What is tummy time and why is it so important
Tummy time is the name given to the amount of time on their tummy a baby spends when awake and the benefits to both baby and parent/carer are huge.
Tummy Time was a term coined in the 1980’s when studies found that it was safer for babies to sleep on their backs and in doing so, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) was greatly reduced. The Back to Sleep Campaign launched by The Lullaby Trust in the 1980’s saw incidence of SIDS fall by 80%. However, whilst this is undoubtedly the safest way for babies to sleep, the effects on babies gross motor development and the meeting of developmental milestones was subsequently affected.
In research, it has been shown by many paediatricians that front sleeping babies developed gross motor ability and met developmental milestones on time, or earlier than babies who slept on their back. Whilst it would never be suggested to return to a front sleeping method for our babies, this research did promote the ‘Back to Sleep Front to Play,’ advice promoted in the late 1990’s.
So what is tummy time and what are the benefits?
Tummy time as suggested earlier in the article is simply the time a baby spends on their tummy during their waking time and the benefits to baby are plentiful
- Builds neck and shoulder muscles
- Helps prevent flat spot forming on head
- Promotes gross motor skill
- Helps lifting head
- Helpful for torticollis – shortening of the neck muscles on one side
- Helps prepare for rolling, sitting, standing and crawling
- Develops hand eye co-ordination
- Strengthens hands and extremities
- Helps visual focus
- Develops eye tracking
- Strengthens jaw muscle and tongue – beneficial for breastfeeding and weaning
- Increases cognitive development stimulates senses
- Encourages independence
- Can alleviate trapped wind and soothe colic
- Helps develop babies sense of touch
- Develops mind and body awareness and co-ordination
- Regulates and strengthens digestive system, respiratory system and stimulates circulatory system
- Aids overall development
As you can see theres plenty of reasons for babies to spend some time whilst awake playing on their tummy.
Tummy time is a proven method of increasing cognitive development and gross motor development and should be practiced from birth.
Our next blog will give you some handy hints on how to incorporate tummy time into your daily routine for different age groups and how to support your baby during this time.
If you need any further support with this information please do join our baby group on Facebook linked here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinebabyfun
Looking forward to seeing you in a class soon
Founder of Beautiful New Beginnings
Troublesome Teething, those troublesome teeth can cause all manner of problems for our little ones and some suffer more than others! For those little ones who struggle, teething can be a horrible time, but fortunately it does not last forever! This stage too shall pass.
Teething or, ‘cutting teeth,’ is the process in which an infants first teeth often known as milk teeth, ‘cut through,’ the gums. Teeth typically arrive in pairs and usually with the bottom two front teeth cutting first. Teeth typically start appearing around 6-10 months of age though teething symptoms may be there from around three months.
A child will have twenty teeth, which can take several years to erupt with children typically having all of their first teeth by age 3.
Although the process is known as ‘cutting teeth,’ when teeth emerge, they do not actually cut through the flesh. Instead, hormones are released that cause some cells in the gums to die and separate and this allows the teeth to come through. Symptoms of teething are usually worse 5 days before teeth come through.
So what are the common signs of teething
- Chewing on hands and toys
- Pulling ears
- Rosy cheeks
- Irritability, pain or discomfort
- Being off food and drink
- Nappy Rash
What can you do to support teething?
- Provide cold soothing teething rings
- Put a sterile clean flannel that’s been soaked and squeezed until its damp in a bag in the freezer. It’ll provide a ready made teething aid.
- Medicated teething gels can help
- Provide hard toys for gnawing and chewing
If your child has a raised temperature, this is not often a sign of teething. Please seek medical support if this persists. Many childhood infections can occur that can be mistaken for teething. If in doubt, always seek the advice of a medical professional.
The effects of Stress on Brain Development
The effects of stress on the developing brain is something that has been highly researched and more evidence comes to light each day.
Here’s what we know about the effects of stress on our babies and children.
Some stresses are GOOD
The brain needs a certain level of stress in order to healthily develop, and some stresses are better than others. We experience the stress of meeting new people, of tests, of going somewhere new for the first time, these types of stress are good for our brains and help us to prepare our brains for future life. We absolutely cannot protect our babies and children from all stresses in life, but we can protect them or support them I dealing with bad stresses.
Bad stresses can also be described as toxic stresses. Toxic stresses include neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and these can cause the brain to become stunted in its development. Bad stress can also cause health problems, addiction and mental health problems in future life.
In order to prepare or help to support our children’s brains effectively, we must expose them to ‘good stresses,’ whilst protecting them from bad stresses that can negatively impact development.
Executive Function and Self Regulation
The brain can be likened to a busy watch tower, the air traffic control has to prevent collisions and the brain has the same job. Children need to be able to self regulate, that is to calm, themselves down, to manage their emotions, to know and understand the tools and techniques they need to use to calm themselves. However it is simply not enough in a moment of anger and rage to tell a child to, ‘calm down.’ Instead as parents and caregivers, we must talk through and teach the strategies used to effectively ‘calm down.’ We simply cannot expect our children to know how to do this without being taught.
Children cannot build their brain on their own, they need support and this comes in all shapes and sizes. From caregivers, from parents, from family members, from strong societies and communities. It is our mission at Beautiful New Beginnings to create Generations of Holistically well children and to do this we must support our parents in their own education, knowledge and understanding of child development. We as a community will not see generations of holistically well children develop if our understanding of brain development does not reach our parents. When children’s healthy brain development is promoted and championed, when we gain greater understanding of how to build a healthy brain we will effectively build a brighter future for us all.
If you would like support in building a secure attachment and healthy baby brain in a welcoming, friendly and play based space, join our group – online classes for little ones.
We cant wait to meet you.
Baby Massage and the Circulatory System
A babies circulatory system can be effectively supported through regular baby massage sessions. Here’s some interesting facts about your little ones circulatory system that will help your understanding.
Babies have around 1.5 pints of blood in their bodies – adults have around 7-8 pints of blood.
Our circulatory system supplies oxygen, nutrients and carries carbon dioxide and waste products out.
Pre birth, the placenta supplies all major nutrients and oxygen to the baby. It is your babies life support machine. If the placenta has been the babies life support machine for the last nine months, it is important to practice delayed cord clamping. Often at birth, a third of our babies blood can actually be outside of our babies body and actually housed in the placenta. For this reason, delayed cord clamping is something that is very beneficial for your little one. Delayed cord clamping is simply allowing the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before being clamped. In doing this, we allow time for the transfer of blood, O2 and nutrients to cross the placenta into baby and increases blood volume.
At birth a large amount of blood is sent to the babies lungs to pick up Oxygen. Babies are often born with blue hands and feet and this can be a sign of an immature circulatory system. It is not normal for a babies lips or tongue to appear blue and help must be sought immediately if this is the case.
Baby massage supports the circulatory system and using our hands, we massage each area of our babies body to support the circulation to that area. Massage provides an almost full body work out to our babies and we help to increase blood pressure and move the blood around the body more effectively. We encourage blood coming to the surface of babies body and this helps deliver nutrients and oxygen round babies body.
If you are interested in learning more about baby massage and the techniques and tools used to massage your little one, please join our group, Online Baby Classes.
Beautiful New Beginnings
Baby Bonding and Brain Development
At the top of the list for child development and the development of a healthy brain is secure attachments. Children need strong attachments to atleast one primary caregiver and without them, babies and children will fail to meet many of their milestones.
There are a number of common misconceptions regarding bonding and attachment the first being that you can spoil your babay and make a ‘rod for your own back.’ Babies and children have their own thoughts and feelings and it is up to us as parents to help them to internalize these emotions and make sense of them. Indeed there is much research to suggest that children with secure attachments do better in life across the board.
The early experiences our babies have, have the potential to change the architecture of the brain. The first two years of a childs life and those early experiences impact and influence their entire lives. Babies are emotion magnets and they rely on their caregivers for this stability.
But what happens if our children are not securely attached?
Children who have insecure attachments to parents or carers, for whatever reason, tend to explore less, their play is immature, they are less well developed academically and cognitively. Children with insecure attachments may struggle to make friends and are significantly less emotionally developed. They may in the future develop marriage difficulties and parenting their own children may be more difficult too.
So how do we create strong attachments?
Caregivers can make their children’s attachments more secure by doing a number of things
- Become an expert at reading your child’s cues. Children need to know when they are off exploring they can come back to you for support and reassurance. This is called social referencing
- Children need to know they can come to you if they are hurt, ill happy etc for comfort and reassurance. Always be ready to cuddle and reassure
- Respond to cues and needs – you cannot spoil a baby if you respond when your baby signals a need then your baby will be comforted and this builds a strong attachment.
Building secure attachments is vital for building healthy brains and a child’s first educator is its parents. Let us help and support you on your parenting journey with classes and courses tailored to your needs. You would be so welcome!
Cal and the BNB Team
Baby bonding and Attachment
Bonding with your baby is one of the easiest things to do and one of the most natural in many senses. Bonding and Attachment is also vital for your baby as they grow and develop. You see brains are both born and built. Our brain as it is born is functioning and is able to navigate our basic bodily functions, it regulates breathing, sight, feeding, and we are born with many reflexes which also support this. However, healthy brains are also built, and what we do with our babies in the early days, months and years, helps build a strong and healthy brain.
Bonding and attachment is key to building a strong brain and creating firm foundations for which al other skills are learnt. And you’ll be pleased to know it’s not difficult to do. Bonding with your baby and creating a secure attachment simply means in the early days to meet your babies needs. Though this may seem constant, draining and sometimes relentless, creating a secure attachment is based on responding to your babies cues and needs. If your baby cries, it is usually for one of a couple of reasons and your job, as parent or caregiver, is to meet those needs.
Reasons babies cry
- Wet/dirty nappy
- Need a cuddle
- Uncomfortable or in pain – ie wind, colic, teething
It is our job as caregivers to work out our babies needs and respond appropriately and whilst this sometimes feels like trying to work out a jigsaw puzzle, this is exactly what we must do. The good news is that based on the research that meeting our babies needs helps to form strong, secure attachments; this means we now know we cannot spoil our babies. Based on this research, u=you cannot spoil a newborn by meeting their needs, you will not ‘make a rod for your own back,’ by cuddling and comforting them and you certainly won’t end up with a baby that is needy or clingy like many old wives tales suggest. By meeting your babies needs you create a strong and secure attachment with them which leads to healthy brain development.
There are some other key ways of building strong attachments with your little one and heres a couple. We need serve and return interactions. That is interactions which adult and baby engage in, for example
- Eye contact
- Touch – eg baby massage
Activities like these will help build interaction and this in turn creates the building blocks for future development.
For more information on bonding and attachment please see our online baby classes group which promotes strong interactions for building healthy brains from birth.