By: Tarryn Poulton
A good friend of ours recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl. This got us chatting about some activities that she could do with her daughter, not necessarily to stimulate her development or make her a genius, but just things that they could quietly do that would be helpful in the long run. Having had some time to think about it, here are some thoughts on activities that you can do with your newborn baby.
The thing is, your little newborn is adjusting to life on the outside and their little brain is assimilating and processing all of the new things it’s seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting.
Life can be pretty overwhelming and exhausting for
you your baby. So, the first thing is to make sure that you only do these activities when your baby is calm and awake. As soon as you notice that he is starting to get a bit fussy, stop doing whatever it is you are doing and take him to a calm place and cuddle him so that he doesn’t become too overstimulated.
Here are some things that you can do to make the most of the little awake time you have with your baby in those early days (if you have the energy!).
It’s never too early to start tummy time! As your baby is so little, start by lying with her on your chest. You can even have skin to skin time like this. You can adjust the angle at which you are lying if your baby finds it too uncomfortable to be completely horizontal.
Sing and talk to your baby
Your baby has been hearing your voice constantly for the last 9 months and already recognises you by your voice. Singing and talking to your baby is therapeutic for both of you and will really facilitate bonding. Babies also begin to recognise familiar syllables and patterns of speech and this begins to set the foundation of language development. Research has also shown that babies respond well to higher pitches and the “Motherese” that we speak to our babies is like music to their little ears.
If you have run out of songs to sing or things to say, read to your baby.
The benefits of baby massage are well recognised and there are many baby massage classes available for moms and new babies. It can be helpful with bonding, helps to develop body awareness and aids with colic, digestion and sleep. It is safe to do baby massage from birth (when our baby was in ICU, we massaged her feet with olive oil. It was the only physical contact we had with her for three days and it may not have done a lot for her but it was a vital way for me to connect and bond with her).
Go for a walk
Before your baby was born, she was constantly rocked and swayed as you went about your daily routine. She is likely to find a walk in a sling or carrier to be really calming. It will also stimulate baby’s sense of movement and a change of scenery will do you both some good.
Change it up
Your baby is likely to be fascinated by the strange new world around him. Even moving his Moses basket around your home will provide plenty of new things to look at, hear and smell.
Whilst your newborn is not going to reach out for and hold objects, she will be fascinated with black and white images in particular so find some black and white books or pictures for her to look at. These are readily available in most baby stores. A mobile about her cot will also provide plenty of visual stimulation.
Enjoy these early days with your precious little ones. It’s a cliche but they do grow so quickly and soon you’ll be longing for a quiet little cuddle with her snuggled in your arms!