Mommy Q & A
The prospect of beginning playtime with your baby is exciting, but it can be hard to know where to start. When it comes to young developmental play, aim to expose your baby to a variety of textures, sounds, and colors.
You can start placing your baby on their tummy for play as early as the newborn stage. Use this as an opportunity to utilize a play mat or soft blanket so your baby can experience soft textures. You can roll up a swaddle blanket (or use a nursing pillow) to prop up baby’s chest and to help elevate the head. This also gives your baby a better view. Play around with what you place in their line of vision. In the first weeks of life, babies only see black, red, and white, but later on they seek out brightly colored objects. From 6 weeks on, you may like to place a baby-safe mirror in front of the tummy time mat. If your baby gets tired after a few minutes, flip them over to their back for a break. Shake colorful toys, like a car seat spiral or rattle, or crinkle paper by their ear. Many toys come with crinkle elements just for this purpose.
A bouncy seat allows your baby to practice being propped up and observing the world, and the movement can be soothing. Doctors often recommend putting baby upright after feedings to prevent reflux. This is a perfect opportunity to use a seat. Put on some music to expose baby to different sounds and help your baby move their arms and legs to the beat. Shake or hold colorful toys in front of baby, and encourage him or her to touch, which will eventually lead to grabbing. Rub different textures on their hands or face. From three months, you might experiment with activities like bubbles or peekaboo.
Lastly, it is never too early to start reading. Choose books with colorful pictures, and read a different book each day to expose your baby to different sounds. Studies have shown that reading, even to newborns, increases later literacy!