In my opinion its never too early to start practicing Tummy Time.
1. Place your newborn on their belly on your chest while you are reclined or lying down. Its great bonding time as well as allows them to receive the sensory input that being on their belly provides and they begin to get used to being on their belly and hopefully won’t put up a fight as they age and begin to get strengthening benefits.
2. Use a baby carrier such as a Baby Bjorn and place your baby face in. They may not be lying down on their belly although they will again get sensory input in this position and increase their famiarity with using their belly/front as a contact point.
3. Use a Boppy pillow or a rolled up towel and prop you baby on it so their chest has some support up near their arms. There are also several products out there that provide this support such as the Surfboard Tummy Time Mat. Basically its providing some support for your child so they can begin to lift their head and use their arms for interaction with their environment. You can place toys in front of them, a mirror, or best yet, yourself to provide the ideal interaction!
4. Carry your baby so they are leaning on your forearms with their chest. This can be just in sitting or it can be while you are walking around. They won’t get the benefits of pushing up on their arms but their head and neck will continue to get stronger.
5. Use a big exercise ball and lie your child on it on their belly. You can begin by gently bouncing them or make small rolling motions. The further forward (towards their head) you roll them the harder they will have to work to push themselves up and lift their head, the farther back (towards their feet) you roll them the easier it will be for them to lift their head. I have found that initially if I bring the baby back closer to me, to make it easy, and put the Leap Frog Alphabet Ball in front of them they like to lift up to spin the ball. Another option would be to play on the ball in front of a full length mirror so they can see themselves and you in the mirror. It could be a great game of peak-a-boo!
These are a few of the ways I have found to ‘trick’ kids into Tummy Time. The more you get down and interact with your child in this position the easier it will be. If they are really struggling initially make it easier for them. Basically the more horizontal they are, the harder it will be and the more inclined or vertical they are, the easier it will be. Have fun with Tummy Time, it doesn’t have to be hard!