Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Developmental Wednesday #3

This weeks developmental Wednesday is focused on transitions. Specifically, helping your preemie transition from various positions smoothly and easily.

We often think of a baby's movement and development in separate phases or positions. For example, we want our baby to roll over, to sit, to crawl, to stand, etc. Often times what we forget is that babies need to learn how to change from sitting to a crawl position. Or how to roll over when they don't want to be on their tummy and/or back anymore. When your baby is fussing, it gets really easy to just pick him/her up and change his/her position. Before you do that - think about what they would need to do in order to get from one position to another and help them through that movement.

How do they get there?
It doesn't take a PT to know how a baby needs to move in order to get from one position to the other. We all have to make movement transitions in order to go from sitting to standing, etc. Watch what your baby is doing. Then try it yourself. Think about what you need to do in order to move from one position to the other. Go through the motions as slowly as possible and really think about what you are doing. Once you've tried it a few times, help your baby move from one position to the next. It may take some time but you'll figure it out - with your baby's help.

Good positions to transition

  • Rolling over
  • Tummy to all fours - crawling position
  • Sitting to tummy/all fours
  • All fours/tummy to sitting
  • Sitting to kneeling
  • Sitting to standing

How do I do it?
Before you start helping your baby move from one position to the next, watch and see how much he/she can and can not do on his/her own. For example, my daughter has trouble rolling from her back to her tummy. She can get to her side but she seems to forget what to do next. If I gently push her hips towards the direction she is facing, she will bring her head and shoulders around and tada! she's on her tummy. For some positions your baby may need more help and for others, he/she may just need a gentle push to get them over or up. Over time, the amount of help your baby needs will lesson as they get stronger and more able to do each movement. Once you try it a few times, you'll start to notice how and where your baby needs help.

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