Experts say babies need more than “tummy time” to prevent developing “flat spots” on their heads.

Paediatric physiotherapist Liz Williams told 9NEWS she’s noticed an increasing number of babies with the condition known as plagiocephaly, which causes “flat spots”, or uneven head shapes.

1,300 babies are treated each year for a condition called ‘flat head’.

“They not only get flat at the back, they bulge at the front and their ears can move and their eyes can move and it’s quite alarming for parents,” Ms Williams said.

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Researchers have said parents now need to incorporate “face time”, and that it’s never too early to start.

In conjunction with the University of Melbourne, the Royal Children’s Hospital is endorsing a new Facetime Plus Tummy Time fact sheet to distribute to new parents.

What can you do?
• Support newborn babies in the curled up position
• Choose your time for playing:
– when baby is looking at you
– after nappy change
– in the bath
• Tummy time can be when they are lying on you
• Face time can be in your arms
• Both face time and tummy time can be on the floor
• Look at their eyes (eye contact):
– imitate baby making mouth shapes
– get them to follow your eyes and turn their head themselves.

Full details here

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  • Initially it used to be common practise as it strengthens baby’s neck muscles. Ours hated it an would scream. I started using shorter sessions than recommended but doing it more often.

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  • I always knew tummy time was important. Even from a few weeks old I’d have tummy time with my babies…..either on a mat on floor or laying on me. (Of course supported on floor and head turnt). I’ve seen some babies with flat spots but this is becoming more common due to most parents following safe sleep and always laying Bub on back to sleep. A flat spot may develop but safe sleeping is more important. And as they grow and get stronger and have more time looking around the head shape goes back as babies heads are intentionally flexible to allow for brain development and growth. I did tummy time and face time to engage with my babies as well as imitate facial expressions and got first smiles form each of my kids while doing tummy/face time. It’s vital for their development and my second youngest was holding his head and neck up just before 3 months. I believe this was unique to him as he’s a strong little fella. But parents define need to do tummy and face time and a flat spot if develops is nowhere near as disastrous than not strenghting bubs muscles or not following safe sleep guidelines.

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  • Wow tummy time is vital for babies. I never knew about flat head problems.

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  • Tummy time just makes sense.

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  • I had not heard of this flat head condition. Thankfully my sons did not get it. I realise I always did eye contact and talking to them too They both liked to lay on their tummies and aise there heads, liiked like little turtles, I would laugh and they would too. I have few younger friends and will pass this message too, you share the best advice and education so thank you

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  • Tummy time wasnt spoken about much when i had my children ( years ago) but it was something we just did . It’s important and fun to watch them develop !


    • It just makes sense for sure to have tummy time! :)

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  • One of my kids had a flat head this when I realised that tummy time is important so we started doing tummy time ftom2 months onwards and the condition improved

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