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Nurturing a Fussy Baby Through Tummy Time

Updated: Oct 5

It can be hard to understand your baby's needs at first, but a little bit of patience will get him back on track with tummy time development.




Babies fuss for obvious reasons - hungry, need a change, gas, in pain, sick or generally uncomfortable. Understanding your babies reasons for fussing may feel as if you're learning a foreign language and it can be frustrating.


It's important to remember that every baby is different. If you have multiple children, you will notice that there are difference in their personalities, reactions and needs. Your first child might have needed to be held a lot while the second seems quite content to be on her own. If you're a first time parent, understanding your baby may require more patience until you get the hang of it.


Don't Ignore a Fussy Baby


Remember, that while babies haven't learned our language yet, or complex emotions, they still have many of the same needs and desires as adults. Fussing, along with full on wailing, is one of your babies main ways of communicating with you so you shouldn't ignore him. It's not the same as your ignoring your three-year old while she throws a temper tantrum in aisle 6 of the grocery store.


Until they learn language and have developed to pick up on physical cues, babies just...cry and...fuss or give the sweetest smiles. That's why it's important to pay attention to a fussing baby. They really are trying to tell you something.


Fussing During Tummy Time


Tummy Time is an important part of your baby's growth and development. It helps strengthen muscles in your baby's neck, shoulders and trunk that build the muscles they need to roll, sit, and crawl. It's considered to be one of the most important activities for your baby's development by experts.


Most babies take to tummy time quite well while some just need to get used to it. If your baby is fussing during tummy time, don't make her suffer. Pick her up and sooth her. Tummy Time can be a strange feeling and weird experience - on their stomachs on a hard floor with some toys and then, wait, Mom or Dad walks off? What?


A fussing baby during tummy time just means that he needs a little more time to get used to the physical feeling of tummy time.


Best Tips for Encouraging a Fussy Baby to Engage in Tummy Time


  1. Start simple - introduce your baby to tummy time with her lying on your chest for a few minutes. This way baby can feel your heartbeat and voice for comfort.

  2. Start slow - put baby on his tummy until he gets fussy. As she gets used to the feeling of tummy time, slowly work to increase the length of time she spends on her tummy.

  3. Less may be better - many new moms will get tummy time toys that they believe will stimulate their baby and increase their sensory awareness, but for some babies too many toys can be scary or distracting causing them to get fussy.

  4. Discover what your baby likes and dislikes - start with one or two toys and see which one seems to encourage curiosity, desire and movement towards.

  5. To Eat or Not to Eat - a fussy baby during tummy time could just feel uncomfortable if they've just eaten. Try tummy time after eating or after some burps and digestion to see which feels the best to them.

  6. Never force your baby into tummy time - every baby is an individual who will do things in her own time, so you have to let her be who she is while working the steps above to gradually peak her interest.

  7. Don't freak out - again, babies fuss. It's their form of communication, so keep a cool head if your baby isn't immediately interested in tummy time. Follow these steps and if you have real concerns, or your baby isn't advancing in tummy time into crawling for a year, see your pediatrician who may refer you to a pediatric physical therapist.



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