Many parents come to me saying, “My baby HATEs tummy time!” Recently a mom at the Milk Mama Café told me how her baby cries and throws a fit every time she “tries tummy time.” As this mom was expressing her frustration, I could see in my mind the baby clenching her fists, arcing her back and screaming until she was rescued from the floor. Most recommendations for tummy time simply state that babies need to spend time on their belly without giving you any practical ways to help your baby make it an enjoyable learning experience.
Everyone wants to know why tummy is so hard!
The reason your baby does not enjoy tummy time could be that they haven’t developed adequate neck and back strength to support their head. There are many potential reasons your baby may be struggling to put all these pieces together.
If your baby was born after a very short and fast labor, was born “sunny side up”, or via cesarean section they may have missed an important piece of information that is provided at the back of the head as the baby creates leverage on the mother’s pubic bone to encourage birth.
This press at the base of the baby’s skull turns on the neurological pathways associated with neck and postural muscles, creating the connections that should develop strength and stability of head and neck movements. Placing the baby on their tummy demands a lot from the body and if they are working to their maximum ability just to keep their face form hitting the ground, they are not going to be happy there for very long.
In a Meaningful Moves® class we explore many ways to help your baby develop the strength to explore the world. Watch my video below to see one of the more gentle ways we encourage babies to explore with their belly down while fostering the neurological connections necessary for controlled head movement.