Congratulations parents! You have made it past the early infancy stage, and through the worst of the sleep deprivation! Your child is likely sleeping for longer stretches, if not through the night (fingers crossed)! You are likely beginning to get into a routine, and both you and your baby are beginning to understand one another better, including baby’s cues (if not in part through trial and error of the many tricks for determining your baby’s needs!)-our baby was particularly gassy, so we found that infant massage worked wonders for fussiness related to gas!
During this stage of development your 4-6 month old is continuing to learn new skills each day, and starting to come into their personality!
They will continue to build on the skills from previous months, as many of these skills are building blocks or foundational skills to the more advanced skills you will begin to see (i.e. a child will pull to stand before standing alone, and lastly before walking). Remember, our development is not linear, and often our children will seem to excel in one area of development like gross motor skills that we are easily able to observe, while building skills in other areas like cognition or language which will be evident later on. In this manner, each area of development has its own rate of progress, dependent on environmental stimuli and each child’s individual experiences.
Read on for a summary of these milestones in each of the areas of development for your baby and for ways to utilize your Busy Baby Mat-a versatile product that grows with your child, to aid in promotion of these skills through developmentally appropriate activities!
This list is meant to briefly summarize your baby’s milestones and offer suggestions for Busy Baby Mat use for your child, and does not substitute for medical advice. If you are at all concerned regarding your child’s development or achievement of their milestones, please discuss these concerns with your pediatrician.
How to use your Busy Baby products during this time
Using the tethers to keep teethers, pacifiers, and toys within reach, while continuing to use in the variety of positions your baby will be in during the day to promote cognitive stimulation and fine and gross motor development.
- Wrap the Busy Baby Mat around your cart to keep your baby entertained during shopping trips together, keep their mouth off of the germy shopping cart, keep toys off the ground, and to practice their newly developed visual motor skills of more efficient tracking and reaching for toys!
- Attach the Busy Baby Bottle Bungee and Toy Bungee as they transition to forward facing in the stroller, especially as they begin to transition to holding their bottle on their own while feeding. Attach fun noise making toys to challenge their senses as they use their auditory and visual skills to track the toys as they bounce around!
- Promote increased independence with sitting by attaching the mat to a firm surface, sliding glass door, a kitchen cabinet, refrigerator door, or dishwasher while you are cooking in the kitchen to keep baby busy, with toys tethered for visual stimulation! Play around with varying the heights to promote greater trunk stability and reaching to either side to obtain the tethered toys. Tip: To encourage your baby’s upper body, neck, and back strength, place your Busy Baby Mat on a vertical surface in front of them like a cabinet during tummy time to promote pushing themselves up from the ground with their arms-use of fun noise making or visually stimulating toys are a great added motivation!
- Attach your Busy Baby Mat to your baby’s play pen or baby gate to promote reaching/grasping of items. You will find your baby first reaches with both hands simultaneously, then later will be able to reach with either hand to grasp a toy. Tip: try attaching a larger tethered toy to promote use of both hands, and smaller items with tethers placed to either side of your Busy Baby Mat to promote reaching unilaterally (with one hand).
- Utilize the Busy Baby Mat or Mini Mat during mealtimes on baby’s highchair, as well as when out to eat with your family at a restaurant, using a bottle bungee for their bottle, and of course tethers for their favorite toys! Allowing baby to practice holding the busybaby teething spoon will increase their ability to bring items to mouth, help desensitize their gag reflex with exploration of textures, and will eventually translate to self-feeding skills-an exciting milestone as your baby begins trialing purees around 5-6 months!
- Tip: Allow your baby to become messy with purees on the Busy Baby Mat! Why? Creating a positive sensory experience and letting them know it is okay to get messy allows for new and exciting sensations, promotes use of their fine motor skills as they use their hands, promotes language as they communicate their reactions with you, and acts as a controlled introduction to becoming messy (for the many uncontrolled messes that await them in toddlerhood!)
- Attach the Busy Baby Mat to the side of the sink or tub, with teethers and toys attached to tethers. This just adds to the bath time fun and provides additional opportunities with exploring textures, hand-eye coordination, reaching, and grasping!
Additional tips and takeaways
- Babies should always be supervised during tummy time on their stomach. If your baby happens to fall asleep during tummy time, turn baby onto their back for safe sleeping.
- Each child will vary in the timing of achieving each milestone. No two children are alike, even siblings differ in their milestone development.
- If you have concerns about your child’s development, contact your pediatrician for further guidance and support.
Get creative, and enjoy your baby!
~Katie the OT Mom
You can find Katie on Instagram at @otmomwithablog or reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org