You have probably just settled into your favorite chair at home and it hits you… who let you go home with this baby? And where is the instruction manual?? All of the preparing you did and advice you received seems to be a blur. You remember hearing something about how your baby will just eat, sleep, poop, and cry, right? But you find yourself thinking, is that really all our days will consist of? We are here to tell you that yes, the majority of those early days will follow that cycle, however, there are so many activities you can add in to add a little excitement (and development assistance!) into yours and baby’s days.
Tummy Time. While you may think you have to wait until baby’s belly button has healed or he has gained better head control, but truthfully, you can (and should) start tummy time right away! With close supervision, place your baby on a soft, firm surface to start tummy time practice. If you find you are struggling to lay your baby down on the floor or your little one isn’t loving tummy time just yet, try reclining yourself and placing your baby on your chest. Those beginning tummy time days may be easier when baby is listening to your heartbeat and feeling the rise and fall of your chest, mimicking many of the sensations he felt inside the womb. Incorporating tummy time into your daily routine from the very first days will help help baby be more comfortable as their tummy time practice increases.
Massage. Baby massage is such a wonderful way to soothe your baby. This practice can begin as soon as baby’s belly button is healed but should be started as soon as you can. Infant massage not only soothes baby but also provides the sensory tactile input, which teaches baby the difference between light and firm touch and also develops an amazing connection between you and your baby.
Gentle Rocking. This one is easy because we know from experience how amazing it is to hold that sweet newborn those first few days. While you may think you are just embracing those sweet newborn cuddles, the sweet snuggles and gentle rocking up and down or side to side provides your little one a great vestibular input which helps to build baby’s sensory system right from the start. The vestibular sense helps your baby learn where her body is in space, builds body awareness, and develops balance. This gentle rocking motion is not only extremely soothing to baby, it is also very beneficial. If your arms get tired from holding your baby, another great way to provide vestibular input to your newborn is going for a walk with the stroller or use a baby carrier, only when you feel okay to do so!
Skin to Skin Contact. Kangaroo care or skin to skin doesn’t have to stop after you leave the hospital. Once you and baby are home, it is beneficial to continue skin-to-skin care where baby will love to feel the warmth of your skin and also help develop their tactile input (which helps baby to process temperature). A great way to practice skin to skin time is when you are feeding your baby. Whether you are a nursing or bottle mama, this is the perfect time to snuggle close with your little one.
Where do you start asking those newborn mama questions? We’d love to welcome you into our free community where you can ask us anything! We are so happy to be a part of your first moments as a mama and will continue to help you on this journey of motherhood. For more help along the way, check out our Babies on the Move course!