WHAT CAN I DO WITH MY NEWBORN?
Congratulation on the birth of your child! You have created this life, this tiny person and what an adventure it will be.
It’s very easy to waste hours looking at and adoring your baby (usually your first born, as you don’t get that spare time once your onto your second, so one on one quiet time is generally at the 3am feed when your too tired to even peel your eyes open to look at them), but what do we do when our baby is awake? What interaction can we do? What age do we start?
Although it seems newborns don’t do much, they are taking on a mass amount of information. Babies can be aware of your smell, voice, touch, taste and the blurred image in front of them… that will become recognisable as mummy’s silly face very soon.
You can start interacting with your baby from birth. During this early newborn period, it isn’t about setting activities but just letting your baby be, knowing they are loved and creating a bond.
Between the endless hours of crying (not just the baby), changing nappies (again not just the baby), washing clothes, feeding etc there isn’t much down time between, however the time your newborn is awake will increase, so try to enjoy those small windows to interact with them while they just be a baby and just be.
It’s also great to get an understanding of your baby’s cues when they have had enough. This could be crying or loosing eye contact (looking away/closing eyes).
Interactive things to do with your newborn might include;
1. TALKING AND NOISES.
Always talk to your baby. Sit and have a chat in a quite space. They love to hear you are around. Explain to them what you are doing, be around the house, grocery shopping, driving etc. ‘You have done a wee, I’m going to change your nappy now’, ‘Mummy is going to make a coffee’ (HA)! ‘Mummy is going to reheat her coffee…. again’. Make noises with your mouth and hands or introduce soft sounds with instruments or house items.
2. DANCE AND SING.
Play any type of music, sing a song or lullaby, rock and sway your baby in rhythm. Your baby is very aware of movement having be bounced around in utero for months, this can be a comforting familiar exercise.
There are a number of physical movement you can do with your baby. Be sure to do these very gently, slowly and only continue if they are being enjoyed.
Lay baby on their back, circle their legs in a riding bike motion.
With their legs, do the actions and sing ‘Open Shut Them’. Same with their arms (Open Cross Them). Alternate the top arm for symmetry.
Hold hands and do the actions and sing Row your boat. These actions can be done with any song.
Supporting their head, and being close to your body, help them to sit up and lower down again.
Give your baby a nice light gentle rub skin to skin is great for circulation and body awareness… and who doesn’t enjoy a massage! Make sure your baby is warm. If you like you can use an oil or cream however do check the ingredients to make sure it is safe and suitable for the sensitivity of their gorgeous fresh baby skin. Massage can be great after exercise or as a bedtime routine. Classes and books are available.
5. FUNNY FACES.
When your baby begins to takes interest in looking around your face, start to introduce facial expressions. Raise your eye brows, smile, frown, stick your tongue out. Act out happy, sad, excited, scared etc.
6. SHARE PARENT TIME.
Sometime after you have rested from laboring and settled into a having a newborn, you might need to start at the house chores again, boo! Finding a spare moment to go to have a shower or simply go to the toilet is difficult as it is, so when the washing, shopping, cleaning and other duties call, it can be beneficial to invest in a baby carrier. Newborns love to be held, they have just spent 9 months attached to you in a dark warm comfortable uterus, by using a carrier and remaining close, this gives baby comfort and a familiar secure feeling. After that’s done, give yourself a well-deserved long break! Read your favorite book, magazine or paper and have baby sit with you and point out pictures and read some stories.
7. FOLLOW THE OBJECT.
Using a soft toy, tissue, ball, balloon or any appropriate object have your baby view the item and slowly move side to side or near to far so baby can track it. When your baby is older they will start to reach for the item to touch.
8. ENGAGE TOUCH.
When your baby is a few month old or when they can open and close their fists, you can place a small light rattle, soft material such as scarfs, blanket, face washer, ribbon.
9. MOBILES & MIRRORS.
No, not you’re mobile phone, a hanging mobile! Babies are stationary so for visual appeal, hang up a mobile or place a mirror in front of baby. As they get older introduce hats, masks, wigs, glasses and funny faces accessories.
10. TUMMY TIME.
Put items in front or side to encourage rolling. Get down on their level (or have them securely on a change table) so you are sharing eye level and have a chat.
(Remember to always watch your baby with items as from a very young age they are capable of putting things in their mouths or covering their face)
What do you like doing with your newborn?