From the weekly column in the Charlotte Observer by pediatrician Rhonda Patt, MD:

IMG_0452During feedings, hold your baby and make eye contact. This is an important bonding time. Babies should never be fed with a bottle propped up using blankets. . .. If possible, switch arms for the second half of the feeding. This promotes better neck mobility and strength.

We couldn’t agree more!  Thank you Dr. Patt!

Here at Carolina Kinder Development, we often talk about the daily routines of your infant’s life.  We even devoted one of our videos to it:  diapering, feeding, burping, and dressing take up many of a young infant’s awake hours.  The ways these routines are done are vital to bonding and development AND headshape.  Baby’s with flat heads (plagiocephaly or brachycephaly) have become very widespread and the issue is much more complex than “it’s because babies are sleeping on their backs” or “it’s because babies don’t do enough tummy time”.  In this blog we discuss some of the underlying reasons and the how to’s.  In the last 5-10 years there have been subtle changes in how babies are fed and diapered and generally handled.  It is having huge (and detrimental) impact and far too many babies are having “flat head”.  The influence of baby equipment is pervasive (think swings, pervasive use of car seat when not in car, bouncy seats, etc).  Also, the lack of generational advice has left too many parents bereft of essential advice when it comes to simple routines such as how to position one’s baby when feeding or diapering.  As a culture we are busier and more distracted.  So what hasn’t changed?  Well, parents love their babies as much as any generations before them and want to know the best ways to help their baby thrive and develop!

Let me echo the words of Rhonda Patt, MD and add a few more:

Please hold your baby when you feed her.  Please do not feed your baby whiles he lies in a boppy pillow or carseat.  The payoffs are great when you follow this simple recommendation.  First, YOU get the pleasure and joy of holding your tiny cargo during these fleeting months of life.  Secondly, your baby’s brain is developing daily, (yes daily!) and feeling your arms holding him goes directly to their developing brain and hormones wash over the brain essentially saying, “all is well baby”.  These sustain one throughout life.  Think of the sad and long term consequences of babies in orphanages whom do not receive enough touch.  The hormones which wash over a baby when being held are also those which influence hunger.  Premature babies are often co-slept with other premature babies.  The closeness of another human positively influences their hormones which helps them gain weight.

And for babies that have a preference for turning in one direction, feeding and dressing and diapering become opportunities for helping your baby develop a sense of where midline is and much more!  (Midline being the center line of one’s body which is a basic part of what all infants all learning about).

Press here is you’d like more info on a video we created which shows these routines with actual infants.  Press here to see the rest of Dr. Patt’s column.