Skip to main content

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.

Montessori thoughts on tummy time. Here is how we do tummy time with a Montessori baby. This is one area of Montessori where the answer is not always clear.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

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.

Montessori thoughts on tummy time. Here is how we do tummy time with a Montessori baby. This is one area of Montessori where the answer is not always clear.

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.

Montessori thoughts on tummy time. Here is how we do tummy time with a Montessori baby. This is one area of Montessori where the answer is not always clear.

Do you or did you do tummy time? Did your child like it?


Unknown said…
My 19 week old absolutely loves tummy time. Ever since she found out how to roll to her belly, she would not stay on her back for more than 2 minutes!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…