What Babies Know & All Mothers Need to Know (10)
"It seems to me credible, at least, that all our experience in our life cycle, from cell one, is absorbed and stored from the beginning, perhaps especially in the...
Research carried out by neuroscientists, psychiatrists and research psychologists into pre-natal, peri-natal and post-natal psychology has resulted in findings which have revolutionized conventional ideas of child development. Mounting evidence from the last thirty years of advances in the study of infants.
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Next Your baby knows how to sleep
- Your baby knows how to straighten and strengthen his/her back
- Your baby knows how to stretch
- Your baby knows how to strengthen
- Your baby knows how to be spontaneous
- Your baby knows how to comply
- Your baby knows how to resist emotional stress
- Your baby knows how to learn
- Your baby knows how to create relaxation in action
Where touching begins there love and humanity also begin, within the first minutes following birth. It is through body contact with their mother that the baby makes their first contact with this world, and it's body contact that provides the vital source of warmth and comfort'.
Dr Ashley Montague
The baby's first contact with this world and the life that goes on around them comes from their sense of touch. It is touch that ensures our contact with reality until all other senses are fully developed. The skin to skin contact between a mother and her child being the baby's first language, the one that babies know, understand and will respond to the most.
Every emotion triggers a muscular response and the baby’s earliest response to touch can be seen in the womb. In all living species so far studied it is the sense of touch that develops first. With babies this starts with the lips and mouth and ends with the legs and feet, and is evident with babies in the womb from about six weeks.
The power of touch is far more than just skin deep. A good touch arouses positive feelings and brings about a number of physical and physiological changes. Every feeling is supported by a muscular reaction and more. Even people in deep coma's have shown improved heart rates when their hands have been held. Stroking, holding and caressing your child for as long and as often as you wish is now known to be physically and emotionally beneficial for both mother and child.
'We are conscious, aware, learning intensely and actively communicating and forming relationships from the beginning of life. Our earliest experiences in the womb, during birth and bonding, and as young babies profoundly shape and set in motion physical, mental, emotional and relational life patterns that can be life enhancing or diminishing'.
Wendy Anne McCarty
The first two months following birth can be seen as a continuation of the intra-uterine state with a biological need for continual close body contact with the mother. During this period especially, the baby needs to be held, rubbed, rocked, talked to and reassured.
'From birth on, the infant's need for bodily contact is compelling and if that need is not adequately satisfied, even though all other needs are, he or she will suffer'.
Dr Frederick Leboyer
The biological unity maintained by the mother and child throughout pregnancy does not cease at birth, rather it becomes even more intensively functional and mutually involving after the birth. Prolonged touching and stroking and skin to skin contact throughout the postnatal period results in prolonged breastfeeding and more affectionate behaviour between a mother and her child.
From the womb to the world and all the free movements allowed in the womb, kicking, stepping, somersaulting and rolling is now restricted by gravity. During the next twelve to fifteen months a motor metamorphosis will occur, as the baby, in resisting gravity, will master all the new motor skills needed for independence in this world.This dramatic transformation takes place in a predictable fashion in all children, the world over, by courtesy of an innate wisdom or 'evolutionary blueprint'.
Although all babies know and follow this well documented sequence of development, the ages at which each individual child reaches each stage varies greatly and can be determined by the carer's recognition of what the child is striving to achieve.
For example, babies that do not spend waking time laying on their tummies will develop differently to those who do. Similarly, because there are many subtle changes that take place at each and every stage, other than the gross motor skills that we can observe, babies who are hurried through these stages to satisfy their parents sense of achievement, may also miss vital features only attainable in that phase. For example babies who stand before they spend time sitting properly can strengthen hip joints that have not had the full opportunity to be made fully flexible. Also babies do not proceed from sitting, or crawling, to standing. Before babies stand, they squat, and then proceed from squatting to standing.
'Toys' like, 'baby bouncers' 'baby walkers' and the new 'baby bumbo' chairs may also influence the motor development of the child.
Because the changes that take place from birth to standing are anticipated it’s only when a change does not transpire, that there is a possible delay in development, that the child’s unique achievements come under closer scrutiny.
'….knowing about movement in infancy is far less important than “observing” movement in infancy. The infants have continued to surprise us with their subtle secrets and their ability to teach us about movement, rather than the other way around.
We are grateful to our teachers. As students we find once again our roles are reversed. The infants are instructing us, becoming parent like in their abilities to inform us about the secrets of movement. We have become the children, in awe of our teachers, learning from their movements, their adaptions and their creativeness'
Martha C. Piper Ph.D Johanna Darrah M.Sc., P.T.
You could not have a more rounded spine than a new born baby, be weaker, more vulnerable, sleep for more than eighteen hours a day, and yet within fifteen months or so the child is up and running, with the energy that exceeds an Olympic athlete, and the posture of a professional ballet dancer.
Babies know how best to get in good shape, the baby is the best exercise teacher, your own personal instructor. If you really want to get in shape, follow your baby’s postures and some of their movements, for the first twelve to fifteen months of their life. You will not be able to follow all your baby's movements. Even Olympic athletes have found this difficult over twenty four hours, once the baby is 'on the move'.
'Throughout life, each of us will form thousands of relationships. These bonds take many forms. Some are enduring and intimate-our dearest friend-while others are transient and superficial-the chatty store clerk. Together, relationships in all forms create the glue of a family, community, and society. This capacity to form and maintain relationships is the most important trait of humankind, for without it none of us would survive, learn, work, or procreate.
The first and most important of all relationships are attachment bonds. Initially, these are created through interactions with our primary caregivers, usually parents. First relationships help define our capacity for attachment and set the tone for all of our future relationships'. Dr Bruce Perry
A child psychiatrist and leading authority on children in crisis Dr Perry explores attachment and how it contributes to preventing aggression and anti-social behaviors in children. His work shows that a brain that has suffered trauma through early neglect will have a poorly developed pre frontal cortex the area of the brain that enables us to empathise and recognise other peoples thoughts and feelings.
Alison Ball, Psychotherapist looks at what babies know they must do, in order to survive within the family. She claims;
'Our education' in feeling, in our society, is, in fact, more an education in how not to feel. We have deadened our bodies, clamped down on our tenderness, our joy and our despair, denied our grief or split off from our fear and our anger. We have done this because, as babies and children we have feared that if we felt these feelings and particularly if we expressed these feelings, then we ourselves or our parents would have been overwhelmed; or, in expressing our misery or our joy, we may have been ignored, ridiculed, humiliated or even physically chastised.......as we grow up, we ourselves become our own conscious and unconscious monitors, because, by now this limited self has become me'.
Our muscles are organs of both power and sensation and they contract and relax in movement and in response to physical and emotional stimulation.The muscles form our body’s first line of defence and will contract to inhibit feeling when the feelings become to intense and threaten to overwhelm us, as in emotional and physical pain and extreme excitement.
Babies know how to tighten their muscles to numb pain, and from a very early age on, when consistently subjected to the same intense stimulation, a traumatic pattern of muscular tension begins to develop. One that will cause stiffness and rigidity in the affected muscles. This is known as muscular armouring and muscular armouring is a result of physical and/or emotional trauma, and this most often begins in infancy and childhood. Once set it will become visible in a child's posture and emotional responses.
A sudden pain can cause you to with hold your breath and tighten your abdominal muscles. And if you live or work in an atmosphere of anxiety or emotional stress you are likely to have developed armouring around this part of your body. The ‘solar plexus’ is a major nerve and emotional center and either a sudden and intense, or, a prolonged period of emotional stress, can cause you to ‘hold on’ to your tummy even when the cause of stress has been removed.
Babies know how to tighten their tummies to inhibit pain. This can be the result of prolonged periods of stressful crying or a sudden physical and/or emotional shock.
This is our first step towards ‘muscular armouring’ one that will affect the physical and emotional health of the baby and something most likely to be perceived as ‘colic’. (There is no evidence to support the theory that babies suffer pain through bowel spasms, and all colic mixtures that have been tested scientifically have been proven useless. Similarly, studies have shown that babies who suffer from wind, have no more gas in their tummies than those who do not suffer from wind).
For by far the majority of people 'muscular armouring' starts very young, and well before adulthood most people have learnt to hold in their bellies. They breathe with only a portion of their lung capacity during a normal day, and will hold their breath when anxious or afraid.
Stiffness in the muscles and rigidity in the joints is mankinds most insidious and prevalent disease, one that is usually the most associated with ageing.
Although this starts in infancy babies also know how to remedy this.
'We are born soft and malleable and we die rigid and unyielding' ...Lao Tzu