Connecting Baby’s Movement to Brain and Sensory Development

While the sheer joy of watching your baby start to roll-over, sit, grasp, crawl and walk is not to be underestimated, Pampers Intitute® expert, development specialist and founder of BabyGym®, Dr Melodie de Jager says that these milestones are in fact magic markers. And it is these “pointers”, so to speak, that indicate your little one’s senses, brain, muscles and connective wiring are developing nicely.

The Pampers® Institute is a network of experts who seek to guide moms on how best to nurture their babies. From sleep to nutrition, skin care and more, the Pampers® Institute has been designed with the ultimate wellbeing of babies in mind. According to its panellists, movement facilitates progress because just as babies’ bones and muscles are growing and strengthening, so their brains are developing to take in all that they are learning as they explore their world.

Stimulation Through Mobility

“It’s important to remember that babies learn primarily through movement and their mobility sets in motion a chain of developmental milestones that will ultimately prepare them for independence. For this reason, neuro-developmental therapists have coined the term, ‘sensory-motor’, which describes the connection between the senses and motor, or muscular, action.”

“Primitive reflexes use muscle or motor movement to stimulate each of the senses, and then connect every sense with a specific part of the brain. This means that the more reflexive movements a baby undertakes, the more his senses are stimulated, thereby increasing baby’s knowledge of our world.”

Movement also facilitates progress, because just as babies’ bones and muscles are growing and strengthening, so their brains are developing to take in all that they are learning as they explore their world,” explains Dr de Jager.

Baby on the Move

Even tiny infants and busy one year olds need to practice their skills, so it’s important as moms to guide our little ones towards their next important milestone. Dr de Jager offers the following tips to get baby motoring:

  • While babies should not sleep on their stomachs, be sure to give your baby lots of tummy time during waking hours. When lying on his belly first on your chest and then on the floor, your little one can practice lifting his head and strengthening his neck, arm and shoulder muscles
  • When baby is placed flat and unsupported on the floor, place a standing mirror in front of him. Babies are fascinated by their own reflection.
  • Encourage the development of hand-eye coordination by letting your infant reach for her favourite toys while sitting in your lap. Alternatively, allow baby to swipe at colourful objects hanging from an infant gym or mobile
  • To introduce walking, place her in a kneeling position in front of a low but sturdy object and raise her one knee so that her foot is placed flat on the ground. Gently lift baby until her weight has been shifted onto that foot, and slowly raise her into an upright position until her weight is placed firmly on both feet. This lays the foundation for baby to build enough confidence to begin walking unaided.

Dr de Jager adds that it’s important never to rush baby through his milestones. Reaching a milestone earlier is not better because each milestone achieved when baby is ready develops a different part of the brain.

Doctor on Call

While babies must be allowed to develop at their own pace, most make certain movements by the time they’re 3 months old. Talk to your doctor if your infant isn’t making the following movements by 12 weeks:

  • Supporting and turning his own head
  • Lifting her head and chest when lying on her stomach

Designed for Movement

Pampers® Active Baby is a nappy designed specifically with baby’s movement in mind.  Its cottony* soft, comfy fit is designed to help give babies freedom of movement as they become more physically active, while helping to reduce the risk of friction and irritation to their delicate skins.

“It’s important to ensure baby’s movement is not restricted, so be sure to select a diaper that supports instead of hinders their mobility,” advises Dr de Jager.

The Magic of Movement

Whether you’re witnessing your bright young star taking brave new steps or watching your bouncing baby roll onto her tummy, the magic of movement cannot be denied. It represents a whole new world for your baby to explore and it signifies the miracle of seeing your tiny tot grow both physically and mentally too.

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