|Do not even think about putting me |
on my stomach, mom.
Most babies hate Tummy Time. Noah does. Our pediatrician recommended getting him lots of tummy time at our last appointment, not only to develop his neck muscles but also because he had a slightly flat head. I cannot tell you how often I lay awake at night worrying about this. I also cannot tell you how many people say "Tummy Time? We didn't need no stinkin' Tummy Time back in the good old days!" (Yes. Agreed. Because babies did not always have to sleep on their backs back then. Now good day to you, sir.)
I feel about Tummy Time the way I feel about flossing my teeth: massive guilt that I cannot motivate myself to do it.
Since Noah gets Very Angry when we try to put him on his stomach, I am loathe to ruin any good moods he has by trying it. And if he's not in a good mood, well, it's not a great time for it either. But now we have his 4 month check-up looming in 17 days and I am terrified that our pediatrician is going to say "Here's your kids' helmet. Flat head and disastrously weak neck muscles. Way to go, stay-at-home mom."
So I am trying something new. I am calling it the Tummy Time Olympics (sounds fun, right??) and I am posting about it here in case you are scared of Tummy Time too. Maybe it will help you sleep a little better.
The gist: Rotate through an assortment of exercises that encourage the muscles that Tummy Time works… and time your kid to see how long they can stay in the positions. Rotate through the list each day and write down their best scores. Get excited when they have personal bests! (Disclaimer: it should be obvious that I'm not a doctor and you should only do this if you think it's the right thing for your kiddo. These are compiled from pediatrician suggestions, the baby class we attend and the Internet.)
The 13 poses:
Baby is laying on the floor. Gently hold his hands and pull him until he's sitting up, then lay him down again. Do as many as you can.
Upright shoulder walk
You walk around with baby's neck higher than your shoulder. Talk about all the interesting things the kid is seeing. Hold as long as you can.
You lay down on the floor with knees tucked and lay the baby on your legs; make funny faces at the baby. Hope he does not puke in your face. Hold as long as you can.
Stare out the window
You sit in a chair or on the couch in front of a window. Put baby against your shoulder so he can contemplate the world. Hold as long as you can.
Get on the same level
Baby goes on his stomach and you get down there to sing songs, make noises, make faces. Could be on the floor or your bed. Hold as long as you can.
Changing pad massage
After bath, rub some lotion or baby oil on baby's back while he is on his stomach. Hold as long as you can.
Put baby so he is (carefully) peering over the edge of the bed or couch. Sit so you are eye-level with him. Hold as long as you can.
Waterproof mat on floor. Baby is naked and on stomach. Hold as long as you can.
Roll to the left and stay
Roll baby to his left side and let the weight of his top leg fall over his bottom leg (so he's essentially rolling to his stomach himself). Hold as long as you can.
Roll to the right and stay
Roll baby to his right side and let the weight of his top leg fall over his bottom leg (so he's essentially rolling to his stomach himself). Hold as long as you can.
On your chest
Lay the baby on your chest - or start on your side with baby facing you on his side, then roll him onto your chest. He has to hold neck up to look at you. (Beware engorged boobs if this is an issue for you!) Hold as long as you can.
Sit baby on your lap, leaning forward. Put one hand on his chest and the other on his back. Talk to him about what he's seeing. Hold as long as you can.
Put baby in Bumbo seat. (If his thighs are too fat for the leg holes, be careful getting him in and out. Noah The Chunk has this problem.) Hold as long as you can.
If you make it through all thirteen poses for a minute each, that will get you a great start. I will check back in on this in two weeks after we have our pediatrician appointment… good luck, little Olympians!