to master it. Thus, your baby will develop the necessary physical skills to roll over, sit and crawl.
This isn’t adequately achieved if the child spends a lot of time in baby seats or other places that restrict movement.
In addition, a baby that spends all his time on his back only sees the ceiling and things on the side.
Conversely, babies placed face down raise their heads and start looking at many more things around them.
2. Normal head development
As a result of advertising campaigns launched to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, an increase in children with plagiocephaly has been seen.
What is that? Because babies don’t have fully fused cranial bones, a characteristic that helps them withstand small traumas, their head can be deformed if they stay in the same position for a long time.
Babies tend to spend too much time sleeping on their backs and in chairs or pens. This practice causes the back of the head to flatten.
That’s why it’s imperative for a baby to spend enough time on his or her stomach during the day, while awake and playing.
3. Development of social skills
Another reason to place your baby face down during the day has to do with social skills. It’s also a way to improve social-emotional skills, problem-solving, learning and adaptation.
When the baby is in a prone position, he stays alert and perceives the world around him in a better way.
Thus, he remains in a state where he constantly receives stimuli while interacting with everything around him.
Babies placed face down raise their heads and start to look at many more things around them.
Ways to place your baby face down during the day
If you don’t know exactly how to get your baby to spend more time on his tummy or if he doesn’t seem to like being in that position, you can follow these practical tips:
From 0 to 2 months
Try placing the baby face down on a blanket. If you see that he can’t raise his head, put your hand on his lower back and push his weight down gently. If he still can’t raise his head, place a rolled towel under his chest or on top of his legs.
Another excellent option is to put your baby on your chest. This way he’ll feel more secure and will be encouraged to raise his head to look at you.
With this activity, your little one will manage to develop control of his head, also strengthening the upper part of his body.
From 3 to 5 months
As his back and neck have already strengthened, he can raise himself up with his forearms. You can spend time with your baby using toys and mirrors to further stimulate the movement of his weight and reach.
Now he can interact with his environment at eye level. He’ll receive many more stimuli and will learn to respond to them.
As your baby gains more strength, he’ll begin to push himself with outstretched arms in order to reach objects and to play. This serves as preparation for sitting and crawling.
Placing the baby face down will help strengthen his head, neck, shoulder and back muscles.
From 6 to 9 months
Now that your baby has more strength, you can play games like “airplane,” lifting him and holding him only by the waist. Another option is to support your baby on bent legs and move him up and down.
Remember that you must perform these and other routines with your baby on a daily basis. This is the best way to support his development.