Even though we know how important tummy time is for our sweet little ones, that doesn’t mean they are going to love it. Quite the opposite in most cases! One reason is that this can be one exhausting and frustrating work out. The muscles needed to support their head and neck are underdeveloped which makes them tire out much easier (plus being on their belly is a vulnerable and unsettling feeling at first).
The best tip I have is to follow your babies cues. If they start to really fuss or get tired, let them rest and try again another time.
**Also, please don’t worry if after trying some of these ideas (or any other ideas), your baby still hates being on their belly. Some babies just prefer to be on their back or sitting up in a bouncy. Tummy time is not “the only way” to reach milestones, just one piece of the pie. If you have any concerns about your baby’s milestones please reach out to your pediatrician. Trust your baby and trust your gut, Mama!**
So, how can we try and encourage babies to enjoy tummy time a little more?
Ideas for Tummy Time
1. Little Artist
Place paper into a gallon size ziplock bag and add a couple drops of paint. Set the bag down in front of your baby and allow them to explore with their hands. Teaches cause and effect, motor skills and color introduction.
2. Water Play
You can buy one of these water play mats off of Amazon for under $10 (Alternatively, make one with a gallon ziplock bag and a couple smaller bath toys). The water allows for a fun sensory experience that engages their touch (cool water), sight (toys floating around), and sound (sloshing of the water).
3. Play Ball
Prop your baby up on a boppy pillow and place a small tray with different size balls inside. Your baby will love batting at the balls and watching them roll around. Add different colors and sizes to help teach depth perception, size, colors and cause/effect.
4. Book Worm
Again, prop your baby up on a boppy pillow and this time place a book down in front of them. It can be a board book or a little crinkle/fabric book. Either way your little one will love looking at the pictures no hearing you read to them. This activity is great for language development.
5. Let’s Snuggle
If your baby isn’t in the mood for tummy time, you can lay them across your own chest where they are face to face with you. This position still allows them to strengthen their muscles but has the added bonus of spending extra quality time with you! Make faces, sing to them or even just talk about your day. This encourages language development, promotes emotional bonding and provides some social learning skills.