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.”
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;)