How can You Strengthen Your Baby’s Neck Muscles to boost baby development (0-3 months)

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The job of a parent is as gratifying as it is challenging, especially the first few months for the first-time parents. During those months, you are still trying to figure out your baby’s needs along with taking care of your post-partum body and health. And amongst all this, sometimes the joy of parenting gets lost. In an attempt to take care of your infant, and her development, it all starts seeming like a chore. But, we plan to make it simple and fun for you. We bring you activities that not only engage you and child, playfully and joyously but also boosts baby development and develop the newborn’s Gross Motor Skills. Our Air Swing activity is one of those. Give it a try to enjoy some good time with lots of giggles.

Your baby’s motor skill development in 0-3 months

Your little baby has just come to the world and is still learning about her own body and the surroundings. Strictly speaking milestones-wise, within a month your baby would have learnt to latch well and suck for breastfeed. She will be able to bring her hands to her face though not always hitting the target. So, trim the nails to keep eyes etc protected. Some babies would already be sucking their thumbs. During supervised tummy time, she would raise her head/or turn it though very slightly and briefly. She will kick out her legs during diaper change or when laid down on a flat surface. She would also try and focus on a face especially the mother’s face.

The next few months she will pick her pace of development milestones at a great speed. Your baby would be able to support her head and chest for longer during tummy time. Sometimes she may be able to hold her head even at a 90 degree upright position. Her lower limbs would be stronger and her kicks more purposeful. First signs of hand-eye coordination may start to become visible. She will be able to open and shut her fists and make a swipe for a dangling toy.

This is also the time when with some assistance from you, she can continue meeting her developmental milestones better and on-time. Our air swing activity does just that–it strengthens the baby’s neck muscles so that she is able to better control her head, an important precursor to sitting up and then gradually moving.

Besides being an enjoyable activity for children, research supports that swinging is very beneficial for physical, social, and cognitive development for children

Objective of Air Swing Activity to boost baby development:

A newborn does not have control over her head and neck muscles. When unsupported the neck flops to one side (which can lead to severe whiplash and even more serious injuries). It is only through time and sustained activities that the child eventually manages to hold up her neck steadily. The main objective of the Air Swing Activity is this itself to enable the the child to be able to control her head.

Impact of Air Swing Activity on developmental milestones of 0-3 months old child:

This simple playful activity is done with the agenda of boosting the child’s gross motor skills and helping her achieve her developmental milestones. It boosts the strength in the neck muscles leading to the child being able to support her head and neck, a very important step towards movement eventually. It also

  1. helps baby learn to support her head and neck
  2. helps parent and child bond, since it is a simple playful activity
  3. boosts communication skills of the child as a part of baby development

Benefits for child:

The benefits of this simple activity are manifold. And the best deal: it requires no equipment or fancy toys, can be done anywhere and anytime. All you need is a happy baby and a willing parent.

  • Improves neck holding: The movement of lifting the child with her arms sets off a reflex action wherein the baby by default will try and support her head as a survival means. And this wee bit of exercise is good enough for that.
  • Strengthen neck muscle: Since this activity involves the baby trying to support her neck, the extra pressure required will strengthen her neck muscles. Gradually, this will help her support her head on her own.
  • Boosts communication skills: A by-product of the benefits of air swing is the baby ending up with better communication skills. Since you will be talking or singing to her, she will soon catch on language and tone. She will also observe the movements of your lips and try and mouth the same.
  • It boosts the child’s overall development: According to research, the act of swinging stimulates different parts of a child’s brain simultaneously, which promotes the development of interconnected pathways in the brain. These connections teach child skill such as spatial awareness, rhythm, balance, muscle control. 

How to do Air Swing Activity

Before we start on the activity, it is imperative to go through the instructions carefully.

  • Let the child be in the supine position (lying on her back).
  • Sit down comfortably facing the child.
  • Start communicating with her to grab her attention.
  • Hold both hands of your baby.
  • Gently pull your child (with both hands) up to sitting position (looks like pulling a swing from the front slightly).
  • Notice her response (she should not express any discomfort).
  • Child will try to hold neck steadily.
  • Keep communicating with her (will prompt the child to look up).
  • Bring back to supine position (lying on the back).
  • Break the activity for a few seconds though keep communicating with the child.
  • Repeat the activity 2-3 times more, unless child shows discomfort.

Notes to keep in mind while performing Air Swing Activity:

Like with any activity we do with the child, here are some important notes to keep in mind. Avoid the activity if the baby is discomforted in any way. Very importantly do not pull the child in a complete sitting position. Remember that the baby has not learnt neck support so do not strain her neck. Also, choose a time when the baby is well rested and fed. Trying this, or any activity, with a fussy baby will not give desired results. So, go ahead, and all the best boosting your baby development.

Do share your feedback with us, in the comments section, on the activity. 

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