Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Developmental Wednesday #2

This week's developmental information is focused on baby's who are 0-2 months old. Many babies who are born premature end up coming home around their due date which is when their actual age and developmental milestones start. Although preemies at this age spend a lot of time sleeping or eating, there is also a lot of development that happens during this time.

Some of the developmental milestones to look for are:

Large/Gross Motor
- can roll partly to side
- can lift his/her head when on their tummy
- can start to support him/herself on forearms
- kicks feet alternatively
- lifts head

Small Motor
- can turn head to follow a moving object up/down and side to side
- repeatedly moves arms and legs about - no direction
- fingers own hand in play

Social/Play Skills
- Quiets when picked up
- Vocalizes/smiles when talked to or touched
- Explores toys with mouth or tongue

- Makes small throaty noises
- Says ah, uh, eh
- Alerts or quiets to sounds or voices

Ways to optimize your preemie's development
- Go slow. Preemies often get startled when things happen too quickly or all once. Bring your face close to your baby's face slowly and quietly. Once your baby is okay with that, smile and talk softly.
- Talk to you baby. Tell them what you are doing or what you did at work today. Just hearing your voice can relax them and help them later learn to verbalize.
- Place your face (and later a bright shiny object) about 8-12 inches in front of your baby's face.
- Give your baby toys that make noise (like a bell or rattle) - your baby will start to realize that they can control the noise of the toy which helps them fine tune their fine motor skills.
- Hang a mobile above your baby's bed or changing area
- Put your baby on his/her tummy to play. It's best to do this several times a day. This will help them strengthen their muscles and begin learning how to move around.
- Sing songs. Babies don't care if you can't hold a note or follow a melody. They love to hear songs no matter how good or bad they sound.
- Smile and make happy sounds - baby's respond to the feelings of their caregivers so help them feel happy and relaxed through you and your moods.
- Let your baby feel and play with different textures - stuffed animals, blankets, plastic toys, terry cloth.

Most importantly - have fun playing with your beautiful baby.

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