Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: The Truth About Tummy Time

I don't know which of the following I want to say first:
HOORAY!!!!
At last . . . .
Amen and Halelujah!
I told you so!
Please listen!
I think I will settle for all of the above!  

Author, Stephanie Pruitt, is a physical therapist and the mother of three sons.  She began to question some of the advice given to her during the infancy of her first child when he developed some conditions that required intervention.  She did her research, and combined with her experience, she began to blow away the fog of professional advice given to young mothers.

Stephanie gives us a good foundation of physical development milestones of infants from a PT perspective----PLUS the added bonus of appropriate respect for reflexes.  She explains in everyday terms the importance of these things and the potential consequences of the lack of tummy time.  Stephanie makes the subject understandable but doesn't condescend---artfully done!  She recommends some good preventative measures to avoid plagiocephaly and other consequences of insufficient time in the prone position.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is correctly defined, and the statistics are explained and put into their appropriate context---this one item alone makes the book worth its weight in gold! 

Below are some of my favorite excerpts from the book:

There is a direct relationship between the amount of physical activity engaged in and whether a child will meet motor milestones on schedule. (I feel another AMEN coming on!)

...many reflexes can only be accessed from the prone position.  In other words, they require that the baby be placed on his stomach to utilize them.

It is possible that there may not be a single cause of sudden infant death syndrome, but rather, many different causes.  As researchers are learning more by investigating infants who died unexpectedly, we are possibly getting closer to explaining most if not all sudden infant deaths.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) policy statement reveals that because of this change in infant mortality diagnostics, the "true SIDS rate" since 1999 may remain the same. (This is VERY significant because many pediatricians teach their patients that SIDS was reduced by 53% because of the advent of the "back to sleep" campaign.  Mrs. Pruitt goes into much more depth to explain the real meaning behind the statistics.)

Since the inception of the Back to Sleep program, the incidence of torticollis has increased by 84%.

The incidence of plagiocephaly has increased by 48% since the introduction of the Back to Sleep program.

Parents have told me that the doctor assured them the head deformation will go away on its own over time. This cannot be further from the truth.  Plagiocephaly will not resolve by itself if nothing changes about the way the infant is cared for.  If he continues to lie in the favored position, the plagiocephaly---and torticollis---will get worse.

I recommend this book and will be giving it as a baby gift when I am invited to showers.  Stephanie Pruitt has done the world a great service by writing The Truth About Tummy Time.