Along with all of the other various trials that come with having your first baby, tummy time proved to be the first that challenged my instincts as a new parent. It seemed as though just at the moment when we got to know each other, I needed to place my son into this awkward position on the ground that made him more than a little uncomfortable. I had spent weeks detecting and reading the different facial expressions and sounds my son made, trying desperately to find what brought him (and I) the most peace.
I had read extensively about milestones babies are supposed to meet at various times, and of course, I spent hours agonizing, inspecting and waiting for him to meet this specific criteria for his age group. Tummy time builds strength in the baby’s neck and coordination in their core, but it’s such an unnatural position for them initially, and it really tested me as a new mother. I wanted to do what was best for my infant, but watching him cringe and struggle to lift his little head off of the ground was difficult.
This challenge proved to be one of many to come in the future, from learning to help him sleep, weaning him from nursing and bottles and taking away the pacifier. It got easier and much more fun when he began to build strength and realize that he could find mobility and independence from this awkward position on his stomach. I bought the cutest patterned, mirrored and textured mats to grab his attention and distract him from the unnatural feeling of holding his own head up, combined with learning the weight of his little body.
Finally watching my son army crawl a couple of feet to reach a toy brought so much pride to both of us-I remember smiling so hard that my face hurt. Just like many things in life, learning to try new things isn’t always easy or natural feeling, but the confidence that comes along with it is the stuff that life and success is made of.