After three days in the hospital, I was so excited to be able to bring my daughter to her new home.
I remember carrying her into the house and placing her down in the bassinet. At that moment, it really hit me: “Oh my God, I’m a dad and we’re finally home. So what do I do with her now?
Chris, a dad that has been writing about being a new dad here at Easy Baby Life, is sharing a few tips on how to actually interact with your newborn baby when you’re not a mom who will maybe more naturally spend a lot of time the newborn baby. But his newborn baby activities tips definitely work for moms too. :-)
Here is his story:
When we got home with our baby, and I felt so lost with what I was going to do next, I didn’t know it at the time, that this is a really common thought by first-time fathers. If you were anything like me, you spent those first days (and maybe even weeks), being very nervous around your baby. I was also at a loss of what I could do with Tessa.
Much of our nervousness as dads has a lot to do with simple confidence. Please be assured that over time, as your attention to the baby is rewarded with smiling and cooing, you will become more and more confident.
With all that in mind, here is my newborn baby activities guide for new dads. As your baby grows, you can find more baby activities here and milestones, toy tips and games to play with your baby every month here.
Newborn Baby Activities Tips
First thing – Enjoy just being with your baby
First and foremost, your baby is going to be concentrating on three main activities early on and none of them have to do with playing. But as your baby gets more and more alert, she will want stimulation. There’s a lot of things to do here: make silly faces, talk to her, tickle her chin, kiss and hug her, let her hold your finger, etc…
The video below will show you how to play with a newborn. Since their vision is not very well developed yet, they need clear colors and patterns to look at and to be close to your face to see what you are up to.
Music, singing, and dancing fun
Those first few weeks with Tessa were really rough. She had a lot of trouble breastfeeding and I think we had a baby who was chronically hungry. As a result, she cried a lot and we had a difficult time soothing her.
The type of newborn baby activities that worked for us then was playing music, dancing, and singing songs. We experimented with lots of different CDs and ironically, it was a CD of African drumming music that had the best results.
Not only did the music help, but I had even better results when I held her and “danced” to the music with her. If I wasn’t dancing with her, sometimes I would lay her down on her back and wiggle her arms, legs, and toes to the beat of the music.
One of our newborn activities was that I started early on with singing silly songs, especially during a diaper change. This has continued to the point where I now get big grins at the first words of my silly songs.
If you have a baby who really wants to be carried all the time, consider investing early on in a baby sling or baby carrier. They can be of tremendous help and many newborn babies sleep really well in them too.
This has nothing to do with going to the museum or taking your baby on a tour of the Capitol building. Quite simply, babies learn by watching and looking at things. Think of babies as sponges trying to “soak” up an exciting new world full of interesting and fascinating sights, sounds, smells, and touches.
We were fortunate to have Tessa in the spring and we could take her outside for walks and to see the world in motion around her: cars driving by, kids on their bikes and trees swaying in the wind.
If we were inside, I always liked to take Tessa into the bathroom and hold her in front of the full-length mirror on the shower door. I would also move her around the house in her little baby seat so she could experience the view and her surroundings from different places.
Even if a newborn baby doesn’t have much of a vision to brag about, this changes quite rapidly. Already at 1-month-old, a baby will be a lot more interested (and awake!) to enjoy a sightseeing tour outside or around the house.
So just letting her be part of what we did and show her new things to look at was actually one of the newborn baby activities that I think both I and she enjoyed the most. Even looking at my face while I was talking or singing to her and making faces seemed to be appreciated. I’ve heard that newborn babies can actually mimick your grimaces, but I never saw Tessa do that.
And as your baby grows, there will be a lot more baby activities to choose between to have fun together.
More on newborn babies
- Newborn baby appearance – not as cute as in the commercials…
- The essential stuff you need for a newborn – and not
- Newborn milestones, games and toy tips
- All articles and discussions on newborn babies
So what do you do together with your newborn baby? Please share some of your newborn baby activities by leaving a comment below! :-)
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing are based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians who assist in reviewing and writing articles.