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It seems like all newborn babies do is eat, sleep, poop, repeat. In reality that statement is fairly accurate. However, there are short bursts of awake time during those first few months that should be taken advantage of. These small periods of awake time are excellent opportunities to play with your newborn baby. It’s important to take the time to play with your baby each day. Play is the way that children learn to move, communicate, and understand the world around them. Even as a newborn your baby is already ready to start playing and learning.
You may be overwhelmed right now trying to think of how to play with a newborn. It’s actually fairly simple. In fact, you’re probably doing most of these everyday anyway. The best way to play with a baby is to stimulate their senses. Here are 10 simple and fun ways to play with your 0-3 month old.
Eye contact – One of the simplest ways to play with your newborn is by making eye contact with them. Taking the time to have meaningful eye contact with your baby is important. Eye contact plays an important role in attachment bonding. A great time to enjoy eye contact with your baby is during a feeding.
Have a conversation – Talk to your baby often throughout the day. Explain to her what you are doing and why you are doing it. Make sure you pause to let her respond back to you. You can even repeat some of the sounds she is making back to her. Talking to your baby plays an important role in language development and it starts as early as day one. It also shows your baby that you are paying attention to her and that she matters.
Mirror play – Babies love to look at faces. That’s why one of the best ways to play with a newborn is by using a mirror. You can prop a mirror up in front of them during tummy time or hold them in front of a mirror in your home. This gives them the opportunity to discover different aspects of their face as well as yours. Point out different features on your baby and explain what they are. Your baby might not understand what you are saying yet, but hearing your voice is an important part of language development.
Read a book – One of the best gifts you can give your child is taking the time to read to them. Research shows that it’s never too early to start reading to your kids. So, break out one of your favorite children’s books and get to reading. Your baby might not understand what you are saying, but they will respond to the different tones in your voice. Plus, they will enjoy focusing on the different patterns and colors on the pages.
Dance it out – Babies love to be bounced and swayed. That’s why a great way to play with your newborn is by putting on some of their favorite tunes and dancing with them. Don’t hesitate to use a baby sling or carrier when doing this. This way your arms won’t wear out before your baby does.
Tummy time – Tummy time plays a crucial role in baby’s development. That’s why it is so important to make sure that your baby is participating in the recommended amount of tummy time per day. Tummy time doesn’t have to be a chore though. In fact, it can be a fun way to play with your newborn. Here are 5 different ways you can turn tummy time into an activity that both you and your baby love.
Airplane Ride – For this newborn activity hold your baby face down with your arm supporting their tummy. Gently sway your baby from side to side and up and down. This is a great activity for gassy, colicky, and reflux babies as it helps to calm their tummies. Just make sure you don’t do it too soon after a feeding. You’ll want to give the milk time to settle.
Sing a song – Did you know that babies are able to recognize music that was played frequently to them in the womb? A great way to play with your newborn is by singing those familiar tunes to them. They won’t care if you are off key because they don’t know any better. In fact, I bet they will think you are perfect. Hearing these familiar songs will be calming for them and it is also a wonderful bonding experience.
Black and white pictures – Newborns love looking at high contrast images. This is because a baby’s vision isn’t fully developed when they are first born. Keep a few black and white board books on hand for your little one to look at. I love using them during tummy time, at the changing table, or to calm her while we’re out and about.
Calming massage – Babies love getting a massage just as much as adults do. Find a calming time, like right after a bath, to give your little one a relaxing massage. One of the many benefits of a baby massage is that it stimulates the circulatory system. Some also believe that it boosts your baby’s immune system. On top of all that, it is also a wonderful way to bond with your little one. So, break out your baby’s lotion and get to work mama.