Every parent knows how important tummy time is for their baby. Most parents also know how difficult it is to get the necessary amount of tummy time into each day. This is only made more difficult when babies dislike tummy time and cry whenever placed on their belly. Here are some simple alternatives to laying your baby flat on their stomach as well as provide the benefits of tummy time and keeping baby and parent happy.
3 Alternatives for Tummy Time:
- Front Carry: Hold baby facing away from you, supporting him/her around their rib-cage With their bottom tucked into your belly, tilt their trunk forward so that it is parallel with the ground. This will encourage the baby to look forward, strengthening the muscles in the back of the neck and along the spine. The more horizontal the baby is, the more difficult it will be for them to lift and hold their head. Lift the baby’s trunk up every 30-60 seconds to give them a break.
- Baby on Shins: Lay on your back with your legs bent so that your shins are parallel to the ground. Lay the baby on your shins with their head hanging off your knees and holding onto their hands. This is a great alternative as you can look at the baby as well as move your legs to entertain the baby (similar to airplanes). This is also a good core exercise for mommy!
- Baby on Lap: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you (support your back on the wall if necessary) and lay your baby across your legs with their head hanging off one side of your thigh. This is an effective exercise because you can easily move a toy with one hand to encourage them to look around and strengthen the baby’s neck muscles.
Tummy time is vital for a baby to grow and learn new gross motor milestones. The goal is to have the baby be on their bellies 50% of their awake time. If a baby does not spend enough time on their stomachs, future gross motor skills, such as crawling, may be delayed. There may be specific reasons, such as weakness, low muscle tone or torticollis, that can cause your child discomfort during tummy time. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your baby’s tummy time, please click here to request a meeting with a physical therapist or speak with your pediatrician.