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Healthybaby because baby is soaking it all in
Creating opportunities to explore different tastes opens your baby’s world and helps regulate the immune system.
Baby’s consciousness is widening and the rhythms of the Neuro-Gastro-Immune system are maturing. This integrated operating system is tasked with information-processing, learning, and memory. The introduction of eating has activated curiosity, which then activates movement and purposely using one’s body to get what one wants. Or in a word: agency.
Baby is about to have a lot to say. By babbling, baby is practicing moving their lips and tongue to speak—and having fun doing it. This opens the door to a new kind of agency—creating sounds!
For baby, movement holds the key to learning and understanding the world around them. From tummy time, to rolling, to sitting independently, they are making major physical leaps. Sitting means freeing up the hands to explore objects and see the world from a new perspective: looking across the room instead of only up or down when laying on their back or belly and determination to bend forward to reach that thing they see, which eventually leads to crawling. Curiosity feeds skill development and skill development feeds curiosity, further expanding baby’s control over their place in the world. This is a HUGE wow-moment in their development and a precursor to the explosion of communication in the second half of the first year of life.
Have you noticed baby attempting to roll from their stomach to their back? Try encouraging the development of this new skill and practice crossing the midline:
While baby is on their tummy, sit in front of them with their favorite object, like our wool dryer ball or a rattle. Once you get their interest, slowly move in the direction of the roll. To help, place your hands on either side of baby’s bottom and gently roll it side to side. Move slowly and gently through the roll and take breaks. Because activating baby in this way can be exhausting, make sure to observe how they are responding.
Rolling is an important step on the road to walking. It also presents an opportunity for baby to cross the midline. What’s a midline? Picture an invisible line down baby’s body to represent the left and right hemispheres of their brain. Activities where baby crosses this invisible line engage connections between hemispheres of the brain. The right and left hemispheres like to work in isolation, and crossing the midline requires both sides to communicate and fully engage in baby's cerebral cortex. Practicing improves communication between the two hemispheres and strengthens the networks that will lay the foundation for both fine and gross motor skills.
Tummy time is a lot more enjoyable for baby if they can see your face. Lay baby on their stomach on a bed with their body safely in the middle then sit on the floor so that your face is below theirs. Proceed to make funny faces as they try to lift their head—then eventually their chest—to see you.
Next, lay baby on their tummy on a large exercise ball. Hold them at the hips for stability and gently roll the ball back and forward (don’t let them slide off). This stimulates the vestibular and postural system to work in unison, promoting trunk and head control. Notice how they’re shifting weight from one arm to the other, even tilting their head from side to side? This is them developing the reflexes needed for complex motor development (like rolling and crawling) that’s just around the corner.
Tummy time bolsters head, neck, back and trunk control, making movement possible. Soon they'll be able to go after something that excites them like our peek-a-boo packaging or hold onto something that puzzles them, and see things from a new perspective.
Getting to a place of functional sitting requires much trial and error—no need to rush it. Every attempt serves as a problem-solving opportunity that encourages mastering the skill and control necessary to sit. Give them space to try and fail while catching them when they lose balance. It’s alright if you place them in a sitting position on occasion, but give them floor time on their tummy or side so they can learn this skill solo. Part of developing curiosity requires that they keep trying—and feel a sense of accomplishment when they succeed.
While baby may be able to sit independently when you place them upright (and they don’t topple over or need propping), they will likely fall often. They can’t do much to protect themselves, even when falling backwards (think: “timber!”). That’s because placed sitting is not the same as functional sitting. Functional sitting means having the ability to get into and out of sitting independently, and understanding how their body works in space to support controlled weight shifts: reaching during play, transitions down to the floor or to hands and knees, and kneeling. Functional sitters understand where they are and how they got there, and have an increased sense of confidence and curiosity about exploring their world.
After a diaper change (with Our EWG VERIFIED Diaper) is a great moment in your routine to transition into a few minutes of practice with sitting or tummy time to attempt sitting up.
Outings — even errands — can feel new and exciting seen through a baby's eyes. Curiosity abounds! Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the feeling of energy and excitement.
With that said, it’s still awkward for many of us to get on the floor and play. Look, it’s been a while since we did it! And it doesn’t make it any easier that baby enjoy doing the same things over and over (this can get boring for caregivers). The good news is that baby learns through repetition which reinforces deeper neural pathways. So, while you’re extra bored, they’re likely doing some of their best learning. For years to come, baby will need us to try and find quality time to play. You can start that now with just 10 minutes of floor play a day. Over time, it may become something you can do for hours, or at least something you can support baby to do for hours.
Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
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