Massaging a baby on ball is very useful. Simple rocking develops Vestibular System.
Funny exercises on the ball help:
– relieve hypertonicity,
– relax the abdominal muscles,
– improve digestion,
– reduce colic,
– improve breathing.
Vibration on the ball stimulates the adrenal cortex, liver, kidneys and other internal organs. Exercises should be simple at the start, gradually being complicated. Back muscles strengthen, the spine becomes stronger and more flexible. This contributes to the normal nervous system functioning. Babies enjoy greatly activities on a massaging ball.
The ball should be chosen carefully. It should be stable and elastic enough; rubber should be of high quality. Weight limit must be specified on the ball. A ball that can support the weight of 200-300 kg is considered to be stable. The ball should be inflated so that it was quite elastic, soft and resistant.
Exercises with the ball should be better done two times a day – in the morning before meal and in the evening at 17:00 after about 40-50 minutes after meal. Before the exercises put swaddling clothes or a homemade cover on the ball. At first you will need the ball with a diameter of 45 cm, and then you can get 55 cm and 75 cm.
The first exercises on a ball should be of short duration. Let yourself and your baby get used to the ball. Place the baby on her tummy, slightly holding her back and legs, and rotate the ball a little. Repeat this exercise every day, increasing the amplitude and duration.
By the first month of age exercises can be complicated. First gradually remove your hand from the baby’s back or tummy. But hold the knee-joints of legs with both hands. Sway by rotating and vibrating. Then gently try to remove your hands off the ball. Gradually and smoothly lift the baby’s legs. In this position, baby lying on his tummy and back, sway him with the emphasis on the body’s upper sections.
Increase the shaking amplitude while first holding baby’s knees and then shins. Try to hold your baby upside down as often as possible. Muscles of the cervical spine are being trained in this position. Baby learns to hold his head. Back and spine muscles are involved. The same position but on the back, lowers the tone of the flexors. Baby’s hands relax and straighten, wrist tone reduces, fingers open. Later shake the baby, vibrate him on the ball.
Baby is able to lie on the ball upside down, try to hold his hands only. It’s hard. Ask someone to help watching the baby not to fall down. Put the baby on his back. Take his wrist while putting your thumb into his palm. Holding his hands tight, start the exercise with a simple swinging, and increase the amplitude then. Later try to completely lift the baby’s hands up while keeping moving. Legs are hanging down freely. Keep the baby in this position for several seconds. You can shake and vibrate the ball slightly. Achieve the full extension of baby’s legs along the ball and extension of his spine. When the baby masters this activity, you can complicate the exercise. Perform rotational motions, crossing hands on chest, etc.
By 2 months of age exercises are more complicated.
Put your baby on his back, hold the knees or shins (as you prefer). When shaking the baby toward you, gently bend his knees, pressing them to the tummy. When moving the ball away from you, straighten his legs. Do this alternately with the right and left foot.
Put your baby on his tummy. Hold his lower back with your right hand. Put the baby in a frog pose on the ball with your left hand. Sway the baby to and fro, vibrate him on the ball. Hip joints are being correctly developed in this position. Baby relaxes.
Baby lies belly down on the ball. Hold his hands. Sway him forward and backward. Gradually lift the shoulder girdle and his chest pulling slightly his hands. When raising your baby, gently spread his hands apart.
At 3 months of age exercises are more complicated. Baby lying on his tummy, you can bend and unbends his legs, hold his left and right foot (alternately), hold the hands, put down to the feet, etc. Scatter the toys on the floor in front of the ball. Baby, trying to reach the toys, will take his hands off the ball. Baby lying on his back, you can seat him, bend and unbend his legs, turn him.
Massage your baby gently for 10-15 minutes before the exercises. Then do the exercises on the ball for 10 – 15 minutes. It is useful for the baby to swim in the bathtub afterwards. These exercises are very useful. The result will be seen very fast. Your baby will become more active, stronger, will have better appetite and mood. These exercises are prescribed to the babies with any neurologic or orthopedic diseases.
Here is a story of one mother:
“When my son was 1 month old I put the ball into his crib to his legs. He gladly kicked it with his legs, knocked, supported against it and so on. These exercises train the muscles of the ankle and foot. Moreover I massaged him and trained on the massage ball three times a day. He liked to chew the handles on the ball. Some time later, he gladly rode on the ball throughout the apartment.”
Here is one more complex of exercises.
1. Put your baby on his tummy, hold his back with one hand and slightly press him to the ball shaking a little. Then take his legs with your other hand, and rolle him on the ball forward for the baby to learn how to throw his hands, and then backward, putting his feet on solid ground to develop nerve in his feet (esp. when barefoot) and the ankles. Then baby still lying on his tummy, roll him around in a clockwise direction and against. Thus, this fine tummy massage prevents colic, constipation and flatulence. In addition, there is a prevention of umbilical hernia and baby’s abs are being trained.
2. Put your baby on the back. He will “group” at once and strain his tummy. Shake him in different directions. This exercise is very relaxing and helps to prevent micro-displacements of the vertebrae.
3. After such a warming-up, put the baby tummy down again, his ankles between your fingers. Ankles must be squeezed between your index and middle fingers supporting with the thumb. Baby will start pushing off with his hands, leaping like a spring. The same exercise can be done on the back. Babies love it!
4. Put your baby on the ball alternating tummy and back. Firmly pressing your one hand on the baby, bounce him on the ball with the other hand. Then put your baby on the ball alternating his sides and rocked him. The baby will try to lean on the elbows.
5. Your baby still on his back, legs pressed to his tummy, swing him in different directions.
Later when your baby can crawl, do a more complex exercise called “wheelbarrow”. Baby lying on his tummy should capture the ball or handles of the ball with his hands. Then carefully lift his legs like a wheelbarrow. Watch out for balance.
At 1 year of age do one more interesting exercise.
Put your baby on his feet on the ball, hold his arms and the ball is pressed between your legs. Baby tries to walk in such a position. Balance, coordination, and ankles are being trained like this. Later when your baby grows up a little, you can seat him on the ball, for him using his legs, to jump on it while sitting.
Read also the game This is the Way.