Wondering what to buy for a new parent in your life? Or for yourself in preparation? Here’s what I recommend! (Numbers do not indicate order of preference!)
Gems (developmental benefits):
- Easy to grasp: It doesn’t have to be held in one specific way or place—no matter where Baby lands, he can potentially grasp it.
- See-through: While holding it, Baby can see through it to his favorite thing—your face! Relationship via play.
- Midline: Around 3 months, Baby comes into “midline,” out of asymmetry (you may have seen your newborn with her head turned to one side with that arm straight and the other arm bent?). That is, she’s able to bring her head, both hands, and both feet together at the center of her body. The 4” “Oball Classic” is the perfect size for this midlining baby to hold. The 6” “Oball Biggie” allows the feet to get in on the action too!
See what they look like here. I’ve found them in Target, science learning stores, and online. If you’re local to NC (USA), Twig in Chapel Hill has the small ones.
2. Floor Time Blanket
You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of tummy time—perhaps even too much. I like to shift this perspective: what’s even more important is 3-dimensional “floor time”—built around relationship—that allows natural movement and lying on all sides.
2 tips with this one:
- Big! We’re not talking “baby blanket.” Think big enough for both Baby and you to lie down, and perhaps also a second grown up or sibling. If you’re concerned about germs or pet hair, then big enough to cover that too!
- Flat edges: Those fun DIY fleece blankets that knot around the edges, or pretty knotted fringes—they can be uncomfortable for the grown up (speaking from experience!) and are not as easy for the newly-rolling belly-mover.
- Makes tummy time (floor time) more about relationship and less about a task
- Putting Baby down on the floor rather than in a propping device becomes habitual and easy
- Baby is free to move and explore her brain’s naturally-occuring “windows of opportunity” for movement skills
Look in any home goods store for a “throw” or something similar.
3. The Aware Baby, book by Aletha Solter, Ph.D
Contrary to some popular beliefs, babies are very aware–they arrive already equipped with feelings, sensitivity, and the innate readiness for communication skills, compassion, and ‘cooperation’ from the very start.
But how do you foster these things? This book contains valuable information about emotional development very different from common advice, and very respectful.
It addresses many topics; among them, what can you do when your baby cries even after you’ve met immediate needs? Many parents feel they must find out why and then stop the crying. This often goes in one of two directions: distracting or ignoring (such as “Cry It Out”). Aware Parenting offers a third approach that not only empowers parents, but raises children with their own internal wisdom in tact–and who will knock the socks off people who get to know them.
Gems (of Aware Parenting):
- Understand deeper needs behind behavior
- Communication skills at a very early age—natural, not forced
- Compassion—natural, not ‘taught’
- Innate emotional understanding
- High degree of trust, bonding, and respect between you and your child
- Help Baby sleep better
- Alternatives to punishment and rewards
Aletha Solter is a mother and an internationally recognized developmental psychologist. See her books here.
This is a wonderful little booklet by my colleague and long-time infant professional, Lenore Grubinger. It’s short with pictures, so it’s easy to read and digest! It provides important information and tips about holding, playing, equipment, and supporting development.
5. One-on-one Consultations
Yes, much about parenting can be intuitive; but much is not, in the face of popular parenting media and advice. I offer consultations in person and via Skype for expectant and new families, covering valuable information that goes well beyond traditional advice. These are perfect for parents who like working one-on-one.
Here are some other posts you may be interested in:
- Exersaucers and Seats for Babies–What’s Best For Baby’s Health?
- Cute! But Functional? Clothing Baby for Optimal Development
- Crying is Need Too, if you’re considering pacifiers
- “Our Life Tells Our Birth Story: How Babies Helped Me Heal,” my chapter in a book called Women Living Consciously–helpful for understanding how birth experiences can set up habits, how birth stresses can be healed, and understanding one’s own life and birth story)
Enjoy your new journey!
Eliza Parker is a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator® (work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen), Aware Parenting Instructor (Aletha Solter, Ph.D), Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, and trained Feldenkrais® Practitioner.
© Eliza Parker 2015, All Rights Reserved, links welcome