This sweet little girl has brought so much joy to our lives already. She loves to smile and make eye contact. She has just recently started giggling too which melts my heart! I think baby laughter is THE sweetest sound in the world. Even though she's barely 4 months old she already loves to play and have that one-on-one attention from us. With my first baby I remember feeling lost as to how to play with a little baby who can't really do much, especially when they are only a couple months old. However, playing with your baby and stimulating their growing brain is important for developing things like motor skills, social skills and even just bonding with mom and dad. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to play with your baby during the infant stage!
1. Connect through Face Time
Infants love to look at faces! One of the best things you can do is just have one-on-one "face time" with your baby. Make eye contact and react to their expressions, make funny faces or mirror their own expressions. Talk to them in different voices or sing to them. Let them study your face as long as they like! Mirrors are also fascinating to babies. They love looking at their own faces, and with their adorable little looks and expressions who wouldn't?!
2. Read to Baby
Reading regularly to your child from the very beginning helps to develop listening skills by stimulating an interest in sounds. Even before baby begins to talk, reading to them is helping to develop their vocabulary skills, communication skills, imagination and memory skills! Besides all these things, snuggling with your newborn and reading to them is a sweet time to bond with your baby as they hear your voice and feel the security of your arms.
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3. Offer Visually Stimulating Toys
An infant's vision is one of the slowest senses to develop. A newborn's vision is very poor, blurry and they are unable to perceive color. Then by 6 months old they are seeing much more clearly and able to perceive all colors. High contrast colors like black and white are easiest for a new baby to see. I love the developmental infant toys made by Sassy Baby because they have beautiful high contrast designs and colors like red and oranges which are the first colors a baby is able to see. Sassy makes some wonderful toys for this age! I love these "Go Go Bugs" from Sassy because of the high contrast colors and symmetrical design of the bugs faces and bodies. I've read that there is something soothing to babies about orderly and symmetrical designs (another reason they love looking at faces).
Baby Girl just loves these cheerful little Go Go Bugs! She looks at them and coos at them and has recently started grabbing for them too. These bugs can attach to car seats, swings, etc. and each one makes a different noise. The chime, rattle and crinkle noises encourage baby to keep playing and turn her head towards the source of the sound.
Baby Girl also loves this Sounds and Lights Attachable Monkey Toy from Sassy, another great toy for visual and audio stimulation. When you press his tummy he plays a song and his little cheeks glow bright red. It's adorable and it's easy for her to grab and conveniently attaches to bags, strollers, etc. for play time on the go!
4. Practice Tummy Time
My babies usually hate tummy time but this is so important for them to have daily as it builds their back and neck muscles. Make tummy time fun (or at least easier) by letting them have tummy time on your chest or by using a support pillow. Play with baby by letting them lay belly down on your chest while you have some "face time" with them. Baby Girl also likes tummy time using her Snuggle Me Organic infant pillow to prop her up. I let her look at books (like this adorable Sassy Look Photo Book), visually stimulating toys or a mirror to make tummy time more enjoyable.
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I have loved giving each of my babies a "photo album" filled with pictures of our extended family. They love looking at all the faces! Baby Girl has this Sassy Look Photo Book and I love it. This soft squishy book is safe and easy for little hands to grab and little mouths to chew. It's filled with bright colors and black and white patterns on the inside so even without photos in the book it's very visually stimulating for newborns!
Although a newborn baby can't "do" much, they are constantly learning and changing. It has been so fun looking back to see how much Baby Girl has changed in just these few short months! We've loved finding ways to play with her that stimulate her growing brain and also create deeper bonds with us. She is just now getting to a more interactive stage and play time is already starting to look different! Remember to love each stage your little ones go through, they won't be in it long!
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