Tummy Time…why is it so hard????
This is a question we get all the time!! Why does my baby cry every time I do tummy time?
Well, let’s talk more about tummy time. Why we do it and how we can change it up to make it more enjoyable for babies and parents!
What is Tummy Time? Why is it important?
Tummy time is part of what we like to call Active Play. Active play incorporates activity (which helps to strengthen your baby) with fun interaction! During the first few months, this primarily focuses on Tummy Time.
Tummy Time focusses on increasing the strength of your baby’s back and neck, to help them when they get older with all the activities required to do the next stage of developmental progressions including rolling, sitting and eventually crawling and walking.
The problem with tummy time is that it is hard for new babies! Much like an adult going back to the gym after a long time away, or going for a run after not running for months…it takes effort and motivation to keep going, but it makes us stronger and healthier in the long run.
So how can we make tummy time more fun?
The same way you would make exercise more fun! Start off in small manageable chunks. We usually suggest newborns starting with 2-3 minutes once a day, and working up to 20-30 minutes over the next few months.
Now if your baby gets miserable after one minute, then try making it more fun, or giving them a break and doing 1 minute at a time 2-3 times a day to start!
Do it with a friend! Your baby loves you, you are their best friend and their favourite toy! So if your baby doesn’t like being on the floor for tummy time, then put them on your chest while you are lying down and talk or sing to them!
You could also get down on the floor with them (in front of them is ideal) and talk or sing to them down there as well! We all know it is way more fun exercising with a friend!
If your baby is really struggling with holding their head up, you could roll up a thin blanket and place under their armpits (across chest) with their hands out in front of them. This will make it a bit easier for them to lift their heads up. Eventually, once they get a bit stronger you can take away the rolled-up blanket…similar to progressions of exercises when we are getting stronger!
Like we said earlier, in those first few months you are your baby’s favourite toy, but as they get a bit older this is a great time to play with them with new and exciting things!!
We love The Play Gym by Lovevery as it has so many amazing options for playing and learning that last through the entire first year!! But you could certainly make some of these things up at home and save a few dollars!!!
Some play ideas for those first few months include:
0-2 months - singing, talking and touching your baby (this little piggy for example) and reading!
2-4 months - introducing black and white shapes/cards to show your baby, simple things for them to hold and shake (rattle, a soft ball, teething rings or toys), you can also use a thin scarf to play peek a boo with!
4-6 months- babies start to recognize more vibrant colours and love seeing other babies' faces, and their own face in a mirror! My son’s favourite book was a board book with babies faces and a mirror in it. Don’t forget to read to your kiddos, they also love to play with books at this stage so get some good quality board books or fabric books you can read together! This is also a time they love to lie on their back and figure out how to use their legs! So a play arch with balls hanging down is great for this! They also love different textures and sounds, so toys that crinkle, or have ribbons or tags are great!
Again we love The Play Gym by Lovevery for this as all of these things come as a part of it…except the books!