You just brought home your precious newborn. Do you feel at a loss about what to do now?
Besides eating, sleeping, and pooping, this little human doesn’t seem to do much but the amazing thing is he or is soaking in more than you know. There are a vast amount of things you can do with your newborn besides burp him! Stimulating your newborn’s brain is essential to his growing self, but don’t stress yourself out if you aren’t doing things with him every waking moment: he needs time to gaze, rest, and sit quietly.
“Infancy sets up your interactions with your baby for the rest of her life,” says Susan M. Ludington, R.N., Ph.D., executive director of the United States Institute for Kangaroo Care.
The imperative and fundamental things to do with your newborn are: smiling, snuggling, talking to, and cooing. Many parents are aware of the initial skin-to-skin in the hospital but then do not continue that valuable bonding time once they return home and begin a routine. Skin-to-skin snuggles are amazing for both you and your newborn and help form a lasting bond between you and your child.
A recent study showed that “2 in 5 children grow up lacking secure attachment to their parents… These children are more likely to do poorly in school and suffer from depression than children who are securely attached to their parents,” (Fitpregnancy.com).
Skin-to-skin snuggles have an array of benefits and are a great thing to work into your daily routine. Whether it be first thing in the morning, taking a daily (soapless) bath together, or right before bed, do your best to work skin-to-skin into your normal way of life with your newborn.
There are of course other things you can do with your newborn to help stimulate brain development as well as build a deep and lasting bond between parent and child.
Encourage your baby’s reflexes
Even at just days old your baby has reflexes! They may be difficult to spot, but they exist. Read this post about 5 ways to encourage your baby’s reflex development.
Provide a great vantage point
Carry your baby around in a sling or wrap (we suggest this because it can be hands free!) and allow them a great vantage point. Your newborn is seeing these things for the first time in his life and is interested in it all! Whether you are doing laundry or dishes, walking to the mailbox, or grocery shopping, wearing him in a sling/wrap will greatly stimulate brain development as he soaks in all the various sights.
Yes, dance! Hold your newborn close and sway, dance, or twirl slowly. Sing or play music. Make eye contact and tell your newborn how incredibly special he is. Moving around will be comforting to him and making eye contact is great for bonding. Hearing your voice is priceless so, by all means, sing along and have a precious time together.
Talk to your baby
As simple as this sounds, it can be really easy to forget to talk to your newborn. While they are staring up at you wide-eyed, sleeping near you, or screaming, it may not cross your mind to talk to them.
He can’t exactly talk back and most likely cannot understand the words you are saying, so it may even feel a little silly at first, but talking to your newborn is an excellent thing to do. It lets him know that you care (by the tone of your voice) and that you are there to comfort and soothe him. Besides, you were probably talking to him in the womb, right? Why stop once he’s born? By month 3, your baby may even turn his head when he hears you speak!
There are plenty of ways to connect with your baby, but these are great things to do with your newborn.
Most of all, enjoy your newborn! The time goes by so fast!
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