5 Creative Ways to Do Tummy Time
If you’ve spent any time around new parents, you’ve probably heard them comparing “Tummy Time” experiences. But if you ask your own parents about how they did tummy time with you, they inevitably have no idea what you are talking about. Why? Tummy time is a recent term. In the 90’s, a “Back to Sleep” campaign started advising parents to have their babies sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS. While successful, it created a need for ensuring babies spent enough time on their belly for normal development. Hence “Tummy Time” became a recommended part of a baby’s daily routine.
Tummy time is essential for your baby’s muscular and motor skill development and starts from the time your baby is born. But what if your baby hates tummy time (after all, it’s hard work!)? My little one couldn’t stand traditional tummy time on the floor. She cried the second I got her into position, with each minute feeling like an eternity of frustrated tears. I then learned some creative ways to do it. Suddenly I was able to hit time goals in tummy time and we even had a little fun.
Here are some other ways to get creative with tummy time:
On You: Skin to Skin
This is the best way to start baby on tummy time – In fact, you are quite possibly already doing this kind of tummy time. While enjoying some skin-to-skin snuggles, recline (fully supported) on your sofa or bed at about a 45 degree angle, laying your little one belly-down on your chest. Baby will lift their head to look at your face.
On You: Hold Baby in Tummy Time
When you are walking around, start making a habit of carrying your baby belly-down a few times a day. As they work to look around them, this also becomes a great opportunity to introduce them to their home and outdoor environments.
This was done with my 1 year old, but we’ve carried her this way since she was a couple months old
On You: Across Your Lap
Sometimes baby gets fussy in tummy time because they want to be with you. That’s where this tummy time version comes in handy. Sit with baby tummy-down across your legs in your lap. Place something on the other side for them to look at and connect with baby with your touch and voice.
If you want to get really playful with tummy time on your legs, you can play airplane with baby: lie on your back with your legs elevated and knees bent with baby resting tummy down on your shins. Use your hands to secure her chest to your legs. Let the smiles and giggles ensue! (Be aware of your own core position during this: we aren’t encouraging you to hold a crunch, but it’s a great opportunity to connect with baby after you do Functional Progression 1! You could even do tummy time in Functional Progression 1!)
On a Nursing Pillow
Using a prop like a nursing pillow can help achieve optimum positioning while giving baby a better view of the world around them. Lay baby on a nursing pillow on the floor with their arms over the top. Once there, try placing toys, pictures, a mirror, or yourself in front of them to help entertain them. This will keep them engaged, allowing you to keep them in tummy time longer.
On an Exercise Ball
This was a game changer in our household. Place a blanket over an exercise ball (my little one preferred no blanket). Then, lay your baby on the ball so you are holding them upright at an angle. When comfortable, slowly roll the ball forward until your baby becomes more horizontal. Once there, get playful and gently roll them around in different directions while allowing them to enjoy tummy time with a little movement.
Jenny WerbaBIRTHFIT SF @birthfit_sf