The development process in getting to the point where a baby can roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk all starts with them gaining the control of their heads. It certainly requires a lot of effort from them! When Murdo lifts his head up when lying on his tummy you can see from the popping-out veins that he’s really giving it his all.
Although lifting his head appears to put him under a bit of physical strain, getting Murdo on his belly and lifting his head up regularly is quite important:
With the success of the Back to Sleep campaign which recommends that babies always be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, also known as cot death), babies don’t spend as much time on their fronts as they used to.
“It is recognised that whilst the Back to Sleep campaign has dramatically reduced the incidence of cot death, it has resulted in an increase in cases of plagiocephaly (flattened head) and of developmental delay,” says Kathie Drinan, chartered physiotherapist and clinical specialist in paediatric neurology.
Murdo has been able to lift his head up since around four weeks, but at that point he was only able to do it for brief moments, now he’s able to do it for a few minutes at a time, with much more control. He struggles much more when you lay him down flat on the rug, but if we have him lying tummy down on top of us when we’re reclined in a chair he’s able to manage for much longer.
“Tummy time” as it’s known, is a great way to encourage your baby to get moving and start building muscle strength, and they should be doing it a few times a day in the early months.
Giving babies supervised tummy time helps to strengthen their backs, arms and necks; it encourages them to roll over and gives them a different view of the world,
— Elizabeth Duff senior policy adviser at the National Childbirth Trust
In addition to improving a baby’s motor skills, one other bonus of tummy time seems to be it’s ability to distract babies from a spell of the grumps :)