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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Parents with new babies want to know whether their baby is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, i.e., achieving age-appropriate milestones. Family members may give advice and often the parents find themselves comparing their child to others of the same age. This is so natural. As the baby develops, parents will quickly notice changes that take place very quickly. Parents may place their baby down on their tummy (prone position) since the buzz word “tummy time” has been popularized over the years. They may ask themselves why the baby doesn’t like the position, and wonder how to make it more tolerable for baby. This position can actually be made fun and it is the foundation to the development of other motor skills.

Although tummy time is the most read and talked about, playtime on the baby’s back is also important. What better position is there to begin exploring the body by bringing the hands together at midline, bringing hands to the mouth and feet to the mouth as well! Supine position is important for balanced development of the baby’s muscles and the basis for varied movement patterns.

Parents will also question: When will my baby sit? Please keep in mind that all babies develop at a different rate so adherence to milestone charts can be worrisome for parents. A good thing to keep in mind is to not prop baby up with baby equipment: Give the baby opportunities to strengthen the core muscles when on the floor. The back, the side and the tummy are all good positions to place the child in to work on strengthening the muscles that will be needed to get them up to sit.

Rolling is a significant milestone and parents seem to want that to happen. Once the baby rolls, they become mobile. When babies get stuck trying to roll, parents can learn techniques to facilitate the roll. Just keep in mind babies can’t be left alone on the bed or couch once rolling begins because they are quick to learn that.

If you are concerned about your child’s development, you should discuss this with your pediatrician or developmental pediatrician or consult an occupational therapist.

Stacey Berman Gardin, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist licensed in NY and NJ. She has been practicing OT since 1981. For the past 20 years the focus has been treating children through early intervention. Stacey is a graduate of Downstate College of Health Related Professionals.

 By Stacey Berman Gardin