Can lack of tummy time lead to developmental delays?

My baby just HATES being on her tummy so I haven't been forcing 'tummy time' as much as I have been. But my pediatrician told me recently how that tummy time is important because it leads to reading developments later on (somehow). And my brother (whose in college) had told me that he learned in class that if babies learn to walk before crawling then they will have a hard time distinguishing left from right. Have any of you heard of these regarding crawling/Tummy Time or some other future development problems similar to these? Since then I've been pushing Tummy Time again (though she throws a fit each time).


Asked by biyo49 at 12:48 PM on Jan. 31, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (9)
  • my dd hates tummy time, too. she is 5 months old. at her 4 month check up, her pedi told me that it was important but not to stress over it. he said some babies just don't like it until later, when they have better head control. he told me not to force it.
    don't worry, mama. your baby will be fine.
    I found this when i googled "crawling before walking"
    "The child who does not crawl and is developmentally appropriate is at no greater risk for learning disabilities than the child who crawls. "

    "Some babies skip crawling altogether and move directly to pulling up, standing, and walking. Since the "Back to Sleep" campaign was initiated in 1994, more babies seem to be crawling later or skipping it completely. "


    Answer by Pieta0227 at 11:24 PM on Feb. 1, 2009

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  • Yes, tummy time is importand because it helps develop their trunk muscles which in turn helps to develop certain parts in the brain. Crawling is important too. My son's OT and I were just talking about this.

    Answer by SusieD250 at 12:57 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • Tummy time is very important, like it or not my kids did tummy time. Not only does it help with their trunk muscles, it prevents flat spots on the back of their heads.

    Answer by lapcounter at 1:41 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • I know tummy time is important for physical development, but hadn't heard anything about reading. I HAVE heard (although I don't know how true it is) that if your child learns to walk before crawl their is a greater chance of stuttering (sounds kinda old'wives tale-ish to me) and the longer your child crawls for the higher the IQ.
    For your little peanut... just do Tummy time a couple of minutes/day a few times/week. My son hated it also but we didn't (he learned to roll having a tantrum) He now likes it!! It helped if I was down on my tummy too talking and singing to him
    And Tummy time doesn't have to be on the floor... you could try putting your baby on your tummy while you lay on your back

    Answer by AmiJanell at 2:04 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • I haven't heard of it being linked to reading. But I have heard kids who don't learn to crawl CAN (not always) have some issues later... things like not being able to integrate both sides of the body easily and possible lower back issues as an adult. When we crawl, we move a limb on each side of the body at the same time - cross crawling it's called. Left arm with right leg, right arm with left leg. That helps build the cross connections in the brain, letting both sides of the brain talk to each other more efficentlly later in life. At least that's the theory.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 2:08 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • i've neverheard of any of this, but my son hated tummy time at first too.Just show her all the things she can do( roll her over) play w/ her and such. She'll adjust to it. I really dont see how any of those things can impair or help.Its all a process of learning.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:15 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • Never heard of such things. Yes babies need tummy time. No you don't need to force it. When they can't lift up their heads and move a little, they don't usually like it. I rarely put any of my kids on their tummy until they could move a bit (4-6 months). Every child is different. My first son was crawling by 4 months old and my last son would stay on his tummy for more that 5 seconds until he was 6 months old. He is 7 months old now and crawling.

    Answer by Amber115 at 2:25 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • I haven't heard of that either but tummy time is extremely important for a number of developmental reasons. Laying on their stomach and lifting their head helps develop the curve in the neck. It helps them learn to roll both ways and helps build important muscles they'll need for crawling. Crawling is important because it helps develop the curve in our lower back. Buy a tummy time mat that has colorful pictures and toys attached so your baby will learn to like being on her stomach. Once she gains good control of her neck muscles and can hold her head up easily it will be less of an issue for her probably.

    Answer by flalbert at 3:12 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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  • At my daycare, the infant room just told me that after they change a daiper they place the baby on their tummy on the floor while they clean up the table and their duaghter is 2 1/2 months and they were telling all the parents does help with their trunk muscles. and my son is 2 1/2 yrs and he walked way before he would crawl and i am starting him with the left and rite thing and he understands it enough for a 2 yr old! also he hasnt picked a hand yet to favor and the drs say that he should but he may be (whatever the word is for that) so it all depends on the child but tummy time is important even if its just 5 mins

    Answer by pebbles425 at 3:30 PM on Jan. 31, 2009

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