When I had my first son, I'd never heard about 'tummy time'. I remember putting him on his tummy quite often and he really enjoyed it. I definitely don't remember anyone telling me I had to do it, nor do I remember anyone making me feel that my child would be developmentally delayed if they didn't spend time on their tummies.
Now 12 years later, I can hardly go a day without someone talking about it. I read about it on parenting sites, read about it in books, my health visitor asks me how often I'm doing it. It's given me another thing to worry about.
My son is one of those babies who for the first 10 weeks of his life pretty much refused to let me put him down at all - either on his back or his front. Tummy time was the last thing on my mind when I spent my days attempting to do everything from cooking my dinner to writing my articles for ParentDish one-handed.He had his tongue tie snipped the other week and that seems to have settled him enough so that he's happy to be put down.
The first thing I tried was putting him on his stomach on the mat of his baby gym. He didn't like it one bit. I figured he'd get used to it, so kept trying several times a day. He'd last less than 30 seconds before he was crying. He never even attempted to lift his head up at all.
I suspected his reluctance to play on his tummy was entirely because he was too 'old' when he started. Was it really all that bad if he didn't have tummy time? He can hold his head up, he stands with very little help from me, he's even trying to sit up. Yea, maybe he didn't really need to bother with tummy time... But then how will he learn to roll over? How will he build up the strength in his arms to crawl? Will he be developmentally delayed?
With visions of my son growing up with puny arms, I was over the moon when I found the Lamaze Spin & Explore Garden Gym last week. The first time I put him on it he played happily for just over 5 minutes. I was amazed by how he took to it without fussing.
He plays on it at least twice a day now. He has started purposely grabbing things when he's on it, which he hasn't started to do when he's upright. He's also started making loads of new noises when he's on it, which he didn't make before. and seems to talk considerably more when he's playing there than any other time. In short, he loves it.
When I put him on his tummy on the floor now, he's able to hold his head up (I think he had the strength before, but couldn't figure out how to hold himself up) and will stay there quite a while before fussing. All in all it's been a brilliant success and I'm no longer worrying. I can happily talk about tummy time with my health visitor now.
Lamaze also do a 'sea-themed' version of the Spin & Explore, as well.