So, you have a new baby. Oh the sweet smells, (as long as you ignore the diapers and spit up!) Sometimes you might just wish you could sit and stare at your baby all day. You might also be wondering, “What am I supposed to DO with him now?” Here is a list of some EASY but very important things to do with your baby.
1. HOLD YOUR BABY. This may seem easy or tedious, sometimes you just want to hold him and other times you just want to take a shower or go to the bathroom, ALONE. You cannot hold your baby too much, especially in those first 3 months when he is adjusting to being in the world. It's also perfectly fine to put your baby in a safe place and take a shower or eat. Your baby is used to hearing your heartbeat and feeling the swaying of you walking and the vibrations of your voice, anytime you put him down, he's getting less of that and adjusting to a new normal. It's normal for babies to want to be held and you cannot spoil a baby by holding him or showing him love.
2. TUMMY TIME!!! Yes, I'm sure you've heard about tummy time. Did you realize that you need to start this right away? (follow doctor's orders for any baby with medical issues). While your baby is awake practice putting your baby on her tummy right from the start. After every diaper change put her on her tummy (on the floor or crib, never on an elevated surface unless your hands are on her at all times). Start off with a goal of 5 min several times a day and work up from there. Again put her to sleep on her back, but while awake tummy time important. Being on her tummy helps her strengthen the muscles in her neck, back, and shoulders helps avoid flat head syndrome, improves visual development and visual tracking. It can also help prevent torticollis (a condition in which the muscles on one side of the neck become overly tight and pull the head to one direction.) Don't wait until your baby is older to start, it's much easier to start early!
3. READ TO YOUR BABY. Yes, you read that right, read to your baby. Find something short and repetitive. Babies tend to pay more attention to sing-song voices and hearing the same rhythm repeated is soothing. I often read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which you can find here: click here
4. SING/PLAY MUSIC Babies do not care if you are a great singer. They just love to hear your voice. It really doesn't matter what you sing. You can also play music. There is so much music to choose from, but my favorite is Return to Pooh Corner, by Kenny Loggins. I played it at bedtime every night, this part of the routine helped cue them to know it was bedtime and helped them go to sleep.
5.SIGN Using Sign Language to communicate with your baby can boost brain development. If you continue to use it is can decrease tantrums and maybe even boost IQ. For a FREE signing video Click Here
6.MASSAGE Infant massage can be so beneficial to you and your baby. It's a great opportunity for skin to skin contact. Massaging prior to bedtime can also help babies develop better sleeping patterns and more restful sleep.
7. SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT This is a great opportunity for bonding. Holding your baby close to your heart can help calm an upset baby, especially if you are calm. It can help babies sleep, improve weight gain and help with breastfeeding.
8. USE DADDY'S SHIRT AS A BLANKET Some babies struggle with being held with anyone but mom. One great tip is to use a t-shirt that daddy has worn for a bit or slept in as a blanket to wrap up baby, or for baby to lie on. It will help your baby recognize daddy's smell and decrease any anxiety your baby may have when not being held by you. You can also put your baby's crib sheet in your bed for a bit so that they smell like you, use that in baby's bed so that they continue to smell you when you put them down to sleep.
9. KEEP THE LIGHTS OF AT NIGHT When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night try to keep the lights low or off. DO NOT TURN ON YOUR SMART PHONE!!! Not only will that light arouse your baby more, it will wake you up and make it harder for you to go back to sleep. Also, try to not talk or arouse your baby more than necessary. Only change the diaper if it's really full or stinky.
10. FEED YOUR BABY Ok, so that might seem like a no-brainer, but there can be so much confusion on the best way to feed your baby. It really does not matter if you breastfeed or formula feed or both. What matters is that your baby gets all the food they need and if they are still hungry you give them more. That might mean that you supplement with formula until your supply is in, or you may need to continue to supplement for a longer time. Be sure your baby continues to gain weight. For more info about feeding check out Fed is Best.
(Tara Frieden is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.)