All three of my babies have HATED tummy time for the first few months of their lives. They scream almost the instant I place them on the blanket for the ever-important time on their bellies. We all know that babies should not sleep on their tummies and should ALWAYS be put to bed on their backs. Medical professionals, however, are in agreement that babies should have at least 30 minutes of supervised tummy time each day in order to develop the neck muscles. Honestly, it is nearly unbearable to watch your child scream and cry for the recommended 30 minutes of tummy time each day (even if you only do it only 5 minutes at a time).
Over the years, I’ve gotten creative when it comes to tummy time. Here are four tips for when your baby hates tummy time. Hopefully these suggestions will make the time much more enjoyable for your baby (and for you):
1. Tummy-to-Tummy Time
Put a pillow underneath your neck and lay flat on your back on the ground. Put your baby on top of your tummy, making sure that you have both hands free to catch her in case she wobbles to either side. Talk to her, sing to her, make funny faces and noises. At first, she might not be able to hold her head up high enough to see your face, but it will be comforting to her just being near you.
2. Knee Rock-a-Bye
Sit in a chair and place your baby on your lap, laying over your knees. Be sure that her head is supported and not dangling over the edge of your knees. Slowly and ever-so-gently rock your knees from side-to-side. Sing a song or talk to your baby.
This typically comes natural when holding a baby, but holding your baby on your shoulder allows the baby to practice holding his/her head up. Just be sure you have your hand free to support his/her head as necessary (especially with younger babies). She will enjoy seeing the world around her from an upright perspective. :)
4. Mirror, Mirror on the Floor:
A shatterproof mirror is a wonderful tummy time tool. Place the mirror 6-12 inches in front of your baby and encourage her to hold her head up and look into the mirror. Once she catches a glimpse of her reflection, she might even smile at her “new friend”.
Does your baby love tummy time or hate it???