It’s almost like it was just yesterday when I first put our baby on her stomach on a blanket over the floor, and I announced to her that it was tummy time, and therefore she needed to practice lifting her head. She was only about three weeks old. They say that for newborns, if they are healthy and full term, tummy time can begin as early as the day they come home from the hospital. We were so consumed by feeding her and helping her gain weight that I totally forgot about tummy time until close to her 1-month check-up, though.
The first couple of months of tummy time were absolutely miserable: she’d yell and scream, tears would come down her little face, she’d spit up and drool all over the blanket. I felt like I was torturing her when all I wanted was for her to strengthen her neck and core muscles like every other modern-day parent was trying to do. Sometimes, Chris suggested skipping tummy time and just going right into feeding because I’m sure he felt like this was torture, too. In fact, he almost immediately renamed “tummy time” to “torture time,” and he didn’t want to be the one to place her on the floor on her stomach; he would leave that task to me, as though to quietly have our baby associate torture with her mama. How nice of him.
But gradually, she got stronger and stronger. She started turning her head from side to side on her tummy. Then, she started lifting her head between cries and yells. Then, she stopped wanting to be cradled when held and insisted we hold her upright with her head high and supported on her own while over our shoulders. She began lifting her head off the floor. Then, she lifted her shoulders. The tummy time cries stopped. And now, she’s doing tummy time for nearly 30 minutes AT A TIME. She’s pushing her hands down to lift her entire chest up. She tries to grab toys while on her tummy and lifting her chest. She’s even starting to crawl backwards for the first time. My baby is 23 weeks old and growing too fast. Whenever she is on her tummy now, she looks up, as though victorious, confident in her newfound and growing strength.
“Soon, she’ll be crawling, and then, she’ll be running all over this apartment!” the nanny exclaimed this morning.
Noooooo, don’t talk about that, I said to her. This is all happening too fast. I just want to enjoy her stages right here and right now.