It is the American culture to want all of our kids to excel and be the best at everything they do from the beginning, right? In my own practice, I often find my new parents are overwhelmed with what they should be doing with their newborn/infant. We use the term “Back to Sleep” so often that it’s ingrained in our parents' minds, which is wonderful for SLEEPING! However, we as providers often forget to discuss the importance of ACTIVITY at an early age!
With the rise of technology and thousands of “baby products,” I have seen a significant increase in motor delays in my practice. Physical & cognitive activity is super important from day one!
Here are a few ways to help your baby excel on the first day home from the hospital to 6 months of age:
- Read to your infant! Yes, even from day 1! Babies love the sounds of their parents' voices and will love books with pictures and high-contrast colors.
- Reading from early infancy can boost vocabulary as well as have better math skills!
- Reading also promotes bonding
- Tummy time should begin 2-3 times a day for about 5 minutes, slowly increasing the length of time as they become more and more interested. By 3 months of age, babies should be getting 90 minutes/day!
- Tummy time is super important to help develop head control, upper body strength, rolling over, crawling, and even the strength to eventually start hand-writing one day!
- Tummy time can also be spent on a parent’s chest or shoulder or lap, not just on the floor! This is especially helpful if your baby hates tummy time.
- Play mats are great for tummy time, but all they really need is a few toys to reach for and keep them entertained!
- Play mats are also great with toys attached at the top, which allows infants to reach, kick, and engage their little minds!
- Limit time in freestanding/restraining toys such as bouncy seats, Bumbo seats, car seats, and swings. This can increase pressure on the head (causing that unwanted flat spot) as well as limit exploration of the world, which is HUGE for development!
- Infants learn through exploration – texture is huge for them! Allow them to play with soft books with various textures, such as Jelly Cat books, fabric blocks, mirrors, or a sensory ball!
- Talk to your infant about your day!
- One study found that babies whose parents spoke to them a lot scored higher on standardized tests when they reached age 3 than children whose parents weren't as verbal
What do you think, parents? Are you practicing these milestones with your little ones?
About the Author:
My name is Haley and I’m a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, wife to super hot hubby (yes, his name is Kendall Jackson, no we don’t own the wine unfortunately), dog mama to our 1.5 year old Weimaraner, Remington, and new mama to a little girl. Thanks for joining me along this new journey — I’m just so excited to share my personal & professional knowledge & opinions with you all! I’m from Atlanta, Georgia but currently residing in what I like to consider the country, in Florence, South Carolina. I went to the University of Georgia for undergrad, and I’m a DIE HARD Georgia Bulldawg fan (GO DAWGS!). I enjoy running, drinking Dreaming Tree Cabernet or Prosecco (pre-pregnancy), shopping, decorating, and travelling to anywhere with sand, sun, and blue water. I love children, like a ridiculous amount, and can’t wait to bring my girl home! Excited to enjoy this journey with you all!
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Bright Futures