THE CHANGING TABLE AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

One of the events that takes place multiple times each day in the infant’s life is the changing of her clothes/diapers on the changing table.   With a newborn, mother’s job is a bit easier than later on when baby has learned to move around.  After baby has learned to roll, the moment mother tries to put a pair of pants on baby, over she goes onto her stomach!  This complicates the changing process because the movement often pulls her leg out of the clothes mother is putting on her.  So, this is undoing mother’s work.

The unfortunate solution often chosen in this predicament is to change baby in the standing position.  Mother will put baby on her feet and hold her while changing her.  Baby is not yet able to stand on her own so she is unable to move.  This is not the best choice!!!  Baby feels unstable and unable to move.  Just look down at her feet and see her toes curling under because she is unbalanced  and insecure.  In previous posts, we have discussed the problems for motor skill development when baby is forced into the standing position.  The frequency of being forced into the standing position several times a day while being changed teaches the muscles incorrect patterns and creates stiffness in the legs and torso.

A better choice for baby’s motor skill development is to keep her on her back.  When she has learned to sit on her own you can change her clothes while she is sitting.  Prepare yourself adequately for the challenge.  Lay out the diapers, clothes, and baby wipes that you need. Put them very near so you can just reach out and grab them.  Choose a favorite toy to hand her at the right moment.  Often taking the clothes off is easier than putting them on, so wait to hand her the toy until right before the most challenging part of the changing process. Ideally, she will focus on it and not wiggle.  If the toy does not work at capturing her attention introduce a new toy–your face.  Play with her by singing a song and exaggerating the words with your mouth.  This is the perfect place to do this because your face is close to hers.

Learn to change her as quickly as possible because once she learns to move she does not want to remain still.  And always remember to keep one hand on baby so she does not quickly roll off of the table.  Never turn your back on her to grab something you forgot.  If you need to get something, pick her up and take her with you.  Never, ever, turn your back on her or take your hand away from her.  There are so many accidents that occur annually from babies falling off of changing tables.   Safety comes first!

6 TIPS FOR CHANGING BABY

  1. Keep her on her back or sitting
  2. Place clothes and diapers out and nearby
  3. Choose a favorite toy to hand her at the most challenging moment
  4. Sing to her while exaggerating the words with your face and mouth
  5. Change her quickly
  6. Remember safety–always keep one hand on baby!

 

 

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