Conquering tummy time

conquering tummy time besotted blog

Becoming a mother has not been the smoothest transition for me. uh-uh. I have all the love, affection and basic needs down (besides sleep, but I’ll write about that when I get some), but there’s so much more that I was never expecting or ever knew existed that I have been slowly slogging (is that even a word?) through. Not until the day I was to leave the hospital with my bundle of joy did the words ‘tummy time’ ever mean anything to me, nor did I know the concept, but in the weeks and months to follow I would become intimately familiar with it and learn to dread it with all my heart. So would my daughter. For those of you not ‘in the know’, tummy time is when you put your baby on their tummy to help them strengthen the muscles in their neck and back (via them lifting their tiny noggins, or large noggins, baby head to body ratio…).  Whenever I would try, my normally happy daughter would go ballistic.  I would stop tummy time and then spend hours and days, okay months worrying that she would never hit her milestones like rolling over, or worse having a neck that was too weak to hold up her head.  Then my childhood best friend who is as granola as they get sent me a text that read, ‘have you heard of Magda Gerber?’. I answered, ‘like the baby food?’ and she said ‘No. Look up RIE.’ So, I did.  I read and read and read some more and you know what?  I liked what I discovered, mainly because the philosophy did not include the dreaded tummy time.

I have been utilizing many of their tenets since E. was 3 months, allowing her to naturally find her way and I am happy to share that as soon as I stopped trying to put her on her tummy she started to try on her own to get there and now spends a great deal of time there without a fuss!  She’s become very coordinated (well, as coordinated as a seventh month old can be), she had even developed enough strength in her arms by 5 months that she could scoot herself around on her belly across the room! At six months she was basically crawling. I did not see that coming at all and really expected to have many months before I had to worry about mobility!

I am not following any one philosophy on baby/child rearing, instead I am truly learning as I go (and hoping all the while that I don’t do anything that messes her up for life, I think I am doing pretty good so far). I do like a lot of the RIE tenets (and if you are interested I can get into more detail) and maybe answer some of the ridiculous misconceptions about it.  Like I said, I don’t follow anything rigidly/verbatim (I still do a  ton of baby wearing), as my granola friend said when she mentioned it, ‘use whatever resonates with you.’ A lot of it seemed very common sense based. I am just happy to have found a happy alternative to putting E. on her belly and not have her screech so loud the windows threatened to burst.  When I mentioned this problem on Instagram a lovely mom chimed in, “my children didn’t like tummy time either, never did it and I am happy to report as adults they can hold their heads up just fine thank you.”

Additional resources:

Janet Lansbury

Baby Knows Best: Raising a Confident Resourceful Child the RIE Way

A good post that discusses her RIE experience  (heads up the mother is very granola so if that’s not your thing you have been warned…)

How about you?  Have you ever heard of Magda Gerber/RIE before? Do you have questions about it?  Did you find another successful way to conquer tummy time? Did you eschew it as well? I am always interested to hear what other moms that have come before me have done, since there is no longer a ‘village’ to raise your children, the internet will have to do;)

11 thoughts on “Conquering tummy time

  1. I have not heard of Magda Gerber but we barely did tummy time because Agatha didn’t like it and she seems to be just fine. I try to remember that while I can easily make myself crazy with the particular phase she is going through, its only a blip in the scheme of things and I should just chill out.

    1. Mrs. Limestone, it really sounds like Agatha and E. are similar with the no sleep and no tummy time, lol! Thank you as always for the kind words, I love your visits and love keeping up with Agatha as well:)

  2. Yep, never really did much enforced tummy time with my kids. I usually put them on their back and eventually they figured out how to roll onto their tummy but that was about it. I do remember though, after my son was born, freaking out about making him sleep on his back. He hated it. As soon as he could roll over he was only content on hid tummy. I then realized that my other 3 had survived sleeping on their tummies and I was only worried about because it was now the thing to worry about. I agree with your friend, take what feels good to you. You know your baby best. Just enjoy!

    1. Pamela, I think some babies hate tummy time, I do. E. sleeps on her stomach as well, I was waking the poor baby up all night by flipping her on her back and the pediatrician said if she can roll over on to her stomach than it was fine, I even got a monitor that would set off an alarm if she stopped breathing for peace of mind, lol.

  3. Yes! Go into more detail! I have an 11 week old and am also having a rough transition into motherhood. My wee one doesn’t care for tummy time either and I really don’t want to be the obsessed parent who freaks out about every milestone baby’s not hitting.

    1. Jen congrats! I think it’s near impossible to tell a new, first time mother to relax about milestones, but I will any way;)

      Please check out the RIE site and see if anything resonates. I have been doing independent play since E. was 3 months (my goal was 20-30 minutes per her awake time) and I think it has helped tremendously now that she is older. She is very curious, she uses her open ended play items (a bowl) a ton more than she does her toys. I am hoping that it helps develop a long attention span which I think will be great for school (mine is not so great, lol).

  4. Hello Tristan, oh yes, I remember the dreaded tummy time or “poopy time” like we used to call it…Since my first born hated it, would cry so hard he would exhaust himself out so badly and then he was “pooped”… I wish I would have heard of the RIE method. He almost ended up wearing one of the dreaded helmets to keep his hear round and he also was behind a few milestones. But I’m happy to report, once we did 3 sessions of physical therapy, he caught up and now he is almost 10 years old and thriving ;)

  5. hi hi!
    i’m such a fan of your blog… but i’m a notoriously horrible commenter so you’d never know it! i saw the title of this post and read it right away – and as i was reading that your sweet girl hated tummy time i was thinking i might leave a link to some of janet lansbury’s posts about tummy time but then you beat me to the punch! yay that you found RIE and that you dig it! janet is the best best best. she’s been such a huge inspiration to me – and my baby girl is on the cover of her new book (which is also great!) xx

    1. That’s your baby girl?! I read the book in a sitting. I really enjoyed it, especially for those that don’t like to read blogs it’s her blog in easy to read doses! Now I need to figure out sleep,lol.

  6. My son rolled over at something like five weeks (I know it was crazy early as we were still having frequent health visitor meetings) and I told the health visitor – to which she basically replied that I must have imagined it or be lying as it wasn’t possible at that age. My son seemed to be in cahoots with me as he there and then pulled the same trick again (he’s always been a stubborn prover of things now I think about it).

    I’m not here to brag. My point is, people push a lot of milestones and should be’s around and theories etc but what you always need to ask yourself is “was (insert troublesome milestone or theory here) around in the age of cavemen?” – point being, we’ve all evolved and learnt and we are here doing what we’ve been doing since long before medical councils and their developments guidances started getting in on the act. My son walked at 8 months, my daughter at 12, their father at 18 (I haven’t paid enough attention to milestone stories about myself), everyone is different and will get their in their own time. Use the guidelines as just that.

    p.s my son also HATED tummy time, didn’t crawl til after he could walk and was on his feet at 8 months. Take that lady who said my child would be stunted by not doing tummy time.

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