A baby’s delicate neural networks need exercise just as their body does. Budding neural tree limbs need the fertilizer of movement to stimulate the chemical release of proteins that build the brain. Movement that involves push and pull strengthens, stabilizes and organizes patterns of movement. In an economy of design, the very events taking place in the body are taking place in the brain. Just as the shoulders, hips, hands and feet are becoming strengthened, stabilized and organized, so are the neural networks.
Movement experiences carried out on the tummy fulfill the developmental patterns that contribute to a sound body and brain. Along with the enormous physical benefits of movement for visual development, eye hand coordination, developing the arches in the feet and hands, and one’s overall sense of self; physical activity and interactive play are the primary ingredients for sound neurological integration. Tummy time milestones include rolling, crawling, creeping and standing. Tummy time also aids in the achievement of cognitive milestones like speaking first words, increased attention span, and school readiness.
Motor development is cultivated from the prone position. Think of it as ‘growing from the ground up’. If parents and caregivers consciously limit the time babies spend in containers, especially during the early months prior to crawling, the baby will experience less stress on their tummy to play.
Dear new mom, please slow down! One of the things that is hardest for most of us in our fast-paced world is slowing down and enjoying these early months and years. Much of what makes a good life for a baby are long, slow times of gazing into each other’s eyes, connecting, holding, rocking, smiling, talking and offering calming touch.
Slow down, relax and enjoy this really important year.