Ah, tummy time… Most of us in the child development field sing its praises and urge parents to start it right away. But what if your baby wails every time you place them on their belly?
It’s not uncommon for babies to protest tummy time at first. But rest assured that putting baby belly-down on the floor is not the only way!
Here are 4 alternative tummy time positions to try. All of them, like traditional tummy time, build and strengthen the muscles that lay the foundation for all motor skills.
Laying baby on their side instead of their belly is a great alternative to traditional tummy time. You can switch sides each time to give them a chance to use the muscles on both sides of the body.
Place baby on their side with their arms in front of them, and support them with rolled-up blankets or towels behind them and under their head. Lay in front of them, so they can see and play with you.
Babies love to be close to and interacting their primary caregivers, which can be difficult if they can’t lift their heads enough to look at you. Enter lap laying!
Position baby belly-down across your lap, and use a hand to hold them or gently pat their pat. They may be happy enough simply hanging out there, but you can always hold them with one hand and use the other hand to put a mirror or toy in their line of vision.
Tummy to Tummy
Tummy to tummy time gives baby an up-close view of their favorite thing to look at: Your face! This helps them feel secure and engaged during tummy time.
Lie down, either flat or with your upper body supported by a pillow. Position baby on your upper belly/lower chest. Talk, sing, dangle a toy between your faces…whatever keeps it fun.
Similar to lap laying, this helps baby feel close to you while on their tummy, and also allows for carrying or swaying.
Using your arms and hands to support baby’s chest and belly, hold, sway, or carry them face-down.
All of these positions are a gentle way to help babies build upper-body muscles, which before long will help them enjoy traditional tummy time! Every once in a while, try putting baby on the floor for tummy time, slowly transitioning from being held to being on their own. Our article about helping baby enjoy tummy time on the floor is full of tips for keeping baby happy while they’re belly-down. And this is a good read if you’re still wondering exactly why tummy time is so important.