“Tummy Time” is so important for babies to be able to develop their neck, shoulder, back and arm muscles in preparation for crawling. As important as it is, it can be hard to get baby on her tummy often enough if she hates it. With our first baby, this wasn’t a problem at all. She loved the new perspective of seeing things from that angle. This little one, however, screams.
It isn’t a scream of pain, but of frustration. She had something called torticollis, which is an abnormal tightness down one side of the neck. In fact, her entire left side was tight. We took her to an osteopath who did wonders for her and now Babykins is able to push up evenly and turn her head both ways. The frustration stuck with her, though, and made it very hard to get any amount of tummy time in that didn’t cause instant screaming. I knew I needed to figure out how to make tummy time fun for her, so here’s what I did.
- Tummy Time on Mommy: Instead of putting her on the floor where her weak neck muscles left her face down and frustrated, I started laying on the floor with her on my tummy. This helped her to feel secure and we were able to work up from just a couple of seconds to over a minute on fuss-free time in about a week!
- Tummy Time on the nursing pillow: She wasn’t so sure about this, but once she discovered she could lay her head down comfortably she relaxed. We’ve had to stop doing this one recently because her legs are so strong she started trying to launch herself over the pillow and onto her face!
- Tummy Time with other people: When we transitioned to the floor, my older daughter and I would lay down on our tummies right next to her and chat and play with her. We’d sing songs and show her toys. She was so distracted by the fun that she didn’t panic like she used to. If we move away, she does start to get anxious and then cries, so I help her roll on her back before getting up. (She rolls from her back to her tummy, sometimes, but she gets stuck on her tummy. She’s close to figuring it out, though, and I think that will help her feel more in control.)
- Tummy Time with toys: Soon, I hope to transition to tummy time without me having to be on the floor, too. I’ll put her favorite toys on the blanket, some close enough to reach, some just out of reach to challenge her to try to crawl. We also have a mirror for her to move towards.
We are definitely making progress! Just yesterday she started pulling her knees up under her and trying to push herself forward. She is 4 1/2 months and she is already trying to keep up with her big sister!
Do you have any favorite tricks for making tummy time fun?