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Baby Hates Tummy Time ? 9 Ingenious Tricks to Overcome This Aversion

As parents, we all want what’s best for our little ones, but sometimes, even the most well-intentioned activities can be met with resistance. One such activity that often leaves both parents and babies feeling frustrated is tummy time. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where your baby simply refuses to cooperate during tummy time, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with this crucial developmental exercise, but fear not – we’ve got some ingenious tricks up our sleeves to help make tummy time a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Baby Hates Tummy Time 5
Baby Hates Tummy Time ? 9 Ingenious Tricks to Overcome This Aversion. Image Credit: Canva

The Importance of Tummy Time for Baby’s Development

Before we dive into the strategies for overcoming your baby’s aversion to tummy time, it’s essential to understand why this activity is so crucial. Tummy time is not just a passing fad or a unnecessary exercise; it plays a vital role in your baby’s overall development.

Physically, tummy time helps strengthen your baby’s neck, back, and shoulder muscles, preparing them for milestones like lifting their head, rolling over, and eventually crawling. It also aids in preventing flat head syndrome (positional plagiocephaly) by encouraging your little one to move their head from side to side.

Cognitively, tummy time provides your baby with a new perspective on the world around them. When they’re on their tummies, they have to work a little harder to engage their senses and explore their surroundings, fostering brain development and problem-solving skills.

Lastly, tummy time is crucial for motor skill development. As your baby learns to lift their head, reach for toys, and eventually push themselves up, they’re laying the foundation for future gross motor skills like sitting up, crawling, and walking.

Next Step Advice: Start incorporating tummy time into your baby’s daily routine as early as possible, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Consistency is key, and the more comfortable your baby becomes with this position, the easier it will be to extend the duration gradually.

When Should You Start Tummy Time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting tummy time from day one, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. However, every baby is different, and some may take longer to adjust to this new position.

As a general guideline, aim for at least 30 minutes of tummy time per day by the time your baby is 3-4 months old. It’s essential to start slowly and gradually increase the duration as your baby becomes more comfortable with the position.

Next Step Advice: If your baby seems resistant to tummy time initially, don’t force it. Start with just a few minutes at a time and slowly increase the duration as your baby becomes more accustomed to the position.

Sure, here are some tables you can add to the blog post to make it more informative and useful for readers:

AgeRecommended Tummy Time Duration
Newborn to 3 monthsStart with 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times per day
3-6 monthsGradually increase to 30 minutes per day, spread over multiple sessions
6-12 monthsAim for 60 minutes or more per day, divided into shorter sessions
Tummy Time Duration Guidelines

Why Do Babies Hate Tummy Time?

Despite the numerous benefits of tummy time, many babies seem to absolutely despise it. But why is this? There are a few common reasons that could explain your baby’s aversion to this activity:

  1. Discomfort: For many babies, being on their tummies is an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position. They may feel restricted or even a little trapped, which can lead to frustration and crying.
  2. Lack of Muscle Strength: Tummy time requires your baby to use muscles that they haven’t fully developed yet, especially in the early days. The effort required to lift their head and look around can be tiring and overwhelming for a newborn.
  3. Unfamiliarity: Babies thrive on routine and familiarity, so introducing a new activity like tummy time can be unsettling for them at first.
  4. Overstimulation: For some babies, the new sights, sounds, and sensations that come with tummy time can be overstimulating, leading to fussiness or even a complete meltdown.

Next Step Advice: Understanding the root cause of your baby’s tummy time aversion can help you tailor your approach accordingly. If it’s a matter of discomfort or unfamiliarity, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your baby adjusts.

What to Do When Baby Hates Tummy Time

Now that we’ve explored the importance of tummy time and the potential reasons behind your baby’s resistance, it’s time to dive into some practical strategies to help make this activity more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Signs of ReadinessDescription
Head ControlBaby can briefly hold their head up independently
Back StrengthBaby can support some weight on their arms
Visual TrackingBaby follows objects or faces with their eyes
ReachingBaby attempts to reach for nearby toys or objects
Signs of Tummy Time Readiness

Be Smart About Scheduling Tummy Time

Timing is everything when it comes to tummy time. Try to schedule it during your baby’s alert and happy periods, rather than forcing it when they’re already fussy or overtired. Some ideal times for tummy time include:

  • After a nap or feeding
  • In the morning when your baby is well-rested
  • During playtime or when you’re interacting with them

Additionally, creating a consistent routine can help your baby become more accustomed to tummy time. Try to incorporate it into your daily schedule at roughly the same times each day.

Next Step Advice: Observe your baby’s cues and find the optimal times when they seem most receptive to tummy time. Consistency is key, so try to make it a part of your daily routine.

Place Baby on Your Chest

If your baby is particularly resistant to tummy time on the floor, try starting with a gentler approach by placing them on your chest while you’re lying down or reclined. This position allows your baby to get used to the feeling of being on their tummy while still enjoying the comfort and security of being close to you.

As your baby becomes more comfortable, you can gradually transition them to tummy time on the floor or a firm surface.

Next Step Advice: Try doing tummy time on your chest during skin-to-skin contact or while wearing your baby in a carrier. This can help them associate the position with the warmth and security of being close to you.

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Baby Hates Tummy Time ? 9 Ingenious Tricks to Overcome This Aversion. Image Credit: Canva

Give Baby Something to Do

One of the reasons babies might dislike tummy time is simply because they find it boring. Giving them something to focus on and engage with can make a world of difference.

Place toys, mirrors, or even just a colorful blanket or book within their line of sight to encourage them to lift their head and explore their surroundings. Rotate these items regularly to keep your baby’s interest piqued.

Next Step Advice: Invest in a few tummy time-friendly toys or create a DIY sensory board with various textures, colors, and shapes to keep your baby engaged and entertained during their tummy time sessions.

Age RangeActivity Ideas
Newborn to 3 monthsMirror play, black and white patterns, simple rattles
3-6 monthsTextured mats, activity gyms, balls, sensory boards
6-12 monthsPush toys, crawl tunnels, building blocks, books
Tummy Time Activity Ideas

Join Baby on the Floor

Instead of just placing your baby on the floor and leaving them to their own devices, get down on their level and engage with them during tummy time.

Talk to them, sing songs, make funny faces, or even place a mirror in front of them so they can see your interaction. Your presence and encouragement can go a long way in helping your baby feel more comfortable and motivated during this activity.

Next Step Advice: Make tummy time a bonding experience by getting down on the floor and interacting with your baby. Praise them for their efforts, and be patient – this encouragement can help them associate tummy time with positive experiences.

Help Them Lift Their Head

One of the primary goals of tummy time is to help your baby develop the strength and coordination to lift their head independently. However, this can be a challenging feat for newborns and younger babies.

To make the process a little easier, you can gently support your baby’s chest with a rolled-up towel or a nursing pillow, or even place your hand under their chest to provide a bit of assistance. As they gain more strength, gradually reduce the support until they can lift their head on their own.

Next Step Advice: If your baby seems to be struggling with lifting their head during tummy time, provide gentle support by placing a rolled-up towel or your hand under their chest. Gradually reduce the support as they gain more strength and coordination.

Use a Yoga or Exercise Ball

While the floor is the most common surface for tummy time, switching things up can help keep your baby engaged and interested. Try placing your baby on a yoga or exercise ball (with your support, of course) for a different sensory experience.

The gentle rocking and instability of the ball can encourage your baby to engage their core muscles and work on their balance, all while providing a fun and novel experience.

Next Step Advice: Invest in a yoga or exercise ball and introduce it to your baby’s tummy time routine for a change of scenery and sensory experience. Always supervise your baby closely and provide support to ensure their safety.

9 Ingenious Tricks to Help Your Baby Enjoy Tummy Time

Now that we’ve covered some general strategies for making tummy time more enjoyable, let’s dive into nine specific tricks that can help turn this activity into a more positive experience for both you and your baby.

1. Use Engaging Toys and Mirrors: As mentioned earlier, providing your baby with toys, mirrors, or other visually stimulating objects can help keep them engaged and motivated during tummy time. Rotate these items regularly to maintain their interest and curiosity.

  1. Try Different Surfaces: While the floor is a classic choice for tummy time, switching things up by using different surfaces can make the experience more exciting for your baby. Consider using a blanket on the grass, a play mat with various textures, or even a yoga ball (with proper support) to provide novel sensory experiences.
  2. Get Down on Your Baby’s Level: Instead of hovering over your baby during tummy time, get down on the floor or surface with them. This allows you to engage with them face-to-face, provide encouragement, and make the experience more interactive and enjoyable for both of you.
  3. Incorporate Tummy Time into Playtime: Tummy time doesn’t have to be a separate, isolated activity. Try incorporating it into your regular playtime routine by placing your baby on their tummy while you engage in interactive games, sing songs, or read books together.
  4. Use Positional Support: If your baby struggles with lifting their head or seems uncomfortable during tummy time, provide some positional support by rolling up a small towel or using a nursing pillow to prop them up slightly. This can help alleviate any strain or discomfort, making the experience more enjoyable.
  5. Praise and Encourage Your Baby: Positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping your baby associate tummy time with a positive experience. Offer plenty of verbal praise and encouragement when they lift their head, reach for toys, or make any effort during the activity.
  6. Alternate Tummy Time with Other Activities: If your baby becomes fussy or overwhelmed during tummy time, don’t force it. Instead, take a break and try again later. Alternating tummy time with other activities can help prevent frustration and make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.
  7. Be Patient and Consistent: Like any new skill, tummy time takes time and practice for your baby to become comfortable with it. Be patient and consistent in your approach, and don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow. Every baby develops at their own pace.
  8. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If your baby shows persistent resistance to tummy time or seems to have difficulty lifting their head or achieving other developmental milestones, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician or a physical therapist. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that your baby’s development is on track.

Next Step Advice: Experiment with different combinations of these tricks to find what works best for your baby. Remember, every child is unique, and it may take some trial and error to discover the winning formula. Stay positive, be patient, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if you have any concerns.

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Baby Hates Tummy Time ? 9 Ingenious Tricks to Overcome This Aversion. Image Credit: Canva

Tips for a Successful Tummy Time Routine

In addition to the specific tricks mentioned above, there are a few general tips that can help make your tummy time routine more successful and enjoyable for both you and your baby:

  1. Choose the Right Time of Day: As mentioned earlier, timing is crucial when it comes to tummy time. Aim for times when your baby is well-rested, fed, and generally in a good mood, such as after a nap or in the morning.
  2. Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment: Make sure the surface you’re using for tummy time is clean, firm, and free from any potential hazards. A soft blanket or play mat on the floor can provide a comfortable and secure space for your baby to explore.
  3. Monitor Your Baby’s Cues: Pay attention to your baby’s cues and signals during tummy time. If they become fussy, overstimulated, or seem uncomfortable, it’s okay to take a break and try again later. Forcing tummy time when your baby is clearly distressed can make the experience more negative for both of you.
  4. Be Consistent: While it’s important to be flexible and responsive to your baby’s needs, consistency is also key when it comes to establishing a successful tummy time routine. Try to incorporate tummy time into your daily schedule at roughly the same times each day, and gradually increase the duration as your baby becomes more comfortable.

Next Step Advice: Create a dedicated tummy time area in your home, complete with engaging toys, mirrors, and a comfortable surface. This can help establish a routine and make the activity more enjoyable for both you and your baby.

When to Be Concerned About Tummy Time Resistance

While it’s perfectly normal for babies to show some initial resistance to tummy time, there are certain red flags that may indicate a more serious issue or developmental delay. If you notice any of the following, it’s a good idea to consult with your pediatrician or a specialist:

  • Your baby consistently refuses to lift their head or seems unable to do so, even with support.
  • Your baby arches their back or stiffens their body excessively during tummy time, making it difficult for them to engage in the activity.
  • Your baby shows a strong preference for keeping their head turned to one side, which could be a sign of torticollis (a condition that causes the neck muscles to tighten).
  • Your baby fails to meet other developmental milestones, such as rolling over or sitting up, around the expected time frames.

It’s important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace, and some may simply need more time and patience when it comes to tummy time. However, if you have any concerns or notice persistent issues, seeking professional advice can help ensure that your baby’s development is on track and address any underlying problems early on.

Next Step Advice: Keep a record of your baby’s progress during tummy time, noting any persistent difficulties or concerning behaviors. This information can be helpful when discussing your concerns with your pediatrician or a specialist.

Is It OK to Let My Baby Cry During Tummy Time?

One of the most common concerns parents have about tummy time is whether it’s okay to let their baby cry during the activity. The short answer is: it’s generally fine, but within reason.

It’s perfectly normal for babies to protest or cry during tummy time, especially in the early stages when they’re getting used to the unfamiliar position. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re in distress or that you’re doing something wrong; it’s simply their way of expressing their discomfort or frustration.

However, if your baby’s crying becomes excessive or inconsolable, it’s best to take a break and try again later. Forcing tummy time when your baby is clearly distressed can create negative associations with the activity and make it even more challenging in the long run.

Here are a few tips for managing crying during tummy time:

  1. Start Slowly: Begin with just a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the duration as your baby becomes more comfortable. This can help prevent them from becoming overwhelmed and overly fussy.
  2. Provide Comfort and Encouragement: If your baby starts to cry, try offering soothing words, gentle touches, or even placing a hand on their back for reassurance. Praise them for their efforts, even if they’re brief.
  3. Distract and Engage: Introduce toys, mirrors, or other engaging objects to capture your baby’s attention and help redirect their focus away from the discomfort.
  4. Take Breaks: If your baby’s crying persists despite your efforts, it’s okay to take a break and try again later. Sometimes, a change of scenery or activity can help reset their mood.
  5. Seek Professional Advice: If your baby consistently cries inconsolably during tummy time, or if you have concerns about their development, don’t hesitate to consult with your pediatrician or a professional.

Remember, tummy time is an essential part of your baby’s development, but it should never come at the expense of their emotional well-being. With patience, creativity, and a willingness to adapt your approach, you can help create a positive association with tummy time while still meeting your baby’s needs.

Next Step Advice: If your baby’s crying during tummy time becomes a persistent issue, try varying the tactics mentioned above and see what works best for your little one. And, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician or a trusted parenting resource for personalized guidance.


Tummy time can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for both parents and babies. While it’s perfectly normal for your little one to show some resistance initially, the benefits of this activity are too numerous to ignore. By implementing the nine ingenious tricks outlined in this blog post, along with a healthy dose of patience, encouragement, and creativity, you can help turn tummy time into a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the strategies that best suit your child’s needs and preferences. And, above all, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories – every lifted head, every smile, every moment of engagement is a step towards your baby’s development and a testament to your perseverance as a parent.

So, embrace the challenges of tummy time, and know that with time and consistency, your little one will not only learn to tolerate it but perhaps even enjoy it. And who knows? Before you know it, they might be crawling, exploring, and conquering the world – all thanks to those precious moments spent on their tummies, building the foundation for a lifetime of growth and discovery.

FAQ – Baby Hates Tummy Time

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Baby Hates Tummy Time
Baby Hates Tummy Time ? 9 Ingenious Tricks to Overcome This Aversion. Image Credit: Canva
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