Life can be extremely busy, but don’t let that deter you from bonding with your baby. You can always find the time in the midst of your busy days to spend quality time with your infant, which will help the two of you build a lifetime bond. Here are several tips for bonding with your baby:
- “Wear” your baby whenever possible. Using an age appropriate wrap or sling will ensure that your baby feels your presence while keeping your hands free. Baby wearing can be calming for infants, and it helps them learn about movement as well as their world.
- Make feeding time special- Nursing or giving your bottle a baby can be a quiet bonding time that both of you enjoy. Make opportunities to be skin to skin so that your infant can smell your scent and relax during this special time.
- Keep baby close- While your newborn is sleeping, keep the bassinet or crib close to your bed so that you will know when your baby needs you. This also makes feeding times simpler since baby is close by.
- Respond- Your baby’s cry is how she communicates with you. It’s her way of letting you know if she’s cold, hot, wet or hungry. Be sure to respond to your infants cries as this is how she learns to trust.
Children learn about the world around them through exploration and play. The role of play in child development is important for the development gross motor, fine motor and social skills. Play can be as simple as imitating the sounds that your infant makes, or it can be more involved, such as putting puzzles together, stacking blocks and imitating complex block patterns. Play activities such as these are great for motor and perceptual development, and they are also wonderful for social skill development.
Parents and caregivers need to have a basic understanding of developmental milestones in childhood. This knowledge will be helpful when encouraging your child come up with ideas for play.
Here is a brief early developmental milestone chart of skills that influence play. Please keep in mind that all children develop at their own individual rates, so the ages for acquiring these milestones may vary from child to child.
Begins to show interest in and curiosity about the environment – 4 to 6 months
Object permanence emerging/pointing to pictures and objects- 10 months to 1 year
Imitation and solitary play skills- 1 year to 15 months
Parallel play and symbolic play- 2 years
Interactive play and taking turns- 2 ½ to 3 years
photo credit: nenetus- freedigitalphotos.net
Does your baby always turns her head to the right or left side? If so, you may want to ask your pediatrician if your child has a condition called congenital muscular torticollis (CMT). Torticollis means “twisted neck” and this condition is usually caused by tightness in one or more neck muscles. A baby with CMT often turns her head to one side with her chin pointed in the opposite direction. One shoulder is typically held in a higher position than the other. Infants with this condition are at an increased risk for developing flat spots on the head (positional plagiocephaly).
Infants are typically diagnosed with CMT sometime during the first two month of life. If not treated, CMT limits an infant’s ability to move her head freely to see and visually explore the environment, and CMT is often associated with delays in motor milestone development. Physical and occupational therapists treat torticollis through soft tissue mobilization and stretching. Educating parents about positioning and handling techniques is also an important aspect of treatment. For example, one position that therapists often recommend is holding baby in a sidle lying with the tight side of the neck down and baby’s head resting on the parent’s forearm. This gives the neck muscles a nice gentle stretch and allows the infant to visually explore the environment while remaining in close contact with the parent. For more information and a wonderful video series on infant development, please visit www.carolinakinderdevelopment.com.
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