Does this count as Tummy Time?

You've heard that Tummy Time is really good for babies and you've given it a try, hopefully in the first week of a full-term, healthy baby's life. But maybe your little one fussed, screamed, struggled and generally protested the position. If you're like many parents, you turned to the internet for tips or tricks to make the position easier. After finding several lists of alternative positions for Tummy Time that included baby upright on your shoulder as Tummy Time, I think it's important to clarify.  

my baby hates tummy time what counts as tummy time

The short answer is - no. Holding your newborn upright on your shoulder is a really valuable position for your baby to be in and should be a staple in your toolbox of baby positions. But it's not Tummy Time. Let's look at why not...

  • Gravity isn't assisting your baby in stretching out of the fetal position, which is one of the first motor milestones of infancy
  • The bones and joints of the upper body isn't receiving weight-bearing at any significant level
  • The bones of the rib cage aren't receiving significant weight-bearing
  • The movement sensory system (vestibular system) isn't receiving the same information as it would in a true belly-down position
  • Head control is more focused on stability in the position than strength building as they would be in belly-down play

However, if your baby tolerates Tummy Time best when she's on your body, try laying down with her on your chest. Or placing her belly-down over your lap. 

alternative tummy time positions

Looking for more Tummy Time ideas? Check out this Tummy Time post at

Overwhelmed by having to keep track of your baby's Tummy Time every day? Keep it simple with our printable Tummy Time Tracker. Clearly see your baby's daily and weekly progress toward their Tummy Time goals.

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