Friday, 21 August 2009

Some Tips for Moms with Babies Who Are Learning to Crawl

What do you do when your baby is starting to get into the puppy position and even to learn to crawl? What do you do with a baby who needs to be held when you have lots to do? What do you do when not carrying or holding your baby causes him to cry and scream?

As Dr T. Berry Brazelton, MD teaches in his book "Touchpoints - The Essential Reference of Your Child's Emotional and Behavioural Development" babies cry for a reason. There are at least 6 different cries: pain, hunger, discomfort, fatigue, boredom and tension release. Each cry is different and the more the parents get to know their baby the more they will get to learn what the cry means.

As we see, each cry means something. Babies do not cry for no reason. If a child needs to be held, there is good reason for this. Part of the development of normal sensory integration requires a certain amount of being held, carried, contained etc. If a baby is telling you it needs this, there is good reason. The baby is trying to express what he knows instinctively but does not have the words to say so.

What can a Mom do? As we learn from the mothers in Africa, strap the baby on. The mothers in Africa tend to put a baby on their back held on with a blanket and go about their chores. For those who are not able to do this, there are various kinds of pouches. The original ones were called "Comfy Carriers". Make sure you select one that supports your baby while also protecting your back. Once the baby is strapped on, he or she will obtain that closeness, swaddling feeling and the Mom's hands will be free to go about her work.

In addition, learning to crawl is a very frustrating phase for most babies. If your baby has reached this stage, make his environment a little interesting by providing some toys for him. Soft toys, toys to interact with, press etc, balls are all good.

Once again, the baby will now be interested and occupied which will distract him from the frustration of learning to crawl, although a certain amount will often still remain.

For those Moms in Israel whose babies are learning to crawl on these hard tiles floors, keep in mind the floor is very hard. It could be that it is too hard for your baby or tiring for him or her. Try putting a blanket or small rug for your baby to have some time that is softer on his or her young hands and knees. Along this line, when babies tire while beginning to learn to crawl, the often put their head down quite quickly as their head, neck and trunk control in this position is still strengthening. This rapid movement can result in a baby knocking his head on the floor. When this happens on a carpet, it is not so distressing for the baby. However, on the hard stone floors, it could be that the baby hurts himself or gets a fright from the sound or his head suddenly connecting with the ground.

In addition to the above, talk to your baby. Tell him or her that you understand and encourage him or her. Give the baby some time you will sit down and read to him / her or give some baby massage.

Another aspect that research has shown is that the various growth spurts that babies go through can also be a strain and even painful for them. If you have not already done so, take a course in Infant Massage. The results last a life time, including helping your baby to overcome this strong need to experience touch.

One last thought, though it might seem like a burden to do all this for ones baby, keep in mind that babyhood is the start of all motor and sensory development. The more you can provide in the correct manner throughout babyhood, the less likelihood to need sensory diet and other aspects of therapeutic intervention further on down the line. Helping your baby with his or her milestones and to grow, learn, develop etc appropriately do have an effect on how they will learn once they begin school.

Although some children will have learning difficulties, much can be done during babyhood to prevent difficulties later on.

If you require further input for your baby, please do email to set up an appointment or to find out when the next course of infant masage begins.

Looking forward to hearing of many happy, contented babies.

Shoshanah Shear
Experienced and Licensed Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
and Certified Infant Massage Instructor

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