Over the years, we have mentioned the importance of “Tummy
Time” several times (for a few examples, click
Tummy time is when your baby is put down
on his or her stomach, while awake, and is important for muscle development (for
information about tummy time from the AAP, click
Recently, we got an email from a reader with this question:
need help! I know my baby needs to spend time on his tummy when he is awake,
but he HATES it! Every time I put him down, he fusses and gets upset. What
should I do?
As I have mentioned before, my youngest daughter Charlotte
did not like tummy time much when she was little (to read more, click
). To answer this reader’s question, I put together this list of tips I
learned with Charlotte:
slow. Limit tummy time to just a few minutes at a time to start. Even this
short time is helpful for muscle development and you can increase the time
gradually once your gets comfortable.
down to your baby’s level. It is
good to get down there and make sure there isn’t anything making the baby
uncomfortable, like a scratchy rug or blanket, the sun shining in through the
window, or a draft from the air conditioner.
entertainment. The best entertainment for a young baby during tummy time is
your face. As we mentioned in our post Mothers
and Babies: Face to Face and Heart to Heart, your baby loves to look at
your face, so get down there with him and let him look at you. You will be able
to distract him from his new position and help him feel safe and secure with
your nearby. Siblings can be great entertainment
too and older babies like to look at toys and even begin trying to reach for
things as they get older!
the timing. Before putting baby down, consider what has happened just
before or what might happen soon. Did your baby just eat? Having a full tummy might
be more uncomfortable. If he is tired or has been playing for a while, he might
get frustrated faster.
it calm and quiet. Consider what is
going on around him. Is there a lot of noise or movement nearby? It may be
unsettling to sense things going on above when he is facing down. Keeping it calm and quiet may make him a
little more comfortable.
patient. Even if your baby doesn’t like it the first few times, keep with
it. It is important for muscle development and it will come in handy when he
learns to roll over (click
here to read about how babies learn to roll over). By starting with short
sessions several times a day, you will be able to respond to him quickly if he
gets upset. He will get used to it over time and be rolling over before you
We hope these tips help and we’d love to hear from readers
whose babies seemed to dislike tummy time too! Send us your comments.