The first years of baby's life are the most important – this is when major brain and body development happens. A newborn baby's brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight and by age three, it grows dramatically – forming hundreds of connections that are all essential to his mental and emotional health.
Exercise is a great opportunity for moms and dads to actively participate in the physical and mental development of baby. Being active with baby also nurtures his motor skills and mental well-being. Here are a couple of simple stretches you can do everyday to strengthen baby's bones and muscles.
For Babies 6-12 Months Old
For warm up, let your baby roll from his back to his belly and back a couple of times. Then position your child's elbows under his shoulders and forearms on the floor. Lift your baby's hips and trunk to form a 45-degree angle. Let your baby rest on his forearms. Repeat a couple of times.
Pick and Stack
Line some stackable toys in front of your baby. Hold him up while he's standing and have him pick up the toys and stack them together. Do it a couple of times to help baby develop strength to pull himself up in the standing position. You can also line stackable toys near him and have him walk a few feet and stack it on a different part of his play rug.
Take a small box and give baby a couple light plastic balls. While you're holding him up or while he's standing up, have him shoot the balls into the box. You can do it with him by shooting some balls yourself. Do this a couple of times - encouraging your baby to practice shooting the ball using his left and right hand.
Time to join in on the fun mom! Here are some Yoga moves.
Hop Along Yogi
Exercise your core muscles by using your little one as a weight load. Rest your baby on your shin and secure him in place by holding his hand or body. Bounce your baby while keeping your torso steady. Make sure your legs are moving and not your pelvis. Once you're done with a few sets, extend your legs and slide your baby out of the position.
Carry your baby in your arms, while standing straight. Contract your core, exhale and bend forward from the hips, with your baby almost down on the floor – hold the position for a few seconds. Inhale, and go back to standing position. Do a few repetitions, making sure you contract your core every time.
For more active moms and dads try out these exercises!
Front Carrier Squats
While your baby is in a front carrier, stand with your feet almost parallel to your shoulders, with your toes turned out slightly. Inhale as you lower your body down to a sitting position. Exhale and stand back up. Do at least three sets of 12.
Mommy And Baby Tummy Time
You and your baby both lie on your tummies. Rest your arms on either side of you in an airplane position. Then lift your arms, legs and chest off the ground, just like how baby would do it. Remember to keep close watch to baby while you're both doing tummy time.
Before you do any of these exercises, make sure you and your baby's exercise area is free from any harmful objects. A clean open corner of his room would be great. Let him wear comfortable clothes made from light cotton material to ensure he doesn't sweat while he's exercising.
Choosing the right diaper for your baby is also important since it affects his active movements. You can go with diapers that are made for movement, like Huggies Dry Pants. It is specially designed for active baby - with its all-around soft garterized waistband and leg elastics, giving your baby 360-degree Comfort Fit that flexes with your baby's every move. It also ensures up to 12-hour dryness, keeping your baby comfortable all throughout.
Being active with your baby not only promotes good physical development but it also cultivates healthy habits he can carry with him for the rest of his life.
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