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Congratulations on your little babe! Whether you are preparing for life as a newborn or settling in (maybe) to motherhood with your newborn you are probably wondering how you can interact with your newborn. Other than stare at them for hours on end (which I am totally guilty of).
The majority of resources I found when my son was a newborn always stated the same three things: talk to them, sing to them, and read to them. All of which is great and I still do! But, I wanted some more ideas.
I wanted activities or simple actions I could do to help bond with him and help him developmentally. I have put together some things I found were helpful when hanging with my little one and things I often suggested to moms in my office.
What Your Newborn May Be Doing
Although you don’t expect much from a newborn there are a number of things you may notice that your newborn can do.
- turn their head from side to side
- move their arms and legs
- hear sounds or see objects that are about 12 inches away
- sleep for 2-3 hours at a time
- calm down when they hear a familiar voice
Every baby is different. It is totally normal if you find your newborn does not do one or more of these things. This is just a generalized list. Always consult with your baby’s pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Interact With Your Newborn to Support Bonding
Establishing a bond with your baby during the first few days and weeks is incredibly important and something all us mamas look forward to. Here are some ways you can interact with your newborn to help bond with them.
- Skin-to-skin: This was one of my husband and I’s favorite way to bond with Mav after he was born. Hold your baby close up against you. Speak to them softly. Pat and rub there back or butt.
- Smile at them when they are near. Remember they cannot see very far or cleary at this age. Before you know it (in a few months) baby will be smiling back at you – social smiles.
- Respond quiclkly when they cry. I have always sworn you cannot spoil a newborn (although my husband may know disagree). Baby’s have a natural instinct to cry – hungry, wet/dirty diaper, cold/hot, need comfort. Responding to those needs promptly will help form trust between you and your baby.
Spending time with your newborn and showing them your love and affection is really the key way to promote bonding with them.
Interact With Your Newborn to Promote Learning and Development
I always tell the moms I counsel to not stress over their baby’s developmental milestones. After having my own child I can see how this can be hard to do. I hate how we put an age cap or limit on certain developmental milestones. Every baby is different. They will learn and develop on their own time – none of which is wrong.
Here are some things you can do with your newborn that will create an environment where your newborn can learn and develop:
- Talk to them.
- Sing to them. Even if you are tone deaf, like me, your baby just enjoys hearing your voice.
- Repeat sounds they make.
- Read to them.
- Keep their arms and legs free to move about. Maverick slept in a SwaddleMe until he was about 3-4 months old. So, I made sure when he wasn’t sleeping his arms and legs were free to move around.
- Play with their fingers and toes when you sing and talk to them.
Toys and Games for Newborns
At this age, they are unable to really grasp things with their hands, so playing with toys is nearly impossible. Here are some toys that may catch their interest:
- Black & white board books. Newborns are unable to fully see colors, so black & white books are great for helping their developing vision. Reading to your newborn may seems silly, but it has shown to improve speach and reading skills later in life.
- Mobile. Hanging a mobile in your newborns crib will give them something to look at as they lie down. The mobile I have linked is great because it allows you to change the mobile as your child grows to help with their visual development.
- Soft toys that rattle. Your newborn won’t quite be able to hold this toy on their own just yet. You can hold the toy near your newborn and slowly move the toy from left to right, or up and down. This is will help them will being able to trace objects with their eyes.
- Baby-safe mirrors. Babies love to look at themselves. The mirror I have linked is great to through on the floor in front of them or next to them during tummy time. Especially if they aren’t fans of tummy time!
Let’s Wrap It Up
Talking and cuddling your newborn is really the best way to interact with and build a parental bond between you and your baby. You can start to read, sing, and play with your little one to help aid in their development.
Most importantly, enjoy the time you have with your little peanut. The newborn stage is the best and. It passes by SO SO quickly.