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My daughter absolutely hated tummy time when she was little. In fact, she would start crying almost as soon as we would lay her into that dreaded position. It was excruciating to listen to her cry like that. However, I couldn’t just give up because it is a crucial part of a baby’s development. So, instead of just throwing in the towel I started experimenting with every trick I could find about getting a baby to like tummy time. Some of the tricks were a miracle and others not so much. Here are 5 different tricks that I tried that made tummy time a bit more tolerable. If your baby hates tummy time like mine did then you should absolutely give them a shot!
Timing is everything – Finding the right time of day to do tummy time is a crucial step. You don’t want to do tummy time too close to nap time or a feeding. If you are too close to a feeding your baby is more likely to spit up – which isn’t fun for anyone. If you are too close to a nap than your baby is going to be more tired and fussy. The perfect time for tummy time will vary from family to family. After all, you know your baby best. The best time for us is right after a nap. This is when Olivia has the most energy and is least likely to spit up.
Split it up – Did you know that it is recommended for newborn babies to get around 20 minutes of tummy time a day? This amount only increases as the baby gets older. I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible to get my little one to do all of that at one time. Instead of trying to do a days worth of tummy time in one setting try splitting it up. Start by trying to break it up into 5 sessions at 5 minutes each. If you need to break it down even more than that you absolutely can. Somedays you might not be able to achieve the full 20-30 minutes and that’s okay. Remember that every minute you get is a success.
Try an alternative position – Some babies aren’t comfortable doing tummy time on the floor at first and that’s okay. Did you know that tummy time doesn’t have to be on the floor to count? There are many alternative positions that you can try if your baby isn’t tolerating tummy time on the floor. A popular position to try is laying your baby on top of you chest to chest. Once your baby is comfortable try talking to them. Hearing your voice will encourage them to look up to see you. Another great option is carrying your baby over your shoulder. This will help relieve the pressure from the back of their head while also working to strengthen their neck muscles. There are so many alternative positions to traditional tummy time. Take the time to experiment with a few until you find the right fit for your baby.
Get on their level – One of the best ways to get your baby to tolerate longer bursts of tummy time is by doing it with them. After all, your baby’s favorite entertainment is you! This is an excellent time for you to play with your baby by making silly faces, singing songs, or telling them a story. Plus, being able to look up at you will encourage them to raise their head higher.
Get the right tools – A great way to get your baby to do more tummy time is to distract them. Let’s be honest, tummy time is uncomfortable and tough at first. The best way to take baby’s mind off of that is by redirecting their attention to something else. There are so many awesome toys, mats, and props that will help make this process a little easier. Don’t be afraid to try them out. We used so many different toys to distract Olivia during tummy time for those first few months. Here are some of my favorite.