So your baby is finally here! You persevered through
pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and are starting to feel healed and normal
after making it through month one. So… now what?
New babies don’t seem like they can do much, but that’s a good thing –
now’s your chance to do what you want and baby comes along for the ride. Then
again, why not introduce some mama-baby activities now? Check out the
suggestions below and stay tuned for more!
1. Baby massage
While we would prefer to receive our own full-body massage,
it can be fun to play masseuse to our little ones, as well. Baby massage can
help to enhance interactions between you and baby, as well as help him relax
and sleep, and maybe even reduce crying, according to the Mayo
You’ll find lots of tutorials on YouTube or visit your local
library for books on the subject. We suggest Baby Massage: Soothing Strokes
for Healthy Growth by Suzanne Reese. This handy book not only provides
step-by-step instructions using lots of pictures, but the book itself can stand
up to make it very easy for you to follow along as you massage baby.
If you’d prefer professional help, check out Infant Massage USA, which provides
classes for parents and caregivers by Certified Educators of Infant Massage.
2. Read together
We all know how important it is to encourage a love of
reading in kids, but did you know experts are saying parents should start this
practice in infancy? In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended
that we should start reading to our kids from birth, stating, “Children who are read to during infancy and preschool
years have better language skills when they start school and are more
interested in reading.”
So should you whip out War
and Peace for your next story time? Not quite. Whatever you choose to read
to baby, make it fun! You can sit with her and look at pages in a picture book,
point out words at the grocery store, and even read her the latest Kardashian
news in your favorite tabloid (no judgment, mama). Reading should be a special time for you to communicate
stories and ideas, so the sooner you start, the better!
Whether you sing like an
angel or your voice makes the neighborhood dogs howl, your baby loves to hear
you sing! Psychology
Today even extolled the importance of music in infancy saying, “Singing
is a super-charged way of connecting to your baby. It has the element of human
interaction that little ones crave and need for their cognitive, language, and emotional
So what should you sing to baby? Literally anything. We’re
not kidding. Sing your way step-by-step through making dinner (“Water is
boiled, now put the rice iiiiiiiiin!”), or belt out that Top 40 hit you can’t
seem to get out of your head. Serenade baby with your favorite lullaby at
bedtime, introduce her to the Itsy Bitsy Spider while you change her diaper, or
calm her down with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It’s all about fun, and there’s
nothing more fun than singing a happy song!
4. Go for a walk
No matter what the weather, take a few minutes to walk with
baby. It can be as simple as walking to the mailbox or down to the laundry
room, or as planned as a stroll on the boardwalk or to the local park. Don’t
overexert yourself – remember, you’re still recovering from childbirth and
probably haven’t been cleared for heavy exercise by your OB/GYN! If you
babywear, strap baby on, or bundle him up in his stroller and get to steppin’.
A little fresh air will do you both some good.
Seriously. Take a nap every day with your baby. You deserve
it, mama, and a rested you is the best you!