A baby moves a hand to its mouth, the muscles contract, the head wobbles. For this, its muscles must collaborate, which is called coordination. It seems so natural. As adults, when we put food in our mouths, we do this automatically. However, coordination does no come so naturally, and only develops with a lot of practice. This means that repetition of coordinated movements is necessary – in this case navigating the hand towards the mouth. Babies practice with arbitrary, crisscross movements, until they succeed.
The first contact with your baby is completely through touch. The primary need of a new born is not nutrition, but touch, and to creep against its mother’s warm skin. After the hard work of the delivery, this is very comforting. These first moments, your baby is very clear, and will explore your face. You will do the same. This first encounter with your baby after it is born can feel like a kind of trance, and you will fully have each other’s attention. The mother will also recover, and gets her reward after the hard work. The same happens when the baby is put in the father’s arms: they will look at each other and the father’s heart will melt for this little, helpless-looking creature.
I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t see everything that happened during the couple of months before my daughter could roll over: also in science, the thought has been that only measurable things count. These were the so-called milestones in the sensorimotor development, like rolling over. Assumed was that sensorimotor skills would develop first, and then cognition. This was first reported by Jean Piaget.
Our brain is incredibly versatile. We have incredible physical capabilities and athletes prove that there is room for more, because records are kept being broken. We can achieve a lot with our minds. For every problem, there will be someone to solve it. This is how our brain works: when a question is asked, an answer is developed. What is particularly special, is that we can imagine all kinds of things. We save images of the past, and we create images of the future. We fantasize about the things that will happen and the more vivid the imaginations, the more real they seem.
When I was pregnant, I felt the remarkable need to connect to other upcoming mothers. I was a late mom, so I did not have much pregnant couples around me. Therefore I looked for groups to do pregnancy gymnastics, yoga, or something similar. Unfortunately, all pregnancy exercises did not start until the fifth or sixth month of the pregnancy. Besides, they were aimed at giving birth. I was confident that my body knew what to do when giving birth, so I did not find that the most important part. What I did want, was to involve the father of my child in the pregnancy during the complete process, while pregnancy groups only invited the fathers a few time at the end.