Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Going to the Mat: Playmats and Your Baby

As we’ve been talking about for over two years now on the One Sassy Doctor blog, playing is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, and it’s also a serious developmental workout! This month, just in time for the holidays, we’re BACK TO THE BASICS – THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOD TOYS! Choosing your child’s toys carefully can make playtime even more fun, for both of you.

This week, we’re talking about an overview of play mats – as you know we devoted an entire previous month to our new Inspire the Senses developmental playmat. (One Sassy Doctor is a little play mat obsessed!).

A truly versatile toy, a play mat gives baby a soft and stimulating spot to work on her gross motor skills—and it’s a great place to get plenty of tummy time.

It’s hard to believe, but it wasn’t until 1992 that the American Academy of Pediatrics began urging moms and dads to put baby to sleep on her back. Before that, plenty of little ones slept on their stomach, something we do not recommend as pediatricians.

Now, adhering to the AAP guidelines means parents need to make sure their infants still get the benefits of spending time on their bellies. Tummy time helps infants strengthen their necks and primes them for gross motor skills like rolling over and crawling.

But most babies get cranky when you put them down on their tummies. Of course they do! They can’t see anything, because they are still too little to have the neck strength to look around, and they may even feel like you’ve abandoned them!

Enter your new best friend, the play mat! You’re able to give baby the stimulation and fascination while lying on her back and – using the same product – flip over for tummy time!

Choose a colorful play mat for maximum stimulation, and consider looking for a version that has small, child-safe toys attached to the mat. You can help by pointing out all the fun things to look at, while at the same time reassuring her that you’re still there.

Once your baby has mastered rolling over, the play mat will be even more valuable. Put baby down and watch her reach for the toys dangling from the top, and hear her coo at the bright colors and interesting shapes—it can keep her occupied for a few precious minutes while you tend to some other tasks. Just be sure to stay nearby.

If you’re looking for a great play mat for your baby, Sassy has a number of choices, all of which get my seal of approval, like the:

Happy tummy time!

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