Tummy time; some babies love it - others hate it. It's the luck of the draw really. It can be incredibly frustrating trying to encourage your baby to have some time on their front if they detest it, but it’s essential.
Tummy time helps build up their head, neck and upper body strength, which encourages and promotes babies to reach developmental milestones such as rolling, sitting and even crawling.
If your baby has a scream-a-thon every time you place them on their front, there are loads of things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. Yourself included - it can be a very stressful time for all involved.
Believe me, I’ve been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt frontwards, backwards and inside out.
So if you’re looking for some help to get your baby get used to tummy time, here are some simple tried and tested ways which have been proven to make it easier:
From birth, practice skin to skin by placing your baby on your chest face-to-face. You can also place the baby face down across your lap after each nappy change for a minute or two at a time.
Make it fun
As they get older, make it an enjoyable experience. Have a root around the toy box and place some brightly coloured toys around them to keep them entertained. Use props like mirrors or picture books if you have them available.
Get down with them
If you don’t have toys just yet, be the toy. Get down on your belly with them and sing to them, read them a story, or stroke their back gently. Engage with your baby. Your voice alone could be enough to soothe them.
Get the timing right
If your baby is too hungry, tried or has gas, tummy time is going to be a miserable experience. Burp your baby beforehand and pick a time, usually an hour before nap or feeding time, to practice the exercise.
Make it comfortable
Consider where you are placing your baby and whether it is too hard and uncomfortable. Various baby shops sell specialised tummy time mats, but a soft fleece blanket can do the job just as good.
If your baby still cries when placed on the floor, prop your nursing pillow or a rolled-up blanket under the baby's torso to lift their face off the floor. Alternatively, hold your baby in your arms on their belly as you walk around the house.
Tummy time should be brief to start with, with short and straightforward exercises done frequently throughout the day.
Remember, any time not spent on their back is considered tummy time until they are comfortable at lifting their heads, including feeding, nursing and even time in a sling or baby carrier.