Sometimes it is a struggle to get baby used to laying on his or her stomach. There can be tears and angst not to mention how the baby responds! Here are some tips to get your baby used to lying on his or her stomach:
1) Start early. You can safely place your baby on the stomach on a firm surface under your watchful eye as early as the first day after uncomplicated birth. Babies are equipped with reflexes that assist them to lift and rotate their head from side to side. The earlier you start, the more natural it will feel for your baby.
2) Lay on your back and place baby on your chest. He/she will take comfort in being close to you and hearing the sounds of your body he/she was used to during pregnancy.
3) Lay baby over your legs on his/her stomach. You can rock your legs to soothe baby and you can add a gentle back massage.
4) Carry baby facing out in your arms with your forearm across his/her stomach and chest. Baby will rest his/her head on your arm. This is also a great position to help relieve gas.
5) Prop baby up on his or her arms while on the floor on a thin blanket or sheet. Place something stimulating to look at so baby will lift his/her head.
6) Don't forget about allowing baby to play in side lying. This will help the muscles of the front and the back work together and get stronger so when baby is on his/her stomach, it is easier to lift his/her head.
7) Play airplane with baby. Lay on the floor on your back, bend your knees up and place baby on your shins. Baby can see your face and become accustomed to the sensation of lying on the stomach at the same time. (This position is also a great ab work out for you!)
8) Most importantly, carry your baby on your shoulder instead of in a car seat. Even being upright against your body allows for muscle strength to be built up all the way around and improves head control, trunk control and balance at the same time.
Remember- some tummy time is better than no tummy time at all. Start with short durations to the baby's tolerance and increase the duration each time. Place on the stomach on a safe surface several times a day to get baby accustomed to the sensation. You'll be glad you did!