During the early weeks of having your baby home, you may find it can be hard to find age appropriate activities for a newborn. Plus, it may not be appealing for you to leave the house, so finding home-bound activities is a must. Our postpartum doulas love teaching these simple and easy newborn-specific activities! Here are our favorites:
Infant Massage: We love teaching our clients the benefits of infant massage for both the person giving the massage and the baby receiving it. And on top of the emotional and physical benefits for everyone involved, it is fun! Babies, even only a few weeks old, react differently to the massage strokes and it can be fun for parents to see their little personalities start to show!
Tummy Time: Tummy time can start immediately after birth, babies love lifting their heads while on their parents chests. And as they get stronger, you can start transitioning them to the floor. While some babies not like it right away, it doesn’t need to be a long exercise, but should be done daily to help with muscular development, gastric emptying and even speeds up cognitive development!
Bath: Not only is giving your baby a bath something that needs to be done to get the milk out from their neck rolls, it is fun! There are several ways you can bath a new baby, but the most important is keeping the water a comfortable temperature for a newborn!
Sponge Bath: This is great when they still have the umbilical cord attached since that cannot be emerged in water. You simple use a sponge or washcloth to get the important parts clean and leave others dry
Baby Sized Tub: Baby-sized tubs are great and can usually be placed directly in the tub. They help support your baby when he or she isn’t strong enough to do it themselves.
Sink Bath: Putting your baby in the sink is a great way to wash them due to sink size and height. Sinks are usually positioned perfectly for an adult to stand at comfortable (ie no leaning over a tub hurting your knees and curling your back).
Family Bath: Get in the bath with your baby! A wonderful way to bond, have skin to skin contact, and you can check off showering from your to-do list!
Get Outside: Getting outside with a newborn is so important for both you and your baby. We aren’t saying you need to plan a strenuous hike or even anything remotely physically challenging, but just be outside. You can make a picnic and sit on a blanket while you both feel the ground beneath your feet and the breeze in your hair. Just sit in the shade and don’t over dress your baby. Generally they are comfortable in one layer more than what you are wearing, but when you are outside that may change depending on the temperature.
Reading: Reading is such a special activity to do with your baby, and that can start whenever! Some parents even read to their babies while they are still pregnant! The importance of reading to your baby comes from them hearing your voice and seeing the pictures in the books, not necessarily the content right away. So that also means you can read them YOUR books or magazines. It’s a win-win: they get read to and you get to read some trashy magazines or your favorite book you have been putting off starting.
Play Music: Music has so many benefits for people of all ages, so why not start a love for music early? Playing your favorite music will help with sound recognition, gross and fine motor skill development, phonemic awareness, and many many more! Plus, it may be the only time you and your child agree on the same music!
Narrate Your Day: Babies are learning everything for the first time, and one of the best ways to teach them is through conversation. But, newborns don’t really talk back to you (for better or worse!), but they are listening. So start narrating your daily activities. Even simple ones like how you empty the dishwasher or how to fold laundry. The words are important, not necessarily the content.
If you are feeling distant, withdrawn, feeling like a 24/7 babysitter not a parent, or not interested in bonding or spending time with your baby, those can be signs of a postpartum mood disorder. Please know you are not alone and you have resources. Check out Postpartum Support International for more information.