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Infant - Week #30

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Busy Hands and Overnighters

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           If there is something obtainable, your baby has found a mode and a means for getting it.  Grabbing, pulling, reaching, poking, and prodding are all actions your baby is performing on a very regular basis.  As she continues to develop her hand-eye coordination to learn about the world around her, she enjoys studying things very intently.  Wouldn't it be neat to know, if only for a brief instant, what she is actually thinking?  Here is list of questions many moms wish they could answer as they watch their babies interact.
  • Does she recognize the object?
  • Can she figure out how to manipulate the object to move?
  • How complex is her thinking?  Is she relating the object to something else she has seen, heard, or touched?
  • Does she know whether or not the object is colorful?
  • How long will she be able to remember the object's characteristics once she is finished playing with it?

       There are many fun activities you can do with your baby to encourage her thinking as she tactilely explores new objects.  There is no magic method for figuring out her exact thoughts, but her actions and facial expressions should provide you with a multitude of proposed ideas.

       Magnetic Family Photo Display:  Cut out pictures of family members and close friends.  Place a magnet on the back of each one.  Place the pictures on a magnetic surface like a refrigerator or steel entry door.  Position your baby in front of the pictures and talk to her about each person.  Let the idea of a neat and perfectly created collage go.  Allow her to grab at the pictures, move them around, and hold them closely.  Explain who they are, when you see them, how you met them, future plans with each of them, etc.  Group them together into subcategories such as mom's family, dad's family, and friends.  When you are about to go visit someone, show your baby pictures of the people she will be visiting.  Babies do not have good short or long term memory, but as she grows up and her memory recall improves, pictures might help minimize shyness or any social anxiety she may have.  Continue to add to the picture wall with pictures but also try including names.  Use strips of paper with each person's name on the front and a magnet on the back.  As she gets older, these labels will assist her with word/picture associations.  Remember to include a picture of her on there, too; you never know; one day you might find her engaged in imaginary conversations between herself, her family, and her friends.

       Hide and Seek for Babies on the Move:  Keeping your baby in one room can be tricky, especially if she is a quite mobile.  Attempt to slow her down physically by stimulating her mentally.  She might enjoy a very simplistic game of hide and seek.  Partially hide a few of her toys around the family room.  As she cruises along she will be surprised to find her favorite stuffed bunny or set of stacking cups halfway under a sturdy piece of furniture.  As you move about in the kitchen, consider hiding a few toys away from your main food preparation area but close enough where she still can see you and feel like she is a part of the action.  Once she picks up on the game and begins looking around for new toys to discover, partially hide three cups with toys tucked inside.  Books, baby mirrors, rattles, and other interactive toys will help to keep her mind busy and her body a little more stationary (for the times when you need it to be.)

       Hand Painting: Tape a large sheet of paper to the wall about chest high.  The backside of a roll of wrapping paper, an unfolded grocery bag, or a piece of butcher paper would work very well.  If you feel more comfortable holding your baby on your right hip, then dip your baby's right hand in non-toxic kid-friendly paint or baby wash colored with a few drops of food coloring.  Hold your baby on your hip and allow her to feel the paint between her fingers.  Show her how to make her handprint on the paper, which you might want to date, cut out, and save after the activity.  Then allow her to freely rub and smear her hand around in the paint.  You can wash her hand and apply paint to the other one to give her other hand the opportunity to play, or you can hold her so she is facing the paper and show her how to paint with both hands.  Either way, your baby will love the feeling of the paint in her hands and the beautiful piece of art she's creating right before her eyes.


  From a Parent's Perspective
           My daughter is not crawling yet, but she is able to roll everywhere very quickly.  I place objects around the room for her to discover, and she can stay occupied for quite some time.  My older two kids pick up after themselves pretty well, and so often I find that my baby's toys have disappeared off the floor and back into her toy basket.  I stress to the older two that the toys are scattered around the room for a reason, and I try to encourage them to leave the toys out for Reagan to play with.  I find the older two kids playing with her toys a lot, too, which then encourages Reagan's development. She is discovering how she can interact with her toys through example.  Giving her plenty of time on the floor to interact with toys placed around the room enables her to use different muscle groups which encourages gross motor skills like walking, and it also allows her the opportunity to problem solve on how to obtain something in the near distance.       

       She LOVED painting!  We were both a complete mess because she not only loved to smear the paint between her fingers and on the paper but she loved smacking the paper with her hands.  Most of her daily interactions with objects consist primarily through the use of both her hands.  She loves to bang, pull things into her mouth, hold her own bottle, grab hair, etc.  To use only one hand at a time wasn't all that reasonable for her.  We attempted to keep one hand clean at a time, but ultimately she needed to pull both hands together to get the whole experience.  So, in the end, after smacking the paper with colorful hands and then clapping her hands together, paint flew off her small delicate hands and fell like sprinkles of rain all over both of us.  I wasn't sure if her artistic expression was more pronounced on the paper or by the sweet smiles and squeals she exuded during the activity itself.  Don't shy away from this activity due to the mess.  It was truly a blast!  Opt for doing this activity outdoors with a video camera and the bath water ready!


  Parenting 411
           Leaving your baby behind with a loved one while you travel on vacation or head out of town for work related business can be extremely difficult.  Not only are you trying to get your luggage packed and yourself prepared but you are also trying to get your baby's items together and yourself mentally prepared for the day of departure.  Creating a checklist will help you stay focused and help minimize forgotten items.  Consider using the checklist below as a starting point. Obviously, some items may not apply to your needs.
  • Formula
  • Food
  • Baby spoons
  • Bibs
  • Bottles/sippy cups
  • Burp cloths
  • Nursery water
  • Diapers
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Wet wipes
  • Outfits (plus a few extras in case of accidents)
  • Shoes and socks
  • Jacket
  • Medication procedures
  • Toys
  • Medical release form
  • Insurance information
  • Physician's number and location
  • Your flight information and other pertinent travel information
  • Your baby's schedule (feeding, sleep schedule, and other special instructions)
  • Portable bed, high chair, walker, or other gear that might be helpful/needed
  • Baby bath and lotion
  • Laundry detergent
  • Car seat
  • A little cash just in case the caregiver needs to purchase something you forgot to pack


Look at that Cute Face!
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           As babies become more aware of themselves, mirrors become fascinating playthings. Many small toys for babies three to nine months, such as rattles and play centers, have mirrors included as part of the toy. If you are carrying a fussy baby, often finding a mirror or window to look at both your reflections can be enough of a distraction at this age to redirect baby's attention. You can also attach a small mirror to the car seat headrest facing baby. This not only allows you to watch him or her while driving but can provide entertainment for your little one. They can study the faces they make and may even play peek-a-boo with themselves, as they move their little face in and out of view.

       You can also install one of the long, narrow mirrors used for dressing available for around five to eight dollars at floor level for baby. He or she can be placed on the floor for tummy time and they may even become interested enough to turn their body toward the mirror. This can provide much entertainment for baby and mom or dad as they watch baby grow!       


No More Baby Bathtubs!
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           Keenan, at seven months, loves bath time! We bathe him lying on his back in our regular bath tub. We used to put a small hand towel under him for comfort and support, but now he does just fine without one. We add about two inches of water and let him kick and splash away. He loves to wave his feet under the running water and splash his hands. He has a few small, rubber animals for bath toys but he prefers to chew on these while he enjoys the water. We often bathe him in the evenings as we try to begin a night time routine but he also enjoys baths during the day just to play and cool off!


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