<p>I never stressed over "tummy time" per se. Personally, I think setting a "minimum" that each individual child should get isn't ideal - but more of a way of giving information to mothers who otherwise might not understand that their child needs an opportunity for free, unrestricted movement in a variety of positions. Since the "back to sleep" campaign is so prevalent, babies usually get plenty of "back time" for movement, either movement in their sleep or upon waking before a caretaker is there to get them. DD was not a big fan of "tummy time" until she got old enough to actually hold her head up for longer periods, because it otherwise limited her perspective. So I just made certain to play with her during floor time in many positions while giving her enough space that she had unrestricted movement. FWIW, she wasn't a back-sleeper, either. From a very early age, around 6 weeks, she was able to get onto her side on her own most of the time, and if she was laid on her back to sleep, would generally end up in this position anyway. A couple of weeks later, she would awaken if laid on her back to sleep and we began placing her down on her side to sleep - she would stay on her side all night long in most cases. By 2 months she could roll on her own and slept in a variety of positions of her own choosing - mostly either her side or tummy. I didn't stress over this, either - I'm not going to constantly risk waking a well-sleeping baby in the night to flip them from tummy to back when they've gotten to their tummy on their own.</p>
Do you wear your baby? Babies in carriers get plenty of opportunities for practicing head and neck movements/strengthening etc. I wear my babies all the time when they're tiny and I didn't bother with tummy time until they were old enough to enjoy it. Neither of them suffered any ill effects.
If you want to see if he'll enjoy it under different circumstances, try cleaning off a yoga mat (or buying a new, cheap one) and put him on that. It'd be almost impossible to suffocate on that, though if you really want a softer surface, a flannel cloth on top might bunch up a little, but still be less squishy than a thick padded thing or blanket.
Also, I don't know what you are trying with him when on his tummy, but my LO doesn't really get into it without motivation. A smiley toy or even snapping to get her attention does the trick, and then I move my hand to coax her head in different directions.
<p>You actually don't need to do "Tummy Time" at all. <a href="http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/08/the-case-against-tummy-time-guest-post-by-irene-gutteridge/" target="_blank">http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/08/the-case-against-tummy-time-guest-post-by-irene-gutteridge/</a></p>
Interesting about the back muscles, but the tone of that piece seems really alarmist, which seems unwarranted. I personally know more babies younger than 3 mo who like tummy time than I know babies who don't, which may be a fluke but makes me skeptical of anyone saying babies hate it because it paralyses them. In fact, babies who get lots of skin to skin time in the immediate post partum period spend tons of time on their tummies on our chests, and that's a very comfortable position for them to be.
<p>We have six children and have never done tummy time. I didn't even really know it was a "thing" until maybe a couple of years ago. Just enjoy your baby and don't leave him laying on his back all day. Get a carrier if you can and that will give him plenty of tummy to tummy time with you.</p>
<p>We don't worry much about it, and my babe is four months. Sometimes I put him on his tummy for a few minutes, but he hates it so I haven't done it much. He is very healthy, strong and active, and I figure when he is ready I will know it.</p>
I never worried about tummy time. If he doesn't like it, don't stress it. I have two awesome children who learned to walk ahead of schedule, and are otherwise strong, active children. Neither of then like being on their tummy until a certain point in time. It happened right when they were interested/able to become more mobile. You really don't need to force it!