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

Clinic.

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!

3. Sing

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

development.”

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.

5. SLEEP

Seriously. Take a nap every day with your baby. You deserve

it, mama, and a rested you is the best you!

Courtney Barker

British mom Courtney Barker is sharing the story of how her son, 7-month-old Arthur contracted COVID-19 in the hopes of preventing other families from going through what hers is. Thankfully, little Arthur is now feeling better, but last week he was rushed to the hospital.

His mama recalled the experience in a now-viral Facebook post that is attracting worldwide attention.

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