28 answers

Tummy Time? - Miami,FL

Hi Moms,
I keep hearing about the importance of tummy time? My 3 months old hates it......I feel horrible making him do it... I usually can only do up to 5 minutes at a time. How important is tummy time? It seems like 'research shows' that you must do everything your kid hates. LOL! (rear-facing carseats, sleep on their backs......etc...)

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't think there's a need to force the issue for more then a few minutes at a time. The benefit of a little tummy time is that after awhile they start pulling their upper body up to look around. It strengthens those muscles that will get them ready for creeping, and crawling. Just do it off and on throughout the day. He'll enjoy it more once he does start trying to move around. I used to get down on the floor next to my kids, with my face at their level. They really liked that.

Tummy time prevents a flat head and builds muscles in the neck and the muscles to look left and right as well. IF all he will do if 5 minutes at a time, then do just that. Give him 5 minutes and then move him to something else. Then later do another 5 minutes again, it will take time but it will do well. I had to learn that too :)

We hardly ever did tummy time and my kid is fine. She also didn't have much interest in it when she was that young. Short periods of time make sense. You are doing great!

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Wearing them in a sling helps strengthen the same muscles tummy time does. And they find it more pleasant usually. If you're holding and wearing them a lot, I wouldn't stress so much about tummy time.

My understanding is that tummy time became recommended because babies were spending so much time on their backs- sleeping on their backs, being fed on their backs, hanging out in carseat carriers, swings, and basically every baby device designed so that you don't have to hold your baby. As a result, babies were getting flat heads and delayed on things like crawling.

I imagine if your baby is not spending 90% of his day on his back, he'll be ok. ;)

When my son was that age he hated tummy time too. I couldn't get him to do it for more than a minute. He would get so upset that I just didn't worry about forcing it on him. He's almost 2 now and I can't see where is caused him any problems from not doing tummy time. In fact he's met most milestones early, even starting to walk at 9-1/2 months. My advice is, if he's fine in every other way, then don't stress yourself out or upset him just to follow "the rules" that everyone else says you need to follow. (with the exception of safety rules - car seat, etc.) Each child is unique and they go at their own pace (and sometimes by different approaches)to reach the next step in their development. And remember, these "rules" are just recommendations - go with your instincts and find the path that works for you.

P.S. We found that if we laid on the floor or the bed and had him on our chest that he would tolerate tummy time a little better and he'd lift his head to look at us. (it didn't always work but it was better then when he was laid on a blanket by himself)

I don't think there's a need to force the issue for more then a few minutes at a time. The benefit of a little tummy time is that after awhile they start pulling their upper body up to look around. It strengthens those muscles that will get them ready for creeping, and crawling. Just do it off and on throughout the day. He'll enjoy it more once he does start trying to move around. I used to get down on the floor next to my kids, with my face at their level. They really liked that.

What the heck is tummy time???
My daughter is 4 years old and wonderful ,despite a pretty rough start in life, and obviously no "tummy time'
can someone please explain ?

Its very important to develop there neck strength. Its also great to get them started on crawling. I always kept my daughter on the floor on a blanket and she started crawling at 5 months! Even though he hates it the 5 minutes is good. I was told that how ever many weeks they are thats how many minutes they should be on there belly for tummy time. It was either for 2 or 3 times a day. Fortunately my daughter had no problem with it and enjoyed to be on her belly. I also had this mat thing that converted 3 different ways. and the one way she was looking at a mirror and toys when on her belly. You may want to try and look for something like that to help. Good Luck!

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you give your child. The opportunity to move and integrate primitive reflexes. Let him get into flexion which is fetal position is all what he needs for reading and writing later on. It develops the vestibular system which is the sense of balance and integrates all the sensory systems and gets a child strong wnough to crawl which is also the most important step in getting the left and right brain hemishperes talking to each other. Don't let your child become another statistic that I see everyday. Every child has developmental issues wheter you can see them now or whether they become known at school age. MAKE him do tummy time for 30 minutes 4 times a day. Work your way up. Get down with him, make it fun with toys and books and your encouragement. If he doesn't like it he is already weak. When he gains strength he will like it. If you cannot get him to concede, then take him to occupational therapy where they can show you exercises. One thing you can do is take a small rolled up towel and place it under his nipple area to give hima little breathing room until he gets stronger. When he naps let him sleep on timmy so he can start experiencing that position and keep him out of chairs, Bumbos, exersaucers and jumpers. These retain reflexes which he is trying to integrate. Jump on this now at 3 months rather then have a child with learning differences. Also, NO EARLY WALKING! Not before 12 months. Weak children will get up and walk early because it is easier then crawling. THese children are definately at high risk you may not see until school. It is crucial for proper brain development and avoiding flat heads which damage the brain. Good luck.

Oh for heaven sake- your little boy will get on his tummy when he wants- what a silly thing to tell moms- take a look at all the people on this planet- they were all 3 months old at some time and grew up- and all the absurd things young moms are told now.
You are so correct-LOL- being told to do things your kids hate- maybe paying attention to our own innate knowledge- and that of our children and ignore the so called experts.
I think you already understand that- go for it. best, k

Hi M.,

I know what you mean! Just keep trying, but if he's crying don't force him. My kids hated tummy time, too. What you want to avoid is the whole flathead thing that happens when people leave their babies lying on their backs or in bouncy seats/carseats most of the time. Another way to help promote neck strength and avoid the flat head is to wear your baby in a sling or carrier. Here's some info on that:
http://infantstoddlers.suite101.com/article.cfm/guide_to_...

Enjoy your little one!

Welcome to being a parent! lol We will have to make them do things their whole little lives that they may not enjoy but it's for their own well-being. Tummy time is essential to their development. 5 minutes a day several times a day will work. Make sure you have a comfy area for him to lie down, have interesting/different toys for him each time, sing to him, etc to make the time more pleasant.

My son hated TT also but we got thru it!

It's very important so he can learn to roll over, scoot, crawl and pull up to a sitting position.

That being said, some children do hate tummy time, so here are some things I have learned help;

DON'T leave them there until they cry, they hate it more.

Don't put them on the tummy after eating, it's uncomfortable.

Make it a game, get on the floor with them to look eye to eye.

Put something they like to touch just in reach when on the tummy.

Lay on your back and put them on your tummy, sing, laugh, talk etc... they love your heartbeat and vibrations.

While playing try a minute or two on the back, a minute or two on the tummy, back to the back, etc...

When it's fun and there are rewards (things they like to touch, praise, etc...) they will seek it out more and you can strech it out from just a couple of minutes to 10 min or so (by then he will probably start rolling on his own and he will determine his own tummy time!)

I can't say that I relate because mine loved being on their tummy at all times - sleep and play - but I can tell you that tummy time is important. My sister is a physical therapist and her specialty is babies 0-3 years old and she always told me how important putting babies on their tummy is, not only to help develop their neck muscles, but their arm and back muscles as well. It also gives them a different vantage -point to see and explore their world - great for the brain development.

Try using a pillow or boppy and place him with his chest on it, arms in front of it - may be less stressful for the little guy. If he still fusses after 5 minutes, then at least he got 5 minutes of tummy time. Like exercise for us, 10 minutes three times a day is just as good as 30 minutes at once! Just know that it is important, but don't fret too much over it - do what you can and it'll get better. Enjoy your little one!

Hi M.,
Tummy time helps your child strengthen his neck muscles and his upper body strength and helps develop the curvature in the neck we all need for proper spine development. It will also help his start to crawl. I started putting my babies on their belly for tummy time at a few weeks old. To make them like it more you can get on your belly so your looking at each other and play. Put a toy a few inches away and encourage him to reach for it. Try and make it fun. Good luck

My daughter hated being on her tummy. She screamed every time I would put her there. She never rolled over because why would she do something to put herself where she didn't want to be??? I never heard that she had to have tummy time, so I didn't worry. But she learned to crawl from a sitting position to crawling then back to the sitting position. She found her way around it, and is now 12 and is doing great. So don't worry about it, just encourage the other things they can learn to do.

As the other two posters said, tummy time is important. Both my kids hated it (I figured it was not going to be the last time I did something for their own good that they hated (:). Have you tried shorter intervals of time several times a day? I read somewhere that the number of minutes of tummy time should correlate with the baby's age. So, if your son is 3 months, try 3 minute intervals several times a day. Best of luck!!

Tummy time is pretty important. It helps them build their muscles, & prevent flat spots on thier heads. My daughter hated it as well. I think 5min at a time is fine. I think that was all of the screaming I could handle with her. She is almost 3 now- and is doing just fine. So don't sweat it too much that you stressw your self out..

Tummytime is very important . I have a almost 5mo old and she did hate it but now turns over . It helps them to clral and other stuff. 5to 10 min is good. I have 4 girls so experience i am

M.,
Tummy time is extremely important for neck & back strength which leads to other physical developmental steps.
Keep doing it throughout the day even if it is only 5 minutes at a time. Eventually he will be okay with it.
Heather

My baby is 2 months and hates it as well. He only usually last 5 mins too. I found that if you put him on a boppy on his belly he doesnt fuss as much......

My son also HATED tummy time. I was a wuss and only made him do it for 5 minutes a day. Looking back I should have done it lots lots more as he was a bit slow crawling and rolling over. Also, because he spent so much time on his back his head went a funny shape and now the only way to fix it is to put him in a helmet (which we aren't going to do, he'll have to live with his funny head, good thing he has lots of hair!) I know that's pretty extreme and most kids don't have that problem but it's just something to keep in mind. Get down on the floor face to face with your little one and sing and talk, roll balls around, anything to make it a little more enjoyable for your baby. Good luck!

We hardly ever did tummy time and my kid is fine. She also didn't have much interest in it when she was that young. Short periods of time make sense. You are doing great!

Hello there. Congrats on your baby. I want to let you know that sometimes as parent we overwhelm oursleves for everything concerning our kids. DONT DO THAT TO YOURSELF. My son liked tummy time so we did it. My daughter hated it so we didnt. Dont obsess over the little things we your children do ro dont do. Sometimes it does not work for you but that is ok. If in the future your son does not like something put it on hold for a while and try later. Remember its about enjoing your time with your baby not about stressing. Enjoy your baby and have a great time being a mommy :)

Two things...first if you know he is good for 5 minutes, try moving him at 4 minutes, so he gets used to being moved without have to cry for it. Then keep extending it a little bit at a time, and also increase doing it more than once a day. It will be okay if he starts to cry at 3 minutes and you don't get to him for another 2, just as much as it is okay to allow him to play contentedly on his belly for 10 minutes before you move him. Secondly, as a mom, we hate to hear our baby cry, we are taught that to be a good mom that we must allieviate their discomfort, and we should. But tummy time is different. It is the precursor to pushing up on his arms, then legs, then crawling etc. So to deny him the tummy time could delay his development. In other words, this is a struggle for him and he needs a little bit of struggle to help him grow big and strong--to motivate to pick his head up, and push up and eventually crawl. When I first put my son on tummy time, my husband and I both cried along with him for the whole five minutes....but we laid down on the floor beside him and encouraged him by saying things like, "Come on, you can do it, push up, look at how strong you are!" etc. It was really more reassuring for us than him, but it helped me the next time I had to put him on his tummy - I had more confidence about it. Oh one more thing....you don't want him to get a flat head and if he is always on his back, that can happen.

My son was diagnosed with some very weak muscles in his neck pretty early on (2-3 weeks old) and he too was not into tummy time but his physical therapist would have either my husband or I lay on the table back down tummy up and place our son on us tummy down and that really made all the difference in the world it was pretty much the only way our son would do tummy time the first couple of months. But we would take turns, singing to him and just talking to him and he tolerated it a few minutes at a time…by the time he was a couple of months old he would lay their playing and reaching for things for quite some time…it just took us some time to “build up the tummy time”…hope this helps and don’t stress out about you baby will sense that and not want to do it even more…I know that is easier said than done…But congrats and just enjoy ever minute you can!!!

Hi M.,
My daughter hated tummy time too. I'll tell you what I did, but can't say with any certainty that it was the "correct" thing to do, but it seemed to help. I let her do tummy time on my bed so that she could see what was going on in the room. She seemed to enjoy it much better. Just be sure to place baby in the center of the bed and watch them for any scooting toward the edge.
Best wishes,
R.

Tummy time prevents a flat head and builds muscles in the neck and the muscles to look left and right as well. IF all he will do if 5 minutes at a time, then do just that. Give him 5 minutes and then move him to something else. Then later do another 5 minutes again, it will take time but it will do well. I had to learn that too :)

My son is 4 mos. old, and I started worrying that he never did tummy time (he was gaining wt too slowly so he was nursing/eating ALL THE TIME). Anyway, his eating finally slowed down and I tried to institute tummy time. He just rolled right over onto his back! So I put him down on his tummy a few times a day but he still rolls over. So I guess he will not get any of the "benefits" of tummy time all these people are concerned about. LOL! BTW, I did tummy time with my older son a lot, and I don't see much difference in their development and such so far!

It's very important to their physical development ...

on another note. You'll be making your kids do all sorts of things they hate for many years to come like eating veggies, not dating mr or miss so-and-so, grounding them for missing curfew, homework, scolding them for talking back and more. Consider this training for the years to come ... :)

In the end, we all turn around and realize how much we love our parents for what they DIDn't let us do as much as what they did.

Blessings!!

Ok... I would like to know Shari S. credentials. She pissed me and my fiance off royally.

M., DO NOT FORCE HIM! He will develop and learn to enjoy being on his tummy on his own. My daughter is almost 4 and when she was that age our 'tummy time' was me lying on my back with her on my belly. It was a face-to-face interaction and she got a lot more out of it than just putting her face-down on the floor.

Also, 'research' keeps changing. When my daughter was an infant it showed that it was best for babies to sleep on their tummy rather than their back. I went for a middle ground and had her sleeping on her side until she could roll herself from front to back. I bought a wedge to keep her in the side position and removed it, again, as soon as she could roll.

Do what YOU feel is best for your child. Humans have survived and developed for thousands of years without these stupid 'studies'.

And ignore the rude, elitist comments you will probably get from 'more experienced' mothers. You know your baby best. He will be fine no matter what you choose for him.

Good luck!!

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