Thursday, December 30, 2010

Want to learn to make homemade baby food?

Will you be in the Albany/Saratoga Springs area in the new year? If so look into attending a Babysmartees Homemade Babyfood Class. We are pleased to announce that our first class is on January 19, at 9:30am at Virgil's House on Henry Street in Saratoga Springs.

Learn how easy it is to give your baby a wide variety of all natural, nutritious food. Never worry about how food from the jar has been processed or that it will be recalled. Save money and make your baby's transition to adult food easier.

Registration is easy, just click here.

You won't be in our area. Don't worry, order the Babysmartees Homemade Babyfood Starter Kit and get what you need to start making homemade baby food including a recipe starter booklet with easy-to-do recipes and instructions on how to freeze and store your homemade baby food.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 111: baby roll

Does it seem like your baby wants to roll? Is he wiggling around while on his back, flopping his hands from side to side? Can he already roll from his tummy time position to his back? You can get in on the action with him by helping him practice. If it is nice weather, you can go outside and put a blanket down on a slight incline which will make it easier for him to roll.

Indoors you can gently roll baby from side to side encouraging the motion and generally enjoying some fun time together. Remember, infant stimulation is about time spent together and interaction; don't worry about whether your baby is actually rolling or not. He will be moving around soon enough!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 110: hand to hand

Hand your baby a toy, then take the toy from that hand and put it into his other hand. Let him think about the change from one hand to the other. You can enjoy a whole game of changing the toy from hand to hand. "Your rattle is in your left hand! Now let's change it to your right hand!" Soon he will learn to transfer the toy from one hand to the other all by himself.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 109: ball bounce

Bounce a large ball up and down while your baby is watching. He will get better and better at following the bounce with eyes. Bounce the ball higher and lower, slower and faster. Baby will continue to practice tracking an object with his eyes and will be doing so with an object moving fairly quickly. He will also be learning the cause and effect of a ball hitting the floor and bouncing up as well as it coming back down and it also makes a sound every time the ball hits the floor.

Be sure to be happy, stop and clap, and generally have a great time interacting with your baby as you do this ball bounce stimulation activity.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 108: simon says

Your baby is learning from you every day. He is learning your sounds, your movements, your vocabulary; baby is watching everything you do and eventually will begin doing those same things. However, as your infant grows, develops, and becomes more coordinated a fun way to change up your stimulation activity is for you to mimic baby.

Imitate his oohs, ahs, and coos; your baby will know that what he is saying is being heard and responded to. Actions are fun too. Imitate his facial expressions: when he opens his mouth, open your mouth; if he squints his eyes, squint your eyes. Or if your infant is now sitting up and can pat a drum or roll a ball, your response with the same motion will ensure him that what he is doing is good, and then he is likely to continue doing it and to continue having fun.

Providing this positive feedback to baby will help him learn about himself as well as continue to develop his social skills for interacting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 107: everyone loves a parade

At even one month old, babies are looking for changing visual stimulation. Once your baby looks at an object for a few minutes he may look away as he is no longer interested because he has become familiar with the object and is looking for something new. One suggestion is to offer baby a mobile with changing objects or patterns - and these can be great for when baby needs a little independent time and perhaps you need some down time.

However, if you are up for some fun interaction then get out some objects and let the parade begin! Show your baby a series of animals allowing him a enough time to look over each one. The animals can be stuffed or even pictures or flash cards. Say the name of each animal, allow your baby some time to explore and become familiar, then show him something new.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 106: hand & finger puppets

Puppets are fun for all ages, and the fun can begin as early as 2 months old. Soft hand puppets that do not have small parts that can come loose are best - think sock or knitted puppet or even finger puppets.

Move the hand puppet up and down, back and forth, and around in a circle within baby's line of vision. Sing songs, tell stories, or just talk to each other. The movement will give baby practice in tracking with his eyes and help develop visual skills; the songs and chatter are of course helpful in rhythm and language skills; and the interaction with you and the puppets . . . well, that is just fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 105: you're over there!

The idea of stimulation is that your baby is interacting with you and is experiencing something that, in fact, will stimulate him. One idea is to talk to your baby from different places in a room. Your baby will begin to look for you as he begins to coordinate sights and sounds.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 104: warm breaths

Blow warm breaths over different parts of your baby's body. You can choose body parts that he is progressively learning to control. Since babies develop motor skills from the top down you may first want to focus on his face, then his arms, tummy, then legs as your baby develops from month to month.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 103: pompon drop

This stimulation idea incorporates touch, vision and tracking, and cause and effect: with your baby lying on his back hold up a large pompon. Say, "here comes the pompon" then let it drop onto baby's belly. You can then tickle his belly and then give him a kiss. Your baby will not only be stimulated, but very happy to be interacting with you!

And be sure baby gets a chance to check out the pompon. You wouldn't want someone dropping something on your belly unless you knew what it was!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 102: greetings

Of course your baby recognizes your voice when you are right in front of him or in the same room. By 3 months try something new: call out to your baby before you enter the room. This will teach him to recognize your voice and anticipate your entrance.

When you can, have someone in the room with baby to observe his reaction to your voice before you enter the room.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 101: bouncing object

Attach apiece of elastic to a small stuffed animal. Make the animal jump and bounce. At one moth he will probably mostly enjoy the interaction with you. Eventually he will start to try and hit, catch, and grasp it - by that time, remember not to leave your baby alone with the elastic string.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 100: which is it?

As early as one month babies can begin to associate sounds with objects. Show baby two objects that make specific sounds, perhaps a rattle and a bell. Show him each object individually and let baby hear its sound; do this a couple of times. Eventually hold up both objects at the same time, but only shake one of them. See if baby knows which object made the sound.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 99: a change of scenery

Changing what a baby can see is a nice easy stimulator. If you change your baby's diaper on a changing table or usually in the same place, consider hanging a picture where she can see. Talk to her about what she sees, even after the diaper change is complete. What a great way to incorporate a stimulation activity into an every day (every hour!?) task.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 98: texture sticks

As your baby is now reaching, grasping, and feeling any and all objects within his reach, stimulating him with different textures will become more and more fun. An easy item to make is a texture stick. Glue various textured fabrics onto some old-fashioned wooden clothes pins. Burlap, felt, satin, velvet and corduroy are great textured fabrics. As your baby feels each one, talk about it with her. Is the texture smooth, bumpy, scratchy? Your baby will be working on grasping as well enjoying the stimulation of the various textures.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 97: tummy kisses

Gently kiss your baby's tummy, toes, and fingers. This gentle stimualtion helps her develop an early awareness of her body parts. And of course she is also becoming aware of the wonderful felling and love she gets from you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 96: Tummy Time Series - 6 months

By now your baby’s development is progressing beyond her head . . . to her back. She probably wants to sit up and look around. Feel free to prop her up with pillows into a sitting position. But continue tummy time sessions and don’t be surprised if tummy time becomes “try to sit up” time or “try to crawl” time. As her gross motor skills (coordination of large muscles) develop she will try to move her whole body around. Put that together with her fine motor skills (using muscles that control smaller movements) and she will be moving, reaching for objects, and even being able to grasp them.

Encourage, encourage, encourage. Your stimulation activity is to get excited as your baby develops these skills. Clap when she gets into a tripod position during tummy time. Get excited as she attempts to sit up. Cheer as she reaches. Celebrate when she takes hold of that object!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 95: Tummy Time Series - reach for it

At 5 or 6 months your baby will begin to use her arms to reach in front of her. Be sure to provide lots of opportunity. What is it that she will want to reach for most – a favorite toy or perhaps you nose?

Place either yourself or a toy at a distance where your baby can focus on it and reach for it and possible grasp it. Do this over and over and try placing the object where she has to reach with her right hand, then her left hand. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the control she has with one arm versus the other.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 94: Tummy Time Series - 5 months

As baby is able to lift her arms off the floor, arch her back, perhaps even kick her feet, don’t be surprised if she falls and rolls onto her back.

Wow! Cheer, clap, tell her she did something great. What an accomplishment!

Remember, she takes her cues form you. If you are happy, excited, and proud, she will be too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 93: Tummy Time Series - yoga/balance ball

By now baby is getting fairly good at lifting their head for short periods of time. Add some fun to tummy time by getting out a yoga or balance ball. Place baby tummy down on the center of the ball and gently roll them forward and backward – just remember to never take your hands off of your baby! They will enjoy the new sensation of rolling and give them plenty of opportunity to lift their heads and look around!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 92: Tummy Time Series - 4 months

By about 4 months your baby should be able to lift her chest off the floor and lean on her elbows with her head up.

Help stimulate her muscles by gently rubbing her back in a circular motion between the shoulder blades and up and down her back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 91: Tummy Time Series - please move your head

Okay, now that baby has his head up during tummy time, let’s get him to move it around. While he is on his tummy, hold a toy where he can see it at eye level, then slowly move it upward and see if he can move his head up and follow the toy. Bring the toy back down to give baby’s neck muscles a rest, then continue a few more times.

Eventually move the toy side to side to encourage sideways head movement. Now you are having some great interaction and progressing your baby’s motor development!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 90: Tummy Time Series - bath time

As you attempt to get an hour per day total by the end of 3 months you may think, “Where do I find the time?” Incorporating tummy time into the day is easy! How about bath time?

Naturally you do not want baby’s head falling into the water, so this activity is best saved for when he is already doing well with holding up his head. However, it is also best when baby is small enough to be in the sink. Sit him in the sink with his arms resting outside the sink. He will naturally have to hold up his head!

My photo is steamed up as this is a photo of my son’s actual bath!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 89: Tummy Time Series - 3 months

Slowly increase the amount of tummy time per day aiming to get an hour per day total by the end of 3 months. This shouldn’t be one consecutive hour, but several session throughout the day that are an hour in total.

Continue to encourage your baby to hold up his head by putting a toy in front of him. Don’t place it where he can reach it; place it a little distance away so he can think about what he has to do in order to reach it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 88: Tummy Time Series - mirror, mirror

Mirrors are like magic to babies. They are drawn to the moving and reactionary vision she sees. For this reason incorporate the use of a mirror during tummy time. Position a mirror so that your baby must lift her head in order to see herself. The level may be flat on the floor when you first start tummy time, then eventually at a 90 degree angle within 3 months or so.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 87: Tummy Time Series - non-traditional

Tummy time is instrumental for infants to build their head and neck muscles which is the foundation for eventually rolling, crawling, and walking. Tummy time however does not have to be done with baby on the floor. Tummy time can also be done by laying baby, tummy-side down, securely across your legs keeping one hand on her back. This position requires her to pick her head up in order to look around or find your voice. For very small infants, the time they lift their head will be extremely brief but you will find as time goes on they get stronger and can keep their heads up a lot longer.

Laying baby across your legs, call your baby’s name or with your free hand gently shake a rattle. Watch as baby lifts her head to find the source of the sound. Repeat several times trying to get baby to look in the different directions. For added stimulation, make this tummy time with skin-to-skin contact by having baby wear just a diaper and you wear shorts or a skirt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 86: Tummy Time Series - 2 months

Don’t be concerned if your 2-month old is not yet up to 15 minutes of tummy time per session. Any time spent in a position where she has to try and hold up her own head is strengthening her upper body, helping her gain head control, and strengthening the muscles in her arms and neck.

Encourage baby to look up by getting down. Yes, you! Get down on the floor with your baby face-to-face. Try to get her to meet you eye-to-eye even if for a moment or two. Sing a song or call her name and make tummy time an interactive experience.

Or get some siblings in on the action!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 85: Tummy Time Series - airplane

The purpose of tummy time is to encourage your baby’s motor development which proceeds from the head down. So any time he has to hold up his own head he is progressing towards greater motor development. A great variation to lying baby on the floor for tummy time is to hold him up like an airplane.

Hold your baby tummy-side down and lift him up or even better gently “fly” him around the room. You may naturally find yourself making propeller sounds or singing a silly song about flying. What fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 84: Tummy Time Series - football hold

Some babies don’t object to being laid down on their stomachs so much as being laid down at all. If your baby is craving contact with you, give it to her. A great variation to putting your baby on the floor for tummy time is holding baby in the football hold. When you do this, you place baby’s tummy across your forearm. This helps baby get used to having some pressure on his stomach.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Inant Stimulation Acitivity 83: Tummy Time Series - 1 month

Within baby’s first month he should work up to 15 minutes of tummy time. Start out in small increments, even minutes at a time a couple of times a day. If he fusses when you first put him down, try not to adjust his position. Give him another 30 seconds or so to see if he adjusts to the position or is able to reposition himself.

If your baby is just not having a good time on the floor then try letting him lie on your chest so he can look around more easily without as much of a struggle. Surely having you to look up to will be encouragement as well as happiness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 82: Tummy Time Series - giving baby her props

Yes, tummy time can seemingly be a tough time for baby. He is lifting his head, or at least trying to, and it just looks so hard. Well, it is okay to prop him up. Use a pillow or rolled-up baby blanket to prop up baby so when he is tummy-side down his head has some help staying up. Be very certain not to leave your baby alone as you do not want his face ending up in the pillow or blanket.

Know that the more tummy time you give your baby the more he will learn to enjoy it. Be sure to get out your camera from the beginning so you can capture your baby’s progress. You’ll find it truly amazing to go back and see the development!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 81: Tummy Time Series - newborn

It is not uncommon to begin tummy time when a baby is only 2 weeks old. One of the best ways to get baby comfortable is to incorporate skin-to-skin contact. Enjoy some tummy-to-tummy time (or tummy-to-chest) with your baby by laying her bare belly onto your bare belly or chest. This is a great time to chat with her, sing her a song, or even just enjoy the sensation of being together . . . literally.

If you are doing several tummy time session a day, a few minutes each session, then this is a great activity to do as one of your first sessions of the day or even one of your last - perhaps after bath time when baby is already undressed and you both would enjoy some closeness at the end of the day.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 80: Tummy Time Series - introduction

Did you know that an infant’s motor development starts with the head and moves down the body? Yes, babies develop from the top down. They hold their heads up before they can use their back to sit. This is why tummy time and development of your infant’s head control is so important.

The development of a baby’s ability to lift his head is the foundation for him to raise his shoulders, learn to roll, then sit, stand, and finally walk. It all begins with placing a baby on his tummy and creating the need for him to lift his head. And tummy time is not only important, but it is easy!

Spread a blanket on the floor, lay your baby tummy-side down, and then get right down on the floor with him. Within your baby’s first month start with short sessions, even a minute or two, so that within that first month your baby can work up to 15 minutes of continual tummy time. Really, even a few minutes a day a few times a day will get baby to this goal.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 79: The Pumpkin Patch

Your baby’s first trip to the pumpkin patch can be a wonderful time for infant stimulation; the cool crisp air, the crinkling of leaves, and of course those pumpkins and gourds. It is definitely a great place to introduce baby to the words and textures of smooth, rough and bumpy.

First find a nice smooth pumpkin and stroke it with baby’s hand. Say, “The pumpkin is smooth. Feel the pumpkin? It is smooth.” Then find a nice textured gourd and again stroke it using baby’s hand. Say, “The gourd is bumpy.” Find some burlap on a scarecrow or some hay/straw and do the same for the word and feeling of "rough".

Be sure to have your camera nearby as the faces baby will make will be priceless too!