Baby Exercise

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

I was very lucky to have a very wonderful pediatrician right at the start of my career as the mother of 12 children. David was patient and took time to explain things to me. I still value much of the advice he gave me so many years ago. I find that most of what he taught me was ahead of its time. One of the first things David taught me was infant exercise.

I was surprised to hear that it was necessary for me to exercise with my daughter. She seemed to move all the time she was awake and I wondered that this was not enough movement to keep her toned. David said it was important to encourage the baby to use certain muscle groups so that she could move forward in her development. I found that I really enjoyed exercise time, and I found that my babies all enjoyed this time, too.

Here are some baby exercises that you can do with your baby when he is one month old:

Lay the baby on his back on a blanket. Give the baby your forefinger to grip. Help secure his grip with your thumb and third finger. Stretch out your baby's arm without making him raise his head off the blanket. Release. Repeat 5 times with each arm.

Be slow and gentle

While he is in the same position, you can do the next exercise. Get both of the baby's hands in the grip position as in the last exercise. Extend his arms out to his sides, then cross them over each other across his chest. Switch the pattern of the crossed over arms so each arm gets a chance to be on top. Be slow and gentle. Repeat 5 times. I like to say something rhythmic as we do this exercise: "In and out, in and out, over and under and in and out."

Fun for both of you

Lay your baby on his tummy on a blanket. This will encourage him to lift his head and strengthen his neck muscles. The baby will lift his legs, too, and make a rocking motion. I like to get down on the floor in front of his face and smile up at him. They work hard at this exercise, you might find that he grunts and after a time, cries. Don't let his grunting turn into real crying. Turn him over or pick him up before he gets upset. You want this to be fun for both of you.