When you first bring a child home you immediately start to build a bond with them. You do this by picking your infant up to cradle them, soothe them when they cry, or to talk with them.
Sounds are extremely important for a baby’s development. A parent needs to talk, coo, make silly sounds, and sing. This not only helps with bonding, but starts to build connections between sounds and language.
Dance! Hold that sweet bundle in your arms and dance for joy (And why not! You have a lot to be joyful about!). You can also carry your baby around and point to things. You will begin to notice that your baby is following you (around 10 months). Bring objects to your baby. My younger sons favorite game is to lay on his changing table and follow his toy (I hold it in my hand and wave it around). He follows it intently and then rewards me with a smile. While I make dinner I sit him in a high chair and jump around the room. I hide behind his chair. He follows me around and loves it.
Another important form of movement is moving your baby’s arms and legs. Lay your baby down on your bed (never leave your baby unattended in your bed) or in the crib. Gently move their legs in a pedaling motion. This is great exercise, a wonderful bonding experience, and might help if your little one is gassy! You can do the same with their arms. Up over their head and back down, but take cues from them. If they resist you, do not force it. If they always resist mention it to your doctor.
Mirrors are a wonderful way to introduce your baby to himself or herself. Hang a mirror in their crib so they can check themselves out! Also, play peek-a-boo. During this stage they might not respond right away, but they soon will. Gently pull their blanket up to cover their eyes and pull it back. Peek-a-boo! Babies enjoy contrasting colors, so a toy that is black and white will really catch their eye.
How sweet is it when a baby curls their hand around your finger? Well, not only is it super adorable, but also brain building! So make cooing noises while you let your baby hold onto your finger. Give encouraging facial expressions. Soon that baby will be holding onto toys and smiling at you.
Begin to sit your baby up (with a pillow in case of a fall) and play with them. Give them toys. Let them bang the toys or put the toys in their mouth. Start to play “Find the Toy”. Show your little one a toy and then hide it in an easy spot (under a blanket right in front of them). Soon they will begin to find it. Let them explore objects that have different textures (fabrics, plastic bowls, balls, etc). Make sure you monitor anything that goes in your baby’s mouth.
As your baby grows older you will be able to play more and more games:
Clean up and dump out- give your child a box, bowl, jar filled with something bigger then their fist (if it is bigger then their fist they cannot swallow it). Let them fill up the box and dump it out. My older son could do this for an hour!
Hide and seek with my voice- Once your baby is crawling you can hide in the room and help the baby following you by using your voice.
Play with your food- If you do not want a picky eater let them play with their food. This is the one time they can make a mess and not be in trouble. Let them paint with yogurt. It will help with fine motor skills and get them to try foods they might not want to try.
Imitate your baby’s sounds. You will start to notice your pumpkin smiling at you (because to him you are having a conversation!). Imitate your baby’s movement and move so that they can start to imitate you! It will take time, but it will happen.
Also, it is never too early to read to your child! That is the greatest imitation of all!
The first year of your child’s life is completely life changing, mind-blowing, and over before you know it! You’ve heard it a thousand times, but I’ll say it again- Savor every moment!
- Baby Milestones (plumorganics.com)