How to play with your newborn baby

When you are a new mommy you hear all these new terms …. “gripe water”, “colic”, “tummy time”, “SIDS”, “colostrum”… all of this can be very much overwhelming.

In the middle of everything that’s going on, the moment after you gave birth to your baby, the clock doesn’t stop.

In between feeding, burping, diapers, sleep, bath … where do you get the time to just enjoy your new baby and not get lost in the chaos around you?

I remember back a few years when I had my first little girl I was still in the hospital and I took my baby out of the crib opened the swaddle blanket and took off her onesie. There in front of me was this perfect little baby with only her diaper and vest on. The nurse came in and asked in shock, “Ma’am what are you doing? Your baby is going to get cold”. And I remember saying to her, “I’m taking a few minutes to just “look” at my baby!

During those first few weeks you must try to remember to take the time to just sit back, forget about the clock and enjoy your baby.

Whether you choose to just cuddle, stare or kiss your baby, it is so important.

Did you know that you could even play with your newborn? Yes, that is possible.

Here are a few tips and ways to spend some quality, bonding time with your new bundle of joy.

~ Tummy Time: Did you know is that even just 30-60 seconds, is enough for newborns? Aim for frequent, short bursts of belly-down play throughout the day.

~ Visual Play: Hold objects a few cm’s in front of baby's face in the direction she's looking. Very, very slowly move the object in one direction. Newborns are just learning to follow moving objects with their eyes, so wait for baby to find the object and then move it a bit more.

~ A mirror: This every-day object is perfect for exploration and discovery. Whether you mount a mirror at ground level on a wall (for side-lying viewing), prop up a soft-sided toy mirror during tummy time, or spend time chatting in front of the bathroom mirror, babies can’t get enough of staring at their own reflection.

~ Motion Play: Give your baby a new perspective on life (and some vestibular input) by holding your baby face down using your arm across his tummy to support him. This position can be helpful for gassy babies. Gently sway your baby side to side. You can even make airplane noises if you want.

~ Exercise Play: Strengthen your baby’s abdominal muscles and increase his body awareness by gently moving his legs in a cycling motion. This activity also introduces the idea of alternating motion (one leg, then the other), which he’ll need to understand in order to crawl and walk.

While it is great creating bonding time with your baby you must be careful not to over stimulate them during the first few months of life.

Keep the play time short and sweet and remember to ENJOY your baby!

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