What muscle tension newborn has? How to stimulate baby’ s psychomotor development without nervous system irritation? Here in the article you may find couple of hints related to the first three months of baby.

First trimester is the period of three months after birth. This article focuses on the perspective of psychomotor development. Healthy baby is delivered within 38-42 week of pregnancy, his body is hypertonic with legs and arms flexed. Baby is sensitive to sharp light, noises and rapid movements. The sensitivity is seen on the baby’s reflex response. Deviations from normal scale of development are quantified in four areas; spontaneous movement ability, reactivity on stimuli, inborn reflexes response and muscular tonus. Your role as parents is in support with adaptation of your baby to a new life environment as well as the prosperity and well being of your baby.

Muscular tonus:

A newborn is equipped with hypertonic body and possible deviations from the symmetrical body posture inherited from the pre-birth period. First trimester should be in focus on stability, symmetrical body handling and body relaxation. We stimulate baby’s senses mainly by touching his body, soft and gentle massages, correct manipulation and side differentiation. By sides I refer to using right and left hand 50:50, as well as shifts in positioning your baby in crib, bed, pram and other places where your baby rests during the day and during the night. When you lift your baby, always care and support his head.

Inherited reflexes:

Baby is equipped with reflexes to be able to move and to feed in the first trimester. When baby gets the full support from his parents, reflexes are minimally used, and within a couple of months disappear. So if your baby shows multiple times per day Moor’s startling reflex, or suckling reflex, there is a room for improvement in your care for him. The duty of a parent is to minimize usage of reflexes and let the cognitive movement replace them. 

Stimuli reactivity:

The pediatrician perform stimuli reactivity tests to see deviations in the child’s development, or signal a neurological disorder. Do not repeat these exercises with the child at home, even if the parents are often surprised by the child’s ability. For example, they mention walking automation a lot (a child seems to walk on a mat) and try it with a child at home. Alternatively, they pull the child to sit by the hands. However, these careless games stimulate the child’s innate reflexes and irritate the CNS (central nervous system).

Spontaneous locomotion:

The most comprehensive part and very important cooperation of parents in tracking deviations. During the first three months, the goal is to get rid of muscular tonus. It means that the baby gradually relaxes his hands while lying on his back, opens his palms, and spreads his legs, or combines lifting on a mat with laying and releasing. You can achieve this by proper handling. The child needs the cradle position with the support of the head at rest and a horizontal position on the back in the waking state.

Within three months, the baby does not see small objects, often scratches his eyes, and responds in fright or light when the light or sound is sharper. A calm voice, on the other hand, relieves tension in the body. Since the pediatrician sees the child briefly during the check-ups, the parent’s task is to perceive whether the child does not prefer one side more when lying on his back. Asymmetry can be in the bow of the head or asymmetry of the limbs. Observe your baby and consult a pediatrician if you have any questions.

How to properly stimulate a newborn

The child does not need the modern aids, he needs to be loved, cuddled, he needs to hear the voices and smell the parents, to see their smiles and calm behavior. Do not overwhelm your baby with toys, talk to him instead in a calm voice, and touch his bare skin with warm gentle hands. Handle gently and firmly, with regard to safety – support the head and mostly use the cradle position. Avoid sharp light, loud and sharp sound. I wish you beautiful loving moments with your baby.

If you need advice in handling a newborn, I am at your disposal. I also work with a great instructor of psychomotor development in Bratislava Marcela and her team v MC Bublinka http://www.bublinka.org