Parenting young babies is never easy. Parents struggle with feeding, nappy changes and lack of sleep! Well this blog is dedicated to parents of infants especially in the age group of 6 to 9 months. Babies coo and gurgle and make us smile but did you know that inside the brain of babies, neurons are being connected ? This brain development is visible if you observe babies and what they do.
During ‘babyhoood’ your baby will be able to –
- Identify Sounds: will turn and look at you as you approach or talk
- Produce Sounds: like cooing or babbling.
- Start Interacting: appearance of social smile and like to interact
- Start paying attention: to toys and words or songs
- Roll Over: from the back to the stomach
- Grasp and Bang: loves to grasp objects, hold one in each hand and sometimes even bangs them together.
So here are some terms for parents to remember and use in daily parenting with infants –
- Reciprocity- This is the period of the onset of social smiling, which means your baby now consciously smiles to get your attention or to engage you, it is important to remember and practise reciprocity in all your daily interactions with baby. Talk or coo to your baby and then pause and give a chance for your baby to respond. Sometimes it will be with a smile, or cooing and babbling. Reciprocity will be the foundation of social development for your baby.
- Tummy time –we tend to keep babies on the bed or cot or baby bags, but we must give tummy time to the baby too. So place your baby on its tummy often during play time. Remember sleep on the back and play on the tummy. Putting your baby to sleep on the back is important from the point of view of SIDS- sudden infant death syndrome, in baby cots. That is why I love the Indian cradle made of cloth, it not only takes the baby’s body shape, but keeps baby safe from SIDS and gives baby the feeling of being safe and coddled just like in the uterus. So time to bring back the Indian cloth cradle
- Floor play- infants and kids today are spending more and more time in baby bags, feeding chairs etc, which needs to change. Floor play helps infants move and touch freely and also gives them the necessary feeling of free movement which restrained chairs etc are unable to provide . This is beneficial for brain development and overall physical growth and will also improve your baby’s eating and sleeping cycle.
- Face to face play- it is so tempting to leave babies to play with toys on their own, but at this crucial stage it is important that you engage your baby in face to face play, sing songs, peek a boo etc. This helps your baby bond with you, nurtures a sense of trust and communication in your baby.
- Receptive and expressive vocabulary- your baby’s language development has two parts, first is receptive language skills which means before learning to talk your baby should be ‘talked to’ so your baby ‘receives’ language much more than your baby is able to express. How much your baby will talk and how early depends on the receptive language that your baby is exposed to. So talk, describe and engage your baby’s vocabulary development.
- Grasping and releasing – before 6 months your baby’s grasping was almost reflexive. Now there is focused grasping of objects, though releasing will still be slightly primitive. So they might ‘dump’ objects instead of releasing them. So play games that help baby grasp and reach for objects. Give different objects and toys for baby to grasp. Remember not to push for handedness, many parents want the baby to use the right hand and so offer toys placed more towards the right side of the baby. Always place toys or hold out toys in the middle and let baby choose the hand to use.
- Mouth the ‘lab’ of your little scientist – everything that your baby grasps will first land in your little scientists ‘lab’, the mouth! This is because the mouth of young babies has more sensory points then the hands or feet. So actually they feel with their mouths. Try not to stop them, instead choose toys that are safe, non toxic for your baby and help your baby to use the ‘lab’. Remember the brain thrives on sensory stimulation so the ‘lab’ is directly connected to brain growth.
Happy baby parenting.
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