Many first time moms wonder how they can possibly play with their newborns especially because they are asleep most of the time and may seem rather aloof at first. Well, you definitely won't be able to play catch with your baby within a month of bringing him home, but you can still enjoy some baby games with him.
Why play with your newborn?
Play is the basic way infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize and interact with their environment. During their first month of life, your baby will learn a lot about you by interacting with you; how you look, your different expressions, the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch against their skin. You can stimulate your baby's senses by simply smiling, giving them gentle caresses and making soothing sounds.
Here are a few games you can play with your newborn to not only have fun with them but also develop their senses.
- Jig along. Babies love to dance! When they are very little, put on some good music and holding them in your arms, sway with him to the beat of the music. If you can't play any music, humming is an even better option as your baby will feel the vibration of your vocal chords as you hold them in your arms so they can literally feel the music. Just make sure you are carefully supporting their neck and do not shake your baby. When you get tired of holding them in your arms, put on a show for them with silly exaggerated movements.
- I spy. A lot of your playtime will be spent showing your baby stuff. Common objects in your house that won't electrocute, poison or hurt him is fair game. Magazines, colorful spatulas, jars, different textured fabric, fruits, you name it! Your baby will appreciate exploring all the various shapes, colors and textures that all of these provide. With time, figure out which are his favorite toys and keep them on hand for when he needs soothing.
- What made that sound? When your baby is fully awake and yearning for stimulation, simply tap things together and let him search for whatever made the sound. You can also simply snap your fingers as he tries to see where the sound comes from. Try not to make very loud or scary noises that can startle him and make him cry.
- Bouncy bouncy. Tie a toy to an elastic string and bounce it in front of your baby's face. Make a sound every time it comes close and watch them try to get it or at the very least, react when they see it.
Remember that with babies, repetition is key. The first time you try out a game with them, they may not respond to it at all. Once they start getting familiar with the game they will start interacting with you and their toys. All you need to do is keep at it.