Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tummy time

Cupcake doesn't like tummy time.

I've heard this is actually quite common, that one places their young baby gingerly on a play mat, only to have said baby wail within minutes to be turned back over.  So I just avoided it.  And like many other first-time moms, I felt immense guilt about . Was I keeping my baby from developing? Would she take longer to roll over/walk/crawl/get into Harvard? You know, the common concerns with a two month old. And add to it that I kept reading that many MCAD babies had slower physical development from the norm.

Whatever. Cupcake didn't like it, and I told my abstract concerns to shove it. I was reading my baby, and my baby was saying that she was not happy on her tummy.

I asked our pediatrician about it at the three-month appointment, and she basically confirmed my feelings: that tummy time was another thing to make parents feel like they were "doing something", but Cupcake was strong and had good neck control so it wasn't necessary to force tummy time on her if she didn't want to. Our pediatrician even confided that the tummy time requirements were, in her opinion, just another way to guilt-trip parents. Was that on the record, or just practical parenting advice? No matter, I ran with it.

From then on Cupcake did not do tummy time unless she wanted to.  Which was never for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

Sure, I've read the articles of how since the "back to sleep" campaign was implemented one of the unfortunate side effects was that babies started crawling and rolling over later. I don't care, we aren't in a hurry. Mobility will come eventually, and meanwhile we are just going to do our thing.

Then it just happened that Cupcake could  hold her neck well enough to fit into an exersaucer at 3 months. (It also helps that she's really tall for her age, in the 101% and tends to be as tall as babies a couple of months older). Then she rolled over last week, before she was even 4 months old. And she just strong. Glad we didn't torture her with an activity that distressed her so much when it doesn't seem to have affected her development that much.
Of course I am not suggesting that tummy time is useless. I know the research is out, and it's recommended.  There are very valid reasons to encourage parents to put their babies on their bellies.  My argument is just that not ALL babies need it the same way.  In our case, it didn't seem to make a difference.  I'm just glad I was attuned enough to my child that we were able to provide for her individual needs.

Or course, even now as she rolls over from her back to her tummy, she doesn't like the end result.  And unable to return to her back and restore the balance in the world, she cries to me to flip her over. Which I do.  I figure she'll learn eventually.

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