We know tummy time builds head and neck muscles and helps prevent flat spots on their heads, yet most babies are very vocal about their displeasure when placed on their stomachs.
Try these ideas for making tummy time more enjoyable:
- While you're lying down, rest your baby on your chest. They'll thoroughly enjoy seeing your face. From The Inspired Treehouseopens a new window.
- For a modification, lie down on the floor, bend your knees and place your baby on your shins.
- Follow some of these ideas from CanDo Kiddoopens a new window's list of tummy time activities.
- Place objects to the side of your baby.
- Try it after changing your baby's diaper. Place a clean cloth under your baby on top of the changing table.
- No clothes!
- Roll your baby into and out of floortime.
- Place a (non-breakable) mirror in front of your baby.
- Outside tummy time!
- Provide a support system with towels or blankets rolled up and tucked under your baby's chest. From WebMDopens a new window.
- Positioning counts! Try lying baby on their side, 15 minutes for each. An exercise ball, with involved supervision by you, can do the trick, too.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, through their site HealthyChildren.org, has more research and information about why tummy time is so importantopens a new window and how to play with toysopens a new window during this critical exercise.
The keys to a happy tummy time are to start early and stop when your baby gets fussy. Try it in short bursts at first, 3 to 5 minutes at a time, then go for longer. Remember to always supervise your baby during tummy time.