Why is it important to play with your newborn?
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
The Science and wonder of it
Our brain is made up of building blocks called neurons, and these blocks must be connected together in order to work. Your baby makes trillions of connections before birth, this is why she can breathe, hear, suck and cry! Plus she has learned your language, she has felt your feelings towards people, places and things, and she has assimilated some of your memories. Concepts such as trust, peace, conflict resolution, and self-esteem will be learned as she grows up. A positive outcome will only happen if your baby makes the right kind of connections as she develops. When we give our newborns the right kind of stimulation they can develop these connections and therefore develop the right skills they need in life.
When we give our newborns the correct stimulation they go from being someone we perceive as only eating, sleeping and crying, to a baby who has short span of consciousness whom you relate to them as you lay down solid foundation for your parent child relationship. When you play with your newborn, you perceive her as equal; capable of understanding, imitating, reacting, and learning. Playing will encourage you to speak to your child in complete and intelligent sentences as opposed to baby talk. With this mature interaction you will become conscious of their presence as a sentient being, with whom you talk to and listen to in an equal exchange. If you pay attention to the your baby’s eyes you will observe a wondrous world of first discovery. As you witness your child seeing and recognizing you and being aware of your voice you should delight at your mutual love and interest for each other. This is particularly useful to dads, who at times feel left out in the early part of the postpartum period. The games below are suggestions of some games that you can play with your baby as early as the first days of their lives.
All the experiences you give your baby will connect their building blocks. Whether it is a walk in the park, a smell of an orange or a look at a tongue for the first time, they all help develop their tiny brain. Building blocks that are continuously stimulated form stronger connections. For example a young child often likes to repeat certain actions, like climbing up steps. The more he practices the better he climbs, and the stronger the connection between the building blocks in the brain become.
Her are some fun games you can play with your newborn baby:
When your baby is looking intently at you, move your head slowly from side to side. Open and close your mouth, or protrude your tongue and smile. Baby will often move his entire body, but eventually he will imitate your actions. Do this again and again. Repetition is so comforting to children and it is also how they learn. Talk to her about what you’re doing. Tell her how much you love her. Repeat words and say her name. Remember a baby gets tired very quickly so if he does not respond right away or looks off to the side, it means it is time to rest. A Great video that shows how to play this and more games is called Your Amazing New Born by Marshall and Phyllis H. Klaus.
A newborn baby can see clearly only what is about 10-12 inches from his/her face (precisely breast to mom’s eye.) Help your infant to use her eyes through moving an object in front of her eyes. Dr. Brazelton, in his research to “understand key concepts about newborn behavior,” uses a red ball or clown nose for the baby to follow. Do the activity slowly; moving the object too fast makes your baby confused.
INTRODUCING BABY’S FIRST TOY:
Sit close to your baby and shake a baby rattle in front of her. Look surprised and laugh and shake the rattle again. Gently tap on your baby’s tummy. This will make her smile.
This is my personal favorite, maybe because my mother was an opera singer. I love singing to my babies all the time. Songs are gentle ways to bring peace, and joy into your time with your baby. When you are feeding, changing, and bathing them, you can sing based on the moment. Usually babies love to listen to the music. Play any of your favorite tunes and sing along with them. Introduce your infant to nursery rhymes and lullabies. Gently rock your infant while you are singing and looking into her eyes. If you have made up a sing while you were pregnant, including the baby’s name, sing it often to her and she’ll remember and be very soothed by it.
BABIES LOVE MOBILES:
I always thought that trees make the best mobiles. You’ll be surprised how quickly a baby calms down once you bring him outdoors. In cold weather over the bed mobiles are also great, especially those who make noise. Place your baby on his tummy and crank up the mobile. Don’t leave him alone, simply stay with him and rejoice with him at this new toy. As he grows he will learn he can stay there awhile, on his own reveling at the toy, while self-soothing.
Your pediatrician will tell you to spend some quality tummy time with your baby. This is a great time to play frog kick. First introduce tummy time to your newborn gently, start by placing him on his tummy on your chest, and slowly move her to the flat surface. When she is comfortable in tummy time, you’ll notice that she tries to move forward with her feet. Gently place the palms of your hand on her feet and help her frog kick forward. I love seeing both mom and dad play this game where dad helps baby go towards mom and mom encourages the little kicker.
It’s never too early to talk to your baby. First and foremost make sure you tell your baby every thing that you are doing with or to him. For example tell him you are going to change his diapers or how you are going to put his little right arm through the sleeve, et cetera. This is not only respectful as you are literally doing something to him, but it also keeps you focused on creating an eye-to-eye relationship. It is very important to speak to your baby right out of the womb. He has gone from a cozy, dark, and familiar place, to a bright room filled with strangers. If you have your baby at the hospital an eager nurse will immediately rub him to encourage him to breathe. Of course it is important for your baby to breathe and express himself (cry) but too often we rush them. Once he is resting on your chest encourage him to express himself. For example, you could simply say “Hello my love, tell me how the birth was for you? Let me hear your voice.” Empathize. This will serve two purposes: one – he will cry but you’ll see the quality of the cry will be different, gentler; two – you will allow him to hear your very familiar voice, and most importantly you’ll get used to his way of communicating. Crying does not always mean I am angry, hungry, sick or tired. It also means: I am here, please talk to me.
LOOKING, LISTENING, FEELING:
Use the baby gym and objects in her crib or pram to talk to your baby. Describe everything she can see. Point to things, let her feel them and try to hold them. She’ll begin to use her hands and feet a bit more to express emotion. Let her look at her hands. Stroke them, tickle them, kiss them and start to play “round and round the garden, like a teddy bear!” Let’s not forget “this little piggy” either. At diaper change, hold her feet up in the air and do the same. At bath time you can sing “this is the way we wash our feet” and so on. After the bath you can clap her hands together and her feet too, and blow some raspberries on her tummy.
The most important thing you can do is have fun with your baby and enjoy watching her grow. Babies and specifically newborns are little human beings filled with wonder who are eager to learn.
t’s easy to imagine that they are in a world of their own, not paying much attention to you – apart from when they want their feed. As a hypnotherapist, I spend a lot of time with clients trying to go back to this very time in their lives; to learn why certain behaviors are instinctual, unconscious, and spontaneous. Zero (or more precisely -9) to 3 are perhaps the most formative years when it comes to learning, trusting, and building confidence and independence. You’ll be posting loads of engaging content, so be sure to keep your blog organized with Categories that also allow visitors to explore more of what interests them.