Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Developmental Post #14

One of the biggest "milestones" that doctors and parents like to look for is the ability for a preemie to hold his/her head up while on his/her tummy. Once they can hold up their head than preemies should be holding themselves up with their elbows and then extended arms. A lot of preemies (and babies in general) don't particularly like tummy time so getting to these milestones can be difficult. It can be even harder if your preemie has low muscle tone.

I have found that for both of my preemies, propping up their chest helped them figure how to pick up their head. You can use a medium-sized towel, blanket, swim noodle (cut in half) or mini-boppy. Anything that will help lift your preemie's chest without causing his/her arms to be too extended.

Once you put the prop under your preemie's chest, bring his/her arms forward so that they are in front of the towel (or whatever item you have chosen). Based on your preemie's abilities, he/she may be supporting his/herself on elbows or extended arms. If your preemie needs more help, try placing your hand on your preemie's bottom and gently pushing downward. This can help anchor your preemie so that he/she can lift up his/her head and push upwards with his/her arms.

Place a mirror or favorite toy(s) in front of your preemie so that he/she can stay interested in being on his/her tummy. Talk about the toys and help your preemie reach out to feel or play with the toy. Get down on the floor too so that you are directly in front of your preemie - up close face time with mommy or daddy is always an enticing time for your preemie.

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