As soon as my son was born I started thinking what I should be doing with him, I mean apart from the obvious, feeding, winding and changing. I started worrying about his development and thinking I should be singing the times tables and showing him alphabet flashcards. Don’t worry, none of this is necessary and I didn’t do it but it does make you think about what you should be exposing your little one to daily and what you can do with them as they develop more and more.
Reading out loud
Babies love the sound of your voice, they recognise it from when they were inside the womb so reading is a great way to soothe and calm them. It doesn’t have to be books for them either, you can read them whatever novel you are in the middle of, or that parenting book you didn’t finish while you were pregnant. There are so many benefits of reading to your little one, not only is it a lovely shared experience but they are learning so much about language and speech while they listen to your voice. We also know that reading can provide developmental benefits for babies as young as three months, but start as early as you want to.
Babies will love looking at black and white patterns and pictures too which is why a lot of baby books are black and white. You can show them pictures and explain what they are, all communication is so important as your baby is like a sponge and constantly soaking up knowledge.
Babies love it when you sing to them, they will love looking at your face so whatever you want to sing whether it is nursery rhymes or just whatever is on the radio make sure you are making eye contact and pull lots of funny faces. It won’t be too long before your little one has their favourite song that they request you sing and before they can verbalise that you will know which is their favourite by the way they will smile at you as soon as you start to sing.
Rhymes and games
From day one you can start playing gentle games of pat a cake, round and round the garden and not only does your little one love listening to your voice and the rhythm of the words they will also love the gentle touch as you pat their tummy and boop their noses!
Go for walks
This is so good for both you and baby. I know I can go a bit stir crazy if I stay in all day so being able to head out for a walk is an absolute lifesaver for us. The fresh air is also so good for baby and can often help them to sleep better too and get a vital dose of Vitamin D. I love walking in the countryside with my son in a woven wrap. This is super comfy for me and I know gives him all the support he needs and he will often fall asleep in it. Remember the important things when carrying are TICKS. Tight, In sight, Close enough to kiss, Keep chin off chest, Supports their back.
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Play gyms and mobiles
Babies that are too little to sit up will love to lie on their backs and look at things especially if they move around. If your baby is a bit fussy to begin with try lying beside them and sing or talk to them to make sure they are fully relaxed. They will soon start to really enjoy watching the movement and this might even enable you to grab 30 seconds to brush your teeth!
Tummy time is vital for strengthening back, shoulder and neck muscles in little ones. They don’t always enjoy it and it is hard work so make sure you choose a time when your baby is happy and not tired or hungry. You don’t have to put them down for very long and try and lie in front of them so they can see you and you can offer them lots of encouragement and smiles.
As your baby gets older you will be able to do more gentle exercises with them. From about 10 weeks depending on neck strength prop them up slightly with a pillow and let them grab your hands and then gently pull up to a sitting position. This is great fun as it will enable your baby to get a different view of the world and they will soon start pulling harder and harder to get up.
These are just some of the things you can do with your new baby and the list gets longer the older and stronger they get as they are constantly learning and developing. What are your favourite things to do with baby? Please let me know in the comments below!