It is always good to remember that a small baby is bedridden. We all know that when we have been bedridden or incapacitated for a while, we feel as if our limbs have become weaker and need a good stretch.
Little baby does not walk, crawl or move around. Sometimes it is good to move the limbs and neck to strengthen the muscles.
Passive exercises (when the adult moves the limbs) are good and parents do that naturally when bathing baby or changing nappies.
I believe that the most valuable exercises are when we stimulate the baby to move by him/herself.
As baby becomes more wakeful during the day it can be a lot of fun and certainly a bonding experience to do some exercises for a short period every day. Spread a blanket on the floor. Put baby on the floor and let him/her move his/her own limbs freely.
(I want to stress that in the begining you must not leave the baby in this position).
You can help by supporting the chest with the arms.
Once he/she is able to lift the head without help you can stimulate the turning of the head by making a noise with a rattle or a squeaky toy on the opposite side. After a while the baby will turn the head to follow the sound.
Don’t rush your baby. Every experience is new and baby will achieve skills in his/her own time.
At first the whole procedure may just be a few minutes. As baby grows older this ‘play time’ will become longer and the parent will be able to leave baby on the floor to entertain him/herself with toys.
These are just a few ideas, but you can be creative and work on your own stimulation for your baby.
© Teresa Denton.