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Infant - Week #35

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Movement Scarves and Soft Foods Ideas

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           Babies at this stage of development love interaction, stimulating objects, and gross motor movements.  Your baby has been able to recognize your voice and facial features for months.  She anticipates your touch and responds to your facial expressions.  Upon walking into her room each morning, she most likely squeals with glee at your willingness to pick her up, embrace her with a hug, and give her a gentle kiss and a rub on her back.  Is there a better feeling for either of you?  Once you change and feed her, it is time to play.   She moves objects around to find that one toy she wants.  She shakes it, puts it in her mouth, tosses it, and looks at you with those big eyes as if to say, "Are you going to play with me?" How can you resist those eyes?  Your baby is becoming one smart cookie, and you can probably see how your baby's intellectual development is steadily increasing.  After all, she already knows how to use her eyes to elicit your attention.

       The following activities are designed to encourage your baby's cognitive development through the use of movement scarves.  As you work on each activity, persuade your baby to push, poke, drop, pull, wave, twirl, and toss the scarves.  These fine motor skills will become more pronounced as her gross motor skills improve.  Her desire to reach for and manipulate a toy will be inspired by her ability to acquire it.


  Move It, Shake It, and Rearrange It!
           Movement scarves:  Multi-colored scarves can be found online, in the music section of many educational learning stores, or you can even make them inexpensively yourself.  Scarves are generally semi-transparent, light weight, and can be purchased as 12x12 squares.  If you decide to make your own scarves, only use breathable fabrics.  You should not use blankets or other materials that are heavier in weight as they are dangerous to your baby, especially for activities when the scarves are placed on the head for peek-a-boo type games.
  • Scrunch the scarves up in your hand and open your hand quickly.  How does your baby react to the scarf's expansion?
  • Grab a handful of scarves and scrunch them into your hands.  Toss them into the air and let the scarves rain down on and around your baby.
  • Place a scarf on your baby's head.  Does she pull the scarf off?  Play peek-a-boo with the scarves.  Switch roles and place the scarf on your head.  Does she pull the scarf off your head?
  • If you have a play yard or baby gate with small vertical holes, stick the scarves into the holes so they are hanging out.  Encourage your baby to pull the scarves in towards her.  Replace the scarves and encourage her to push the scarves through.
  • Hide toys under the coffee table, next to a sofa, and other places around the room.  Cover each toy with one scarf.  Encourage your baby to locate and obtain the hidden toys by pulling the scarves to reveal each hidden toy.
  • Hide a scarf behind your back, up your pant leg, or up your shirt sleeve so that a piece of the scarf is still visible.  Encourage her to pull the scarves out.  Then try tying the scarves together end to end.  Then stuff them up your sleeve.  How does she react when she pulls and cannot immediately locate the other end?  How does she pull on the scarves?  Does she use one hand, both hands, or does she alternate her hands as she pulls?
  • Lie on your back with your baby lying on top of you so that you are both facing the ceiling.  Hold the scarves over your baby and allow her to reach up to feel the scarves.  Before you get up and go on to another activity, throw the scarves up and allow them to fall onto the two of you.  How does she react?
  • Place your baby in a sitting position in front of you.  Hold a scarf off to her right side.  How does she maneuver her body to obtain it?  Do the same for her left side and directly out in front of her.  Encourage her to rotate her shoulders and reach for the scarf.
  • Play tug-of-war by handing her one end while you hold the other and pull the scarf toward you then towards her.  Does she catch on?  Also try singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" while playing tug-of-war.  Encourage her to move to the rhythm of the song.
  • Obtain a stacking cup or shallow plastic kitchen cup.  While she is watching, stuff a scarf inside.  Place the cup within her reach.  Does she pull out the scarf?
  • Obtain a stacking ring or empty toilet paper tube.  Model how to push the scarf through the hole.  Does she mimic your action?  Next, push the scarf half way through.  Does she reach for the scarf and pull it the rest of the way? Then thread the scarf through so the ends are visible through both sides.  How does she react when she grabs both ends at the same time and tries to tug?


  From A Parent's Perspective
           My daughter and I played on the floor with scarves for nearly thirty minutes.  I am pretty sure that is a new record time!  Usually she is off and crawling on to new things within ten or fifteen minutes tops.  I did not go out and buy or make multi-colored scarves.  Instead, I raided my closet for handkerchiefs, bandanas, and neck scarves.  I emerged with five light-weight items with varied sizes that served the purpose for the mentioned activities.  So don't worry about not having the exact materials.  As long as they are light weight and small in size, they will do the job just fine.

       Of all the activities, Reagan seemed to enjoy peek-a-boo the most.  She is at the stage where she will cover her own eyes and giggle with glee when she pulls her little hand down from her face.  The scarves add adventure to the typical peek-a-boo game.  The neck scarves were semi-transparent so we tended to use those the most.  She was able to see me through the scarf and anticipate my reaction both verbally and physically during the times when I pulled the scarf down off her head.  When she was done playing peek-a-boo, she enjoyed crawling around with the see-through scarf on her head.  I think she liked the idea of being mysterious!  She had a difficult time with tug-of-war because she did not quite understand the concept of resistance.  Typically, when I take things from her, she surrenders without hesitation.  I think this activity will be great for later stages of development when she needs a lesson in how to share with others and how to listen to mommy's "please let go of that" requests.


Parenting 411
           At this stage of development, your baby has most likely experienced an array of different foods (breast milk and/or formula, rice and oatmeal cereals, and the different stages of jarred baby food.) Consult with your pediatrician at your baby's nine month appointment to see if he/she feels your baby is ready to begin eating soft foods.   Given that your baby doesn't have food allergies, your doctor may give you the go ahead.  If so, seek out the biggest bib you can find, a plastic floor mat to protect your kitchen floor, and invest in a case of wet wipes in preparation for project "Learn to Feed Herself."  Buckle up...it will be a messy ride!  Consult the list of soft food ideas.  Remember, do not give your baby any food that is not finely chopped or mashed to eliminate the possibility of choking.  Foods like raisins, grapes, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, nuts, celery, etc. should be avoided altogether.   Also, never leave your baby unattended during a feeding, not even for a second.  So just remember these two rules:  finely chop and eyes on!

       Ten Soft Food Ideas
  1. Green beans
  2. Potatoes - mashed or part of a finely chopped baked potato
  3. Bananas - extremely messy and turn brown if not eaten quickly
  4. Cooked carrots
  5. Yogurt - be sure to purchase baby yogurt that has the necessary added nutrients your baby needs and does not contain artificial sweeteners
  6. Cereal bars (not granola bars)
  7. Chicken noodle soup - warm then drain the broth.  At first, you may want to pick out chunks of chicken and run a knife through the noodles until your baby better defines her ability to chew.
  8. Diced fruit - chopped finely with a food processor
  9. Spaghetti - chopped and without meatballs
  10. Peas - mashed only


Hotels and Baby
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           Traveling with your baby can be both a wonderful and challenging experience. If you are staying in a hotel with your little one, there are some helpful tips that can help to make your family's trip more safe and enjoyable:
  • Request a crib when you check in. Most hotels offer this service and even if your baby is a co-sleeper, the crib serves as a wonderful and safe place to let baby play in the hotel room. Move the crib into the center of the room and give baby some toys to play. This is also the safest place for baby to sleep--especially in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Nap with your child. This is very helpful advice as traveling can be tiring for both parents and baby. This quiet time can provide not only rest but comfort and calm to a little one during a busy time.
  • Take baby to the pool. Swimming is not only fun for your baby but it can be a wonderful way to relax and release energy if your baby has had a long day of travel on a plane or in a car.
  • Ask the hotel if they offer other amenities for babies or children. Some hotels will offer high chairs, strollers or even baby sitting services!

       Enjoy your trips with baby because the memories you make on these trips will last a lifetime!


Childcare Swap
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           Now that Keenan is becoming more independent, his dad and I would like a little more freedom as well! Since we do not live near any family and many of our friends are childless and not up for watching the baby, I have gotten together with the moms of my mom's group and started a childcare exchange. My husband and I are so excited to now have people to watch our child that we know and trust and have little ones of their own. This is giving us more freedom, too, to enjoy a date night, concert or simply dinner together!       


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