I encourage parents to give their infants plenty of “floor time” during the day. All movement learned will be practiced both during the waking hours and in the crib. This can cause sleep interruptions and yet the more practice time we give our infants during the day the better they can incorporate these movements into their sleep repertoire. Once our infants become more skillful and moving about, rolling side to side and from back to belly, this movement helps them resettle and resume sleep.
Here is a great video that illustrates what floor time looks like.
- how content this baby is exploring her body and movement in relationship to the hard flat surface.
- non restrictive clothing
- the hard surface and how the bare footed big toe relies on contact with this surface.
- the placement of the one toy and how that inspires movement. Toys hanging over the head do not inspire gross motor movement.
- the joy of movement.
We start life in an almost constant physical contact with the womb and then into loving arms. This physical sensation of being held is very important for the bond, for security and something we continue to need throughout our life. We need human touch, human connection and the sensation of being held.
Movement, Sleep Interuptions and Infant Development
When is a good time to allow our infants to have this freedom of movement?
Magda Gerber believed that once they are no longer in the womb we must honor gross motor development and offer the infant the space and freedom to move how they want to move. All of this movement helps to integrate the reflexes. During our baby’s first year, she is forming the patterns of movement, perception, and learning to organize information about this new world. Your baby is building a relationship, as much with the physical space around her, as with the people in her life. It is happening from day one and can be encouraged right from the start as long as you setup a safe environment for movement.
When is a good time to remove the swaddle and allow the infant the freedom of movement that will aid in reflex integration?
It depends. Observe your baby closely. Most infants are out of swaddle in bed by 5-6 months. However, some infants are ready sooner. If you baby is actively struggling in the swaddle, it is probably time to loosen or remove the wrap. I recommend the sooner the better. We want them to move. A lot of learning is happening in movement. The floor time our infants experience before they become upright and walk/run away from us is crucial for right/left hemisphere brain development. There is no hurry to become upright. We are obligate bipeds and once upright there is no going back to this stage of development. Let your baby have the joy of this time and be a Yoga Baby for as long as he/she wants.
Learning To Fall Asleep Happens Long Before Walking
When will my baby be able to go from sleepy to asleep on her own 100% of the time? Once reflexes like the moro reflex or startle reflex are integrated into the nervous system your child can learn the sensation of falling that it takes to fall asleep. This can take place incrementally from birth for some babies. Here again, it depends on the baby.
When to keep the swaddle:
- Babies scratching their skin
- Slapping their face or head
- Hard to sooth infants that respond to the soothing pressure
Here is an example of the Moro Reflex