Playing with a newborn can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for both you and the baby. Even though newborns may not have the ability to actively participate in play, they can still benefit greatly from the interaction and stimulation that comes from playing with them.
This week has been crazy. The kids, minus the baby, were hit with some type of stomach bug so they were both home from school all week. On top of that, my husband went back to work this week from parental leave, so I’ve basically been solo parenting three kids. Let’s just say that I give it up to single moms who do this day in and day out. You are the real MVP. Taking care of multiple sick kids all day as well as getting things done around the house isn’t for the faint of heart.
In an effort to not let the germs spread to the baby, I’ve been trying to keep her separate as much as possible. Luckily she still sleeps the majority of the day so I’ve either been babywearing or letting her nap peacefully in her bassinet.
Related: Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms
Enjoying playtime with my newborn
Having a newborn is finally getting to the fun stage. The number of hours they sleep is starting to cut down a bit and they start to spend more than a few minutes a day awake. So now we can spend our days doing a little more than eating, pooping, and sleeping.
My baby girl is now six weeks and her awake time is starting to increase a little. I’m so excited to watch her personality come out. I’ve been trying to engage with her a bit more with tummy time, singing, and reading. We also popped open her Lovevery The Looker Play Kit to help make things a bit more fun and she enjoyed it. I think I may have enjoyed our playtime a little more than she did though.
If you didn’t know, you can have playtime with your newborn daily and actually make it enjoyable for the two of you.
Why do I need to entertain my newborn while they’re awake?
In the first few weeks after bringing the baby home, they seem so small and fragile. They also sleep a lot so our main focus is typically to feed them, change them, and take in all those newborn snuggles.
But once they reach the six-week mark, give or take, they start to stay awake a little longer. And how do you keep a newborn entertained? I mean they can’t interact back with you, but you can play with them by incorporating activities that help aid in their development and keep them busy.
Play is extremely important in helping babies and toddlers learn and grow. It helps them explore the world around them, learn to speak, strengthen their motor skills and gain knowledge.
When should I start playing with my newborn?
Playing with a newborn can be a delightful experience and start as early as a week old. You’ll be surprised how much your baby will take in during their first month of life just by interacting with you daily.
Remember, newborns have short attention spans though and may tire easily. Keep play sessions short and sweet and always be responsive to your baby’s cues. Also, don’t worry about trying to set a schedule just yet just talk, sing, and interact with your baby throughout the day.
Related: Appreciating the Newborn Stage: Finding Joy in the Little Things
7 ideas for playing with a newborn
Newborn play activities may be difficult to think of at first, but once you get used to them, you’ll find that they’ll come to you naturally. And the best part is playing with a newborn can be short and sweet.
Here are some playtime ideas to get started:
Newborns are highly sensitive to touch, sound, and light. You can provide sensory stimulation by gently touching or stroking their skin, using a soft toy or a rattle to create sound, or showing them contrasting colors and patterns.
Practice tummy time
Tummy time is an important activity for a newborn’s development. It helps strengthen their neck and back muscles, which are essential for later milestones like crawling and sitting up. You can place your baby on its tummy on a soft surface for a few minutes each day to give your baby the strength and sensory input they need for physical development.
Singing and talking
Babies love to hear the sound of their parent’s voices. You can sing nursery rhymes or lullabies, or just talk to your baby about your day or what you see around you.
Newborns are used to the movement they experienced while in the womb. You can replicate this by rocking or swaying them gently, or by carrying them in a baby carrier or sling.
Even though newborns can’t understand the words you’re saying, they can still benefit from hearing the sound of your voice and looking at the pictures in a book.
Make eye contract
Facetime has a different meaning when it comes to babies. Newborns are naturally drawn to faces, especially familiar faces like mom and dad. Making eye contact with your little ones is a great way to bond with them. Smile, talk to them, and make funny faces to get them engaged.
Enjoy extra cuddles
Newborns love to be held and cuddled. Take some time to snuggle up with your little one, stroke their hair or rub their back, and just enjoy the moment together.
Your baby may sleep most of the day so you’ll need to use your time wisely and find out the best way to keep them entertained during the day. Remember that the most important thing when playing with a newborn is to be gentle and responsive to their cues. Watch for signs of overstimulation or fatigue, and take breaks as needed.
What are some ways you make playing with your newborn fun?
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