An obstetrical patient of mine asked me to post a blog about newborns. Here’s an important subject. SIDS death risk has decreased in recent years . . .but treatment of SIDS has caused other problems with infants to increase. The “back-to-sleep” campaign to prevent SIDS has encouraged parents to place the infant on their back for sleeping, instead of on their stomach. There are 3 problems that have occurred due to too little “tummy time.”
- Gross motor movement delay. Parents are placing their children on their back when they are asleep (this is good!) but also when awake (which can hurt their development). This delay, which can manifest as early as 2-3 months of age, can be seen as an inability to raise his/her head when on their stomach. Prevention/Treatment: one hour a day of tummy time.
- Flattening or widening of the skull (plagiocephaly or brachycephaly). Babies are more likely to get this in the first 4 months of life in male infants, first-born, those who don’t move their head much, bottle feeding and in a child whose head is routinely placed to the same-side during feedings. Prevention/Treatment: varying head position when laying the child down for sleep or molding therapy with a helmet.
- Head tilt to one side (torticollis). 1 of 6 newborns is born with torticollis, a head tilt, due to the head being stuck in one position inside the mom’s uterus. Prevention/Treatment: neck motion exercises, awake tummy-time and changing head-position during sleep.
Hope this helps.