Tummy Time Matters

By Dr. Bryant Harris

Does your happy little bundle of joy screams bloody murder when you put them on their tummy??

If so, as a loving parent, you probably swoop in to rescue your damsel in distress...But wait!

In your attempt to protect your child from something that is clearly not comfortable, you may actually be contributing to something that will lead to much more painful experiences for your child later in life.


Tummy time is a normal postural position that is necessary to help “exercise” specific areas of your child’s developing brain.

It requires the child to lift their head, and eventually upper body, up against gravity.

When a child does this, it sends specific types of sensory information into the brain that allows them to know where they are in space and how they should move about the world.

This information, known as vestibular and proprioception, is essential for a human being to feel safe and secure and navigate about the world.

Another key sensory system that relies on tummy time for good development is the visual system.

Approximately 70-80% of the information we take in within a given day is visual in nature. If the visual processing system is poorly developed, things like reading, writing, copying, hand-eye coordination and more will be compromised.

The visual system closely interacts and relies on, the vestibular and proprioceptive systems. The development and integration of sensory-motor systems are key in order for the most optimal academic, social, emotional and motor skill learning to take place.

If there is a weakness in the development of these sensory-motor systems, it can lead to a variety of struggles later on in life.

Some of these struggles may be seen in the form of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

As well as learning, attention and behavioral disorders. Later in life, children may also get “mislabeled” as having “ADD/HD” or “dyslexia” if these three systems are poorly developed.

Why A Child May Not Like Tummy Time

There are a few common reasons a baby does not like tummy time and it is important to try and determine the WHY behind a child’s behavior.

A pediatric chiropractor trained in neurofunctional development is a great resource to help you determine WHY your little one struggles with this important postural position.

Some reasons a child may fight tummy time:

Why Chiropractic Care?

During pregnancy and delivery, a baby’s spine and muscles undergo chronic subtle stressors just by the nature of the positions they encounter.

Sometimes those stressors are more pronounced with given situations such as breech presentations, forceps/suction cup assistance, and even cesarean births.

These stressors can lead to subtle abnormal motion of a spinal segment.

This is what chiropractors refer to as a NeuroSpinal shift.When motion of spinal joints or muscles around the spine are altered, it will lead to abnormal sensory input into the brain. Baby’s may not like tummy time because these subtle stressors are either painful and/or they are limiting the baby’s ability to get into certain postural positions.

Another important reason for chiropractic care is that a child’s brain and nervous system is developing rapidly in the first two years of life.

In fact, a baby’s brain doubles in size in the first three months of life. There is a growing body of research that supports the fact that CHIROPRACTIC CARE affects brain and sensory-motor function.

The earlier that spinal stressors are addressed and corrected, the healthier the development of the brain and nervous system in a child!