Exercises to do as part of your Nappy Changing Routine
Babies of all ages love to be played with and they benefit from the movements that we’re about to describe – even from as early as the first weeks of life.
During the first months after birth, your baby gradually discovers where his body ends and the outside world begins. So, by adding these exercises to your nappy changing routine from early on, you will be fostering your child’s “body awareness” at a time when his brain is most impressionable to this kind of input. You will also be helping his body to gradually relax and move out of the curled up, foetal position – in preparation for learning to sit, crawl and walk one day.
Parents of older babies, who continue with this ritual, also strengthen the parent-child emotional connection and build their babies’ brains in a natural way.
Neurologists say that “brain cells that fire together wire together”. So, as you will be providing your child with small doses of extra visual, auditory, tactile and movement information to process at every nappy change, you will be doing something very practical to help wire his brain without over-stimulating him!
Therefore, while you are busy changing your baby’s nappy and you have your Bum Crème handy, follow these easy steps:
– 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 legs together a number of times. Then 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 your child’s upper body.
– Lift his right foot over his left leg and touch the mattress next to his left hip. Change sides so that your baby’s lower body gets to rotate in both directions as you alternate between his left and right sides. 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 of times. Then move your baby’s feet in circles to rotate in the ankle joints.
– Bend one leg and move his knee in big circular movements to rotate in the hip joint. Do clockwise and anti-clockwise circles, one leg at a time.
– Let your baby grab onto your thumbs. Fold the rest of your fingers over his fists. Slowly tilt his hands up and down, also to the left and to the right and then rotate them in a circular motion.
– 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 free hand. Do this with both hands.