Nov 21 2011
Activities to complete with your baby to promote movement development: **You will notice many of these ideas include other areas of development besides gross motor. This is because motor skills are developed in conjunction with and further enhanced by other sensory development-hence the term “sensory-motor”. The ideas below include all aspects (visual, vestibular, sensory or tactile, hearing) to help your infant best learn during this stage.
- Lie baby on your chest as you sit elevated with a pillow propped behind you. Cradle baby and let head lie to the side. Provide warmth and gentle skin to skin touch to baby (kangaroo). Your baby uses hearing and touch primarily at this time, as vision is not as developed. Encourage baby to turn his/her head toward your voice so he can practice using neck muscles and get comfortable with lying on the belly (supervised).
- Your baby is still getting used to being out in the new world. A great way to help baby make this transition from womb to world and keep him/her safe and comfortable is to wear baby in a baby carrier for short periods during the day. (Face should always visible and kissable for safety and avoid positions where the neck is flexed or bent forward). Head should be supported in some way as baby cannot hold it up for very long periods. This will provide brief periods of upright positioning to work on neck strength working different muscles for short periods. Gentle movement provides movement stimulating input to the vestibular system needed for developing posture. The carrier provides gentle touch (tactile) input for developing body awareness.
- Infant massage: Gentle infant massage (after a warm bath) provides tactile input, muscle awareness and soothing relaxation needed to help relax the body and gently stretch arms and legs. It also helps premature and slower growing babies gain weight faster, helps aiding of digestions system (stomach muscles are not yet developed well), and helps babies sleep better.
- Place your baby in crib alternating direction each time so they will eventually become comfortable to looking to each side when you approach the crib.
- Nurse or bottle feed your baby from both directions so that muscles and range of motion are developed equally.
- Help baby begin to weight bear or “stand” by holding them under arms and helping them to gently begin placing weight on legs to become used to pressure through the legs. Feet should be flat and not pointed.
- Begin carrying baby in a variety of positions as baby gains more head strength towards one month and beyond. Offer head support as needed: upright facing in with head supported on shoulder, upright facing outward supported under bottom and around chest, sideways to either side facing out while lying long ways on arm, facing down (head sideways) on arm with palms supporting head. This will start developing baby’s balance reactions ( or the ability to hold head and body upright when tilted) and neck strength and allow him/her to see the world from different views.
- Enjoy your baby and give plenty hugs and kisses. The early months will go by all too quickly.