10 Tips to Tame Tummy Time!

Judah has started a rapid-fire succession of milestones: smiling, cooing and now rolling over – yet tummy time remains our biggest challenge. In fact, several new moms with whom I’m friends agree that tummy time is often a battle with baby as they howl in frustration on their playmats. (Judah is no exception.)

With a little persistence when trying out some of these easy tips, you can turn cranky tummy time sessions into a fun developmental activity with baby!

  • The Benefits of Tummy Time

    The Benefits of Tummy Time

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies engage in tummy time to help develop their neck and upper back muscles. Tummy time can also prevent your baby from developing positional plagiocephaly, or a flat spot on the back of their head from spending so much time on their backs.

    I think one of the best benefits of tummy time is simply to give baby a new view of the world around them!

    photo credit: dryfish via photopin

  • Tip #1: Start early!

    Tip #1: Start early!

    Tummy time can begin as soon as babies are born; you don’t have to wait for babies to reach a certain age to begin. A good way to get baby used to the idea of laying on their bellies is to lay them on your chest while you lay down, holding them in place. Combined with kangaroo care, this is a great bonding activity for new dads.

    photo credit: koadmunkee via photopin

  • Tip #2: Get down to baby’s level

    Tip #2: Get down to baby’s level

    Babies are used to looking up at people all day long, so the sudden change of view without a direct line of sight to their parent can be worrisome for baby. Ease their stress by getting your face right down to baby’s level while they lay on their bellies.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Tip #3: Try the crib

    Tip #3: Try the crib

    If you have a bad back or bad knees, making getting up from the floor a challenge, try doing tummy time in the crib. By placing baby in the crib for tummy time, you don’t have to bend as far to pick up or interact with baby.

    photo credit: Gogonaş via photopin

  • Tip #4: Add some extra padding

    Tip #4: Add some extra padding

    If you’re doing tummy time on a playmat on a particularly hard floor such as wood or tile, spread out a blanket beneath the playmat for some extra padding. You can also slip a yoga mat underneath for especially slippery or hard surfaces.

    Here, Judah is rocking a brand-new handmade cushy quilt from our friend Claire’s mom – thanks Leslie H!

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Tip #5: Aim for a time when baby is most awake

    Tip #5: Aim for a time when baby is most awake

    As baby tires throughout the day, he might get more frustrated the more tired he is. Capitalize on baby’s energy first thing in the morning or before an afternoon nap to avoid a potentially cranky situation later in the day.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Tip #6: Wait at least an hour after a meal before starting tummy time

    Tip #6: Wait at least an hour after a meal before starting tummy time

    Just like swimming, you don’t want to jump into the pool right after you eat; likewise with baby. You’ll find that putting baby on their stomach right after they eat may lead to more spitting up. If you have a baby with reflux, try putting down a towel first to make cleaning up accidents easier.

    photo credit: neepster via photopin

  • Tip #7: Build interest with a mirror or toy

    Tip #7: Build interest with a mirror or toy

    While the world looks very different on their bellies, you can add even more interest for baby by placing a standing mirror for them to look at, or a toy for them to reach. Babies love to look at themselves in the mirror and it may help motivate them to lift up their heads to better see themselves.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Tip #8: Try shorter sessions throughout the day

    Tip #8: Try shorter sessions throughout the day

    Sometimes an extended period of tummy time may be too much for baby. Many pediatricians recommend a half hour of tummy time a day, so try breaking it up into three sessions of only ten minutes each if a half hour is too much at once for baby.

    photo credit: The Wu’s Photo Land via photopin

  • Tip #9: Try tummy time with a playmate

    Tip #9: Try tummy time with a playmate

    If you belong to a mom’s group or playgroup, everyone can try their tummy time tips at once. Younger babies can watch how older babies push up and roll over, eventually emulating their peers and building socialization at the same time!

    photo credit: marie_claire_camp via photopin

  • Tip #10: Honor baby’s limits

    Tip #10: Honor baby’s limits

    Even with your best efforts, sometimes baby just doesn’t want to do tummy time at all. You know your baby best; if she seems overwhelmed, stressed or too sleepy (since baby should always be placed on his or her back to sleep), it’s best to save the activity for another time when she’s better suited for it.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

Tagged as:
Comments
Add to the conversation