Tag Archives: baby devices

Why is Movement in the First Year So Important? Check Out “The Moving Child”

601278_370307493083679_753718206_nMovement in the first year matters! Movement and brain development go hand-in-hand, and early movement experiences influence the rest of our lives.

With this post, I’d like to point you to a film in the making that involves some of my colleagues, “The Moving Child.”

Their intro video is here (themovingchild.com), and check out more info here.

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As they point out, “statistics show that not only are children not moving enough, they are not moving in the ways they need to move from early infancy onward.”

Let’s get our beautiful children unstuck!

And, it’s not just about them, it’s about us too. Our children are an invitation for us to reconnect with ourselves–with our own well-being through healthy movement.

Here are some of my related blog posts:

The Importance of Measuring (Or, The Importance of Not Propping in Sitting, Standing, and Walking)

Trust Nature: Each Milestone is Important

LongDress 8575526-a-cute-baby-with-polka-dot-dress-crawls-on-a-wooden-floor from 123rf CROP

Exersaucers and Seats for Babies–What’s Best for Baby’s Health?

Cute! But Functional? Clothing Baby for Optimal Movement

Eliza Parker is a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator®, Aware Parenting Instructor, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, and Feldenkrais® Practitioner. 

Holiday Recuperation: Being with Baby

The week between Christmas and New Year’s, to me, is a turn-around time. Some things have finished and some haven’t yet started. It’s like a capillary bed, or “isoring”—the place in our blood vessels where arteries become veins, where our blood turns back to the heart. I experience it as a pause and an allowing of flow and shift, a time to let go and ride.

Lying together on the floor, couch, or bed offers more than a cozy cuddle.

This isoring space embodied—or, the last week in December—is a lovely time to “be” with yourself and your baby. If you celebrate the December holidays, the month may have been a time of heightened stimulation for Baby, whether or not it was for you. Here are some ideas about recuperating together.

Have a cuddle

This may seem obvious or cliché, but lying together on the floor, couch, or bed offers more than a cozy cuddle. Baby is ultra-connected to the vibe of her caregivers, especially Mama. The cells of our bodies resonate with each other, just as the strings on stringed instruments do. Babies “resonate” with their caregivers—it matters not just what we do, but how we do (be). If you need permission to do nothing: it’s worth granting yourself! Nothing is never really just nothing.

Join Baby on the floor

Rather than use propping devices, hang out together at whatever level Baby is naturally. This typically keeps Baby at a level that doesn’t ask more of her than she is able to do herself. It also allows her to choose between rest and activity; “recuperation,” really, is about this flow back and forth. Play together on your tummies or go on a crawling tour of the house! When you can spend some time there with her, it lets her know that you’re “with” her, that it’s okay to be where she is.

Baby Ball

Nope, not a new sport! Rather, curl Baby into a ball, with arms and legs tucked in and head in too (meaning, not extended or arching back). “Baby Ball” is good for all ages of baby/toddler/child. This bending-in, or flexion, heightens the body’s ability to balance and feel ‘centered’ (that is, if you like anatomy, strengthens the Parasympathetic Nervous System, as opposed to the Sympathetic sensory-motor). You can use Baby Ball during feeding, resting/sleeping, or holding.

Babies are self-healers

If all of Baby’s needs have been met and he’s not sick or injured—and he’s still fussy or crying—trust his instincts. One way that babies release stress, both emotionally and chemically (via tears), is crying. He may be working something through his system—better out than in! After an in-arms cry, babies will typically either sleep very well or stay awake in a very peaceful and non-‘needy’ state.

Set up cozy feeding places

Whether breast- or bottle-feeding, setting up a cozy space supports caregivers’ comfort and makes transitions easier. If you breastfeed, having your partner be the setter-upper is a great way for him/her to be involved. Create places on the floor, especially, throughout your home: include pillows, blankets, non-perishable healthy snacks for yourself, and water. Feeding while sitting on the floor or lying on your back or side may allow both of you to relax. And if you and/or Baby fall asleep–easy, you’re already on the floor!

One way to enjoy “Baby Ball”

During this isoring-week of December and beyond, I sincerely wish you heavenly, much-needed recuperating and isoring enjoyment!

© Eliza Parker 2011 & 2014, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome)

Much of my work comes from Infant Developmental Movement Education®, part of the Body-Mind Centering® Approach to Somatic Education, and Dr. Aletha Solter’s Aware Parenting. I am a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator®, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, Feldenkrais® Practitioner, and Spiritual Counselor.

Be On Baby’s Level (Why Tummy Time is for Grown-ups Too)

You know Tummy Time, or “floor time,” for babies? It’s really for grown-ups too!

I invite you to come down to Baby’s world and experience what she is doing. Get face to face on her level. What’s she currently doing? Tummy Time; or Side Time or Back Time? Yay! Enjoy lying down with her (give yourself permission if you need it). Belly

Hands-and-knees crawling? Explore together this angle on the world.

crawling? Give it a try and you’ll discover why this stage can be so challenging!

But of course you’ll be holding her some too when you’re standing. Sometimes, when you are already upright, try—if you don’t already—holding Baby up high enough so that she's face to face with you.

Truly, one of the best things we grown-ups can do for our babies is to bring ourselves down to their level. As a society, we tend to lovingly try to bring them up to ours—to prop them up in sitting or standing so they can be up higher and look around, for “up higher” is where all Baby’s loved ones are! They want to see what’s going on and be a part of it—right?

Yes and no. That desire to get up higher is part of Baby’s motivation to learn how, from his tummy or back on the floor, to incrementally raise his head, push up on his hands, roll and belly crawl to move in space, independently sit, come up to hands and knees, then pulling up and walking.

However, if he’s not doing it by himself already, then he’s gaining a lot of valuable experience by continuing to do whatever he’s already doing if he’s developing in a typical manner.

Coming down to Baby’s level gives us an inside glimpse of what it takes to learn“from scratch” how to move. We appreciate the mindstate of what Baby is doing. We  become a mirror to Baby’s process, and in doing so communicate that we see her and accept where she is—this lays a very important foundation forschool-learning later in life! We build relationship around “being” together, not just “doing” together. Find out if it’s relaxing; or if it’s hard work?; and enjoy this precious time with your Baby.

© Elizabeth Parker 2011, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome. If you’d like to share my post in your blog or materials, please ask permission.)

Exersaucers and Seats For Babies—What’s Best For Baby’s Health?

I often get questions about walkers, activity centers, jumpers, and seats for babies. These devices can be tempting and are often used as a temporary holding-spot so the caregiver can do something like cook dinner or take a shower. We all want the best for our babies—and ourselves. Here’s what you want to be aware of regarding these devices and Baby’s long-term health.

Many parents aren’t aware of this information. If you are using these devices, I share this not to pass judgment, but to spread the word. Consider, gently, ways that you can ease your family into less propping time and more floor time.

Any device that puts a baby into a position he can’t get into on his own yet will encourage compensation patterns. Even if it seems like he’s fully propped and supported, somewhere internally he still can’t support himself or he’d be doing the position on his own already. Often after prolonged use, arching (“extension”) takes over. This compromises integrated development of the lower back and hips, which makes a person more susceptible back problems later in life. Being upright before Baby’s body is ready also calls on his reflexes to be over-active because he is constantly responding as if he is falling. This prevents a natural progression of milestones because what would normally be natural movement is now perceived as falling, which can result in events such as scooting on the bottom or entirely skipping crawling on hands-and-knees (a very important milestone!).

Non-walking babies of all ages often can “stand” or take weight on their legs. This is a healthy sign, but it’s actually a reflex, not a choice! Babies “like” these devices because they bring Baby up higher perceptually so she can participate in the up-high grown-up world. However, Baby’s movement abilities do not yet match this higher perceptual/sensory state. So a split is developed: their bodies tell them to stay low, but we ask them go beyond what they’re ready for.

It’s wonderful to bring Baby up face-to-face while you’re holding him

It is wonderful to carry Baby upright, to bring him up to face level for interaction, to sit her up for eating, etcetera. But it’s oh so beneficial to balance this upright time with on-the-floor time. Meaning—we go down to the floor with Baby! Yes, go on and lie down with Baby and enjoy!

Contrary to popular belief, babies actually learn how to sit and stand through rolling and belly-crawling, which build strength, balance, and coordination—not from actually sitting and standing. So . . . floor time (so they can move as they’re ready) and baby-wearing (so they can feel you moving) are great for Baby’s movement and brain development!

If you are alone and need a contained, safe space temporarily, I recommend these things:

  • If Baby is young enough, there are soft, flat floor pads with short soft walls on all sides called “Baby Zabu.”
  • Create baby-safe spaces throughout your house so that Baby can move freely rather than be confined. Some babies whose needs such as hunger and sleep are currently met and who don’t need to cry-in-arms will play happily while you do what you need to do
  • Is there a way you can carry or wear Baby while you do your task?
  • Always communicate to your Baby verbally what you are doing or need to do
  • If you’re thinking, “that’s nice, but you don’t understand, I need a device,” use one that keeps the baby as low or as inclined as possible
  • If you’re thinking, “whatever!” and you’re still going to use the walker or seat, use it for as short a time as possible.

Bern, professional Nanny in Seattle WA, recalls:

When I was growing up, it was before all the fancy furniture folks drag around now for the infant. When there was a family thing and a new infant was there, a space would be set aside on the carpet, a blanket spread, surrounded by pillows—stuff every house had. Seemed all of the relations did that.

And walkers—when the kid was ready, she prised herself up on the sofa edge and went back and forth for as long as the strength held, then plopped down. 

I think children need attentive, loving caregivers, not things.

Of course there are times when we find ourselves as the only grown-up present,needing to put Baby down safely. That is a fact of typical life in our culture! But as much as possible, for the well-being and full potential of our babies, please limit the use of propping devices.
© Elizabeth Parker 2011, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome. If you’d like to share my post in your blog or materials, please ask permission.)