Tummy Time Alternatives

tummy time of a 4 month old baby girl in a crib with her 4 year old brother

Rose was not a fan of tummy time, she would roll onto her back or put her face down and cry.

As an occupational therapist this worried me. I’m very aware of the importance of tummy time because early time spent on the tummy builds skills that are essential for later development (turning and lifting the head, pushing up, crawling). I used/use a variety of techniques to help her enjoy the time she spends on her tummy. At 7 months it is still not her favourite position, but as she begins to push up onto her hands and knees in preparation for crawling she seems to enjoy it more and more. Also she’s sleeping better! tummy time

Here are some of the alternative tummy time positions that we use.

On moms knees tummy time

Sit with bent knees. Place baby on your lower legs with baby’s head at your knees. Alternatively you can lean back and raise baby up into the air on your legs (it’s a good workout once you’re able to do some ab work!) tummy time

tummy time of a light skinned baby laying on her mothers lower legs as mother smiles at baby tummy time of a light skinned baby laying on her mothers lower legs, mother has legs raised in the air as mother smiles at baby

On a rolled up towel

Place a rolled up towel under your babies arm pits so that it is on the upper chest. As Rose became more comfortable in this position she started to push upwards on the towel.

7 month old baby girl doing tummy time with a rolled up towel under her chest 7 month old light skinned baby girl doing tummy time with a rolled up towel under her chest, she is pushing up on the towel with her hands

On the floor with a toy or person entertaining baby tummy time

This may seem obvious, but I found myself at times forgetting that even little babes need entertaining. Morris was more than happy to fill this role. tummy time

a 4 year old light skinned boy laying on his stomach on a bed smiling at his 3 month old baby sister also on her tummy time

We also did tummy time on my chest while I either sat up, or lay back on a couch (although she would often falls asleep at a younger age).

Here are the Tummy Time Milestones to aim for, but remember every baby is different. (from Mama OT)

  • Lays on tummy, lifts face off surface 1-2 seconds: 0-2 months
  • Holds head up with chin 2-3 inches above surface: 0-2.5 months
  • Holds head up and turns it to both sides with no head bobbing: 2-3 months
  • Pushes top of chest off floor while bearing weight on forearms: 2-4 months
  • Holds head completely upright (90 degrees to floor) a few seconds: 3-5 months
  • Pushes entire chest off floor while bearing weight in both hands: 4-6 months
  • Pushes chest up, bears weight in one hand, reaches with other: 6-7.5 months

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