Importance of Tummy Time: Featuring Dairian Roberts

Photo courtesy of Dairian

If you have been in the newborn industry for any length of time or if you are a parent, then you have heard the term tummy time. Tummy time is when you place infants on their tummy while they are awake and under your supervision to encourage development. We called in an expert in this area, Dairian, the owner of Humbled Motherhood to have her share some more information on tummy time. Dairian is sharing some tips on tummy time and how babies need it even if they don't like it. 

Dairian has 7 years of experience working as an Occupational Therapist. She started her career in the specialty of hand therapy but also has experience working in the hospital ICU, outpatient, school setting, and of course working with infants.  After becoming a mom herself, Dairian decided to follow her new passion for supporting women in motherhood through lactation support, postpartum care, and infant development. Dairian is passionate about helping families reach their parenting goals of being active participants in their baby’s development.

Dairian has served over 100 families through community workshops, in-home consultations, and community events. Her personal mission is to empower families to make educated decisions regarding their baby’s development and care. Her approach to treatment: simplicity, the easier the better. She combines compassion with clinical expertise. As a clinician, Dairian is continuously learning new techniques to better educate and serve families in her community.

Dairian is the owner and founder of Humbled by Motherhood where she is able to assist women in motherhood through lactation support, postpartum care, and infant development. She also helps families in her area through workshops, in-home consultations, and community events.  She also offers a virtual toolkit called Tummy Time Toolkit (perfect for people that are still at home) to assist any family with what tummy time should look like (how high the head should be, where the arms should be, what are the legs doing, etc), milestone or other development linked to this stage of tummy time as well as to do's and action items to help you and your baby.

importance of tummy time

Photo courtesy of Dairian

What’s the importance of Tummy Time and why is Tummy Time needed for development?

Dairian: Tummy time is the foundation for many development skills, not just gross motor skills (big movements) such as rolling, crawling, and walking. Tummy time is important for fine motor skills (the refined movements) such as oral motor skills, visual-motor skills, and our sensory system. Tummy time is so much more than development neck strength and "head control"

How often do you suggest Tummy Time and for how long?

Dairian: I usually tell families to focus less on the amount of time. We know the brain loves consistency, so short, frequent sessions throughout the day are completely fine when building tolerance.

What is the best surface for Tummy Time and what are some great toys and accessories to include with Tummy Time?

Dairian: The best surface is on the floor. Soft surfaces such as a bed or couch can actually make it harder for the baby to move. A familiar face (parents, siblings, pets) are best, but my go-to toys for babies that need more motivation are tummy time wobbler from Lovevery play kit, lamaze rattle, or noggin stick, manhattan skwish, or fat brain whirly squigz.

What do you do when a baby cries or acts like they don’t like Tummy Time?

Dairian: I teach parents the Tummy Time method, a method that focuses on recognizing baby's cues before they start crying. When the baby is noticeably becoming more uncomfortable, we roll the baby off of their belly onto their back. Another option is to roll the baby to their side and engage them with soothing techniques or toys. If the baby does not like being on their tummy, the focus should be on creating more positive experiences and using modifications to build endurance. We should never force a baby who is demonstrating signs of distress.

5) What happens to babies that don’t get the proper Tummy Time?

Dairian: Tummy time is crucial in today's culture where babies spend more time on their backs and in equipment like bouncers and swings (this can be referred to as Container Baby Syndrome which you can read more about here in our blog). Babies need unrestricted movement so their body can feel the forces of gravity equally. Lack of intentional time on their tummy can lead to plagiocephaly (flat spots on their head) or general developmental delay.

6) Please share about your profession as an occupational therapist, what type of classes you have for babies like your workshop and any other details.

Dairian: Occupational therapists assist individuals to participate in their daily activities. For babies, their major activities are feeding and playing. My practice focuses on the early infant period and lactation. I offer various workshops for parents and professionals about tummy time, oral motor skills, and the introduction of solids. 

7) Please share how readers can find out more about you or your workshops. 

Dairian: You can learn more about my services and classes on the website here or on Instagram here.

8) What has been your biggest take away as a student of Newborn Care Solutions?

Dairian: My biggest takeaway from Newborn Care Solutions was sleep. We learn about creating healthy sleep habits in occupational therapy school, but this was more practical information and the wealth of knowledge in the room was incredible. 

importance of tummy time

Photo courtesy of Dairian.

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Darian Roberts
Additional Articles by Darian:

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