Child development considerations make up a large part of our approach teaching baby swimming and helping parents to best nurture their child's development.
The following article is one such consideration we take into account in our swimming lessons programs, philosophy and approach.
A scientific review of 16 studies shows yet again that laying your babies on their stomachs while awake is the best thing you can do for their development.
If you have a baby at home, the best thing you can do for their motor development is to lie down on their stomach. This conclusion was reached (again) by researchers who conducted a systematic review of studies, which will soon be published in the journal Pediatrics.
The recommendation to place young babies at a prone position while awake and under supervision is not new and has long been known and reinforced by many researches, as a vital activity that helps babies develop and strengthen their shoulder belt, neck and core muscles. This in turn enables them to lift their heads and then to rise, crawl on their belly, and discover the world around them.
Abdominal control is considered to be the cornerstone of motor development.
Researchers at the University of Wollongong, Australia, looked at 16 different published studies that examined the effects of supine lying on the motor development of infants.
Cumulatively in all of these studies, 4,237 infants from eight different countries in the world were tested.
Their conclusion was that "tummy time" is closely related to the development of gross motor skills as well as the general development of the baby, and has a particularly positive effect on the onset of the baby's movement in the form of flipping and crawling.
Staying on the abdomen during wakefulness also improves conditions such as flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly, a syndrome due to prolonged reclining of infants on their backs and exerting pressure on the back of their skull).
However, within the plethora of tasks involving the care of a small baby, changing diapers, feeding, putting to sleep, and bathing, parents sometimes forget to make a dedicated time for the baby to stay on the stomach.
"Occasionally, 'tummy time' is pushed down by parents' priorities," said Dr. Jennifer Shaw, medical editor of the American Academy of Paediatrics, adding that it is precisely because of this that it is important to dedicate time windows every day. Do this for a few minutes at a time, so that your baby will have a half-hour "tummy time" every day. "It will really have a very significant impact on how your baby learns to crawl and flip," Dr. Shaw said.