You recommend hammocks in your book “Schritt für Schritt ins Leben”.
Monika Bauer: It’s difficult for small babies to regulate their tonicity. Being rhythmically moved helps babies to handle their tonicity and to find a relaxed posture. Besides, babies are accustomed to movements which remind them of their time in the womb. Relaxed babies can improve their skills much better. Many parents are worried about their baby’s posture when they put their children in a hammock.
What can you as a physiotherapist tell those parents?
Monika Bauer: The posture in a hammock or baby hammock is excellent for the development. Baby takes up a round posture when they are lying on their back. By this their back becomes the lowest point. Thus releases the spinal column. A round posture is always harmful when bottom is the lowest point and spine is strained while sitting aslant. This is not the case in a hammock. We have experienced that rhythmically moved cry-babies are quickly calmed down.
To what effect is this due to?
Monika Bauer: No baby cries intentionally just because he/she wants to tease its parents. And to my mind, no child cries without a reason. So many babies cry especially in the afternoon respectively evening – that is when the environmental stimuli are too muchfor them.
How does this overstimulation influence a baby’s mood or emotional state?
Monika Bauer: Our world today is really noisy and full of visual stimuli. It’s pretty difficult for a little baby to copewith this. Especially babies in their first 8 weeks needs to be protected from unnecessary stimuli.
Do you think that the shielded environment in a hammock with its little stimuli is helpful?
Monika Bauer: It has been proven that a filtering mechanism which reduces the world’s stimuli is activated whenever a child is swung or rhythmical moved. That’s why swinging helps with many cry-babies. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to look forother potential causes (e.g. pain, smog,…).
Monika Bauer, author of the book “Schritt für Schritt ins Leben: Babys wunderbarer Weg zum Laufen” has been a physiotherapist for over 30 years.
She decided to specialize on therapy for children when she was doing her education at the centre of spasticity in Munich [Spastikerzentrum München].
She runs her own physician’s office and offers children and adults many courses.