The “Wisdom” series presents observations spoken by experienced grandmothers that should be heard by all mothers.
PARENTING ADVICE FOR BABIES AND MILESTONES
A very wise mother, grandmother, parenting coach, and mother/infant group faciliatator loves to share the tips parents find most helpful. Founder of a parenting group in 1978, she has many years of experience working closely with new mothers. Our conversations often turn to the coaching of motor development, the main focus of stellarcaterpillar.com. I often describe how common it is to see parents of babies as young as two months holding the babies on their laps while bouncing them on their feet. She often exclaims while shaking her head, “Bouncing her on her feet?!? At 2 months!?!” She is clearly horrified by these stories. What emerges from each of these conversations is one of the most prized pieces of wisdom yet from the grandmothers, “We knew NEVER to put a baby in a position or movement that the child could not do on his own.”
BABY DEVELOPMENT IN EACH MILESTONE
Following this teaching parents would understand why the following activities/contraptions are detrimental to baby’s motor development: bouncing baby on her feet, holding her under the armpits while walking her forward, and putting her in the jumper, exersaucer, or bumbo chair. These devices force baby into positions or movements that baby is simply not capable of doing on her own. Her bones and muscles are not strong enough. Parents can instead learn what each motor skill is teaching baby and understand why there is no need to rush her through this developmental process. Baby will emerge from infancy with more strength and coordination if given time for each major milestone such as rolling and crawling.
BABIES FIND JOY IN LEARNING MOVEMENT
This grandmother’s wisdom echoes the philosophy of stellarcaterpillar.com. We emphasize giving baby clues which trigger the motor program in the brain so she does the movement all on her own. What a reward that is for baby to discover something new that she can do all by herself! The happiness you see on her face is proof that one of the greatest joys in life is learning to do a new movement! As time goes on this includes learning to ride a bike, throw a ball, dive into the swimming pool, hit a baseball, jump rope, and more. And this is where it all starts: infancy.