I’ve had lots of questions about the therapy the babies go to, so I figured I’d answer them all at once on here. When we were in the hospital, the babies received amazing physical and feeding therapy. (Like, I’m still weirdly obsessed with our feeding specialist, maybe that’s a story for another day!) Upon discharge, they were still considered “fragile feeders” so we were anxious to continue their feeding therapy. Unfortunately the wait time to get in to outpatient feeding therapy is much longer than I expected, so we are on a waiting list.
In the meantime, the babies are doing outpatient physical therapy – they go once a week to the children’s hospital. Luckily they aren’t diagnosed with anything specific, other than being premature and therefore started out weaker than most babies. So for us, the purpose of therapy is to close the gap between their adjusted age (age from my due date) to their actual age (when they were born) and help them hit their milestones. I’ve loved going to therapy because it helps me know what to do with them at home, but it also teachers me ways to “play” with them. Sometimes I think it’s hard to know what to do with babies so small! Enter my current favorite baby “thing”….
The Play Mat / Activity Gym
Early on in our therapy in the hospital, I realized how important it would be to have a play mat for the girls once we got home – not just as a place to put them to hang out, but for mental and physical development. I was kind of dreading getting one, because play mats I’ve seen in the past always seem to be cheesy and brightly colored (just search “baby play mat” online and you’ll see what I mean!) On the hunt for a better option, I stumbled upon a brand called Lovevery. They make a Play Gym that is beautiful to have out, but so intentional in regards to helping with development and learning.
We’ve used ours’ SO much already, and the girls love to lay/play on it. I love that it’s big enough for both of them to fit! They can each be focused on a different area of the gym with plenty of room to move. There are five different development zones on the gym that help baby with learning to focus, making sounds, feel/texture, hiding/finding, and learning colors. There’s also a little cover to turn the gym into a little fort when the babies are older. But my very favorite part is the play guide – it was put together by child development specialists and gives you inspiration and activities to do with your baby according to their age.
For example, the guide tells me things about my babies in the first 12 weeks, like they can hear perfectly, see only in black and white (8-14 inches away), has clenched fists, etc. Then, the guide gives me things that would be good to do with them, like skin-to-skin contact, tummy time, floor time, or talking/singing to them. It also tells me exactly how to do some specific activities, like showing them high contrast images during tummy time, putting them in side-lying position, or practicing visual tracking.
I know as parents we worry if we are doing the best thing for our babies, and when they are so small it’s hard to know what to do. It’s so nice to have a simple guide, along with a comfortable place for them to “play” with the right amount of stimulation. If you want to geek out on this like I have been, you can check out their website for more info.