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Does your baby absolutely hate tummy time?
Both of my babies loathed being put down on their tummies. I think mostly because they couldn’t see as much of their surroundings during tummy time. However, even though many babies dislike being laid down on their tummy at first, there are a few tricks I’ve learned for helping them to enjoy tummy time.
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Why is Tummy Time Essential For Babies?
Although putting your baby on their tummy may seem cruel at times – especially if they dislike it, it is really crucial for their development.
During tummy time your baby learns how to strengthen their neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles which allow them to hold their head upright. Tummy time also helps your baby to build up strength in their arms, hands, and fingers which later leads to successfully crawling.
And finally, having your baby on their tummy can help to prevent flat spots on the head.
When Should A Baby Start Tummy Time?
Many new parents wonder when they should start tummy time with their baby and most pediatricians recommend starting tummy time right from birth.
Even by having skin to skin contact in the hospital with your baby laying with their tummy on your chest is considered tummy time.
How Much Tummy Time Should Your Baby Do Every Day?
When your baby is a newborn it’s recommended to do tummy time two to three times a day for a couple of minutes at a time. And as your baby gets older continue to add more time and sessions to help them build up their muscles.
Tummy Time Safety
Of course, anytime that you place your baby on their tummy, you have to take safety precautions to prevent them from smothering so always watch your baby during tummy time.
What if the baby doesn’t like tummy time?
“My baby won’t do tummy time”
I hear this all the time from new parents, and I have said it as well with my babies. However, I found that by making tummy time a little more exciting that your baby will learn to love it.
Here are 12 tips for making tummy time easier for your baby.
1. Start Tummy Time Early
As I said before, starting tummy time from birth will help your baby to get used to it and eventually learn to enjoy it. By placing your baby skin to skin with their tummy to your chest, you can help them to get used to laying in a tummy down position.
This also helps with breastfeeding and helping your baby’s body temperature to stay stable.
But wait, I’m having a scheduled c-section, can I still do skin to skin contact right after birth?
Yes! I found out when I was preparing for my second c-section that I could have my baby on my chest for skin to skin contact right after he was born. So talk with your doctor about that option if you are having a planned c-section.
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2. Tummy Time On Your Chest
If your baby doesn’t like to have tummy time on the floor, try doing tummy time on your chest.
Your baby is used to hearing your heartbeat and loves to be against you. By placing them on your chest, you can initiate tummy time while also comforting them. Plus if you are a breastfeeding mama, your baby spends most of their time at your chest already.
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Anyone who’s ever had a baby knows that babies absolutely love to look at their reflection. Whether it’s when you’re passing by a mirror in a hall or they see their reflection in the kitchen appliances, babies love to look at themselves.
That’s why one great hack for getting your baby to be happier during tummy time is by using a baby mirror and letting them check themselves out in the mirror.
Babies are naturally curious so they will definitely try to figure out who that baby is looking back at them in the baby mirror.
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4. Floortime Play Area
No one likes to lay on the floor with nothing to play with right? It’s the same for your baby. There has to be something to keep their interest and attention.
Try laying out a few different types of toys for your baby to check out while they are hanging out on their tummy. This will make tummy time way more fun.
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Now I am sure if you have a baby, you’ve been thinking about getting an activity gym. Both of my babies absolutely loved theirs so I would definitely recommend for any new mom to grab one as well.
But then you may ask when can my baby start using the activity gym?
The answer is right away. Activity gyms come with a ton of different features depending on which one you buy. Some are even made specifically with tummy time in mind.
I would look for ones that have plenty of activities for your baby to do on their back and their tummy to get the most for your money.
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6. Get Down On Their Level
Would you want to be stuck down on the floor all by yourself?
Of course not. And neither does your baby. So next time you set up a play area for tummy time for your baby, get down on their level with them to make tummy time more comfortable.
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7. Baby Massage
Who doesn’t love a good back massage?
Many parents don’t know that baby massage comes with tons of different benefits including helping your baby with tummy issues and even relaxing them before bed. But giving your baby a back massage is also a great way to help them to enjoy being on their tummy when they aren’t usually that happy there.
Just pull out the baby lotion and give them a good backrub while they lay on their tummy and it still counts as tummy time.
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If you have read any of my other baby blog posts, then you know that I LOVE the Boppy Pillow. It was truly a lifesaver for me as a mom with both of my babies.
Now many new moms already know that the Boppy Pillow is great for helping moms with breastfeeding but not many know that it can be used to help prop your baby up during tummy time.
And by propping your baby up with the Boppy Pillow they are able to see a whole lot more of their surroundings and this makes tummy time even more enjoyable.
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9. Switching Up The Locations
One of my favorite hacks for making tummy time more fun for babies is switching up locations. So if you usually do tummy time with your baby in the living room, try switching to their bedroom and see if that helps with making it more fun.
Sometimes just a change of scenery makes the difference.
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10. Invite Older Sibling To Play
As I said before, being on the floor by yourself is just plain boring. So if you have an older child, have them get down on the floor during tummy time to play with the baby.
Siblings are way more interesting and more fun to play with during tummy time anyways.
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11. Tummy Time Exercise
Are you trying to get your prebaby body back?
If so, try exercising with your baby. There are tons of different exercises you can do all while holding your little one. And there are some great ones that allow your baby to have tummy time while you are working out.
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12. Stop When Your Baby Is Upset
Okay, there comes a time when enough is enough and that when you have to cave.
You never want to make tummy time a negative thing so when your baby has started to get annoyed and wants to get back up, go ahead and snuggle them.
Remember tummy time is something that will take time to work on and muscles take lots of time to build up. So if your baby is not up for tummy time one day try again the next day.
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