For growing babies, tummy time is kind of a big deal. Lying on the ground, stomach-down, is actually a great workout that conditions the typical baby’s arms, shoulders, neck, and upper back muscles. The only question is, how does your baby feel about tummy time? Some babies will stick to the ground like a snail while others may sometimes resist, usually with lots of flailing and wailing. If your baby proves tough to persuade, try encouraging this important baby ritual with the following modifications.
The next time you lay your baby down, try placing her favorite picture board book or toy right in front of her. This can distract your baby from thinking, “Hey! Why did they put me on my stomach?!” If a toy puts her at ease, you might want to consider investing in a tummy time gym, which is designed to provide ample entertainment for babies assuming this new and unfamiliar position.
Once your baby starts displaying signs of head and neck control (usually around 3-4 months) you can add some spice to tummy time by propping her up with a nursing pillow or a small firm cushion. Simply position the pillow beneath your baby’s arms and chest, and see what happens next. For some babies, a heightened perspective can flip their outlook on tummy time from “No way” to “Woohoo!”
Make tummy time a social affair. As soon as your baby is on the ground, bring your face up close to her and talk it out. If anyone else is home, you can encourage him or her to join the party as well. Even the presence of a family pet can be just enough to keep your baby happily occupied and unbothered during tummy time.