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What's more fun than a baby? 

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Mud Goddess Photography

Playing with your baby:

Your baby learns as he or she plays.  Newborns do not need toys to play.  Newborn playtime consists of being held, being touched lovingly and being in a variety of positions (tummy time, sidelying, lying on their back).   Your baby will benefit from experiencing a wide variety of positions, including tummy time, lying on their side and back.   Some babies like soft music playing in the background.  Other times, it is nice to offer a quiet environment for your baby to listen to one sound at a time, for e.g. your voice or a soft musical toy.   

Toys can be beneficial, however, they do not replace one on one interaction with a loving parent or other caregiver. 

Toys

  • Newborn: toys or additional visual stimulation (other than the human face)  are NOT recommended or needed for this age
  • 1-2 months:   Even at this age, toys aren't recommended.  Most babies like bright colors and sharp contrasts  (red against black, or blue against yellow, etc.)    Rattles and hand held toys can be good way to introduce toys to your baby.  
  • 3-4 months: Wooden toys, textured chewy toys, simple board books, rattles, balls of different sizes and textures, teething rings with textures, socks with patterns or other noise makers
  • 4-6 months: ring stacker or other cause and effect toys (toys with push buttons, lights and sounds, etc.), wooden blocks for stacking, toys to bang together, puzzles

I do like toys, however, NOTHING replaces human interaction for helping your baby's brain develop.  Reseachers have found that when a baby has consistent, loving and interactive (back and forth) relationships, brain development is enhanced and learning is made easier.

 

Some examples of ways to calm your baby:

  • Be calm yourself (take a deep breath, relax any tense muscles, etc.)
  • Gently and slowly swing side to side or up and down 
  • Offer something for baby to suck on (pacifier, empty breast, your clean finger
  • Gentle patting on the back or bottom 
  • Sing in quiet soothing voice
  • Sit down and hold your baby gently while they cry.   Often this will help your baby sleep for a longer period of time, as they have released many emotions.
  • Swaddling with a blanket.  This keeps baby's arms and legs close to their body and prevents startling or jerkiness secondary to sudden movements.

 

Interacting and Communicating with your baby:

Ways to listen to your baby - Your baby communicates through sounds and body language or movement. You know that your baby is interested in interacting or communicating, when you see their eyes brighten.     Enjoy making eye contact with your baby.   Use a nice, relaxed facial expression, and change your facial expressions slowly.   You will know your baby needs a break from the stimulation when they look away, start to fuss, or arch their back/stiffen arms or legs.

Ways to talk to your baby - Your baby has been listening to your voice since conception.   Sound waves travel through the womb and fluid to baby's ears. Speak in a soft and loving voice with your infant. 

Imitate the sounds your baby makes and watch for his or her reaction!  Many times babies raise their eyebrows and smile when they hear the parent imitating their sounds.  They really feel listened to!    It is critical that babies engage in back and forth communication like this to learn social and emotional regulation.    Social and emotional regulation means that your baby is aware of what they are feeling, they are able to easily move and play within their environment and they feel comfortable and confident with interactions with other human beings.

Take turns with your baby  - Your baby will make a sound, allow time to finish, baby will naturally pause to hear what you have to say, speak slowly and lovingly, then pause to give another opportunity for your baby to "talk" to you. 

 

Being still with your baby:

It is beneficial for your baby to spend time in a quiet environment with a relaxed and calm parent at least one time per day.   This helps your baby learn to regulate their attention and to relax their whole body.  Being a baby can be quite stressful!

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit
  • Dim the lights
  • Take several deep breaths, slowly inhaling and exhaling
  • Clear your mind of worries or concerns 
  • Pick up your baby and sit down in this spot
  • Think about how much you love your baby and how grateful you are for him or her

There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.

~Marianne Williamson

SmileYour Baby's Wellness ServiceSmile

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