7 reasons we designed the Heads Up tummy time play mat for babies
- When it came to tummy time with our first child, it was often something we just forgot about and it got harder to remember as we had more kids and there was more to do. We now have three young children under the age of 4, so there’s now even more to do. It means we love products that give our kids independence partly because that’s what gives us time back as parents, but more importantly because it’s what is better for their development. But we found that without a prompt, tummy time was something we often forgot about. It was more ‘thing’ to do and it was often too easy to just let them lay on their backs while we busied ourselves with something else. We wanted a visual reminder and a space that encouraged us to put our babies down on their front to get the time on their tummy they needed.
- Our eldest child spent too much time resting on the back of their head when they were little and it ended up making his head a little bit lopsided at the back (we’re sorry!). While we think that was partly due to the strength and thickness of the mattress we used originally, looking into the science suggests this is a far more common problem than we often realise. About 1 in 5 children suffer from flat head syndrome (yep, that’s what it’s really called!). And the biggest cause is the change in advice to sleep babies on their backs which means they often are resting their head in the same position. Tummy time is the best way to counter this, by helping them strengthen their neck and core muscles from a young age. A tummy time mat like the Heads Up mat we’ve designed is the perfect way to help encourage that development. It will obviously mean spending less time on their back, but more importantly, it will mean when they are on their back, they’ll have developed the strength to be able to move their head into different positions so you hopefully wont get the same constant pressure on one part of their head.
- In theory, any cushioned mat will allow you to put your baby down on their front, but when we used fabric mats they got mucky quickly. Our babies all had varying degrees of reflux and tummy time in particular seemed to induce being sick. While a quick wet wipe might help, over time it was pretty grim. We also didn’t love the thought that our babies were then putting their face in that same mat and chewing and licking it. We wanted a mat that was easy to wipe clean and disinfect to avoid this problem.
- The biggest pain point of tummy time for us was our kids didn’t really like time on their front. This didn’t encourage us to do it very often as it ended in panicked crying pretty quickly. While the advice is to build up to your baby spending 30 minutes on their front in a day (not all in one go) by the time they’re 3 months, we didn’t think we’d ever make it to that length of time. It was hard to keep remembering to put them down on their front, and it was even harder to do it for any significant amount of time. It was easier to put them on their back just so they would be content for longer than about 30 seconds. A space or mat that was more engaging was key to distracting them long enough to help build up the time they spent on their front without too much drama. A mat that engaged or distracted them for longer was the answer. Given they spent a lot of time looking down when they were learning to spend time on their front, the mat itself needed to be engaging enough to distract them from the discomfort of this new position.
- There’s a lot of stuff you’re ‘meant’ to do as a parent. Tummy time is one of them. But all these things quickly become chores. So much of having kids is a blessing, but if we’re not careful we get fixated on the ‘what we have to do’ and forget about the ‘what we get to do’. That’s why we wanted GRASP products to be fun! Fun breaks us out of the rut of thinking, “I have to” because it makes us smile. Your child developing and learning to reach, roll and crawl is exciting and a lot of fun. So we wanted a mat that reflected the fun of this process. Less about the tears and the effort that goes into it, and more focused on the joy of what the hard work for them (and you) brings.
- A baby’s eyesight is weak when they’re born. What they recognise are high contrasting colours. Sometimes brands confuse that with needing all the primary colours to be used on every object. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, the contrast of black and white is about as stark as you can get so it’s perfect for young babies spending time staring down at the floor while they learn to lift up their heads. Coincidently, while that high contrast of black and white is great for babies, it’s also a nice tasteful antidote to the usual baby clutter. So our GRASP mat looks a little different to the usual patterns and backgrounds, but it’s the best for babies and hopefully a little less of an eye-sore for your home.
- We wanted a mat that was easy to fold down because we live in a small city flat without much space. Floor space is at a premium, so we didn’t want to have a huge mat or a permanent fixture. We wanted something compact that could be put away easily, and when it was out it didn’t take up an inordinate amount of space. The Heads Up mat is the perfect size for young babies learning to practice tummy time, but it won’t take over your living space either.
Huge congratulations, Shreya! What a wonderful contribution you’ve made to the development of babies that’s highly effective, classy, and fun.
All the best 🙂👍👍
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