Those first 3 months of motherhood and caring for your new bub can be a real mixture of feelings. While most of our focus is on feeding, sleeping and changing it can be difficult to really think about anything else. I know first hand it is often really tricky to know what to do with bubs when they are having wakeful periods. We hear so much about Tummy Time and how beneficial it is and how we need to do it regularly however what else can we be doing and why is it so important to be doing these activities?
Firstly a babies strength starts from the torso and slowly will progress out. So doing activities such as tummy time will strengthen through their torso, their neck, shoulders and arms which will not only assist in motor activities like crawling but also fine motor skills like using their fingers and hands. Increasing sensory input will automatically increase motor output, this happens from the get go with bubs crawling to your breast when they are born. So using toys, music, rattles and getting down with them on the floor and talking to them and moving to different sides of them will encourage movement. I know that both my babies had a directional preference with their head, Flinders actually had moderate plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) so I am always positioning Marley with that in mind to increase his sensory input (me and my voice) to then use his motor output (turning his head) I also do this with toys, his brother, the dog or anything that makes noise and moves as I know he will want to move to look at it and eventually will start reaching out to grab whatever is within reach to explore.
Here are a few other activities you can do to promote physical development in those first 3 months of life.
- Make bath time a fun activity for them, encourage lots of kicking and playing
- Holding them lots of different ways and moving them around to encourage vestibular development
- Lots of tummy time and putting toys around them just out of reach
- Nappy free time
- Tactile toys
- Rattle toys
- Encouraging them to reach out for toys
- Explore different fabrics and textures
- Encourage grasping with both hands
- Rolling games – gently rolling them like a log across the bed
- Rolling to pick up, consciously roll them as you pick them up, changing sides regularly
- Bouncing games on your knees, stomach or in your arms
- Lying on the top of a fitball on tummy & backand moving around gently and completely supported
Filling in wakeful periods with activities that benefit bubs will aid their development and strengthen your bond. This is precisely why I created my Mummy & Tummy postnatal and baby development program. For as little as $4/week you can get activities that not only work on baby development but incorporate it with your own postnatal pilates all from your very own home.