So you successfully brought baby home from the hospital (or will soon!)—driving approximately six miles per hour!
Now what? Bonding with your newborn can be a bit bewildering as you two figure each other out.
While your baby may not have gotten the memo that nighttime is for sleeping, what she does know is you.
According to Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Toddler Center at Barnard College and author of ‘How Toddlers Thrive,’ even during the very first month she can recognize your voice and smell.
She’ll even turn her head toward you when she hears you speak ?.
To build a strong bond from the get-go, Klein has tips even the most sleep deprived new moms can master:
Talk: Whenever you’re doing something with your baby, tell her about it, “Now mommy is changing your diaper. You’ll feel so much better with a dry diaper, won’t you?” Not only are these words soothing, but the more she hears you talk, the easier it will be for her to learn how to talk.
Comfort: Always go to your crying baby. Sometimes a newborn just wants to be held closely and cuddled, or simply needs to know you are there. Sucking on a pacifier or your clean finger also helps ease fussiness and is actually good for helping her brain grow in the first few months.
Make Eye Contact: If you look right at your baby’s face, she’ll look right back at you. This helps her get to know you and develop eyesight.
While it may seem like newborns are only capable of sleeping, crying, and generating lots of laundry, there are simple things you can do to stimulate their newly forming senses.
Try these week-by-week tips from child development psychologist, Dr. Holly Ruhl:
Baby heard your voice in the womb and will love listening to you sing lullabies. Skin-to-skin snuggles promote bonding and baby’s health. Ask visitors to cuddle with baby during naps so you can both rest peacefully!
It’s never too soon to start “tummy time”! This week, let your babe lie on that squishy little belly for three to five minutes a few times each day to work out that tiny upper body. Baby’s back is best for sleeping, so make sure your little dumpling gets plenty of tummy time during the day to prepare for crawling, an important skill for developing spatial awareness and advanced motor skills.
If cabin fever is setting in, look for a new mom’s group for you and your new bundle! This week, check with local hospitals for “mommy mixers” designed to connect new moms seeking encouragement for those tough first weeks. Friend and community support are related to more satisfaction for new moms. Plus, other mamas offer wise advice and may become fast friends!
Your little bundle’s senses will rapidly develop during the first several months. This week, promote visual development with a high-contrast toy, as newborns see in black and white Entertain baby with high-pitched songs and conversation, as those are preferred to lower pitches. Nurturing the senses now means baby will be equipped for more fun in the upcoming months!
A little present for baby: Look, Look!
Kick off the board book collection with a black and white read for visual stimulation.
Just remember that newborns can only see 8-12 inches away, so stay in that range during “storytime.”