altI haven't read the book myself, but was thrilled to find this review of The Truth about Tummy Time:  A Parent's Guide to SIDS, the Back to Sleep Program, Car Seats and More by pediatric physical therapist Stephanie J. Pruitt.  It's about time someone from the medical profession admitted that Back to Sleep has led to a significant rise in physical problems and developmental delays in our children.

What I find especially interesting is that Back to Sleep is only part of the problem.  See this article, Shackles for Babies, particularly the comments that follow from another pediatric physical therapist.  Babies are being left on their backs during the day as well as at night, despite the known value of "tummy time."  What's much worse, many are kept for hours on end in baby entertainment devices and rigid baby carriers that keep them in unnatural positions and do far more damage than leaving them on their backs, but free to move.  Scary.

Even the strictest adherents of Back to Sleep can make a point of giving their babies freedom to move the rest of the hours of the day.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Edit
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I see I'm used as a positive example in the comments to that article. ;) Vivienne doesn't get as much floor time as Joseph did, I think. My question with the second baby is, how do you keep her safe from the enthusiastic but not perfectly under control love of her older brother? Also, I learned with Joseph that time on the back is important for stretching the back, as when the baby grabs his feet, which Joseph didn't do until late because he spent almost all of his time on his tummy, but I suppose that's not a common problem.

Posted by IrishOboe on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

"how do you keep her safe from the enthusiastic but not perfectly under control love of her older brother?"

Playpens. Not "jails for babies" as they were derided in my day, but better seen as protective custody for all ...

Posted by katie baker on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Right. Playpens aren't prisons to a non-mobile baby, as long as the surface is something on which she can develop crawling skills. Once she's mobile, she's better protected from sibling damage. Joy may have a different perspective, I will admit. Younger siblings grow up tough. And it works both ways. I remember Jonathan and Noah putting Faith in a makeshift playpen (box) so she wouldn't mess up their Lego play. :)

Car seats, on the other hand, really are prisons, albeit necessary at times. It simply can't be good for body or mind to be kept so immobile for long stretches of time.

I didn't know that about the importance of back time, though it makes sense that all natural positions have their purpose.

Floor time will be easier with Vivienne, too, when the house gets a bit warmer.

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Yes, the pack n' play is good when I can't be right there for a while, but her considerate brother likes to give her toys to play with. Big, heavy toys that he drops in without looking where her head is . . . Yes, we're working on rules, but just because he obeys most of the time doesn't mean a toy won't get dropped on a head. So far, so good. It's mostly Mommy's imagination that makes her worry. And God is always in control. Still, we should be responsible.

Posted by IrishOboe on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 2:25 am

You're quite right. Obedience is a learned skill. You can't protect against every eventuality, but it's best to take extra precautions when the consequences of disobedience—or simple forgetfulness—can be fatal. Of course there will be safety rules for the four lively youngsters who will be visiting us soon, e.g. no horseplay near the pool, no swimming without an adult present. But I'll still keep an eagle eye on the pool whenever they're out in the back yard. Good intentions don't protect even seasoned adults from doing harm. Those who are still learning the rules of life deserve extra protection from themselves—and their siblings.

Posted by SursumCorda on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 7:19 am

I'm having fun explooring your blog! I am a crazy tummy-time adherent, and also flipped my babies to tummy sleep around 6 months. Both kids walked well before a year, and Roslyn, despite her club foot brace was easily rolling at 2.5 months and now rolls even with her brace on. It drives me NUTS to see babies strapped into car seats but not in the car, and babies strapped into strollers when they could be on a blanket in the grass learning to be kids!

Posted by Monica on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I certainly buy that tummy time helps children develop, but I don't think it's linear - I say this to guard against discouragement if a tummy time baby meets certain milestones later than expected. Even with extensive tummy time Joseph didn't walk until 13 months of age.

Posted by Stephan on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Good point, Stephan. And his mother, who slept on her tummy from the beginning, didn't walk till 15 months. She may have gotten less tummy time than her sister, for safety reasons; I don't remember. But she certainly got plenty, and was the world's best creeper. I'm not wanting to panic parents. There's plenty of room for normal variation, and for kids zooming ahead on one area while falling temporarily behind in another. Assuming, that is, that they get the all-important opportunity.

It seems that Roslyn, despite the restrictions of casts, surgery, and now a brace, has been given more mobility opportunity in her young life than some born-healthy babies today.

I do get frustrated when doctors -- observing that the average appears to have moved, that more children are considered "delayed," and that many don't even go through the normal stages of crawling and creeping -- have, instead of addressing the issues, merely moved the bar. In this they take their cues from the educators, who "recentered" the SAT because average had become below average, and the New York State Board of Regents, which responded to low student scores on their high school exams by ... what? Improving the schools? No, by making the questions easier.

Posted by SursumCorda on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm
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