Arya passed another baby milestone this week.
Despite lots of complaining, she managed to do her first baby push-ups.
Our daughter hated tummy time for the past two months. Now that she has learned how to hold her head and neck off the ground she actually enjoys being on her tummy for up to a minute at a time.
Baby push-ups — which are also called mini-push-ups — require babies placed in a prone position to lift their heads up at least 45 degrees off the floor using their arms as support. All babies learn to do baby push-ups from experience with tummy time.
Although Arya complained about tummy time since she was born, we insisted she spend at least a minute on her tummy multiple times each day. Like other parents, we have always been a little concerned about delayed development. Since we always have her sleep on her back, she is likely to have delayed head and neck motor development relative to babies who sleep on their tummies.
Having baby sleep on her back is clearly preferable to avoid SIDS. But the combination of back sleeping and late motor development of the head is actually a contributing factor to SIDS death in older infants.
Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs are more likely to die from suffocation if they spontaneously turn over onto their front during the night.
The lowest risk is for babies who always sleep on their backs and have high levels of head and neck motor development.
Tummy time is the best way to encourage needed exercise and the ability to do baby push-ups is a sign of appropriate head and neck development. We have also tried other ways to help strengthen the muscles needed for baby push-ups.
Regardless of whether our efforts had any effect or Arya just learned to do baby push-ups on her own, we are thrilled that our baby now likes tummy time. She likes to push herself up and look around the whole room. After a minute she gets tired and starts to complain, but I expect the duration of her push-ups will lengthen as her muscles get even stronger with practice.