The team at Tidelands Health Women’s Center helps families navigate pregnancy and childbirth every day. Now, one of the practice’s physicians – Dr. Monica Selander – has invited us to be part of the journey as she and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, welcome a second child to their family. Follow us on Facebook, check out our Twitter feed and stop back here often to get the latest updates.
Babies generally don’t like “tummy time,” and 3-month-old Luna Han is no exception.
But Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, know how important it is to give their baby girl time on her stomach.
Every day, Dr. Selander lays Luna on a blanket on the floor so she can practice holding up her head up and improve her motor skills.
“She likes it until she doesn’t. When she’s done, she’s done,” says Dr. Selander, who offers care at Tidelands Health Women’s Center. “Sometimes I will put a little toy or something out so she has something to look at other than me, but I leave her there even if she’s complaining a little bit.”
Finding opportunities for tummy time can be a bit difficult. Between the distractions caused by her big sister, Nora, and Luna’s acid reflux, ensuring 15-20 minutes a day of tummy time isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
“Because she has reflux, she has to be held upright after feedings. So if I put her on the floor within an hour of feeding, she will spit up,” Dr. Selander says.
Add in frequent naps, and there just isn’t much time left in the day for tummy time. Dr. Selander says she lets Luna sit upright on her lap, which can also be good for upper body muscle development.
Tummy time is essential
Tummy time is an important part of development for babies, says Dr. Carrie Wood, a resident physician at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road.
“Because of the risk of SIDS, it’s not safe for babies to sleep on their stomachs,” Dr. Wood says. “That means babies need other ways to develop the muscles in their necks, shoulders and upper bodies. Strengthening these muscles prepares babies for milestones such as sitting up, rolling over, crawling and eventually walking.”
You can start tummy time with your baby as soon as you come home from the hospital, Dr. Wood says.
“Even the very youngest babies can benefit from lying on their stomachs,” she says. “Lay your baby on your chest. Your baby will feel safe and secure and will also become accustomed to lying on his or her stomach.”
As baby gets older, spread a blanket in the floor and place baby on his or her stomach for three to five minutes at a time. Try to work up to two to three sessions each day. As baby gets used to it, try for longer periods. And consider placing age-appropriate toys within reach to keep baby engaged and entertained.
“Of course, as always, it’s important to stay with your baby during tummy time,” Dr. Wood says.
Even though Luna isn’t a fan of tummy time, she is progressing well. Luna’s laryngomalacia isn’t getting worse, and she’s already forging a relationship with her big sister – at least to the extent an infant can.
Dr. Selander took the girls for vaccinations recently. After Nora got her injections, she cried again when it was time for Luna to get shots.
“They were both crying and looking at each other like, ‘what happened to you?’ They really do the cutest things, and Nora is already very protective of her sister,” Dr. Selander says.