First Step method workshops provide developmental guidance for babies and help parents realise their babies’ potential to the maximum. During the workshops I mentor parents and babies along the most significant developmental journey they will ever take. As that journey begins, mothers have a one-time opportunity to nurture and guide their children. And they learn how to provide infants with an enriching, positive developmental environment. Many research studies show that when parents devote high quality time and attention to their infants in the early stages of their lives, they grow up as people with better developed cognitive, sensory and motor skills. www.firststepmethod.com
The First Step method is based on Feldenkrais but while Feldenkrais is focussed on adults, First Step is for babies and works with muscle memory and awareness through movement. Both methods are geared to the holistic development of the individual.
Principles of baby development according to First Step
A baby’s (I will refer to baby in the feminine from here on) development is built one milestone on the other. Everything the baby learns when she reaches a milestone, she uses it, internalizes and improves it and moves on to the next milestone. This is one of the reasons why achieving the milestones is so important. It is a bit like building a house – It has to have a good foundation.
At my workshops, I observe the baby from a holistic perspective. Her motor and sensory development, behaviour, communication etc. and I give individualised advice on how to enrich her development environment in order to help her reach her full potential.
With access to the internet we are very fortunate indeed. We are one click away from anything we need to know. We live in such amazing times but there is a problem with that. It is not necessary for baby’s development. Baby’s needs haven’t changed from the beginning of time. Even surrounded by so much technology, all that is needed is the basic things: Love and mom’s touch, smell and her voice.
When we consider the baby’s environment in womb. How nurtured she was, how warm and all her needs provided. When she fell asleep it was because she was rocked. (No wonder little ones love being rocked to sleep). Her mom’s smell, voice, the white noise of the heart beating and the blood running in the veins, how comforting all of these things must have been. Then suddenly with the advent of birth, all of that was taken away. Evicted into a whole new world where new rules apply.
In my workshops I try to help moms to maintain the nurture and comfort of the womb in this new world.
I offer workshops for two age groups. Each workshop contains 4 sessions of an hour each and moms attending are encouraged to ask any questions about their babies.
0-3 months In these workshops we deal with everything baby needs at this developmental stage. The reasons she cries. How to soothe her and how to incorporate the old ‘womb rules’’ into the new ‘real world rules’. ‘Tummy time’, how to stimulate baby and more important, how not to overdo stimulation.
3-7 months Here we deal with balance system, rolling, communication, behaviour and stimulation. At this age baby is more aware and needs to be stimulated. I teach activities they can initiate which are fun and great for development.
Ideally I like to conduct workshops for three to five moms to keep the atmosphere personal and intimate and to encourage bonding. I also offer private sessions at mom’s homes and can work with babies up to 18 months old.
Interested in a workshop/private session? Please leave your details and I will get back to you.
Questions I am often asked:
The answer is quite simple. If baby can’t reach the sitting position by herself then she should not be made to sit.
Development is built stage by stage and there is a good reason for that. Every stage is built on the previous one, so that muscles, skeleton and balance system can get stronger and start to support her.
The second reason I don’t recommend putting baby into the sitting position before she is ready is because, as stated before, human development is stage on stage. First baby lies on her tummy and raises her head, then she rolls over, then she crawls. Only then will she sit, stand and finally walk. If baby sits before she reaches the previous milestone by herself, she won’t be motivated enough to extend herself (because she is already on the next level, sitting up, without any effort on her own).
Another reason for baby to develop in the correct sequence is because this is how she learns to navigate space. How she changes and moves through different positions and how she balances herself.
The final and extremely important reason for not putting baby into a sitting position before she is ready is that it steals her independence. She needs to learn how to achieve her milestones by and for herself. There is a connection between sensory and motor development and behaviour and we need to give our babies a challenging and supportive environment, so that they can reach their developmental stages on their own.
Mothers often say: “My baby hates to be on his tummy…” | “I have read that it is not necessary for my baby to be on his tummy.” | “My nephew didn’t have tummy time and he is doing well…” | “Is ‘tummy time’ important?”
The answer is most definitely YES. For a number reasons:
In the womb, baby’s back and tummy muscles are long and tension free. After birth, when baby sleeps on her back, the back muscles contract creating tension or stiffness. In this position, the shoulder blades are pushed together, putting more pressure on those muscles. Later, when we put the baby on her tummy, this stiffness will make her uncomfortable.
Also, when the shoulder blades are pushed together s baby’s ability to bring her hand to the mid-line in front of her is restricted. Consider how many things one does where hands are in mid-line.
Our development is built stage by stage. Milestone by milestone: Lying on the tummy, lifting the head, rolling, crawling, sitting, standing, walking. With each milestone, the body learns new skills. In order to be able master a skill, baby practices until she takes ownership of it. Then she moves on to the next milestone using what the body learned from the previous one and adding new components.
The importance of spending time on her tummy is the quality of the movement and the body language that baby learns from it. The first years are very important in a baby’s life and they are the foundation of her future development.
Some other important reasons for ‘tummy time’:
Baby is born with her spine straight. Letting her lie on her tummy, push against the floor and try to move will start shaping her spine the way it ultimately needs to be – ‘S’ shaped. She will begin to react to the resistance of gravity (there is no gravity in the womb). Her back and tummy muscles will begin to work together and that is crucial for development. Lying on her tummy helps to strengthen her muscles as they work against gravity.
Lying on her back, baby is frightened much more easily. The Moro reflex is more active in this position, while she feels safer and less stimulated lying on her tummy.
If baby doesn’t like to be on her tummy there are other things one can do:
‘Baby wearing’ – carry baby in a sling. Her tummy against your tummy.
Letting her lie face-down on your tummy: It’s ‘tummy time’!
In my workshops I teach a variety of things one can do to encourage ‘tummy time’.