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tummy time

Tummy time & Mummy time with Kirsty Williams | Episode 12

Tummy time is such an important skill for babies to develop. But some newborns make it known that they’re unhappy on their tummies. Why is that? What can you do to ensure your little one gets the tummy time they need without too much fuss? In this week’s episode, Meg chats to Kirsty – a physiotherapist who works with newborns. Kirsty is also mom to four-week-old, Matthew and two-year-old twins. 

Kirsty and Meg move on to chat about the signs of postnatal depression. They discuss the benefits of even a small amount of early intervention. They also talk about how using the sensory world can make those few weeks after the honeymoon period more manageable and less stressful.

Kirsty also asks Meg some common questions about swaddling and if she is spoiling her baby by carrying him all the time. Join these super mums as they share the tips, tricks, and wisdom of those early days with a newborn. Listen now! 

Kirsty’s method for encouraging tummy time in her newborn:

  1. Start doing tummy time by lying your baby on my chest. When you are lying in bed in the morning is the perfect time to lie tummy to tummy.
  2. It’s important that their arms are a little way forward over your breasts. Your little one will coo and bob their head important and have a nice soft place to land on your chest.
  3. Kiss the top of their head and tickle the back to encourage a little bit of extension as they lift up through their back.
  4. Talk to your baby to encourage them to look up and see you smiling and talking to them.
  5. Practice this a few times a day for a few minutes. This will strengthen your baby’s back and neck muscles so that tummy time is more fun, than hard work!

For more expert advice to help you optimise your baby’s development, download Parent Sense – the all-in-one baby app that takes the guesswork out of parenting.

 

 

Guests on this show

Meet today’s Guest: Kirsty Williams

Kirsty, a physiotherapist who specializes in neonates and mom to two-year-old twins and four-week-old Matthew.

"I want to encourage any moms who concerned about their mental health to talk about it, to reach out. It's not a taboo. It's very, very common and it makes a significant difference if you can get the help you need, sooner rather than later."

Kirsty Williams

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Sense by Meg Faure – Episode 12 Tummy time & Mummy time | Kirsty Williams

So, I’ve started with a lot of tummy time on my chest. I’m lying in bed in the morning, letting him coo and bob his head important that his arms are a little bit forward over my breasts. And he lies with a nice soft place where he can bob his head and crash and kiss the top of his head. And I tickle the back and encourage a little bit of extension lifting up through his back. Let him look up and see me smiling and talking to him. –Kirsty

Intro

Kirsty is a physiotherapist who works with newborns and is mom to four-week-old, Matthew. We talk about the importance of tummy time and how to make it easier for our little ones. Kirsty also shares a bit about her mental health journey, how she started to feel overwhelmed after the birth of Matthew. And she sought a bit of help. We go on to talk about swaddling and how to make sure that it ticks all the boxes developmentally and Kirsty asks that all too common question about whether she’s spoiling her little one if she carries them all the time. So stay tuned as we explore the life of a mum of three through the eyes of Kirsty.

 

Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that’s brought to you by Parent Sense, the app that takes the guesswork out of parenting. If you’re a new parent, then you are in good company. Your host Meg Faure is a well-known OT infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books. Each week, we’re going to spend time with new mums and dads, just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges, and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the Parent Sense App and catch me every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now meet your host.

 

Meg: Hello, mums and dads. It is so good as always to have you back again. This is our weekly podcast, Sense by Meg Faure where we just really have a look at all the sense around early parenting through the first year of life. And I am loving our chats with real mums. We explore the weekly highs and low parenthood. And as you know, each week, I am joined by a parent and I share my years of experience as an OT and the author of eight parenting books. And the moms shares the reality of what it’s like to parent a very little baby. Now, a couple of weeks ago, we had our very first session with Kirsty and I’ve asked Kirsty if we can try and touch base with her every couple of weeks or at least once a month. Kirsty’s background is a physiotherapist specialising in neonates, very little babies. She works in a Neonatal ICU in Cape Town, South Africa, and her and I have referred babies to each other over the years, many times. And so, Kirsty had twins two years ago and now has had a third baby. And this little one, little Matthew must be almost a month old now, Kirsty?

Kirsty: Yes, that’s right. A month and two days.

Meg: Precious boy. So, I’m sure that things are going really well. Although I can imagine that it must be quite an upheaval having three little ones. And you’ve also obviously gone through that stage where we came out of the honeymoon period. I think when we last spoke, he was still in the honeymoon period, straight after birth, where most babies are very settled, kind of sleeping from one feed to the next, at a month old. Have you started to experience that he’s a little bit less settled than he was before?

Kirsty: Definitely. So, two things I noticed, which I wasn’t as aware with my twins, one is that he started to get quite fractious in the evening. At about top is five, six o’clock he starts his squawks, and then he wants to do a big cluster feed and it’s perfect timing, (I’m being sarcastic), for the twins because that’s exactly when they need me most to finish off dinner, go through the bath routine, read stories, and go to bed. So, I get into a bit of a pickle.

Meg: Yeah, no, that is, it is a very, very rough stage. And have you got support at that time or you totally on your own?

Kirsty: Andrew comes home from work around then, but the boys are so excited to see him that it winds them up a little bit further. So, we figured out a way that I do the feeding of the twins, basically walking around the kitchen with a baby latched to my boob while I try and feed them as well and pop them in the bath sort out bath. And then as it comes time for stories and the last phase of the settling, Andrew comes in and does very quiet time with them. So, we found a way.

Meg: You have found a way. Yeah, I know it really is a juggle. I mean, every parent and every baby is different, but you do have to divide and conquer at that time of day. Somebody has to do the older babies and, and somebody, the little ones. And so, what does your evening look like with Matthew at the moment? I mean, how unsettled is he and, and how are you managing that time of day and when does the fussing kind of start, and what do you do with it?

Kirsty: So, it’s around about 5:30-6:00. It seems to be on the clock each day. And I’m starting to just take a little bit more awareness into his sensory world and looking at what he’s being exposed to in the day. And I find that if he’s had a very busy day or we’ve been out, go to the beach, or on a big outing in the afternoon, then that fussiness is a little more strong-willed on his part.

Meg: Yeah.

Kirsty: And he seems to be quite easier as long as he’s on the boob, then he’ll stop his fussing, but I’m trying to train him, well, give him other options besides just the boob. So, I’m starting to swaddle him a little bit more at certain times of the day, let him get used to that feeling of swaddling. Normally I just swaddle him at night when it was his big sleep, but now I’m giving him other options during the day to have that calm time. I’m also being aware of the lighting and the sound that he’s being exposed to. And if my gut says, this is really quite stimulating, then I’m trying to find a way to take a step back.

Meg: Yeah, it’s very interesting. You know, I think what happens in those early days is that they are very overwhelmed by the sensory stimulation. And I know that you know, this Kirsty, but going to share it as well with the moms that their little sensory systems are just not ready for the insult that comes from all these senses after they’re born. I think that the reason why the first two weeks are so calm is that they’ve had so much proprioception and deep pressure in utero that they almost have this like amazing hangover of deep proprioception that puts them into this very, very calm space. And so, they’re generally well regulated. And then that self-regulation, that needs to develop in the first three months kind of starts to show the cracks and they start to become very overstimulated.

So, it is things like specifically visual stimulation. And I think often as a mom, I can remember very well putting my kids underneath mobiles and trying to stimulate them as much as possible. In fact, you and I spoke about visual stimulation when we last spoke. And so, parents end up stimulating their little ones a lot on the visual front. And that contributes hugely to overstimulation in the late part of the afternoon. What does work, which you have found is swaddling because swaddling reenacts that womb world, that deep pressure that they had in utero, they now can have. In fact, they can have it all their hours or even waking hours, as long as they’re getting some time to stretch their legs out. And as long as we are curling up their legs in the swaddle. So, that’s probably something we can talk about because one of the things that a lot of moms ask me about is, is swaddling okay for hips specifically? Do you know anything about that or would you like me to share a little bit?

Kirsty: Oh, well, from my side, I remember telling my moms that the best hips in the world are African mama’s babies because they go onto mama’s backs and their legs are bent up and wide. Yes. And that really helps form those hip joints. And our worst hips in the world are Eskimos because they get swaddled into the little amautis with their legs straight. It’s really important to tuck those legs in. And I just want to say that your swaddle, in particular, the baby sense ones you brought out, has got just the right amount of elasticity. It’s not the only one, the other ones that I have elasticity, but that’s just the fact that you really need to have, and maybe needs to be able to push a little bit about and then be able to let the legs come back in again.

Meg: Absolutely.

Kirsty: So yes, definitely tuck the legs in. I think that’s for how you designed it.

Meg: That is it, absolutely. And so just to explain that a little bit more so when babies are born, their acetabulum, which is the part of the hip inside of their hip joint. The pelvis side of the hip joint is quite flat and the head of the femur needs to carve out a hole for itself, like a nice round cave almost for itself. And that happens with babies moving their legs in all different directions and not being dead straight because when our legs are dead straight, they then don’t get to carve that little acetabulum. And so that’s a very, very important thing that babies do have their hips up. Now, there’re couple of ways to do that. One is to have them lying free because the baby’s legs will be pulled up anyway because that’s what physiological flexion does.

Another way is to have them, as you say, in a carrier, but it must be a carrier that puts their hips into slightly more, not necessarily completely right angle, but more of an angle. And there’re some lovely carriers that do that.  Your pouch carriers and I see little Matthews on you at the moment, because I can see you on zoom and he is in a little pouch carrier. So, his hips are probably out to the side. Another one that I love Kirsty is the Snuggle Roo carrier, which also positions them in this kind of upright position, but in soft fabric, almost like wrap fabric and with their hips out. And then as you say, African mamas who pop their babies on their backs, have their legs going straight out to the side. So that’s also great.

And so those positions and then when you are swaddling very important to actually swaddle those hips up, curl up, like they were in physiological flexion and not dead straight. And in that way, we can protect the hip joints. And I think it’s the value of swaddling so massive. And so, this question around, we hear it, that physios have said, don’t swaddle your babies at all because you want to carve the acetabulum or you want to develop those hip joints. And actually, there is a way to do it and still have this swaddling.

Kirsty: One thing, just to comment of little Mathew, I seem to be nailing this wearing your baby to the extreme that it’s a bit difficult to put him down.

Meg: Yeah.

Kirsty: He just wants to be on me the whole time. And I think from my point of view, you know, the first six weeks you can wear them as much as you want, but it does make me worry a little bit that I’m struggling to put him down even for five minutes. What do you think about that?

Meg: Yeah. It’s such a great topic because that’s another, you know, moms have so much conflicting stuff all the way along from the swaddling that we’ve just spoken about. And now of course, to this where they will have a well-meaning granny or auntie say to them, “Don’t carry your baby all the time. You’re going to spoil them and you’re going to make a rod for your own back and you’re never going to be able to put them down.” I don’t agree with that at this age at all. And I’ll explain to you why – at this age, there’re two critical factors that can summarize everything other than nutrition that Mathew needs right now. And the one is engagement and the other one is sensory care. That’s all it is about right now. It’s just about the senses and about emotions. It’s not about anything else.

And you can imagine that carrying your baby on your chest, whether you’re wearing them naked as you to, and when you did Kangaroo Mother Care or whether it is carrying them in a carrier, gives them both of that. It gives them emotional contact because we are a whole lot more attuned to our babies when they’re right up against our face because we can’t get away from them. And it gives them sensory input with a deep pressure proprioception specifically on their tummy, the sound of our voice, and our heartbeat as their heads up against our chest. And then of course the vestibular, the movement, and that vestibular sense is critically important for gross motor skills actually, and amongst other things.

So right now, at this age, you’re ticking the two most important boxes, engagement and sensory. So, then the question is what about in four weeks, are we going to be able to put Mattie down? So, what we know about babies is they really have long-term expectations or memory or even associations when they’re very little. He right now doesn’t even recognize, he does recognize you, but he doesn’t prefer you to anyone else. Although quite soon he is going to and that’s a sign that they don’t have long-term memory. You know, if you were feeding him, I mean, if you were bottle feeding if you were feeding or a nanny was feeding him or dad or granny, he probably wouldn’t gauge too much of a difference in what he sees, he wouldn’t show a preference.  But in eight weeks’ time, when he is 12 weeks old, he will show a very significant preference because he has developed associations. And it takes time for those associations to develop, that’s why at this stage, I say to moms, please, don’t worry about habits at all, just meet the emotional and sensory needs. Those are the two most important things.

And then as we work towards 12 weeks and I know you and I will hopefully speak again around that time, probably sooner, we start to say, right, aim high. So go for the gold standard, which is to put babies down and then pick them up to soothe them if they need it. And so, it becomes a more gradual process, but right now the priorities engagement and the sensory.

Kirsty: Thanks, Meg.

Meg: Yeah. And I’m sure that’s something that resonates with you because I know how attuned you’ve been to your kids’ emotional lives as well as to their sensory worlds.

Kirsty: Yes. And I think it also really helps me from a mental health point of view and bonding. It’s been such a beautiful natural process this time. I’ve really enjoyed it. And I think that physical contact with him has aided that.

Meg: Yeah. And there’s a lot of research on that, that a little bit of touch and other people can’t see you right now, but you just reached down while you’ve been carrying him on your chest and stroke his head. And just that little bit of stroking there’s evidence that shows that when we stroke our babies and when we massage them and when we touch them, that releases oxytocin for you, and also for them as well. And oxytocin is our falling-in love hormone. It’s an incredible hormone. It’s a hormone that is released in massive doses when we have an orgasm and during birth and during breastfeeding. So, it really is that love and attachment and humankind of engagement hormone. It’s very, very important. In fact, there was a time, a couple of years ago, where there was a fad to actually take oxytocin as a pill if you can believe it. So luckily you don’t need to do that, you just need to stroke Mattie’s head.

But for other moms that you know, you do get your oxytocin in big doses when you’re carrying and caring and wearing your baby. So, it is very, very important. And you spoke a little bit about bonding there. How are you finding that this time around? Are you finding challenges having three and yeah, how’s that going?

Kirsty: Much, much easier this time. I think it’s the physical contact. I think it was being present with him for those first two weeks. I think it’s the breastfeeding that’s going successfully. I’m managing to exclusively breastfeed, which I wasn’t able to do. There are just so many things in my favour towards helping the bonding. I had some postnatal depression with the twins. It took me a little while to acknowledge it and reach out for help. And although it was quite early this time, I did have the feeling in about two weeks of that slipping and falling and reached out for help again. And I feel significantly better on it. So, I just want to encourage any moms who concerned about their mental health to talk about it, to reach out. It’s not a taboo. It’s very, very common and it makes a significant difference if you can get the help, you need sooner rather than later.

This episode is brought to you by Parent Sense your Parenting App. As an avid user, I can safely say that Parent Sense is the all-in-one baby development app that helps moms and dads keep track of their baby’s routines and takes the guesswork out of parenting in the first year of a baby’s life. Meg tell us what makes Parents Sense so special.

So, Parent Sense is my love child. I developed it because I felt the parents needed a little manual in their pockets, and that’s what it is. It gives parents routines for their babies’ day. There’re flexible routines for sleep and for feeding. And then it also gives them a play activity for every single day, 365 for the first year of life, as well as recipes and meal plans. So, unlike most other apps, it covers absolutely every aspect of early parenting.—Meg

There, you heard it straight from the expert. Download Parent Sense App now from your app store, sign up for a lifetime subscription on the website, parentsense.app, and take 50% off when you use the discount code “parentpod” at checkout. Take advantage of this incredible offer. It’s exclusive to podcast listeners, download the app now and take the guesswork out of parenting.

Meg: Yeah, so that postnatal depression is an absolutely fascinating topic. I mean, first of all, it’s a way more prevalent than we would imagine. And actually on a more severe level, it’s as much as 20% of moms. So one in five moms will experience something that’s maybe not entirely debilitating, but certainly is, and would classify as postnatal depression. And then of the other four out of the five moms, you’ve got a good chunk. You are experiencing perinatal anxiety. And when we look at postnatal depression, which is what it used to be called, well, it is still called, but what it should be called and what we’ve started to speak about it more as is perinatal distress. And so let’s just break that down. So postnatal means after birth perinatal means in pregnancy around the time of birth and afterwards. So the first change to the name is that it’s perinatal.

So for some moms, you actually experience the emotions, the negative emotions in pregnancy already. And there is a definite correlation between anti-natal depression or in other words, depression or anxiety before birth and postnatal depression. So for any moms who listening, who experienced anxiety or depression in pregnancy, it is a flag that you need to just watch yourself. So that’s the first thing. So you’ve got perinatal and then you’ve got the word distress as opposed to depression and distress is a much better word because actually for many moms, it’s not depression. It’s not a feeling of, I can’t get up in the morning. It’s a feeling of, oh my gosh, how am I going to do this? You know, this weight of responsibility and actually the hallmark feature is in fact anxiety. And so, it’s just that rush of anxiety. It is very, very common.

Most moms, 90% of moms will experience sort of called baby blues. I had baby blues from about, I think it was about a week to about three weeks. And it usually came in the evening at about seven o’clock where I would, my whole mental vision would go black. Like I could not see how I was going to get through the night and do tomorrow. So, I had this sense of absolute dread for what was coming. And it was of course the night feeds and the sleeplessness. And where I was quite fortunate my mum was staying with me at the time. This was my firstborn, and she knew it was coming because I would articulate it. So, like you said, reaching out is very important. And she would say, just go to bed early and don’t think about tomorrow, tomorrow will be another day. And of course, by the time I woke up in the morning, I was fine again, but it would come again the following evening.

So yeah, I mean a couple of things there. Look out for the hallmark features of anxiety, not necessarily depression. Number two, reaching out is so critically important. And number three, it must not have that stigma. And I think you’re right. And I mean, Kirsty, I know you have mentioned in our last podcast that you’re A-type. I am too. When you’re A-type you don’t want to fail, and you feel like you’re failing when you’re reaching out and saying, I know this is the most glorious time of my life, supposedly, but I’m just not feeling it.

Kirsty: Absolutely.

Meg: So, who did you reach out to? Did you speak to a psychologist, or phone a helpline, or just to your partner? I mean, what did you do?

Kirsty: Well, I reached out to my gynae who I became very close with over the pregnancy.  And I just told her I’m going to be watching out for it. And then I sent her a message said I’ve watched out for it. And I have that feeling again, and I think I need some help. And she was absolutely on board with a very, very low dose of medication. So yeah, I’m not one to take medicines very often, but I did see what a significant difference it made last time. So, I was perhaps a little bit early on this one, but I don’t regret it because my, my full experience is positive as a result.

Meg: Yeah. And that’s, what’s so important, is catching it early. So, you kind of spoken, I mean, there are three levels of support that you get and that mums can look for. The one is to just talk about it to your network, your mommy-friends, and your partner. So that would be kind of on the light side, you know, just articulating it. The next one would be to reach out for counseling and just to have somebody to talk to. And I think they’re just amazing psychologists out there. And there’s one actually in Cape Town called Linda Lewis, who I’ve always raved about. And she wrote a book on postnatal depression called When Blessings Don’t Count. And I love that title because, every mom of a newborn, somebody says to you count your blessings. Well, yes, I’m counting my blessings, but right now they don’t count because I’m feeling so low. So, reaching out to somebody who is an expert in postnatal depression is great.

And then of course those light doses of medication are just amazing. And there’re some medications that actually assist with breast milk as well as making you feel a little bit better and it’s not forever. And then I think that it’s important moms realize it’s not forever, but it gets you through a stage where you maybe do need it. And I think one of my regrets is that I didn’t take it with my firstborn because I had a little bit of, feeling it was mainly anxiety rather than depression that maybe could have been dealt with better with medication. But I kind of pushed through, it was in the days of, you know, it was a while ago. So, it was in the days of, you know, stiff upper lip. I’m absolutely fine. So taboo.

Kirsty: And the taboo around it, and I think what’s also hard is that social media does us no favors because everybody else’s birth journey and early baby journey is so rosy, you know because social media does that.

Meg: And beautiful. Exactly. You only post beautiful, beautiful photos.

Kirsty: Yeah.

Meg: Yeah. And it can be quite gritty.

Kirsty: Yeah.

Meg: And Kirsty, one other thing that I would love to touch on is, what’s going on for Mattie developmentally? And what are you noticing as a physio? Because I know that you look at him with your mommy eyes, completely in love, but you also look at him with your physio eyes. So, what have you noticed over the last two weeks that you’d love to share with us and what have you been doing in terms of development and stimulation?

Kirsty: So, some good things and some interesting things. So, the good thing is he is starting to make more of a routine, putting him in prone. So I enjoy—

Meg: “In prone” just for articulation?

Kirsty: Tummy time.

Meg: Tummy time, thank you.

Kirsty: So, I’ve started with a lot of tummy time on my chest. I’m lying in bed in the morning, letting him coo and bob his head. It’s important that his arms are a little bit forward over my breast and lay in a nice soft place where he can bob his head and crash. And I kiss the top of his head, and I tickle the back and encourage a little bit of extension lifting up through his back, let him look up and see me smiling and talking to him. So, tummy time on my chest is going really well, tummy time over my legs. So, I sit in a chair or on the couch and I just let him go over my legs. I put a little bit of an angle, so one leg is a little bit higher and the other leg lower so that he’s not quite completely horizontal. I think horizontal is still pretty hard for him to lift his head. And so giving that ergonomic advantage of having his shoulders a little higher than his hips. Bits and bobs around, he bobs onto his hands, has a quick suck, carries on bobbing, looking around, checking what the twins are doing. Maybe a little toy in front of him.

So that’s also going well on my legs. I’ve started once or twice doing tummy time with him on the couch and doing a rolled-up towel and lying underneath his armpit with his elbows forward. And then I sit on the floor in front of him, and again, coo as he lifts and bobs his head around. So that’s doing really well tummy time.

Meg: Yeah. Tell us why you think it’s important. And I love the fact that you’ve graded it for us. You’ve made it easier for Mattie for now and it’ll get hard as he goes along. Why is tummy time so important from the perspective of physio?

 

Kirsty: So, you want to develop his neck control and you want to him to have the opportunity to meet his milestones when he needs to. And one of the first areas that he has ability to master is active extension. So extension lifting up against gravity is called active extension. And that’s what tummy time is giving him the opportunity to work on. It strengthens their back and as they get stronger, it strengthens a little bit down his spine and allows him also to look at the world from a different angle. So that the extension will translate into being able to sit at the right time, being able to tolerate time on his tummy. So, time on all fours, which will enable him to crawl at the right time. So, I think one of the interesting factors is we always say back to sleep and the back-sleep program is important from a SIDS point of view, but I have noticed that people are less likely to give their babies tummy time. And the two results are slight to learn that gross motor development of the sitting and crawl and perhaps also a flattening of the head, which we can talk about another time. So that’s another reason for tummy time to be encouraged.

 

Meg: Yeah, it really, really is important. And I get so many requests from moms saying my baby hates tummy time, but very often what they’re doing is they’re putting them straight onto the mat on the floor and expecting them to be okay at this age. And I’m very interested that at four weeks you still feel that Mattie needs a little bit of help for gravity to be decreased so that he is at an incline or something under his chest. And so, yeah, I think taking that expectation and explaining to moms that it’s not just flat on the ground that they have to tolerate.

 

Kirsty: He would hate it if have put him flat. He wouldn’t have, the center, if you put him flat, the size of his head is of the 5th of the size of his body. And an adult, the size of the head is an eighth of the size of the body. So if you pop him down flat, he’s not only got a master lifting his head against gravity, but he’s even at an ergonomic disadvantage. because the center of gravity has shifted so much forward to his head. And so that little bit of grading that keeping his shoulders above his hips and getting him confident rather get him to lift up few seconds more with the greater elevation of his shoulders rather than the tiny milliseconds he would do on his tummy.

 

Meg: Yeah.  Absolutely. That’s brilliant. That’s great advice. Thank you. And what else have you noticed developmentally?

 

Kirsty: Another good one is I do a little bit of eye-tracking. So getting a mobile that goes around in a circle, playing song. I nest him. I keep him in a nested position. So I take a towel, roll it right up, and I pop his head on a little bit of a pillow. So his head is a little bit up his back is a little bit curved and his legs and arms are nested with the little towel that wraps around him like a sausage. And in that nested position, he still feels safe and content. And then I pat him and then I practice moving his eyes now in a circle. The first two weeks we did side to side and up and down and now we doing around and about. And he does it really well.

 

Meg: I love that. So first of all, I love the nest image that you’ve created. So for other moms, just to go back to that. So if you take a long enough towel and you roll it into like a roll, a circle, and or into a roll, and then you create a donut out of that. So if moms can picture that little kind of donut image. And then you plunk your baby into the middle of the donut hole so that their head is slightly lifted and then their feet are, their hips are lying on the bottom part of the donut so that it kind of just pushes up their hips almost. So that you get them in a curve position. And that is an amazing position for little ones to control their body, so they can focus in on using their eyes. It’s also a great position for sleep.

 

You touched on the words, SIDS just now Kirsty and for mums who are not familiar with the words, it means Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or cot death, which is obviously the most horrific thing that could happen in any mum’s mind. And along with the back-to-sleep campaign, which is the baby sleep more safely on their back. They also came an instruction to sleep with nothing in the crib. So dead flat on their back. So completely flat, nothing in there with them. And I think that’s been quite hard because little ones do need to feel quite contained. And so, what I did do with my little ones was have some sort of insert that helped to create a little bit more of a nest for them. So commercial products now that are out there, dock-a-touch, or sleepy-head, the nature-one cushion. So, are you using any of those devices or are you keeping him flat on his back in the cot?

 

Kirsty: At night?

 

Meg: Yeah.

 

Kirsty: At night, I swaddle him and he starts off in his bed right next to me and this little carry cot thing for the first few hours. And then when he is coming for his feed, he really struggles to burp, this little guy. And I end up having to sort of sit upright with him for a little while. So after his big feed around one, I’m struggling a bit, and then he just comes into the bed with me and sleeps next to me. But he is nest. It’s still in his swaddle rather than actual nest.

 

Meg: Yeah. And I think swaddles could do a great of that, of keeping them in that curled position as well.

 

Kirsty: Yes. So those are the things that I think we’re doing well. The thing that’s a bit of a challenge, which I’m finding surprising is the baby massage. I’m such an advocate of baby massage from a developmental point of view. It helps with proprioception, body awareness, digestion, and muscle tone, engaging, so many benefits of this baby massage. And this little guy is having none of it.

 

Meg: Yeah.

 

Kirsty: So I’m struggling with him. He doesn’t want to lie down and have his leg stretched out. And I just think he’s just not ready for it. The twins were, they enjoyed it. But this little guy he’s got these flyaway arms that are quite bothersome to him.  And I think he needs another week or two, so I’m going to have to wait little bit more patient and revisit the massage later.

 

Meg: What’s quite nice at this age is to either do only legs or only hands. I mean only feet, and only hands. So, in other words, not legs. And so, what you can do is you can swaddle his top part of his body. So, his hands are still towards the midline because that’s where he’s feeling contained, you know, hands to midline and un-swaddle his feet and just do the pressure points on the base of his feet. Just start with just a little bit of pressure on his heel and a little bit of pressure at the top of his toe pad. So underneath his toes, and then when he is got used to that, you can start to do the sweeping, which is going up from the heel up to the top of his toes, that kind of motion. And just do that for three minutes and then see how he takes to that. Because often what we find with the little ones who are more resistant to maybe being touched, you know, some little ones don’t like light touch and massage.

 

Although we look at a lot of proprioception, there is some light touch involved there and it takes them time to be able to tolerate that nicely, but starting at their further extremities, in other words, only hands or only feet and just starting with pressure sometimes gets them going and then you can progress a little bit later.

 

Kirsty: Absolutely. That’s such a good idea. I haven’t been doing that. What I have been doing is containment holds. So, resting my hand beneath his feet. And resting my hand on the top of his head. And getting a little bit of pressure towards each end.

 

Meg: Yeah. I love that.

 

Kirsty: That seems to calm him very much, but I like your ideas of getting those feet. I’ve just tried it now and he stood so we’ll try later.

 

Meg: Excellent. Yeah, try it later. So I mean, what’s quite interesting about what you’ve just spoken about is that progression for massage. So your very first point of almost massage is, is still touch. So for those moms who have got little ones who don’t want to be massage, still touch, and that’s what you’re talking about when you put a hand on the top of his head hand on his feet, and almost pushed to towards each other, that’s still a content touch. Next step is extremities, just deep pressure. And then from there, you can move on something like Indian milking, which is that long stretching out of the legs that’s, you know, comes with a whole lot of other things, because there’s proprioception, there’s light touch, there are all sorts of stuff that happens then. And so it does make them, you know, they have to progress towards it. But I think that’s lovely that you’ve spoken, and in fact, almost a theme for me of today’s chat has been grading slowly and work at little one’s pace. So we spoke about grading slowly when you talk about tummy time, so, you know, and then we also talk about grading slowly when you talk about massage. And I think for moms, people see this gold standard of massaging or tummy time or whatever it is and they think, oh, I’ve got to be doing that. But actually, little ones take time, you know, and some little ones take a little longer than others and that’s fine. And it’s working at your baby’s pace, is important.

 

Kirsty: Super thanks.

 

Meg: Thank you, Kirsty. It has been wonderful chatting. I can’t believe our time is up already. It’s flown by, but it’s just always wonderful to touch base with you and, hear about early mothering through the eyes of, a baby expert yourself and to see how you’re managing it and what you’re learning as you go along. So lovely to connect.

 

Kirsty: Thanks. Lovely to speak to you again.

 

Meg: Thanks Kirsty, and we’ll chat again soon.

 

 

Outro

 

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