Wanting the best for your child starts way before their birth but when your baby is in your arms, your desire for them to grow and develop to their greatest capacity becomes as real as your fears for their health and safety.
This could be the beginning of parents themselves becoming overly pedantic or anxious about how quickly their babe meets their growth and ability milestones as these are connected to their cognitive development. While it is important to note and chart these milestones during your paed check-ups, do remember that every child is unique and has his own timeline where the skills are acquired over time.
Of course, there are many healthy ways to encourage and improve Baby’s motor skills from birth. Just make sure that you don’t end up rushing the end goal!
Age 0 – 3 months
Almost everyone talks about how tightly their baby can grip a finger but this is the first evidence of the automatic Palmar Grasp Reflex. As Baby grows, his actions will become more voluntary. While the first month at home is probably going to be dominated by sleeping, eating and pooping, do take Baby out of their swaddle for a few hours everyday so that they can stretch out their limbs and have some tummy time. Getting them to bat their hands at dangling toys will also encourage hand-eye coordination.
Age 4 – 6 months
This is when Baby really begins to connect his actions and gestures with thought, so be sure to encourage that. They will not just grab any old object but their favourite ones and might also have a preoccupation for clutching at their own hands and feet. Use a block and get them to move it from hand to hand to promote their dexterity.
Hegen bottles are great for this due to their Sqround shape which is much easier for Baby to grab onto. Hide the bottle behind you when Baby is looking so that they keep moving as they look for it, sparking their curiosity and mobility at the same time! Games like “pat-a-cake” also help to do this.
Age 7 - 9 months
At this stage, babies should be able to expertly hold a milk bottle and feed themselves in addition to shaking, banging and dropping their favourite objects. This is the perfect time to enjoy the multi-functional benefits of Hegen’s breastmilk containers which make great storage for snacks and small toys. Start to help them work on their pincer grip by giving them smaller objects like soft crayon or blocks (under your supervision) to place inside Hegen bottles. As they are beginning to eat solid meals, you can consider Baby Led Weaning-type foods such as mushy peas or Cheerios stored and served in Hegen containers.
Age 10 -12 months
Babies at this age can do so many things with their hands! Don’t worry if they’re not walking yet (or are already starting to walk); every baby has their own timeline. If they’re generally healthy, they will eventually tick all the milestone boxes they’re supposed to. This is also the stage when they are trying to use each of their fingers separately and will be looking for things to poke into (your eyes, nostrils and ears). Make sure the electricity outlets at home are baby-proofed! As you talk to your child, demonstrate hand signals like pointing and get them to do the same.
PHOTO: Pixabay/Leslie Eckert