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Most new moms will tell you that their babies hate tummy time.
You’ve heard the rumor, right? That’s probably why you’re trying to find ways of how to make tummy time fun for your baby.
But young babies have good reason to hate tummy time! Why?
1. It’s scary!
They’re put in a position they can’t get out of on their own and they can’t see around them anymore. If your face was crammed into a floor and you weren’t able to move, wouldn’t you get a little freaked out?
2. It’s frustrating!
It takes months for a baby to practice all the moves and develop all the muscles necessary to roll onto their tummy. Doing tummy time before then puts them in a position they can’t possibly get out of on their own. Try strapping on a full-body straightjacket and see how much you enjoy it!
3. It’s exhausting!
Trying to use muscles that aren’t developed yet simply makes you use muscles that shouldn’t be engaged. Try lifting a 100-lb. weight when you’re totally out of shape. You’ll use all the wrong muscles, probably hurt one in the process, and feel like crap afterward.
Remember – there are 7 billion people on the planet and, guess what…we all started out as babies! And guess what else? Barring any medical or physical exceptions, we all learned to lift our heads up!
Babies know how to do this, folks!
So, how to make tummy time fun for baby?
Start with FLOOR TIME!
According to Irene Lyon, a Feldenkrais and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner:
Putting infants on their tummies without having them go through the process of getting to their tummy on their own is analogous to injecting their back extensor muscles with that local anesthetic. They are paralyzed and basically unable to access their back extensor muscles, mainly because the actual act of getting to their tummy from their back (something that takes months!) is what forms their spinal curves – the lumbar, thoracic and cervical – and in turn gives them strength in their back muscles.
NOW, watch this very short, 3-minute video of Baby Liv getting to her tummy on her own with no tears, no frustration, and no parental intervention.
What about flat-headedness (plagiocephaly), you ask?
Studies regarding flat-headedness don’t take into consideration the amount of time infants now spend “in restrictive devices (like car seats, bouncy seats and carriers) that inhibit babies from doing what they are naturally inclined to do: round out the back of their heads by turning them from side to side.”
By implementing floor time, like this mom did, and giving Baby interesting things on either side of her on the floor to look at and reach for, rather than keeping her in her carrier, play pen, or bouncy chair when she’s awake, will help prevent flat-headedness.
When done right, tummy time should not be a long struggle, but a phase your baby will move into and out of with minimum fuss. Like with all things new, you will have to read up about it, be patient and know that the ideas on how to make tummy time fun for baby are helpful and have been tested by many other parents before you.
So, if you’re wondering how to make tummy time fun for your baby start with floor time instead! Once Baby can roll onto her tummy on her own, tummy time away!
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