Is There a Case Against Tummy Time?!

A while ago, after my daughter had already begun to crawl (and walk?), I came across an article called “The Case Against Tummy Time.”

What?! Tummy time seemed like a sacred thing. Everyone had told me about it; everyone talks about it. People told me to let me daughter get tummy time. I was really more laid back about it and don’t remember making it any kind of priority. (These are the only pictures I could find. I do remember wondering about the whole concept, though, and wondering if I was doing the wrong thing by not having regular tummy time.

3 months

Today at a indoor play place, I overheard two moms talking about how they and their babies don’t really seem to like tummy time. They talked about how important it is. They even seemed to grudgingly encourage themselves to regularly work in tummy time.

The whole time I kept thinking about the post I had read and how I have learned over time to trust my daughter and her human nature more. I was wondering what we might see if we just spent 5 minutes observing their babies on their backs (after reading the post and understanding a bit more what to look for). The tummy time issue just jumped out at me and made me think:

Who knows what wonders we would see if we stopped to look closely enough?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Meg on December 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    So, I have a few friends who have raised their kids using the methods of attachment parenting. Now, at 3 and 4 years old, the kids are struggling with separation anxiety and shyness.

    Co-sleeping, late weaning, staying outside the bedroom door while the child falls asleep when they move on to sleeping in their own rooms–the parents have done all of these things. Perhaps they will be closer to the parent through the bridges of adolescence and teen years, and it will be for this higher good.

    What have others experienced as their children have grown after having been raised in this ambiance?


  2. Posted by Louise on December 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    my kids are “attachment” kids. co-slept with my eldest for 3 years, breastfed till 2, carried in a pouch. my 8 mth old baby is in bed with us and will also be fed till she’s ready to stop – she’s a ‘baby led weaning/feeding’ baby. she was a homebirth and my then 2 yr 8 mth old watched on.
    in saying this though, they are also encouraged to develop relationships with others, experience the world fully, allowed to climb trees, run, tell stories, talk to people we walk past at the shops, left with family and friends (although not the baby at night time because that would just be too stressful for her and whoever was looking after her!).
    My 3 yr old decided it was time for her own bed not long after the baby was born (and started waking her up during the night!) and the transition was quite easy. she is confident and has lots of friends. she adores her day at ‘daycare’ which she attends for socialisation once a week. I left my baby at the creche at the gym today for 45 min without a problem.
    I think there’s a difference between being a sensitive parent willing to allow them to create attachments to you, and wrapping them in cotton wool so they can’t experience the world, and a lot of people don’t seem to understand this.


  3. My baby hated tummy time. But she has Down Syndrome and the tummy time was difficult for muscles because she had low muscle tone. She needed to develop the muscles tone in order to learn to sit up, hold her head up, crawl, walk, talk, etc. All the things we take for granted that “just happen” when our children do not have developmental difficulties. After a few weeks of a few minutes a day on the tummy she got use to it, her neck muscles became strong and now she sleeps on her tummy to most. At 18 months she is almost walking That is a big YAY for a child with Down Syndrome. Our decisions and determination for our children lead to life long benefits for them.


    • Thank you, Heather, for sharing your experience.

      You would not be the first mom to say their child hates tummy time, Down Syndrome or not. In fact, though, you made me think again of something I learned as a teacher: While every child has a unique set of needs, the things that work for children with “special needs” (as many folks say) are the things that benefit all children. They are just good practice. I sometimes feel like the differences some people ascribe so much influence to are not as influential as our basic human needs and nature — which don’t really vary so much from person to person.

      An example from my own life:
      My husband’s stepsister is mentally about the age of a 10 year old child even though she is in her twenties. She had seizures for years that seemed to essentially wipe her brain of memory of functions. Now that she is not having seizures like that, she is able to build on her learning. She now walks with just a spotter. Anyway, her parents saw what we were doing with ECing our daughter and tried it with theirs. As a result, she has learned to communicate more around going to the bathroom (and her parents can read more of her cues). They encourage and allow her to do as much as she can. They are seeing progress all the time.

      Again, I believe that trusting a child, or any other human being, and giving them the blessings of observation and respect (rather than control and low expectations) allows us to see them more fully…..and marvel at our human nature…..


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