How to Promote Your Baby’s Development & Save Money at the Same Time

When a new baby comes, the house often becomes overrun with supplies and over the first year things for baby seem to multiply and take over!  All of these things for baby can be expensive.  What if you could save money AND best promote your child’s development?!

Young bbaby-cute-child-lying-40724abies spend their days cycling between eat, sleep and poop. Between bottles or nursing, diaper blow outs and diaper changes and precious nap time, there isn’t a ton of play time. There are small intervals throughout the day that get longer as the baby gets older and begins sleeping less, feeding less often, and becoming more alert and mobile.

During those happy alert times there are many options to entertain baby: bouncers, exercausers, jumpers, swings, etc.

What is the best option for baby’s development? What is the best way for the explore their new exciting world?

My advice is to keep it simple. There is no need to spend so much money on various pieces of baby equipment.

The best place for a baby to explore is on a blanket or a play mat. Provide opportunities to look at different things and touch different textures. Instead of rotating between baby equipment, try rotating toys instead.

Concerned about safety with pets or older siblings? Look into a play yard or an old fashioned play pen (larger than the modern pack n play).

Babies learn how to use their eyes, ears, mouths and hands by actively turning their heads in response to sights and sounds. They learn how to control their bodies to move to something they want with practice and experience.  This needs to happen out of a semi-reclined position, that babies often spend a lot of time in, between car seats, swings and bouncers.

Many people will say that their kids are happier when upright in exercausers or jumperoos. There is no denying that many babies enjoy it and for 15 minutes a day while you take a quick shower or need to get something done in the house, that’s ok. I simply recommend limiting use, not banning these baby devices if it makes a difference for the parent.

Allow your baby to move their bodies in the ways they are ready. They grow so quickly and will be up and running before you know it. Until then, let them explore and learn how to control their bodies against gravity one step at a time. This will maximize your child’s development from sensory processing to gross motor abilities, and in the end could even save you some money!

 

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Bad Behavior or a Cracked Windshield?

Last night my daughters were watching their favorite show, Doc McStuffins. If you haven’t seen it, its an adorable show about a little girl who is a doctor for toys. Its filled with funny little diagnoses that go in the Big Book of Boo Boos and fun little songs filled with life lessons on caring for yourself and others. Read more

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Between the Milestones of the 1st Year

As a mom of two girls and a PT for kids I often get asked about milestones and whether a parent should be concerned. There are many clues to whether a parent should be concerned that go beyond looking at a chart that tells you when a child typically will develop a skill. Read more

Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit

Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit

Most posts on this blog are related to children with special needs. However, I would like to share a great product invented by a fellow pediatric physical therapist called Magic Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. Above you can watch a demonstration of an adorable little baby trying it on.

I recently bought one for my 4 month old to help with our transition to the crib and out of the swaddle. It is a big puffy suit with open hands and feet. Its heavy and stiff enough to stop those startles that open wake up baby, but flexible enough for baby to suck on his fingers or wiggle around to self soothe. Read more

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Torticollis

What does torticollis look like? A child will tilt their ear towards the shoulder and will turn to the opposite direction. A child with left torticollis will tilt their head to the left and prefer to look to the right. A child with right torticollis will tilt their head to the right and prefer to […]

Flat Feet: To Ignore or Not?

Flat Feet: To Ignore or Not?

I am asked about flat feet all the time. I’ve even gotten our OTs in the habit of looking at their client’s feet. Over and over again parents take their child to the orthopedic surgeon and ask about orthotics for their child’s flat feet. Each time the physician says no. The orthotic will not change anything. You are wasting your money. Flat feet don’t cause pain. My orthopedic books all say the same thing. Read more

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Trunk Strengthening for Kids

Trunk or core strengthening is a need for children of various diagnoses, including coordination disorders, low tone, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. In fact most child with developmental differences regardless of diagnosis will benefit from strengthening to the trunk muscles. Read more

Torticollis Treatment
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Torticollis: A Tearless Approach To Treatment

“I watched a remarkable, quiet, tearless session…that ended with his body and head in midline. No neck stretching!! No stretching of any kind!  It’s particularly appealing in that parents get to hug and hold their children and get changes…without imposing any demands.”
Billi Cusick’s PT, MS, COF

Torticollis is a term used when a baby tends to keep their head tilted or turned to one side. The most common type of torticollis in children in Congenital Muscular Torticollis. The head is positioned in various degrees of tilt to one side and then rotation to the opposite side.Evidence-Based Care Guideline for Management of Congenital Muscular Torticollis in children age 0 to 36 months describes the traditional approach to torticollis treatment, which includes stretching, positioning, and active movement on the weaker side.  The guideline does include assessing the full body, but treatment of these findings is not specifically recommended.  Traditionally, the therapist will assess the full body, but then treat the neck in isolation because this is the most visible and obvious problem area.

The TMR approach to torticollis addresses the body as a WHOLE.  Eliminate imbalances in the larger muscles to allow the tiny neck muscles to do their job spontaneously.  Its like a potted plant growing crooked.  We don’t stretch the leaves or the little stems.  We repot the roots so that the plant can grow straight.  Our visual and balance systems will automatically bring the head to the middle once we help balance out our roots, which in the body is the pelvis.

Some red flags that parents may notice outside of the head position or turning preference is that it may be harder to put one arm in the shirt when dressing, the baby always rolls to one side, or the baby learning to sit always falls in the same direction.  Some other signs are bottom scooting rather than crawling on hands and knees, cruising along the couch in only one direction, and walking with one foot turned out.

Parents are taught how to do positioning and play at home that comfortably releases the bodies restrictions. They are also taught how to monitor their child’s movement patterns over time, so that if asymmetries increase while a child is learning a new skill, they will know how to address it.

Curious if this tearless appropach may be best for you and your baby?  Call us to set up a screening at 908-543-4390.

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Tippy Toes and Normal Development

A Dad asked me today if it was okay that his almost 2 year-old was walking on her tiptoes. His 5 year-old daughter also walks on her toes, but she has cerebral palsy, and has gone through years of botox injections and wearing orthotics to help her to stand on flat feet and to maintain the flexibility of her calves.  Read more

It Takes Two To Tango

As promised here are some of my go-to strategies during therapy sessions.  This carries over to home activities as well as any time a child is learning something new or facing a challenge.  None of these strategies have anything to do with physical therapy, movement, or motor development, but without them I wouldn’t be able to guide my kiddos to reach their goals.  The bottom line is that it takes two to tango and if the kiddo isn’t dancing, you’re not getting anywhere! Read more