Now that my newborn son is finally asleep, I would like to throw out suggestions for some things you can do with your new baby! I realized that this is an issue for some people and especially new fathers. You can hold the baby, but what else can you really do with a newborn?
1. Read: I am constantly reading to my 8 week old son. When I’ve read all the children’s books that I can handle, I read him news articles and novels. I can tell that he is beginning to see better and he seems to finally enjoy looking at the pictures in children’s books, so I now include more stories with elaborate illustrations.
2. Look at Pictures with High Contrasting Patterns: You’re probably already aware that newborns only see clearly objects and faces that are 8 to 12 inches from their eyes. Also, they have difficulty distinguishing between colors that are similar like red and orange. Therefore, babies tend to enjoy looking at black and white pictures. You don’t even have to purchase them if you don’t have any; simply look them up on the internet! I go to Youtube and search for “black and white infant stimulation” to get slide shows of high contrasting patterns. My son loves them!
3. Mommy and Baby Exercises: I’m almost back to my normal weight after having my son, but I need to tighten things up so to speak. So, I do exercises that my infant can participate in. When I do push-ups, I lay him down on a blanket below me so that I can kiss his cheeks each time I go down. I hold him when I do squats and his favorite thing is what I call the “airplane”. I lay on my back and put him on my legs and move my legs back and forth. Youtube has videos available for ideas regarding other exercises you can do with your infant.
4. Take a Walk: Many babies seem to enjoy being outside and a little sunshine is good for them. So, if it is a nice day out, go for a walk. Babies usually like being strolled and the sun normally improves your mood.
5. Do Baby Crafts: There are craft ideas out there that you can do with your newborn such as making a mold of their hands and/or feet or using hand and foot prints to create something. Admittedly, mothers probably enjoy this more than babies, but you can make something that you’ll both cherish and it is a nice way to spend time with your child.
6. Talk and Sing Songs: My son really likes it when he is talked to or sung to. We’re partial to songs that you can move with like “The Wheels on the Bus”. When I sing about how “the people on the bus go up and down”, I bounce him up and down. When I sing about the mommies on the bus, I put my finger over my mouth to say, “sshh, sshh, sshh”, etc.
7. Learn Baby Sign Language: I don’t know about everyone else, but I look forward to the day when my son can communicate to me what he wants without crying. That is a good reason to begin teaching your baby some simple signs. Again, I found helpful videos on Youtube for learning useful signs for babies.
8. Nap Together: It can be pretty draining learning the habits of your newborn. Therefore if you are able, take a nap with him or her. You’ll both feel better and the closeness encourages proper bonding, so it is a win-win.
I love babies, but as a new parent, the tasks get pretty redundant. It helps me to go down a list of activities that I can do with my son and I hope this helps you as well!