It’s a well known fact that tummy time is great for development, but it’s also common for some babies to hate tummy time. Don’t fret if that’s your case! There are many strategies to make this position easier and fun if your baby finds it uncomfortable. Keep reading to find out!
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is the practice of placing an infant on their stomach while they are awake and supervised. It is recommended for infants as part of their daily routine, and it should start from the day they come home from the hospital.
Tummy time can be done on a firm, flat surface, such as a blanket or play mat. Infants can also do it on their parent’s chest or lap.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants have at least 30 minutes of tummy time per day, spread out throughout the day.
What are the benefits of tummy time?
Being on their stomach has several benefits for babies. Here are some of them:
Gain strength on the neck muscles and upper body
One of the primary benefits is that it promotes muscle development, particularly neck and upper body strength. When babies are on their stomachs, they are forced to lift their head and use their neck muscles to look around. This helps strengthen their neck muscles, which is important for holding up their head and eventually sitting up.
Helps prevent flat head syndrome
Tummy time also helps prevent flat head syndrome, which can occur when babies spend too much time on their back. When babies are on their backs, the weight of their head can cause a flat spot to develop on the back of their head. Staying in this position helps relieve this pressure and promotes the development of a rounded head shape.
Development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
Another benefit of tummy time is that it helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. When babies are on their stomachs, they are encouraged to reach for and grab toys, which helps develop these skills.
When babies are on their stomachs, they are encouraged to look around and explore their environment from a new perspective. This helps stimulate their brain and promotes cognitive development.
Prevention of developmental delays
Practicing tummy time can help prevent future developmental delays. Studies have shown that babies who do not get enough tummy time may experience delays in their motor and cognitive development.
By doing tummy time, babies develop the strength and coordination needed to lift their head, roll over, crawl, and eventually walk. Tummy time also helps babies develop sensory skills, such as touch and sight, as they explore their environment from a different position.
But what if a baby hates tummy time?
My baby hates tummy time! Why is that?
One of the main reasons for a baby to hate tummy time is that it is a new experience for them, and they may feel uncomfortable or unsafe being on their stomachs.
Another possible reason is that it requires them to use their neck and upper body muscles, which may be weak or underdeveloped.
Additionally, some babies may not like the feeling of pressure on their bellies, which can cause them to feel uneasy.
What can I do to make my baby enjoy being in their stomach?
There are various strategies you can try to make tummy time more enjoyable for your little one. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Start practicing early
Starting tummy time as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital can help them become accustomed to the position and make it more comfortable for them. You can start placing your baby face down on your chest, and even practice skin-to-skin in this position!
Incorporate toys or music
You can place toys in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head and reach for the toys. Additionally, you can sing or talk to your little one during tummy time to make it a bonding experience.
Make it more comfortable for your baby
Use a rolled-up blanket or towel under your baby’s chest. This can help take the pressure off their belly and make it more comfortable for them to lift their head and look around. You can also try laying your baby face down on your chest, or on your legs. Feeling you close will help soothe them and make the experience more enjoyable for them.
Incorporate it gradually into your routine
Try to do it at the same time every day, even if it’s just a few seconds. You can start doing it for only 10-15 seconds, and gradually add a few seconds every day. This can help your baby become familiar with the position as part of their routine and make it easier for them to adjust.
Activity ideas to promote tummy time
If your baby hates tummy time, it can be useful to have some ideas to encourage them to stay in this position for longer periods of time. Here are some activity ideas that you can find in the Kinedu app:
If the weather is nice, wait for the sun’s peak hours to pass and take your baby to the nearest park. Set a picnic blanket on the floor, in a shaded area, and lay your baby on their stomach for some tummy time.
Sit in front of your baby, blow some bubbles and pop them as they come down. Making eye contact with your little one and inviting them to pop bubbles with you will be an excellent way to make tummy time enjoyable.
Use a mirror
Place a mirror in front of your baby during tummy time. This will encourage them to look at their reflection, which can be a fun and engaging experience.
Give them a massage
During tummy time, massage your baby’s body, using baby oil or lotion to increase its effectiveness. Observe how your baby reacts to your touch and if they smile in response. Try this a couple of times a week for a few minutes. You can find tummy time massages routines in our app. Download it today!
Place your baby on your chest
Lay your little one face down on your chest or stomach. See if you can get them to hold your fingers and maybe stretch their arms a little. Your face is their favorite sight, and your baby will love staring at you!
Encourage them with visual stimulation
Hold a visual stimulus, like a doll or noisy toy, where your baby can see it, approximately 8-12 inches away from their face. Slowly move this object up and down, and have your baby follow it with their eyes.
Lay your baby face down, supporting them with a rolled-up towel or blanket if necessary. Take their ankles and move their legs in a cycling motion, alternating between the two legs.
In conclusion, if your baby hates tummy time, is it important to keep in mind that this is an essential activity that offers numerous developmental benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to keep trying different strategies to help them practice staying in this position.
By incorporating tummy time into your baby’s routine, you will help your little one develop essential skills that will benefit them as they grow.For more ideas of activities to support your baby’s motor development, be sure to download the Kinedu app for free!