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A Parent’s Guide to Infant Development

Posted by Embe Babies Inc. on
A Parent’s Guide to Infant Development

In the world of pediatric physical therapy, our goal is to beat your baby to the developmental skills to achieve the best outcome.

More often than not, when you take your brand new bundle of joy to the pediatrician, they ask you questions regarding your baby’s gross motor abilities. Are they rolling yet? Are they lifting their head from the mat during tummy time? These are all GREAT questions, but what if you answer “no”? No need to panic. Pediatricians ask you if your baby is meeting the milestone, but what they don’t tell you is HOW TO GET THERE. Let us help you.

Baby’s Guide for 0-3 Months:

  • Safe sleep is a MUST!
  • Tummy time is SO important and it starts right away. Tummy time does not have to begin on a flat surface. You can start tummy time when you are doing skin to skin with your newborn. Some other times you can easily incorporate tummy time into your daily routine include: towel drying after bath, burping over your lap, lotion/massage time before nap/bedtime, after every diaper change (before feeds), on your chest, and during mirror play.
  • Sing to me, read to me, talk to me!

Exercises to help strengthen your baby:

1. Random Arm and Leg Movements: At this age, these movements will be fast, jerky, and often appear uncoordinated. The goal is for baby to move his/her arms and legs in the air at the same time and in different directions. These movements help strengthen abdominal, leg, and arm muscles, it works to improve range of motion in the arms, legs, and trunk, and it promotes body awareness. [PICTURE MISSING]
      How to incorporate into your daily routine:
      • When you are holding baby at your shoulder, alternate which side you hold your baby so he gets used to turning his head in different directions.
      • Play with baby on the floor on a firm surface, placing him on his tummy, head turned to one side. Encourage him to lift his head by talking to him and shaking a rattle close enough so he can hear and see it.
        2. Baby Lying on Your Chest: Lie on your back and place your infant on your chest facing you.Support baby’s chest with your hands to assist in propping onto elbows. Once your baby can prop onto elbows in this position, support their bottom with your hands so they can work on lifting their chest from yours. Encourage baby to lift his head, tuck his chin, elbows under his shoulders. Begin this activity in a semi-reclined position and progress to lying flat on your back. This activity helps baby develop head control as well as strength in the arms, shoulders, and back.[PICTURE MISSING]
        3. Lifting the Head Up when doing Tummy Time: When your baby is on his belly, he will only be able to lift his head briefly in a rotated position. Eventually, he will be able to lift his head in the middle momentarily. As his neck continues to strengthen, he will be able to hold it steadily in the middle and look forward. This activity helps strengthen baby’s neck and back muscles, improves baby’s ability to clear his face from the surface and breathe. Strengthening the neck and back muscles will help improve reflux as well! Once your baby is able to achieve looking up in the middle and looking forward, he will progress to being able to lift his head and look in all directions.[PICTURE MISSING]
        How to incorporate into your daily routine:
        • Play with baby on the floor, placing him on his belly, head down. Lie down on the floor in front of him and talk to him, show him a rattle or toy so he is encouraged to lift his head to look at you and the toy.
        • A blanket or small towel roll under baby’s chest may help lifting his head a little easier at first. Place a few toys in front of him and encourage him to lift his head to look at them.
        • Lie flat on your back with baby on your chest and talk to him, encourage him to lift his head to look at you.

        4. Baby Lying on His Back, in Your Lap: This is THE BEST EXERCISE for this age! It works on SO MUCH ALL AT ONCE! Sit on the floor with your back resting on a firm surface, knees slightly bent. Lay your baby on top of your thighs, resting his bottom near your stomach to encourage his hips and knees to flex. Bring baby’s arms forward and down with his hands together. This position helps develop eye contact with you, works on hand/eye coordination, visual tracking,
        reaching. It also works on developing tummy muscles by maintaining this flexed position and reduces arching. Help baby work on reaching for toys or reaching for their knees/feet in this position!
        5. Rolling: Side-Lying to Back: Make sure you alternate to both sides! This movement helps your child by strengthening his back, neck, and tummy muscles!
        How to incorporate into your daily routine:
        • Practice having baby lay on his side by placing him on his side with his back against your body and place toys in front of him for him to look at.
        • Sit on the floor and place baby on his back in front of you, then slowly roll him to one side and back to his back. Alternate sides.

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