Newborn Basics

Baby Hates Tummy Time?

Help! My baby hates tummy time. What should I do?

Don't give up! Most babies are at least a little resistant to tummy time, but it’s important for a few reasons. For one, although we want babies to sleep on their backs to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), we also don’t want them spending all their time facing the ceiling. For one, that can cause positional plagiocephaly, a.k.a. “flat head” syndrome, because an infant’s soft bones (which help accommodate brain growth) can become molded in a flattened shape.  The other reason you want to do tummy time that it helps babies acquire new developmental milestones, by giving them the chance to build the head control and core strength they need to start to move around. Babies who receive more tummy time are able to pick their heads up for longer periods of time, and can even begin doing some early rolling from tummy to back.

Ideally, your baby should spend 40 to 60 minutes each day on her tummy — but it doesn’t have to be all at once. Even just a few seconds to a few minutes of time throughout the day adds up. Try getting on the floor with your baby, or use a soft, flexible mirror or bright toys as incentive for her to reach or lift her head up. You can also try putting your baby on your chest or propped up on a nursing pillow to give her a better view.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby Milestones: What Baby Will Do When

10 Weird (But Totally Normal) Things About Your Newborn

Infant Etiquette

By Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, FAAP, pediatrician with Seattle Children's Hospital, Everett Clinic