The early days were not easy; in fact, they were down right brutal at times! I felt as though I was in a never ending fog that filled the outside and suffocated my insides. The days drudged on relentlessly and I dreamt of sleep while my eyes laid open. I was thankful for the long naps R took early on so that I had me time to do nothing and yet everything.
For the first few months, I didn’t do much of anything in terms of activities – I spent time trying to recover and rest! My advice to new moms is to trust yourself and your body. If you need to rest, then rest! Once you feel up to it, start slowly and do what works well for you and your little one!
Some things you might try:
1. Try and get in lots of skin to skin contact time
2. Hold, hug, kiss and cuddle your baby
3. Ask friends and family to come by for visits to help you out
4. Go for light walks with your baby in a carrier or a stroller
5. Talk to, sing to and play music for your little one
6. Have a trusted adult watch your baby while you take a warm bath
7. Massage your baby’s arms and legs while she lays on her back
8. Put your baby on his tummy for short amounts of time either on a mat or on your belly. Put a mirror or toy in from of him to encourage him to lift his head
9. Show your child high contrast objects (such as black and white toys or images)
10. When he has good neck strength, try putting him in a jumper (read the recommendations on the jumper before doing so)
11. When you feel ready, set-up a bedtime routine for your little one that includes reading a book
12. Hand tactile toys or books to your baby for her to explore
13. Tie ribbons and other fabric to a bbq skewer or wooden spoon and dangle it above your child
14. Play music and help your child move to the music by gently moving his limbs. Shake and wiggle your fingers and hands to the music for your little one to see.
15. Toss a thin, sheer fabric, like a scarf, in the air and make it land on your little one. Pull it off and play “peek-a-boo” together
16. Blow bubbles over your child and show her how to reach for and pop them
17. Fix an elastic rubber band around a favourite toy, and make the toy bounce towards and away from your baby.
18. Take your little one to a local pool and play around in the water together. Ask the pool staff for tips on introducing a baby to water play.
19. Visit a play gym, farm, mommy’s group, music class or other activities in and around your community.
20. Play with puppets together. Change your voice with each puppet character making it deeper or higher
21. Set up a simple obstacle course for your crawling baby by spreading couch cushions on a soft surface. Place the cushions at different heights or as a ramp to encourage climbing
22. Have your child practice climbing stairs with close supervision
23. Play “this little piggy” on your baby’s toes by touching each one in turn, starting with the biggest toe. The rhyme goes as follows: “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home.”
24. Do finger plays to fun rhymes, such as itsy bitsy spider, five little monkeys, five green speckled frogs, octopus (slippery fish). Make up your own actions to your own familiar songs.
25. Explore musical instruments together, such as drums, shakers, bells, tambourines, maracas and xylophones.
26. Make your own musical instruments by setting out pots or tupperware and hand your child a wooden spoon to bang with. Put rice, beans or lentils into tupperware to make homemade shakers.
27. Spend time with friends and family or go to play groups for parents and kids
28. Make bath time fun by adding bath toys or bubbles. To prevent bath toys from developing mold and mildew inside, plug up the holes using hot glue.
29. Stack blocks with your little one and over exaggerate your shock at when she topples them over
30. Encourage your child to crawl or cruise by placing toys or yourself a bit out of reach
31. Roll a ball back and forth on the floor while she sits
32. Encourage filling and dumping by putting toys into a container and dumping them back out
33. Play hide-and-seek games with toys
32. Give names and labels to things that catch your little one’s attention
33. Create a safe place in the kitchen (like a cupboard) that includes lots of different sized objects, like containers, bowls, and wooden spoons for your little one to play in while you are making meals
34. Introduce your baby to cause and effect toys such as activity tables or toys that make noise when a button is pressed
35. Encourage him to play action games such as blowing kisses, clapping or stomping.
36. Mommy baby yoga DVDs. This suggestion was made by one of our followers on Instagram! A DVD she suggested was Shiva Rae Mama & Baby Yoga.