Connecting with Your Newborn

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Connecting with Your Newborn

There are few moments in life that are as exciting and nerve wracking at the same time as that hour when you bring your newborn baby home from the hospital. You place him safely in his cot and gaze at him in awe with an incredible sense of joy…

And then, as you try to settle into your new life as a parent, you find yourself wondering what to do for your precious bundle over and above keeping him alive. After all, a baby is supposed to be too small to process much of anything, right? Wrong.

Your baby’s brain is developing at a rapid pace from day one and he needs interaction with you and his environment to have the ideal backdrop against which his fullest potential can take shape.

Practica’s age-appropriate activities for newborns make it natural and easy to support optimal brain development. What’s more, they help focus your baby’s attention on your loving presence so that the two of you can connect, bond and enjoy each other more.

Practica Programme is the most comprehensive home programme available on the market today. We offer lists of activities for each of the 14 different areas of development that can be developed straight from birth.

Here are four of those activities, taken from 3 of the 14 areas of development.

 

Developmental Area: Curiosity

 

  1. Talk to your baby.

One of the most valuable things that you can do for your baby during the first months is to talk to him. Position your face between 20 and 25 cm away so that he can focus properly. Then look into his eyes and raise the pitch of your voice to make it easier for him to pay attention.

 

  1. Accentuate your facial features.

All babies are genetically predisposed to be especially interested in looking at faces during the first months, particularly to the upper half, from the nose upward. Accentuate your eyes and mouth with eyeliner and lipstick. This helps to make these features more noticeable. Babies generally perceive only light and dark contrasts at this age. Detail and colours are beyond them now.

 

Developmental Area: Concept of Self

 

  1. Roll your baby from side-to-side.

Let him lie on his back and, while singing or saying a rhyme, rhythmically roll him from side to side. Wrap him in a receiving blanket to keep his limbs from getting in the way, if needed. Offer less support as he grows older and develops more control over his neck muscles. Try to stick to the same song or rhyme to help him associate the particular song with the side-to-side movement over time. A baby’s intellectual development benefits with every association that he forms.

Note: Bear in mind that 5 month olds are easily startled by abrupt and unexpected movements, so keep your movements calm and slow. Also, talk to your baby before touching him.

 

Developmental Area: Physical Development

 

  1. Do leg and arm exercises as part of the “nappy changing routine”.

As you touch and move your baby’s arms and legs, you will be helping him to gradually spend less time in the curled-up, foetal position; he will soon discover where his body ends and the outside world begins and you will be creating an opportunity for him to learn how to integrate sensory information.

 

Leg Exercises

  • Lie your baby down on his back – preferably without a nappy. Stretch and bend his left leg a few times. Repeat with the right leg. Stretch and bend both together and lastly alternate the movement, as if your baby is cycling.
  • Keep his knees together. Sway them from side to side so that his lower body rotates from side to side. Do not restrict his upper body.
  • Move his right leg over his left leg and place his right foot on the mattress next to his left hip. Change sides so that his lower body gets to rotate in both directions. Again, allow his upper body to move freely.
  • Flex and extend his feet. In other words, point his toes downward and then press his soles up again. Repeat this exercise a few times and then move his feet in circles so that it rotates in his ankle joints.
  • Bend one of your baby’s legs and move his knee in big circular movements to exercise the hip joint. Do clockwise and anti-clockwise circles with both legs.

 

Arm Exercises

  • Let your child close his hands over your thumbs. Fold the rest of your fingers over his fists. Slowly move his hands up and down, also to the left and to the right and then in a circular motion so that it rotates in the wrist joints.
  • Continue holding his hands. Stretch his arms down to his hips and then up to his ears. Repeat the movement a few times.
  • Now fold his arms over his chest and then spread them wide open on the bed. Close and open his arms rhythmically in this way – crossing and extending them.
  • Use one hand to hold your baby’s hand open and massage his palm with your other hand. Do the same with both hands.

These exercises help your baby to gradually outgrow the curled up, fetal position. You also help him to become more aware of his body by encouraging him to move his limbs. Remember to talk to him throughout this experience and give a step-by-step running commentary about everything that you are doing.

 

If you’ve had a look at this website and you would like to find out more about how compatible the Practica Programme would be to your family’s specific needs and lifestyle, please send an email to zia@practica.co.za

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