You just had a baby. You’re home and in a good rhythm. Baby is breastfeeding, sleeping and getting diapers changed regularly. Life is beginning to feel normal again. You’ve adjusted to having a baby around. Now what!? You’ve never had a baby around before! What do you do with this little person that you love to the ends of the Earth?
Here are some simple things you can incorporate into your day with your newborn. Bonding is so important at this stage in their growth and development. Their brains are growing in both size and mental capacity. They are literally growing new pathways for learning. Their emotional development is also getting its foundation.
Snuggle with your baby
Enjoy some baby snuggles. This is a perfect time to do skin to skin time. Not only are baby snuggles some of the best snuggles you’ll ever get but they do some amazing things for you and your baby too. Snuggling helps to calm your baby, keeping them close to the people that mean the most to them. When they are calm, their stress and anxiety levels are reduced making for a happy baby that feels all your love. Snuggling keeps your baby close which also encourages breastfeeding which can help increase your milk supply.
Sing to your baby
Singing is a beautiful way to communicate with your baby. It strengthens your bond while increasing your baby’s awareness and attention level. If you sang to your baby while in the womb, your baby will recognize your voice and the song you sing. If your baby is fussy, singing lets them know you’re there and gives them comfort.
Talk with your baby
Talking with your infant helps their brain develop. It can be a good release for you too. Talk to baby when you change their diaper. Talk to baby when you change their clothes. Talk to baby while you make meals. Tell your baby about the colors in the room. Take your baby for a walk and tell them about the trees, houses, and cars. You don’t have to leave it just with your surroundings. Tell your baby about how happy you are they are with you. It’s also ok to tell your baby if you’re frustrated or upset about something. Hearing your voice is calming to your baby and helps you bond.
Read your baby a book
Sometimes, you just want to read a book. Read it to your baby. It can be any book. A children’s book, a cook book, a science fiction book, any book. Your baby is not only hearing your voice and being comforted, but you’re giving your baby a foundation in vocabulary and communication.
Wear your baby
Your baby is the best accessory you can ever wear! Grab a carrier and wrap them on. Your baby is held close which regulates their breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. Being upright in a carrier helps strengthen your infant’s head and neck control. If your baby tends to spit up after feeding, babywearing is a great way to keep them upright and reduce acid reflux. You’ll also have benefits of baby snuggles which increase your oxytocin levels, increasing your feelings of love and happiness, not to mention free hands to do whatever you need to do around the house.
Exercise with your baby
Yes, you can exercise with your baby. Exercise is not only good for you but good for your baby. It doesn’t’ even need to feel like you’re exercising. Movements help develop your baby’s inner ear and balance. The movement also helps strengthen your baby’s neck and muscle strength. The baby weight will strengthen and tone your arms while acting like a single dumbbell. Some good exercises are squats, center, right and left. do some toe touches but instead of touching your toes, swing your baby between your legs. Do hip raises with baby on your thighs. Lay on your back with your legs at a 90 degree angle, put baby on your shins and bounce your legs or sway. Take a walk. You can use a stroller or babywear. Dancing is also a great exercise that both of you can enjoy.
Play with your baby
A really simple way to play with your baby is to have your baby grip your thumbs. Your baby will have an automatic grip reflex that activates as you slide your thumbs into their palm. This strengthens their arms and hands for their future crawling and playing endeavors. Put your baby on their tummy and talk to them. Baby will attempt to find you. Eventually, baby will find you and give you a big grin!
Take a bath with your baby
Not only is a bath relaxing for you but it’s relaxing for your baby. Bath time can be fun too. Baby bath tubs can be a headache but bathing your baby is much easier if you hop in with baby. You can sing, talk, touch, feed, and relax in the warm water.
These ideas are by no means an exhaustive list of things you can do with you baby. They are just the beginning. Get creative or follow your normal day and involve your baby any way you can. Ultimately, enjoy this time with your baby. Nuzzle your baby, smell your baby’s sweetness, and love on your baby as much as possible.
For more information on Empowered Birth Network KC and to explore what we have to offer visit us at www.empoweredbirthnetworkkc.com.