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by Talya Metz July 20, 2021 3 min read

1 Comment

Our babies spend so much time on their backs. They sleep on their backs, get changed on their backs, and play on their backs. They spend a ton of time just staring up at the ceiling!

How do we give our babies an opportunity to experience the world around them from other perspectives?

We can lay them on our chests or legs, get creative with nursing positions, put them in a carrier or practice tummy time. All of these practices help to build a baby's core strength.

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is when you intentionally place your baby onto their tummies. It is hard work and most babies really don't enjoy it.

Regardless of a baby's disinterest in the practice, many professionals recommend that babies engage in tummy time from the moment they come home from the hospital. The reason is:

  • To help build motor development
  • To strengthen the back, neck, core and limbs
  • To help with other developmental milestones like rolling over, sitting up and crawling
  • To work the muscles in the upper body to promote head and neck control
  • To avoid developing a flat spot on the back of the head due to lying on the back too often

Tummy Time and Montessori 

The pediatric push for tummy time and the Montessori philosophy don't align perfectly. 

Since the Montessori philosophy really focuses on the child's natural readiness to approach different activities, some people in the Montessori community feel that a baby should only be placed on their tummy when they are able to roll onto their tummy themselves. 

Is there a happy medium?

Of course! 

Since there are multiple benefits to tummy time, some Montessori parents will offer the opportunity for tummy time but observe their child to determine how long they are able to stay on their tummies. When they sense their baby has had enough, they stop.

By offering tummy time in small, short doses, a baby will still get stronger and tummy time will get much easier...and more enjoyable!

Ways to help baby tolerate tummy time 

Remember that time spent in a carrier, or nursing, or lying on a parent's chest are also very important ways to build up a baby's core strength. 

But if you choose to practice tummy time with your baby, there are ways to try to make it more enjoyable.

  • Observe your baby and stop tummy time when they have had enough.
  • Lay them on a soft, patterned surface, like our Little Bots play mat. so they are comfortable and can visually explore the patterns.
  • Prop their arms up with a soft blanket or small pillow.
  • Interact with them face-to-face by lying on your tummy in front of them.
  • Offer interesting toys or a mirror for them to engage with.
  • Use our Tummy Time Accordion Cards to capture baby's interest.

Don’t stress

If you are feeling pressured by your doctor or fellow mamas to do tummy time but you do not feel comfortable with it, know that many people who take a Montessori approach, choose not to do tummy time until their baby is rolling independently, which is a 4 month milestone.

Rest easy knowing that around 4-6 months, your baby should be getting approximately 15 minutes of tummy time per day NATURALLY. You won’t have to allocate specific time to practicing tummy time because baby’s natural play will include lying on the tummy, rolling over, pivoting, scooching and crawling.

We always encourage our mamas to do what feels right.


1 Response

Lisa
Lisa

September 28, 2021

Great post! It’s interesting the perspective that the prone or tummy time position will be achieved when the infant is ready. This assumes that supine, or face up is the base position to operate from. I wonder where that thought comes from?
P.S. got the accordion cards!

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