How We Tummy Time -- Montessori Baby Week 20
Tummy time can be one of these challenging areas in the infant Montessori community where everyone sort of has their own way of handling it. While I have talked about natural gross motor development, I haven't really addressed how we tummy time.
So, the sort of standard American pediatric advice is that babies, starting at birth should play on their tummies as much as possible to combat all the time they spend sleeping on their backs. But, the reality is that many babies hate being on their tummy simply because they do sleep on their back. This can make tummy time a challenge for parents.
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For the Montessori community, in particular, tummy time is one of those things where people may agree with the standard advice or they may believe children should only be placed on their bellies when they can roll to their belly on their own. There's really just not a super clear consensus here.
We personally fall somewhere in the middle. Tummy time is especially important for Augustus since he has torticollis and plagiocephaly. This position helps him stretch in new ways and takes some of the pressure off of his head. But, of course he hates it. And, I can't blame him, I would hate being in a position where I was unable to move freely or was uncomfortable.
Gus is exploring a winkle rattle during tummy time.
So we go back to our most basic Montessori beliefs in these moments and follow the child. We frequently offer Gus the opportunity for tummy time, but follow his lead for how long we will be doing it. We don't allow him to stay in a position where he is crabby or worked up, but work to find a solution. This can mean changing how we do tummy time -- like switching to hanging out on my lap, in a baby carrier, or changing a nursing position. But, it can also mean trying again later.
Right now, offering a little elevated tummy time has been key in keeping him happy. From this position Gus can move his head (although you may notice it still often lags to one direction) and it gives the flat spot (on his soon to be helmeted head) a break for a bit. And bonus, it's been offering some unique opportunities to explore with his hands.
So, a couple things that have helped him tolerate tummy time better
- Ending tummy time when he is upset -- follow your child
- Using an interestingly patterned pillow under him
- Sheep skin or interesting blanket under him so he can explore the textures
- Face to face interaction during tummy time
- Offering favorite toys during tummy time
If you are feeling the tummy time pressure, just know that you can follow you child and gently make it work. And, if you don't feel comfortable with that, know that many in the Montessori community skip traditional tummy time until their child is rolling.
Do you or did you do tummy time? Did your child like it?