When first learning the value of free movement and simple play objects, parents attending the monthly New & Expectant Parent Class often remark, “I wish we had known this before registering for our baby shower.”
It’s true- much of what you’ll find on a traditional BABY REGISTRY is absent from parents following the Magda Gerber’s RIE Approach. Savy parents know that in many regards, less is more, especially when it comes to healthy attachment and the early learning experiences of an infant’s developing mind.
Our favorite “must haves” for the RIE baby include:
1. The LIE FLAT CAR SEAT
Allow parents to safely transport their infant by vehicle without the worry of discomfort traditional upright infant seats pose when the baby lacks the maturity to hold her head upright on her own. Extended stays in traditional upright car seats can pose physical discomfort for your infant’s developing body.
2. The TOPPONCINO
Assists in transitioning and transporting your young infant securely by helping keep the head and spine connected- critical as your baby is building trust and security. When the head and spine are not connected during movement, it can cause your baby to startle- described by Anna Tardos of the Pikler Institute as a feeling of literally losing your head and coming apart. Topponcinos should allow for free movement of your baby’s limbs (there’s no need to swaddle) and will provide the infant with additional warmth to boot.
3. The CROCHET BLANKET
Helps parent enjoy a more worry-free baby rest time when your infant is at sleep. Often during rest a blanket becomes bunched or is pulled over your baby’s face. Crochet blankets allow for more air flow and invite your child to grasp with fingers and toes.
4. The MOSES BASKET
Offers flexibility for parents with a lifestyle on the move- one that typically comes with multiple children. The very young infant sleeps quite a bit and derives security from being able to have contact with his perimeter. Car seats prompt a baby placing pressure on her lower extremities, while a Moses Basket lies flat and allows for more freedom of movement during rest. It’s consistent and predictable when your schedule isn’t always, allowing your child to feel comfortable resting away from his crib and even outdoors. As an added bonus, Moses Baskets make great doll carriers when your children have outgrown them.
Soothes both child and parent when things seem to be getting hectic. Some research suggests that when played periodically throughout the day (not constantly), classical music is beneficial to your infant’s developing brain. Adults should be sensitive that an infant works hard trying to make sense of the new environment around him- sounds play an integral part in his decoding. Plan for lots of quite time, access to nature sounds (open window our outdoors), and keep her room media-free. If you do choose to play music, playing classical has proven to be the most beneficial.
You’ll notice an absence of toys and play objects. Your baby’s first play object should by his hand and it’s not until “hand regard” that we might introduce simple everyday household play objects such as a scarf, ring, ball or lid.
We’ve also left out high chairs, swings, bouncy seats, carriers, pacifiers and the like. These items not only inhibit free movement and self-regulation critical to your child’s developing brain, but also foster a dependency for them.
These are our favorites- what would you add to the list?