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MOVEMENT SKILLS FOR BABIES

Babies are born with the reflexes to root (turning her head to get a proper latch on her mother’s nipple) and suck so that they are ready to breastfeed after birth. Babies have other reflexes that disappear once they are no longer needed. These reflexes disappear because voluntary or intentional motor skills replace them. Motor skills are often talked about by parents, “when did he first sit up?” or “is she crawling yet?” are common topics for discussion.

A “motor skill” is simply an action that involves your baby using his muscles. Gross motor skills are larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body. So crawling, running, and jumping are gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills are smaller actions. When your baby picks things up between his finger and thumb, or wriggles his toes in the sand, he's using his fine motor skills. But it's not just about fingers and toes. When your baby uses his lips and tongue to taste and feel objects, he's using fine motor skills, too.

When your baby is newborn, his brain is not mature enough to control skilled movement.
Development starts at his head, and then moves down his body. So your newborn baby can control his mouth, face, lips, and tongue, with the rest following in time.

Your baby learns to control his neck before his shoulders and his shoulders before his back. Your baby can control his arms before his hands, and control his hands before his fingers.

Tummy time during play and little and reduced play in the jolly jumper or exersaucer will help your baby use and develop the right muscles at the right time

In any area of your baby's body, his gross motor skills develop before his fine motor skills. So he'll be able to bring his arms together before he learns how to pass a toy from hand to hand.

In order for your baby to really do things for himself, he'll need to use gross and fine skills together. He'll gradually get better at this as he grows into toddlerhood.

Click here to review some of the typical milestones for gross motor skills or here to review gross motor skills red flags.

If you feel that Physiotherapy would help your child, please contact the centre or make a referral.