Is tummy time that important? Thoughts?



What tummy time?

I was quite surprised when I first found out that we were supposed to get our babies to do tummy time since birth. Aren't they too young? 

So I didn't do it *yikes

And with a million other anxiety-provoking thoughts constantly on my mind, honestly I forgot about it. 

Until we did our 6 weeks check-up with our maternal health nurse and she mentioned positional plagiocephaly. Which basically meant FLAT HEAD SYNDROME. 

O M G what have I done?

At 6 weeks, Ely had developed an obvious flat spot on her left side.

As a first-time mum, I obviously freaked out and googled it endlessly after our check-up. Should I go to a specialist and request for one of those helmets to correct Ely's flat head? 

The maternal health nurse assured me that it was not necessary and it could be improved with tummy time.

But Ely HATES tummy time! Screams bloody murder every time.

Fast forward to Ely's 4 months check up and things were not getting better. Her flat head got even more obvious so we went to see a child physiotherapist. 

Basically we had to get Ely to build up the strength of her (weak) neck muscles so she was less likely to lean and sleep on the same side every time she went to sleep (causing her flat spot to worsen). 

Here are 4 tips that really helped us: 

  • Lay down on my back, and spend time chest-to-chest with baby
  • Burp baby on my lap while she is laying on her belly and pat out that burp
  • Use a mirror to engage her glance, with a pillow propping her up
  • Hold baby in arms, on her belly, as I walk around the house

Did it work? 

Yes it helped to increase her tolerance at tummy time. 

But her flat head didn't go away. It got better when she turned 6 months and could roll over and sit down. 

Thoughts from real mums:

"My 3 1/2 months old daughter never liked tummy time. She doesn't last longer than 30 sec before a total meltdown. She can arch her back and lift her head for about 20 sec, and after that she rest her head (on her mouth and nose!) and she cries inconsolably. She doesn't use her arms for support and she is not even close of turning over. When she is in sitting position, she can hold her head pretty steadily, but it still wobbles toward her chest." - Nancy

"Whenever I would put my babies on their stomachs to play, they would shriek and spit up until I acquiesced and scooped them up. Saved from their misery, they would immediately stop crying, but then I’d start feeling miserable and guilty. Were my kids going to lag behind their peers forever because I was too much of a tummy time softie?" - Lauren

"I asked my pediatrician about it and she basically said not to worry too much and just do what we can. She said baby will eventually learn the skills she needs but tummy time will just help her get there faster." - Rachael

"We very rarely do tummy time because of reflux. We get about 1 minute before he starts squirming (if we do not pick him up, he will spit up). He has great head control though from being on our shoulder - will just likely not roll over at the normal age. Dr said he is doing great at 2 months though and did not even ask about tummy time so I am not worrying about it." - Rhiannon

"Mine hated it, so I didn't do it. Anyway, holding them upright counts. I stressed I was doing her some sort of disservice, but she was holding her head up in no time." - Chloe


I feel that every baby is different and although there are guidelines about ages for developmental milestones, our babies may be faster or slower in developing those milestones and that's totally normal. 

I'm keen to know what your experience has been with your babies and tummy time. What works and what doesn't? 

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