Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Your Baby - Make the Most of the Day

You can begin helping your baby right from the very first weeks. Babies with Down's Syndrome are described as 'floppy' with poor muscle tone but it is simple to introduce little routines into your day to improve this. During a bath, encourage them to kick and splash.Afterwards, massage the arms and legs with baby lotion in order to give the muscles a mini work out. When playing with your baby on your lap or in the cot, turn it into a little exercise session by bringing the arms or legs forward and back. As your baby grows and shows an interest in what is going on around them, make their world so interesting they want to get at it - put a toy they like just a couple of centimetres out of their reach so they have to stretch to reach it.

When the baby is lying on the floor on a blanket, put something crunchy like crumpled paper underneath so that wriggling about causes a lovely noise. Use anything around you that makes a good noise or feels different - furry, bobbly, shiny, a plastic bottle filled with beans, use your imagination. It doesn't have to cost anything and your baby will get the stimulation to both mind and body from the experience.

I used to carry my daughter in a sling while I was doing the housework when she was tiny so that she was a part of what I was doing and could see the world around her. I could talk to her as I worked and she also got the added bonus of the movement together with the security of being close to her mother.

Take your baby anywhere and everywhere - each new experience stimulates the mind and senses which in turn aids development. Lots of interaction with other people and children - this will get your baby used to all kinds of situations. One thing I have noticed with my own daughter and the children I have worked with is a sensitivity towards loud noises and crowds of people - you can begin to build up a tolerance to these kinds of situation by not avoiding them. My daughter is still not keen on crowds or busy shopping malls, but she will deal with it in a sensible way - no tantrums, no crying, no refusals to move as I have seen with other children with Downs. We can travel on planes, boats, trains because she has been exposed to these experiences right from babyhood. I worked with one child whose parents were unable to fly anywhere for a holiday because of her complete meltdown when faced with aeroplanes, which was indulged - tell me, would you prefer to fly to your holiday destination in three hours or drive across Europe with three small children for two days?

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