But what if my baby doesn’t like being on his tummy??

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Roxanne Small, PT on her blog at explains:
So you are on your way to being a well-informed, awesome parent. You know that tummy time is essential for your baby. You know it can help prevent a misshapen head, improve motor skills and improve body awareness. But somehow your baby didn’t get the message…he screams every time you try tummy time. Who knew parenting could be this tough so soon?
Every baby can learn to enjoy tummy time! Every baby! Here are some suggestions:
• Be totally convinced as the parent that this is critical for your baby!
• The surface you place your baby on is important. Very young babies do not like very hard surfaces. Also babies like slippery surfaces on which to move, similar to in the womb. I have found putting down a blanket on the floor under a mat or heavy ply clear plastic vinyl (sold at fabric stores) works great! Many babies love this to be a slippery activity and will tolerate it better if you put some grape seed oil under his abdomen and arms and legs.
• Often times babies that do not tolerate being on their tummy are “turned-on” visually and do not relate well to skin sensations. When you turn your baby onto his stomach he can’t see as much visually and the front side of the body has many more sensory receptors than the backside. Start with some dim lighting and some gentle skin massage on their abdomen, arms and legs (the parts that will be touching the floor).
• Lie next to your baby on the floor. Gently roll him to his side so he can see you. Stop there for a moment and spend time gently touching and talking to him.
• Slowly roll him on his tummy and stay in his visual field while you sing or talk to him.
• Make it a successful tummy time by keeping the session short at first…increasing time as he tolerates. Toys are not important when your baby is on his tummy. This is a time for him to learn about his own body…looking at his hand or feeling his arms and legs move over the surface. When baby is closer to 6 months of age toys become more important as baby will be able to crawl to get to them.
• A benchmark is by four months of age a baby should be spending 1-½ hours per day on his tummy. Certainly not all at once, but shorter times spread through out the day.
• Babies that are having reflux issues will tolerate their tummy time better if it does not occur soon after their feeding. Also lying on the left side usually is more comfortable for babies with reflux. So spending some time on the left side before going onto tummy can be helpful.
• Be diligent! Practice this several times per day and don’t give up! Every baby can like being on his tummy! The rewards in development are great!
I am asked often if it counts for tummy time if baby lies on the parent’s chest. Certainly this is a great place to start, but it is important to sensory and motor development that baby becomes comfortable with tummy time on the floor.
Best wishes to each of you on this very important journey of parenting!

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