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This page is about giving you some information on what you can do to help your baby develop well, and also how you can help your baby integrate the primitive and postural reflexes by around 4 years old rather than hinder and affect integration that may lead to learning challenges in their education and difficulties later in life.
The reflexes develop the foundations of the central nervous system and the senses and the key is the in-born movement pattern that every baby/infant has. It is important that your baby / infant receives all the help, support and encouragement to maximise sensory development so the neural connections are created and the linking up of the brain takes place efficiently during the early years.
The first 22 months, including in utero and the 12 months after birth, then up to around 4 years old are the most important time of a child’s life for the creation and maximising the growth of the neurological foundations of the central nervous system, developing the sensory-motor system and connecting up the areas of the brain as well as possible. Parents would benefit from understanding what they can do to help and not hinder this vital time so their child has the best resources available when they enter the education system to be able to learn easily.
Retained neo-natal reflexes are a major cause of why a child does not fully develop physically, emotionally, behaviourally, socially and academically, and there are a number of reasons why this can happen. The primitive and postural reflexes are not understood enough, or addressed, by most professionals and yet they are the key to unlocking a child’s potential to have the resources to be ‘ready and able’ to learn and achieve their highest potential.
When the reflexes are inhibited, which can be achieved at any age, learning becomes easier, chronological age and attainment levels improve quickly and the end of year exam grades throughout a person’s education will be higher. This will give a child more opportunities and job choices later in life.
This is an interesting article about ‘What are we doing to our children?’ It is true and we need to make some changes as parents. Please copy and paste the link below into Google. https://yourot.com/parenting-club/2017/5/24/what-are-we-doing-to-our-children?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
So what can you do to help this precious and vital time of growth and life?
These are just a few basic tips / suggestions to think about before, during and after the birth of your baby.
Before getting pregnant:
- Before thinking about getting pregnant prepare your mind and body well by eating good healthy and nutritious foods. A nutritional therapist can advise if you are not sure.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum and when pregnant avoid alcohol. Remember everything a mother puts into her body will go through the placenta and into the embryo/ foetus early on, and baby later when breastfeeding.
- Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement especially folic acid.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks.
- Take some gentle exercise. Baby will benefit from your movements.
- Have some relaxing treatments to keep stress to a minimum. Stress affects the baby’s development in utero.
- Learn about the primitive and postural reflexes so you can help understand your baby’s development after birth. Learn about the developmental stages, the signs and the movements. There is a good book called ‘Movements that Heal’ written by Dr Harald Blomberg and Moira Dempsey. This will give you a great advantage to maximising your baby’s / infants neurological growth.
During your pregnancy:
- Continue to eat healthily and little and often to help put less strain on your digestive system
- Avoid stress / trauma / shocks wherever possible. This can have an impact on the embryo and foetus
- Move regularly as your baby will benefit from the movements via touch and balance
- Talk / sing to your baby as the sound will help development of the auditory system through vibration
- Learn about the vaccinations so you are well informed when you come to make the decision.
Labour and Childbirth:
- Plan the type of birth you want for your baby.
- Aim for, if you can, a vaginal delivery as this process helps stimulate some of the reflexes. Cesarean births miss this process.
- As soon as your baby is born ask for him/her to be placed on your abdomen, skin to skin contact. This is important for ‘Bonding and Attachment’ and breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed as best you can. ‘Breast is best’ so the saying goes. Breast nutrients are the best for your baby start. If your baby finds it difficult to latch onto the nipple, stroke the side of his/her cheek close to the mouth.
After the birth of your baby:
- Start a routine for your baby. Babies like routine.
- If your baby becomes distressed, pick him/her up, hug and rock. This helps reassure they are ‘safe’ and helps the integration process of the Moro reflex by 4 months. DON’T leave your baby to cry for long.
- If your baby had a difficult birth and won’t settle, sleep or feed perhaps visit a Cranial Sacral therapist that is trained to work with babies. This can help your baby as the bones of the skull can sometimes get ‘stuck’ in the wrong position after birth and cause pain and discomfort and affect the rhythms of the body. Correcting them can save upset, feeding issues, sleepless nights and can settle your baby quickly. Wonderful results can be enjoyed.
- Keep the environment stress-free. Your baby will react to stress and your ‘energy’, so keep yourself calm.
- Feed on demand.
- Be careful with what you eat as this can have an effect on your breast milk and give your baby colic and wind i.e caffeine, orange juice, onions, garlic, cauliflower, tabacco, alcohol, medication when it is not vital.
- Drink plenty of water to help milk production and keep yourself hydrated
- It can be helpful to take probiotics yourself if you are breastfeeding as the friendly bacteria can pass via your breast milk and aid your baby’s digestive and immune system.
- Breast feed for as long as you can up 12 months.
- If your baby is premature and has to be placed in an incubator for a long period of time, when your baby comes home, use rocking and touch to help the sensory system ‘catch up’ from lying still for so long. The body and brain likes and needs movement and touch, as happens in the womb and normally after a ‘normal’ birth. Lying still for a long period can sometimes affect the early reflexes and cause them to ‘halt’ in their need for movement to continue developing. Rocking and stroking can help them catch up.