Your newborn baby may want to explore, and in fact has an inbuilt need to experience the world around him, but with extremely limited ability in the movement department they need your help. Your baby will feel most relaxed if they are lying on their back and are able to move their legs and arms freely. Placing them nappy free is always risky, especially with little boys but so valuable for your little one!
Before your little ones movements become stronger and a little more coordinated they need to be allowed to enjoy and wallow in unrestrained movements. If the room is comfortable and they are dressed appropriately they will have no need for blankets over them during play which can weigh your child’s movements down.
Of course all this lying in one position, being restricted by the ability, or lack of ability to move, roll, sit up, means we need to ensure we place toys within their line of vision.
Tools and Toys
If your newborn is on the floor, place some interesting black and white photos or a safety/toy mirror along the skirting boards. As your baby turns his head he may be encouraged to shift his position towards his reflection or the pictures.
If your baby has a mobile in their cot, this acts as an incentive to move. A mobile with the option to change the hanging items will keep their interest as you can change it out regularly.
Research suggests that repeating the use of motor skills over and over strengthens your child’s neural circuits, their brain thinks and communicates with their muscles and nerves to move!
Even attaching colourful items to your baby’s ankles that aren’t heavy will encourage him to kick them around and watch.
As well as lying on his back your baby may love to be placed on their tummy, face down on the mattress, a mat or clean floor. (Remember we are talking about your child’s waking, playful moments, for sleep look at the most up to date advice from your health team.)
Babies are naturally curious and inquisitive which makes them want to lift their head. Although, before they are around 5 or 6 weeks they may not be able to lift it even for a few moments but after the 6th week you should notice them begin to lift their head from a resting position for a moment of two.
This freedom to kick and move around on their back and for a few minutes on their tummy is really valuable to develop your baby’s very basic movements, keenness to be alert and curious and it will encourage them to develop increased control in their physical responses.
So let your newborn kick as much as they want to! You can also lie beside them, let them look at you and listen to your whispered encouragement and praise.