No tummy time, Mummy

My daughter hates tummy time. I know, I should probably be a good mother and push her to achieve her developmental goals.

But you know what? Life is too short for those ten minutes she’s supposed to be on her tummy.

For a start, when is this tummy time supposed to happen? She’s never awake for more than two or three hours and she spends about an hour of that feeding. See where I’m going with this? Tummy time equals baby puke. Not worth it.

She loved it at first. In fact – and I kid you not – she was rolling over from her front to her back at eight weeks. I told friends with attempted modesty, thinking my baby was some sort of genius, as you do.

It’s an interesting time babyhood. It’s the only time where moving from lying down in one position to lying down in another is lauded as some sort of brilliant achievement. How exciting.

Anyway, she did that maybe three times then decided she’d had enough of my ill-concealed, disproportionate pride. Time to take mummy down a peg or two. No more going on the tummy.

Ever since then I put her on her tummy and she lasts one, maybe two minutes. I try not to pick her up as soon as she sounds off. Maybe she’ll change her mind. No. Three minutes of tummy time for half an hour of crying that even the boob won’t console. So not worth it.

Instead I’m clinging to a few theories. One is that babywearing gives her the opportunity to exercise some of the same muscles. I can buy this.

At sixteen weeks she won’t be passively worn anymore. If she’s wide awake, she wants to push her arms against me, to hold her upper body up so she can get a better view of the world.

Another is that it just doesn’t feel natural to place her on her stomach so why would I?

I’m probably just being lazy. I’m not adverse to admitting that. But good grief, it’s not as if she won’t eventually crawl, walk, whatever.

In the meantime, she’s becoming an expert bum shuffler.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Hehee…you’re going the right way.

    I’m sure I’ve sent a link via Twitter about how Tummy Time is something we shouldn’t do. ‘You should never place a baby in a position they can’t get themselves in to or out of’. This includes Tummy Time.

    As you so correctly say: babywearing and her just being upright exercises all necessary muscles. 🙂

    The last photo is very cute, hehe.


  • My son was much the same. It’s because he was active and he didn’t like to lie still, but he wasn’t able to do the things he wanted on his tummy, which was crawl, basically. Or at least hold his head up. My daughter, too, didn’t like it much, until she was able to hold herself up comfortably for a decent period. To be honest, I never bothered with it much for either of them when they couldn’t get into that position for them selves, and then once they could, they were never off it, so… Like you say, as long as they aren’t lying on their backs for the whole day and night in the same position, it’s not a problem, I reckon.

  • Babies know what they want and need – we could never put Littler on her tummy (far far too much sick) and in fact rarely put her down at all – she was happily carried and that seemed to do her as much good
    My understanding is it’s about reducing the pressure on the back of the head, letting them work the neck muscles and using their core – all things they can do in a sling

  • Crikey don’t force it and don’t beat yourself up over it. She’ll come back to if she wants to, but it’s no big deal – especially if she’s already moving on to bigger and better things! She looks gorgeous and she sounds loved – what more could a baby want x

  • Little and often can do the trick, but when you feel its right and for as long as she is happy to be there. Also make tummy time as comfy as possible with a few objects that might interest her nearby. As with everything do what feels right to you.

  • I hate this tummy time business. My boys wouldn’t tolerate it until they were at least 6 months. Baby is following suit! I wouldn’t worry about it too much!

    • Thank you! I’m so fed up of people saying she looks like her father. *I* grew her, darn it. I’m not sure it’s bum shuffling, if I’m honest, but she does end up moving around loads and I’m like: “How did you get there?” I’ll need to start changing her on the floor.

  • Burton hated tummy time too – he would rub his face into the mat and cry and go bright red! Plus as you say, the danger of a baby sick episode was too much for me so I would let him have a minute every now and then. He was fine though it didn’t make him any less strong or alert! Hs baby brother on the other hand has been turning himself over on to his tummy since he was somewhere between 3 and 4 months and doesn’t cry about it, well maybe eventually when he has had enough but completely different.
    And that’s my point after my waffling, every baby is different and You must do what your instincts tell you. She is gorgeous just like her mummy xx

  • My daughter hated tummy time and I hated to see her upset about it so we didn’t do it a lot. Didn’t do her any harm though as she ended up both crawling and walking early for her age.