BabyROO: The First 12 Months
Tiny BabyROO – Newborn to 5 Months
At Tiny BabyROO we provide you with lots of ideas about how to best to provide the right environment for healthy development. We show you song and movement ideas and let you know about what’s happening in different areas of development such as vision, hearing, movement and touch.
Newborn and very young infants can see a little and hear very well, but have little understanding. The Primitive Reflexes are vital at this stage, providing babies with essential responses for survival and early automatic movement patterns that help enable them to become mobile.
Come along and see what we do at a GymbaROO BabyROO session. It’s a great place to meet other parents and to learn about your baby’s development. We explain to you the why, what and how’s of infant development and what you can do at home to assist your baby’s natural development.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Rhythmic movement such as gentle rocking (vestibular stimulation) is very soothing to their very immature nervous systems.
Tummy time when awake, is vital to learning about movement and their body, and to begin to develop a ‘body map’. This must start as soon after birth as possible. Sleep your baby on their back, but have your newly born infant while awake, on their front on you, if only for a few minutes and extend the time to the floor when possible. This is vitally important as many primitive reflexes present at birth require neck movement for activation and inhibition. After a few months if there has been no tummy time the neck muscles are weak and your baby will object to lying on their front. Lie down on your front on the floor with your infant. Talk and sing to them and give them massage. This is also the position from which an infant begins forward movement.
Massage time from birth is important, to help them become aware of their body parts. Also give your baby gentle movements which move the fluid in the inner ear, and helps their brain development, i.e. rocking, very slow spinning in your arms, and even a very gentle upside down. Remember they spent many months upside down in the womb! Gentle roll overs, not only stimulate the fluid in the inner ear, but also strengthens the head and neck muscles, and soon they will roll themselves. By the end of three months the baby should have no head lag. They need to be provided with as much visual and auditory stimulation as they can tolerate, through talking and singing to them.
Non-mobile BabyROO – 5 months
to movement forward (tummy crawling)
At non-mobile BabyROO we continue to encourage loads of tummy time, massage and movement. We help parents understand why these activities are important for development and later learning and we show you how you can provide your baby with the most conducive and fun environment for movement and learning.
Non-mobile BabyROO milestones
From approximately four months, babies are more alert and able to raise their heads and push their chest up off the floor with hands and arms extended. Pivoting to grasp a toy precedes the tummy crawling.
Babies should be able to roll over from front to back and (usually) back to front.
Pull ups to sitting position can be completed when baby’s hands are grasped by the parent, there should be no head lag and co-contraction should be seen in the elbows.
Babies are more purposeful in their arm movements and some are moving their feet to their mouth. They now respond to, and love, more vigorous vestibular stimulation movements. Some babies are pushing themselves backwards when they push up on their hands, and others are beginning to spin around in circles on the spot.
You may see lots of head shaking and rocking forward and backwards when baby is on hands and knees. This position occurs as a result of an automatic reflex - the symmetrical tonic neck reflex – which, when the head is back causes the arms to straighten and the knees to bend, and when the head is forwards the opposite occurs.
Nature is superb. We must take care not to ignore nature’s plan to insure our infants grow healthy brains, which of course affects both social and intellectual abilities. At GymbaROO BabyROO we show you how!
Mobile BabyROO – Crawling and creeping
Now that the baby is moving, the floor is their playground. At Mobile BabyROO we show you how to use the floor for your baby’s best advantage. It’s cheap and easy, but you need to make it a safe place for your baby to explore and roam freely! At Mobile BabyROO we provide you with loads of ideas about music, rhythm and movement; successful massage techniques for wrigglers and squirmers; movement ideas and games that have your baby in fits of laughter; and safe places for play.
Mobile BabyROO milestones
For an infant, crawling on their front and creeping on all fours is very important for the development of the spine, the back and neck muscles and for the inhibition of the primitive reflexes and the development of the postural reflexes. It is also vital for all sensory input such as the tactility, for the muscles and ligaments, the primitive cross pattern actions to stimulate the later integration of the two sides of the brain, and for coordination.
By late in this year, infants can grasp and hold onto fingers and almost take their own weight by their hands, arms and shoulder muscles.
At GymbaROO BabyROO we encourage parents not to sit their babies until they can do it by themselves. No infant should be sat up unsupported until they can seat themselves and the equilibrium (parachute) reflexes are, so that their arms go out to the side to balance them and protect their head if they topple over.
Sitting a baby too early also encourages 'bottom shuffling'. Bottom shuffling is not in the natural order of development and we try to discourage it as an alternative movement pattern. This is because it is a pattern of movement that does not allow for inhibition of select primitive reflexes and the maturation of some of the important postural reflexes. While as an isolated developmental ‘hiccup’ is may not matter in the long term, in combination with other developmental ‘hiccups’ it may have repercussions on later higher thinking and learning skills at school. At GymbaROO we know it is better to avoid potential problems if possible, so we encourage crawling and creeping in the first year of life.
Your creeping baby will also pull themselves up to stand. They are not yet ready to walk and should not be encouraged to as they need to develop strength and balance. They will cruise around the walls and furniture walking sideways, then finally turn putting one hand on the coffee table and the other on the couch and start to move forward. They need lots of practice at side-ways movement, just like they tummy crawled before they crept on hand and knees. This stage often lasts for many weeks as it takes a lot of practice over time to develop the strength necessary for upright control of the body and the development of balance.
Don’t be in a hurry for your child to walk. Let their body and brain tell you when they are ready! There is no hurry to walk… they will walk for the next 80 years! The foundational patterns that prepare your baby for walking are important to get into place first!