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Newborn Hates Tummy Time

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As a new parent, you’ve probably heard about the importance of tummy time for your newborn.

It’s recommended that infants spend at least 20 minutes a day on their tummies to help develop their motor skills and prevent flat spots on their heads.

However, what do you do if your baby hates tummy time? It can be frustrating when your little one cries or fusses during tummy time, but it’s important to understand why they may be resisting and how you can make it more comfortable for them.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of tummy time for newborns, why some babies dislike it, and provide tips and alternative methods to encourage healthy motor development.

The Importance of Tummy Time for Newborns

You may not realize it, but spending time on their stomach is crucial for your little one’s development and growth. Tummy time helps strengthen the muscles in their neck, shoulders, and back that are necessary for crawling and eventually walking. It also helps prevent flat spots from forming on the back of their head by encouraging them to turn their head from side to side.

If your newborn hates tummy time, don’t worry – there are alternatives! You can try placing them on a soft blanket or towel on the floor while you lay down next to them and talk or sing to them.

Another option is placing them tummy-down across your lap while you sit down and support their chest with one hand while gently rocking them with the other.

Whatever method you choose, remember that even just a few minutes of tummy time each day can make a big difference in your baby’s development and growth.

Understanding Why Some Newborns Dislike Tummy Time

It’s understandable if your little one is resistant to spending time on their belly, but there are a few reasons why some babies may not love tummy time at first.

One reason could be that your baby is uncomfortable or in pain due to reflux or gas. Another reason could be that they simply don’t like being put in a position where they can’t see what’s going on around them.

In these cases, it’s important to try out different tummy time alternatives, such as placing your baby on an exercise ball or doing tummy time with your baby lying across your lap.

It’s also possible that your baby might have developmental delays that make tummy time difficult for them. For example, if your baby has weaker neck muscles, they may struggle to hold their head up during tummy time.

If you suspect this might be the case, it’s important to speak with your pediatrician about ways you can support your baby’s development and help them build the strength needed for tummy time.

Remember that every baby is different and develops at their own pace – don’t worry if it takes a little longer for your little one to enjoy tummy time!

Tips for Making Tummy Time More Comfortable

One way to make your baby’s experience during this important developmental exercise more comfortable is by trying out different tummy time alternatives. For example, you can try placing your baby on their back and gently lifting their legs towards their chest. This position helps strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve digestion.

Another alternative is holding your baby over your shoulder or lap while gently massaging their back. Not only does this provide some tummy time benefits, but it also creates a bonding moment between you and your little one.

In addition to experimenting with tummy time alternatives, using specific equipment can also help make the experience more comfortable for your newborn. For instance, you can use a rolled-up towel or small pillow to prop up their chest while they are lying on their tummy. This will reduce the pressure on their neck and allow them to lift their head without much difficulty.

You can also try using a play mat or activity gym that has toys hanging above it to keep them entertained during tummy time sessions. Remember, every baby is unique, so don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find what works best for both you and your little one!

Alternative Ways to Promote Motor Development

Let’s explore some alternative ways to promote your baby’s motor development beyond the traditional tummy time exercise.

One option is babywearing exercises. You can carry your baby in a carrier or wrap while you perform gentle movements like squats, lunges, and twists. This allows your baby to experience different positions and movements while also being close to you for comfort and security. It can help strengthen their neck muscles, improve their balance, and enhance overall body awareness.

Another idea is sensory play. You can engage your baby’s senses through various activities like playing with textured toys or exploring different textures with their hands and feet. This can help develop their fine motor skills as well as encourage crawling and other gross motor skills. You can also incorporate music or movement into sensory play by dancing with your baby or playing musical instruments together.

Remember that every baby develops at their own pace, so don’t worry if they’re not hitting milestones exactly on schedule – just keep providing opportunities for them to explore and learn in a safe and nurturing environment.

When to Seek Professional Help for Tummy Time Issues

If your baby seems to struggle with or avoid spending time on their stomach, you may want to consider consulting with a pediatrician or physical therapist for additional guidance and support.

While some babies may dislike tummy time at first, consistent practice can help them learn to tolerate and enjoy it. However, if your baby consistently cries or shows signs of distress during tummy time, it could be an indication of an underlying issue such as muscle weakness or torticollis.

A pediatrician consultation can help identify any potential medical issues that might be affecting your baby’s ability to complete tummy time comfortably. They may also refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in infant care for further evaluation and treatment.

A physical therapy intervention could include exercises and stretches designed to strengthen your baby’s neck muscles and improve head control, making tummy time more manageable and enjoyable for them.

Remember that every child develops differently, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you have concerns about your child’s motor development progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can tummy time be skipped altogether if my baby hates it?

If your baby hates tummy time, it can be tempting to skip it altogether. However, there are alternatives to traditional tummy time that can still provide the same benefits for your little one’s development.

Encouraging tummy time through play is a great way to get your baby on their belly without them even realizing it. Try placing toys just out of reach and encouraging them to reach for them, or laying down with them and making silly faces and noises to keep them engaged.

Remember that every baby is different and may take some time to warm up to tummy time, so don’t give up!

How long should tummy time sessions be for newborns?

To help your newborn ease into tummy time, start with short sessions of just a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the length as they become more comfortable.

Use toys or other objects to encourage them to lift their head and engage with their environment.

Remember that tummy time isn’t just about strengthening neck muscles – it also helps babies develop gross motor skills, improves digestion, and can even reduce the risk of developing a flat spot on the back of their head.

So stick with it, be patient, and keep finding new ways to make tummy time fun for both you and your little one!

Can tummy time help with reflux or colic in newborns?

Tummy time is not only a great way to help your baby develop strong neck and shoulder muscles, but it can also have potential benefits for reflux and colic.

By placing your baby on their tummy while supervised, this position can help relieve pressure on the stomach and allow for easier digestion.

However, if your newborn hates tummy time, there are alternatives you can try such as holding them upright or using a baby carrier that supports their head and neck.

It’s important to remember that every baby is different and finding what works best for them may take some trial and error.

What are some signs that my baby may need professional help for tummy time issues?

If your baby is struggling with tummy time, there are a few signs that may indicate it’s time to seek professional help.

For example, if your baby consistently cries or becomes extremely upset during tummy time, seems to have trouble breathing or swallowing, or doesn’t seem to be making any progress despite consistent efforts, it may be worth consulting a pediatrician or physical therapist.

In the meantime, consider incorporating some tummy time alternatives and using tummy time equipment such as mats or pillows to make the experience more comfortable for your little one.

Remember that every baby is different and may have their own preferences when it comes to tummy time, so don’t hesitate to experiment and find what works best for you both.

Is it safe for newborns to do tummy time on a soft surface like a bed or couch?

When it comes to tummy time for your newborn, you may be wondering if it’s safe to do on a soft surface like a bed or couch.

While it may seem like a comfortable option, experts recommend sticking to the floor for tummy time as it provides a more stable and secure surface for your baby to practice their motor skills.

However, if you find that your little one is resistant to traditional tummy time on the floor, there are alternative positions and activities you can try such as laying them across your chest or using a nursing pillow.

Remember that every baby develops at their own pace and with patience and persistence, they will eventually learn to love tummy time!


So, you’ve got a newborn who hates tummy time. Don’t worry, it’s not uncommon and there are ways to make it more comfortable for them.

Remember that tummy time is important for their motor development and overall health. Understanding why your baby dislikes tummy time can help you find solutions to make it more enjoyable.

Try different positions, use toys or mirrors to distract them, and gradually increase the amount of time they spend on their stomachs. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a pediatrician or physical therapist.

With patience and persistence, your little one will eventually learn to love tummy time and reap the benefits of strong muscles and healthy development.

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