Stop Tummy Time Tears!
We’ve all been there. You place baby on their tummy on the floor and like clockwork, your baby starts crying and you wonder What do I do if baby hates tummy time? Babies spend so much time lying on their back, but it’s so important for them to do tummy time to build strength in their neck and back muscles that will help them reach critical movement milestones later on. Regular tummy time also helps your little one become better at moving, which helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Tummy time benefits also include:
- Improving your baby’s head and neck control
- Strengthening your baby’s back, shoulder and other core muscles
- Developing hand-eye coordination
- Decreasing chances of developing flat head syndrome
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing your baby on their belly 2-3 times per day for 5 minutes each time and then extending this time to 40 minutes total per day as baby gets older. But if your baby isn’t a fan of tummy time, don’t worry. These tips will help:
Change Baby’s Positions
Start by doing tummy time once or twice per day for 3 to 5 minutes. As your baby gets older and their muscles develop, you can increase the number of sessions you do tummy time sessions and the duration. Pretty soon your baby will be able to manage more tummy time on their own and may even learn to roll over on their own which will help them develop strength and turn over on their own in the crib.
One way to decrease tummy time tears, especially during the newborn period is by placing your baby on your chest while you lie semi-reclined. Place your baby on your chest on their belly. This will motivate your baby to make eye contact with you and lift their head to see your face. It can be a great position for bonding with your new baby and sneaking in some snuggles while getting productive tummy time in.
Another way to get more tummy time logged is to try the football hold position with one hand under the tummy between the legs and carrying baby with their tummy down on your arm. Use your other hand to provide support to baby’s head and neck.
Give Them Support
Rolling a towel and placing it under your baby’s torso and chest can give them the support they need when starting out with tummy time on the floor. Parents can also log massage time by massaging their back while they do tummy time so that you can fit in vital baby massage while still logging your tummy time minutes. A Boppy like pillow is also a great way and many babies prefer that support to just lying flat on their bellies.
Distract & Entertain
You can’t blame your baby for not liking being left on the floor alone. You can lie down in front of them and play games, hold their hands and sing songs to help them get more comfortable on the floor. This is an opportunity for you to bond with your baby so make it a fun activity that they can look forward to.
Another great tool is the Kahlmi massage wand since your baby can hold it and the gentle vibrations will calm and relax them. You can also take turns letting baby hold the Kahlmi and massaging them with it so they experience tummy time as a pleasurable and relaxing experience. You can gently massage baby's back using the same circular motion as you did on their belly, stroking down to their legs.
And try not to stress if your baby hates tummy time. If you’re finding it difficult, just take a break for a few days and resume later. You can also try to shorten tummy time sessions so your baby doesn’t get upset. Always remember, that even a little tummy time every day is better than no tummy time.