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It may seem like your baby spends a lot of time lying around, but she actually gets in a vigorous workout every day. Whether she’s batting at an object, kicking her legs, or squirming during a diaper change, she’s exercising her little muscles. And all that strength-building is essential to her motor development: She’ll need strong muscles to hold up her head, roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually walk. In addition, physical activity pays off in the form of more restful sleep, less fussiness, and a happy infant who is eager to play
Pulling your baby up into a sitting position is another good way to strengthen the muscles in her shoulders, core, arms, and back . Even though you’re doing the pulling, your baby will naturally flex her abdominal muscles and work to keep her head in alignment with her body, which helps strengthen the muscles and build balance. While your baby is on her back, grasp her forearms and gently pull her toward you. You can start doing sit-up exercises around 6 weeks; if she’s too young to support her head, instead of pulling her by the forearms, place your arms behind her shoulders with your hands behind her head to keep it from flopping back.
Picking up objects is a great way to build your baby’s grasping ability, improve hand-eye coordination, and help develop the muscles in her shoulders, arms, and hands, says Angela Thacker, regional director of The Little Gym, a national chain of children’s gyms. As soon as she starts grasping at items, usually around 3 or 4 months, use what you have around the house—rattles, small toys, and other objects of varying sizes and shapes—as her personal weights. Sit your baby in her high chair or bouncy seat and place a small assortment of these items in front of her. Encourage her to lift one, check it out, put it down, and then lift it again or move on to a different one
Did your mom ever tell you to cycle your baby’s legs to help relieve gas? Well, it’s not only a natural method for pushing air out of his system—it’s also a good way to work the legs, hips, knees, and abs. This move helps increase flexibility as well as his range of motion. “Put your baby on his back and gently move his legs up and around, as if he were pedaling a bicycle