Momsense: Keep your baby active with tummy time
By Lianne Castelino & Andrea Howick
on April 23, 2013
Matthew Velan is about to start working out.
The four-month-old will soon be put on the
floor, on his tummy, by his mother – who will
“He used to get very frustrated on the fl oor,
but I think now that he’s a bit older, he’ll enjoy
it more and we’ll do more tummy time,” says
mom Jill, of her fourth son.
Matthew is lucky his mother instinctively
knows the supervised tummy-time will benefit
her growing baby.
In fact, guidelines issued by the Canadian
Society for Exercise Physiology recommend
that infants under the age of one engage in
supervised physical activity several times
a day, especially through fl oor-based play:
tummy time, reaching, pushing, pulling and
So, along with the midnight feedings,
hourly diaper changes, sleep deprivation and
general upheaval of parenting a newborn,
you now have to be conscious of your baby’s
physical activity and incorporate that into your
seemingly endless day as well?
If Canadian parents want to help reverse
the worrying crisis of childhood obesity, then
the answer is yes. It’s time to get on board with
modifying behaviours – starting practically
Babies and children have more exposure
than ever to sedentary time, which includes
all types of exposure to screens, from TV to
computers to video games and smart phones.
“The problem of childhood obesity is
multifactorial. There is not one part of society
that can fi x it,” says Dr. Claire LeBlanc, a
Montreal pediatrician and chair of the
Canadian Pediatric Society Healthy Active
Living and Sports Medicine Committee. “A
team effort is required to turn the process
around and parents of infants are an important
part of that team.”
The CPS position statement, Healthy active
living: Physical activity guidelines for children and
, identifies many risk factors that
can lead to childhood obesity. And childhood
obesity can lead to a multitude of health
“It’s not just about the weight,” says Dr.
LeBlanc. “There is high blood pressure in
kids, disruptive sleep apnea, problems with
bones and joints, low self-esteem, depression,
anxiety... We need to look at solutions that start
well before school.”
Dr. Claire LeBlanc's tips for keeping baby active:
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May/June 2013.
Minimize sedentary time, which
includes prolonged sitting in a stroller
or high chair, to no more than one
hour at a time.
- Incorporate several sessions of
tummy time into your baby’s day,
lifting the head and moving arms and
legs. This improves gross motor skills.
- No exposure to screens – TV or
any form of electronic media – is
recommended for babies under
two years of age.
- Play games like pat-a-cake and peek-aboo
– babies learn by demonstration.
Interaction with parents is excellent
- Look at what your daycare offers.
Activities vary so see if they
incorporate tummy time.
- Signing up for a gym class geared
towards little ones is OK – but make
sure to have balance between
structured and unstructured activity.
By Lianne Castelino & Andrea Howick|
April 23, 2013