Why Do Babies Hate Tummy Time? — Here’s What You Can Do




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If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve encountered some resistance from your little one when it comes to tummy time. It’s a common struggle that many parents face, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. The truth is, some babies simply don’t like the feeling of being on their tummies.

However, as important as it may be for their development, it’s still a milestone that needs to be tackled. In this article, we’ll explore some helpful tips and tricks that you can use to make tummy time a more enjoyable experience for your baby. So, let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways on What to Do if Your Baby Hates Tummy Time

  • Babies dislike tummy time due to physical discomfort, lack of familiarity, and overstimulation.
  • To make tummy time more comfortable, you can introduce it gradually, provide a comfortable surface, entertain their baby, get involved themselves, and try alternative positions.
  • By making tummy time more enjoyable for babies, you can help support their physical and cognitive development, setting them up for success in the future.

Why Babies Dislike Tummy Time

Before we address of problem of newborns not liking tummy exercises, let’s first answer the question — why is tummy time important?

Tummy time is an essential activity for babies to develop core and back muscles and upper body strength, and prepare for crawling and sitting up. However, many babies seem to dislike this important exercise, which can be a source of frustration for parents.

Physical discomfort

Babies are not used to spending time on their stomachs, and this position can be physically uncomfortable for them. When babies are on their stomachs, their weight is pressing down on their stomachs, which can cause discomfort and make them feel uneasy.

Lack of familiarity

Babies are creatures of habit, and they feel most comfortable in familiar environments. Spending time on their bellies seems hard work, as it is a new experience.

Babies that spend most of their sleep and awake time in a stroller, crib, bouncy seat or car seat may resist doing tummy exercises, at least initially, since they’re not used to the activity.

When babies are on their stomachs, they are exposed to a new environment. They may see things from a different perspective, and the world may seem different to them. This can be overwhelming and cause discomfort.


Tummy time can be an overstimulating experience for babies, which can make them resist it. When babies are on their stomachs, they are exposed to a new environment. They may see things they have not seen before, hear new sounds, and smell different scents. All of these new sensations can be overwhelming for babies, causing them to feel stressed and anxious.

How to Make Tummy Time More Comfortable for Babies

Now that we have explored why babies may dislike tummy time, it’s time to look at ways to make it more comfortable and enjoyable for them. Here’s some of our favorite tummy time tips:

Start gradually

One of the best ways to encourage tummy time and make it more comfortable for your baby is to introduce it gradually.

Start tummy time with just a few minutes of two to three sessions per day and gradually increase the duration. For instance, you can start with three to five minutes and then add a minute or two to each tummy time session until your baby is spending longer sessions on their stomach.

You can even integrate tummy exercises after diaper change or bath time. Lay your baby tummy down across your lap to get them ready.

Comfortable surface

Choose a safe and comfortable surface. Don’t place your baby tummy down on hard surfaces, which can cause discomfort and may discourage them from spending time on their stomachs. Providing a soft and comfortable surface can make all the difference.

A soft blanket or towel can provide a comfortable surface for your baby to lay on during tummy time. You can also use a tummy time mat, which is designed specifically for this activity. If you have an exercise ball lying around, you can use it too!

Use toys and other safe objects

Using a few toys is a great way to help your baby to engage in this important developmental activity. These fun objects can help distract and entertain babies while they build strength in their neck and upper body muscles.

Suitable toys for this exercise include soft, crinkly playsets that can be easily grasped, colorful ones that can be visually stimulating, and playsets with different textures to help develop their sense of touch. Playthings with mirrors or high-contrast patterns can also be very engaging for babies.

Parental involvement

Parents can play a significant role in making tummy time more comfortable and enjoyable for their baby. When parents get involved, it can provide support and comfort for the baby, making them more likely to enjoy the activity.

Get down on the floor with your baby and make funny faces to provide support and encouragement. Be sure to be at eye level and maintain eye contact as you play. Putting a hand or cushion to support your baby’s chest can provide comfort. You can also lie together while talking or watching a toy roll over.

Alternative positions

If your baby is uncomfortable with tummy time, you can try different tummy time positions and alternatives to get them used to belly down position.

Using a carrier or sling for babywearing can provide a comfortable and familiar environment for your baby to spend time on their stomachs. Similarly, laying your baby on your chest in a tummy-down position can provide a comfortable and supportive environment for tummy time.

FAQs on Baby Hates Tummy Time

Is it normal for babies not to like tummy time?

It is quite common for babies to dislike tummy time initially. Babies spend most of their time on their backs, and this activity can be an uncomfortable and unfamiliar position for them. As a result, they may cry, fuss, or resist being placed on their tummy.

If a baby continues to resist tummy time or shows signs of discomfort, parents should consult with their pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical issues.

What happens if baby doesn’t do tummy time?

If a baby doesn’t do tummy time, it can lead to delays in their physical development. Spending time belly down helps kids build the strength and coordination they need to eventually sit up, crawl, and walk. If a child skips this important activity, it may have weaker neck and upper body muscles, which can result in delays in reaching these developmental milestones.

In addition, babies who don’t spend enough time on their tummy may have difficulty with gross motor skills, such as rolling over or crawling, and fine motor skills, such as grasping objects or manipulating toys.

Is it okay for baby to cry during tummy time?

It’s common for babies to cry or fuss during tummy time, especially if they are not used to face down position. However, parents need to understand the difference between a baby who is simply uncomfortable and a baby who is in distress.

If a baby is crying but still able to lift their head and move their arms and legs, they are likely just expressing their discomfort with the position, and you can try to distract them or with toys, songs, or gentle encouragement.

However, if your baby cries inconsolably, arching their back, or showing signs of distress, they should be immediately turned onto their back.

You need to remember that tummy time should be a positive experience for their baby, and if their baby is consistently crying or showing signs of distress during this activity, they should talk to their pediatrician to rule out any underlying issues.

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