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How can I encourage tummy time?

My baby hates tummy time. What can I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Not every baby loves spending time belly-side down, but tummy time is important for building your baby's neck and upper-body strength. Eventually this will help your baby accomplish milestones like rolling over and sitting up. It may sound counterintuitive, but the more time your baby spends on his tummy, the stronger he'll be -- and the more he'll ultimately like it.
Try to make tummy time more comfortable by rolling up a small towel and placing it under baby's chest, which props his head so he can see and do more. Also, get down on your belly too and make funny faces, sing songs, and play with baby's favorite toys. Sometimes, spending tummy time on a bed (as long as you're careful) can be more comfortable than on the floor. 
If your baby cries or gets upset during tummy time, try not to automatically pick him up. Instead, comfort him in other ways first, like rubbing his back or singing soothing songs. Aim for about 30 minutes a day total, but you can break these up over the course of the day if your baby's really resistant. There's no need for him to be miserable.

Copyright 2003 Meredith Corporation. Updated 2009.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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We started tummy time at 2 weeks old and our baby hated it. She cried the whole time. We started with 5 minutes at a time (she cried) a few times a day. She is now 11 weeks old and we do 60 minutes of tummy time a day. We do it for 15 minutes at a time. She tolerates it for better in the morning. I start with her flat for 5 minutes, then prop her on a boppy for 5 minutes, then put her on my chest for the last 5 minutes. This breaks up the 15 minutes for her.
Submitted by tallum22
I've seen toys and mats that are specifically made to make tummy time more enjoyable. I believe the Lamaze brand has a few. Some have mirrors and other things so your baby can have fun while having tummy time.
Submitted by Alexis
We also like the boppy, but our pediatrician said it's important to have time flat on his belly, too. Our most successful sessions are right when he wakes up and is in a good mood. I put my face right down next to his and encourage him, which he seems to like!
Submitted by kristel.sheesley
Try using a boppie pillow to prop your baby up. My daughter hated tummy time but really liks it now.
Submitted by kpetriw@gmail.com
My son, Jacob is 10 weeks old and he HATES tummy time! After several failed attempts, we have come to an agreement with each other... We break up tummy time into three 10 minute sessions. We do not do it when he is tired, he will only cry the whole time! Finally, we prop him up on his tummy on the boppy pillow, letting his arms hang over the front. We also reward his tummy time with lots of kisses and hugs!
Submitted by jadalynnshipp