I’ve encountered numerous concerns from parents over the years. Among them is a quite common one: “my baby hates tummy time”. So today, let’s dig deep into it the subject and find ways to transform this dislike into a fun activity.
Understanding Tummy Time
Before we proceed, let’s address what is tummy time?. Tummy time is when you place your baby on their belly while they’re awake and under supervision.
It is a crucial activity for babies to strengthen their neck, shoulder muscles, and develop essential motor skills.
You might be wondering, why is tummy time so important? It aids in achieving important milestones like rolling over, sitting up, and even crawling. Apart from physical benefits, it also provides a new perspective for your baby to explore the world around them.
Now, how long should tummy time be? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests starting with a few minutes at a time, gradually increasing as your baby grows stronger. By around 3-4 months, aiming for at least 40 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day is recommended.
My Baby Hates Tummy Time – Why!?
So, you’ve put your little one on their tummy, and the crying starts. You’ve noticed it’s a pattern, and your baby’s reaction to tummy time has got you worried. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. There could be several reasons your baby hates tummy time. Below are some of the most common:
Discomfort: Tummy time can be uncomfortable, especially for newborns who aren’t used to the position. They have to lift their heads, which can be quite challenging with underdeveloped neck and shoulder muscles.
Reflux: Babies with reflux may find lying on their stomachs uncomfortable or even painful. If your baby seems particularly upset during or after feeding, reflux could be the issue.
Frustration: Tummy time is hard work for a baby. The inability to move freely or lift their head can lead to frustration.
Fear of the Unknown: For a newborn, being placed on their stomach can feel very unfamiliar, as most of their time is spent on their back. This can cause them to feel insecure or scared.
Tiredness: Is your baby getting enough sleep? A lack of sleep and tiredness will often make your litlle one very grumpy and resistant to tummy time!
Lack of Visual Stimulation: When babies are on their tummy, their view is usually limited to the floor or a play mat. This can be boring for them and may not provide enough incentive to stay in that position.
How to Help Your Baby Enjoy Tummy Time
If your baby hates tummy time, then gradual introduction is key. Start with short sessions of 1-2 minutes and slowly increase the time as your baby becomes comfortable.
Try making it fun. Use tummy time toys, mirrors, or musical objects to distract and engage them (see below for some options). Play with them, get down on their level, and make faces or noises.
You can also consider using supportive tools. there are several aids or tools that can make the experience more enjoyable and effective for your baby. Here are some of the best ones:
Activity Mats/Gyms: Activity gyms often come with overhead toys that encourage your baby to reach out and play, helping to strengthen their neck and arm muscles. Some even have musical elements. The padding also provides a comfortable surface for your baby.
Soft Toys or Rattles: Placing these within your baby’s reach during tummy time can motivate them to extend their arms and improve their motor skills.
Monitoring Baby’s Progress
Recognize and celebrate your baby’s progress, no matter how small. It could be the first time they lift their head or move their hands. Remember, any progress is good progress.
However, don’t be disheartened by setbacks. It’s normal for babies to have good and bad days, just like us. But if the crying persists or if you notice any discomfort, do not hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician.
Other Alternatives to Tummy Time
If your baby still seems to detest tummy time, there are alternatives to ensure they get their muscle-strengthening activities. Try baby-wearing – carrying your baby in a carrier provides similar benefits.
Supervised playtime on your chest or laps can also serve the purpose. Engage them in interactive activities that involve reaching out for toys or moving their heads.
When to Seek Professional Help
While it’s normal for babies to dislike tummy time initially, if the aversion persists or if you notice physical concerns like a flat head or a stiff neck, it’s advisable to seek professional help.
Final Words From Me
Remember, every baby is unique and develops at their own pace. Your baby hating tummy time is not a reflection of their developmental capabilities or your parenting skills. With patience, creativity, and a little bit of trial and error, you’ll soon help your baby enjoy this important activity.
Why does my baby hate tummy time? Your baby might cry during tummy time if they find it uncomfortable or hard due to weak neck and arm muscles.
How can I make tummy time more enjoyable for my baby? You can make tummy time more enjoyable by introducing toys, mirrors, or using supportive pillows or towels.
Are there alternatives to tummy time? Yes, alternatives to tummy time include baby-wearing, supervised playtime on your chest or laps, and interactive activities.
When should I reach out to a professional for help regarding tummy time? If your baby persistently dislikes tummy time, or if you notice physical concerns such as a flat head or a stiff neck, it’s advisable to seek professional help.
Is it normal for my baby to hate tummy time? Yes, it is quite common for babies to initially dislike tummy time. With gradual introduction and a bit of fun, most babies grow to enjoy it.