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Baby needs time on tummy - but hates it!

(42 Posts)
MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 21:56:35

We took our DD to her 8-week appointment and everything was fine, but the one thing the doctor highlighted was that, when the doc pulled our DD up by her hands from a lying position, she didn't hold her head up (think they call it head lag). Her head/neck were still floppy.

The doc said not to worry, but to give DD lots of time on her tummy (up to an hour a day!) and her neck would strengthen. But DD hates time on her tummy, and cries within a couple of minutes - I mean, really cries, and sounds so upset.

I have tried holding her under her chest so that she's on her front but doesn't have her head buried in the mat, but I don't know if this does the trick.

Has anyone any tips for extending tummy time? Should I just let her cry for a while and see if she stops, and gets used to being on her tum?


OliviaTwist Sat 08-Oct-11 22:09:22

Ok, so what is the worst that could happen if she doesnt do tummy time? WIll she get to 5 and not be able to hold her head up? No.

Take it with a pinch of salt and don't make her unhappy!

There are societies where children never lie on there tummies but seem to manage.

Maybe try a sling so she is upright? That counts too. Tummy time is really 'non lying on their back time'.

coastgirl Sat 08-Oct-11 22:12:18

7wo DS is not a great fan on lying on his tummy on the floor but it's one of his favourite positions lying on someone's chest, and he does hold his head up then. Maybe do that as much as you can? I like having him lying on me, too!

Frankie000 Sat 08-Oct-11 22:12:50

Hi, my ds1 was the same, he hated being on his tummy, as soon as he was strong enough he'd roll straight back over onto his back, he ended up with a slightly flat head from being on his back all the time. Because of this with ds2 Ive been trying to encourage tummy time more, he's 12 weeks now and will stay happily on his tummy if I lie him on my chest so when he lifts his head he's looking at me, iyswim?

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:14:49

Thanks, Olivia. Yes, I do wonder if we overplay the 'hold your head up' thing a bit!

I do sit her up lots so she can look around and practise using her neck muscles, and she manages that fine. We also do pop her in the Baby Bjorn carrier sometimes and she likes that.

Tbh, I would rather take it slowly/gently than upset her by putting her on her tummy when she really doesn't like it.

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:17:11

coastgirl and Frankie, thanks for the tips - she does like sleeping on DH on her front, so that's a good thing to try. At least you know she will be a happy wee camper while she's doing it!

seeker Sat 08-Oct-11 22:17:15

I would completely ignore this if I were you. Most people don't have 8 week checks with doctors- if you hadn't you wouldn't have known anything about "head lag" and would be happily letting your baby develop at her own speed. What did this loon of a doctor tell you was going to happen if you don't force your baby to have " tummy time"?

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 22:19:53

My three have all hated tummy time. But like lying on my chest lifting head up. Sort of at an angle. I've read this I'd just as good. Also that sling carried babies end up with strong neck muscles.

Neither of mine ever spent a second on their tummies, until they could roll themselves, it seemed a mean thing to do to them so I never did it.

They were both mostly slung though.

Iggly Sat 08-Oct-11 22:25:49

Tummy time is recommended because we don't put babies to sleep on their fronts. It helps with core muscle strength not just neck strength. It's a precursor (building up core strength) to rolling, sitting, crawling etc. I know people who didn't do it who's babies were later or non existent crawlers/walkers etc. Not the end of the world but each to their own.

If she doesn't like it, just do it for a minute or two a day. Its probably because she can't lift her head, she can't see you so freaks. I did tummy time from 2 weeks old and DS couldnt manage very much at all. You can put her on your bed and sit so you're eye level with her.

Also using a sling will help - again I did this with DS.

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:29:00

Thanks seeker, ikwym, the doc didn't say what would happen, but just 'marked down' that she didn't pull her head up, and then the health visitor mentioned at her injections (at 9 weeks) that we had to 'work on head lag'. But, on talking to my friends who have babies, they said their babies didn't have much front time either.

Sleepglorioussleep and WhereTheWildThingsWere, that's also reassuring. We'll keep going with her sleeping on DH and going in the baby carrier!

As you say, I wouldn't have worried about this at all had they not mentioned it. She has held her head up fine since quite an early age, when held upright.

Thanks all.

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:31:08

Thanks, Iggly. Something I did try was popping her on her front on her changing table, then standing at the end of the table so she'd see me and hopefully raise her head up. Sometimes this worked for a minute but sometimes she just popped her head to the side and had a wee rest!

MaMattoo Sat 08-Oct-11 22:32:17

My 16 mo must have done 2 hours of tummy time (involuntary) and it did him no harm. He was like yours...cried a lot and each time I tried I felt stupid annoying a perfectly happy baby. No TT and he crawled at 13 months, cruises at 15 and has no issues, a little off the 'NHS schedule' but happy baby. Relax and enjoy this time, it won't last once Crawling happens grin and each nappy change is a magic trick!

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:34:28

Aw, thanks MaMattoo. Your son sounds perfect, so a good recipe to follow!

OliviaTwist Sat 08-Oct-11 22:35:20

DD hardly ever did TT and was a late crawler and walker. But I don't think that really matters in the scheme of things.

MintyTea Sat 08-Oct-11 22:38:02

It doesn't really matter, does it, as long as they're happy and making progress. My niece was also a late crawler and walker, but boy is she making up for it now! smile

Iggly Sun 09-Oct-11 07:24:01

That's all she'll manage Minty - a minute at a time! An hour as your doc said is unrealistic at this age.

flipflapcatflap Sun 09-Oct-11 07:37:48

I have never knowingly given any of my 4 'tummytime' - they are all walking and holding up heads very nicely thank you. For my older two I cannot even remember anyone mentioning it! And now I have so many children I suppose no one thinks they need to mention it.

MustControlFistOfDeath Sun 09-Oct-11 07:45:59

An hour!!! No way!
Didn't hardly do any with my 10mo DS as he didn't like it. He's been walking for 2 weeks.

It doesn't always follow that no tummy time = late crawling/walking

zimm Sun 09-Oct-11 10:06:17

Oh for heaven sake go sounds like a muppet. Dd spent almost no time on tummy. She had plenty of neck strength by 10 weeks and rolled over early at three months. Crawford at ten months and walked at tweleve

MintyTea Sun 09-Oct-11 21:14:37

Thanks, guys, that's really reassuring. The GP was nice and trying to give me advice, and I think she was following guidelines as she was checking down a list - but it sounds like the list is rather too prescriptive!

Good to know it really doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things, as long as I have her in sitting positions etc. when I hold her.

ChippingIn Sun 09-Oct-11 21:36:07

Minty - I have lifted this from a booklet I have here from Jabado - I think it's interesting....

Being on their (backs &) tummies they

- begin to shape & strengthen their spines, hips, shoulders & necks (which helps to prevent injury later on).

- develop a felt sense of, and strength in, their upper body. This is where dextrous hands (and writing) begin.

- build a strong sense of their centre.

Bellycrawl - this is an important stage (which often passes unnoticed but contains so much important development) they

- find their feet as they push along the floor

- stimulate the centre of their body, helping them to come out of nappies quicker

- build an accurate pain threshold which helps them to stay safe & to feel for others

- develop open hands - important for fine motor skills including writing later on

- develop their eye movement so they can track side to side, important for reading later on

Just because they will be holding their own heads up at 5 doesn't mean that tummy time isn't valuable.

I would keep looking for things which enable her to enjoy her tummy time (and I know it's not easy!!) but time lying on your & DH's chests, on the bed when you sit on the floor, even on things such as the kitchen bench (if you are standing next to her!!) are good because they are distracted by this new perspective (rather than the same view from the floor). Even on things such as a change mat, paper etc that are different in texture will help a bit.

schmee Mon 10-Oct-11 22:41:28

That's really interesting ChippingIn. One of my sons really hated tummy time and would scream his head off if placed on his tummy. He developed severe plagiocephaly. Interestingly he has been late developing writing skills (although he's finally getting the hang of it) and I would say that he hasn't got a very good sense of his own physicality.

With my baby now I am trying "mummy tummy time" on my chest, and also using a special cushion from the playgym that supports her chest and arms slightly.

EgonSpengler Tue 11-Oct-11 13:02:42

We were advised much the same thing with our DD (now 13 months). She absolutely loathed it. Wouldn't do 20 seconds let alone 20 minutes. We took the whole thing with a pinch of salt. It will come. She's crawling and pulling herself up now and I stopped giving her tummy initially as it was so godawful to see her purple with rage.

EgonSpengler Tue 11-Oct-11 13:03:07

tummy time

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