Upside Down Ideas
Teeny Tinies thrive on regular vestibular stimulus - through gentle rolling, rocking, swinging and being upside down.
Why ? It supports the development of balance, awareness of where their body is in space, and for the future the ability to sit still, pay attention and focus.
What does that look like ? Are you suggesting I hang my baby upside down ? Not quite but remember the first 9 months of my life in utero have been in a head down position - upside down ( unless I was breech of course - where I might suggest to engage in a little more upside down time), therefore I am quite used to being in this position.
How does it work ? Inside your Teeny Tiny's inner ear canal are tiny saccules these are filled with fluid and as we swish and sway or rock our babies this fluid moves around inside.
This movement stimulates the cillia (nerve endings) sending a message on the vestibular nerve to the brain to say hey I am moving – the brain needs to decide ‘am I in balance or out of balance ?’ do I need to move my head of my eyes to regain balance? Offer daily vestibular stimulus during play time.
How can I do this safely? Begin by lifting your baby out of their cot, holding their head in your hand and their body rests on your forearm , the other hand cradling the round their hips and cute bottom. Gently dip me down, so my head is beneath my hips. Watch my face - you may see my eyes roll - this is ok - this means a message is being sent and received - then slowly raise me back up again - perfect - this is a great start. You can also try the same movement with your babies head resting in the crook of your arm.
Baby Burrito - place me on a blanket with my shoulders in line with the top the blanket and gently roll me up like a burrito - then unroll me - you may need to support my head ( remember it is still the heaviest part of my body)
Swiss Ball/ Exercise Ball – place baby on the top, facing you and gently rock towards and away from you. Then try side to side movements, rotate clockwise and then anticlockwise. If I am happy with these movements you can move the support to behind baby and place something interesting on the floor in front on me a mirror or a grasp toy. Gently rock me forwards and let me study my reflection - you may get a giggle - or give me the opportunity to grasp and hold the toy. Again each time my head is going beneath my hips encouraging vestibular stimulation.
Airplane Rides - developmentally appropriate rough and tumble play can be offered in the form of airplane rides or bouncing me on your knee or rolling with me on your bed. Be guided by your Teeny Tiny they will let you know when they have had enough.
Upside Down Fun - have a look at the link below to show you a simple way you can turn your little person upside down - take it slowly to begin with and offer this as long as you have the shoulder strength ( no gym membership needed anymore) - try a full grown 3 year old !
Janet Lansbury - Elevating Childcare
Alisha Grogan - Paediatric Occupational Therapist
A Moving Child is a Learning Child - Connell and McCarthy