Congratulations on the new baby! You have adjusted to feedings. You and your family have embraced the new routine in the house. You’re even getting some sleep. So… now what? You might be wondering what fun activities you can do together with your newborn besides feeding and napping.
While your little one may not be able to play or do chores yet, there is plenty of fun and engaging things you can do together that promote bonding, education, and development.
The good news is, there are plenty! Babies cannot play like an older child, but there are still many things you two can do together. Let’s look at some of those activities.
Fun Things to Do with a Newborn
- Read to your baby: Reading aloud to your newborn is a great way to bond with them, introduce them to language and the sound of your voice, and help develop their listening skills.
- Massage: Babies love gentle massage for soothing time and connection with their parents. It can even help promote better sleep patterns.
- Singing: Singing is particularly beneficial for babies, who are just beginning to discover their own voices and learning about language and music.
- Playtime: Simple activities such as peek-a-boo, patty cake or toy rattles are great ways for a young children to start learning about the world around them.
- Take walks outside: Walks in nature allow you to share beautiful sights, sounds, smells, and textures with your baby while also providing much-needed fresh air and exercise for the whole family.
- Bouncing or swaying in your arms or a safe mechanical rocker: This version of rocking helps babies feel secure while strengthening their neck muscles at the same time. Be very gentle, however, and continuously support the baby’s head and neck.
- Bath time: Not only do babies love being in the water, but bath time is also a great way for parents to connect with their little ones through touch and eye contact while washing off all of that ever-present mess.
- Storytelling: Telling stories — either verbally or through books — help babies gain an understanding of language development as well as offering exposure to new vocabulary words and sentence structures.
- Routine development: Having a predetermined routine gives your baby predictability and helps keep stress levels down.
- Imitation games and activities: Mirror games can help improve communication skills between parent/child as well as encourage self-confidence when babies observe themselves in the glass.
Socializing with a Newborn Baby
It can feel hard to get out of the house when you have a newborn baby, but parents that make a point to remain social feel better supported and decrease the risk of postpartum depression. Making friends with other parents of newborns is a great way to build a community of acquaintances that share the same challenges, milestones, and rewards of parenting. Just because you have a new baby does not mean you have to give up your social life. Going out – where and with whom – simply changes. Here are some ideas of things to do socially with a newborn.
- Take a baby swim time bonding class: You’ll be in the shallow end holding your baby. It’s a great way to get exercise while meeting other parents.
- Join a stroller walking club: No parent/baby walking clubs in your area? Start a club of your own!
- Coffee dates with friends: Bring along a bottle or nursing blanket, a soother (if you choose to use one), and a baby-approved seat. Enjoy some time with friends while the baby naps, coos, or watches the world around her.
Things to do When Spending Time Apart from Your Newborn
We love our babies, but we do need to refresh and recharge too, especially during those early days when sleep is at a premium. Here are some things to do when you have a newborn…but also have a partner, babysitter, friend, or grandparent that can help you have a little time to yourself.
- Spend some time alone each day: Babies can be exhausting, and it’s important to take some time for yourself when you have someone else caring for the baby. Doing things like meditating, reading a book, or taking a warm bath can help relieve stress and give you a break from your responsibilities as a parent.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, irritability, and reduced cognitive function. Make sure you get at some sleep to ensure you are well-rested and able to care for your little one.
- Eat healthy meals: Eating nutritious meals is key when taking care of a newborn. Ensure that you are consuming fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in order to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise has many benefits including relieving stress, improving cognitive function, and providing energy boosts throughout the day. Plus, it’s an excellent way to take a break from parenting duties and just focus on yourself.
- Connect with friends/family: Social support is an important part of self-care so don’t forget to reach out to those closest to you during this challenging time. Having someone who understands what you are going through can make all the difference in helping your transition into parenthood go smoother.
With a newborn, whether it is your first, second, third, or beyond, there is always a big period of adjustment. Life isn’t the same, but it is still rewarding and interesting. Adapting your routine to do fun things with your newborn, and practicing self-care when you are able, makes the transition easier for the whole family. Soon your newborn will be a toddler and you’ll discover even more fun and rewarding things to do together. As your newborn grows, so too does your activity list. Every step of the journey is an opportunity to bond and have fun.