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Tummy Time is an essential move for baby’s development! But that doesn’t mean baby always loves doing it. In fact, many babies have trouble with the position. As baby’s core muscles get stronger and they begin to roll (around 4 months), they may try to roll off of their stomach and onto their back during Tummy Time.

When baby starts to roll over during Tummy Time it may be tempting to stop doing this position altogether. However, it’s best for baby’s development that they do Tummy Time for at least the first 6 months of their life, even if they don’t seem to like doing it at times. This exercise helps with motor, visual and sensory development, and strengthening important skills like hand-eye coordination. In addition to having proven developmental benefits, Tummy Time can help prevent two conditions: positional plagiocephaly and positional torticollis.

So, even if baby is rolling over when you place them on their tummy, here’s some tips  to encourage them to stay on their tummy or roll back!

tummy_time_with_rattleEngage baby with toys, mirror, and making faces at them. Do anything to get their attention on you or another object, so they focus less on Tummy Time and more on engaging with what’s in front of them. Try smiling, singing, playing with mirrors, and doing anything that entertains baby!

Try doing Tummy Time on an exercise ball. This is a fun way to change up the Tummy Time routine, and give baby a new sensory experience. It works best if baby is able to hold their head up on their own. Place baby tummy down on an exercise ball while holding their sides for support. You can even slowly move the ball closer and further from you (while always holding baby), allowing baby to lift and hold their head more easily.

Tummy Time can also be done in your lap. There is a Tummy Time position called “Lap Soothe,” where baby does the exercise in your lap. If baby is rolling over frequently, you may have more control over their movements if they are in your lap. Watch this Tummy Time move in action.

Place toys on one side of baby. This will help if baby is rolling over to just one side. The key is to position toys on the opposite side of baby to encourage them to reach the other way. So for example, if baby is always rolling over to the right, place a toy to the left of them and try to get them to engage with the toy. Then they will try to reach that toy and work on strengthening their muscles on the other side.

Change up your timing. If your Tummy Time sessions are only lasting a minute or two because baby is rolling over, then try doing more short-term sessions throughout the day. You can try to do a brief Tummy Time session after a regular activity that you do multiple times a day with baby. For example, some parents do a few minutes of Tummy Time after each diaper change.

baby looking at toys during tummy timeWhen baby is around 6 months, try transitioning into crawling. Remember baby won’t start crawling right away (crawling is a 7-9 month motor milestone), but by 6 months you can start helping them to build the skills they need to crawl. This can be done with toys or teaching baby different motor moves. Check out our tips to encourage crawling.

Be sure to check out all of baby’s milestones to help keep them on track!

Want to learn more about the benefits of Tummy Time, different Tummy Time moves, and how to help your baby overcome Tummy Time troubles? Check out our Tummy Time page for all the info you need!