Newborns need plenty of interaction and stimulation from their caretakers. While they can't communicate or play the way older infants and toddlers can, the first months of life provide family members the opportunity to bond with the new addition, offering lots of interaction and stimuli that benefit the newborn as he quickly grows.
Massaging your newborn gives you a wonderful opportunity to bond and have fun with your baby while relaxing him with your comforting touch. Infant massage can help improve a baby’s sleep, reduce colic and possibly even strengthen his immune system, according to Parents.com. It is relaxing and feels good to a baby’s soft skin when you touch him gently while playing soothing music. There are books and websites available that give direct instructions on how to give infant massage, but simply touching your baby instinctively works, too.
It is never too early to start reading to your baby. Even as a newborn, she can benefit from the soothing sound of your voice, though she doesn't yet understand what your words mean. In addition to spending quality time with the parent who reads to her, your baby can benefit cognitively. Babies who are read to by a family member have increased chances for future academic success, increased vocabularies and vivid imaginations, according to authors of "Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos," Susan Straub and K.J. Dell'Antonia.
Invest in a carrier with good head support for your baby, and carry him wherever you go. He'll enjoy being snuggled close, and the rhythm of your heartbeat and movements are soothing to him. Talk to your baby as you take him on errands or for a walk in the warm sunshine, but be sure to put a hat on a newborn when he is in the sun. The visual and auditory stimuli are interesting to your newborn, and when he needs to sleep, he can do so in a secure, comforting environment.
Babies change so much in the first few months of life. Capture as many newborn moments as possible on film. Photograph your baby when she is awake and sleeping, at home in her baby seat and outside in the stroller. Close-ups of newborn hands and feet are parent favorites, and try to capture some of baby’s many facial expressions. Include siblings and family members in the photos as well. Use props and special outfits to take pictures for photo calendars and holiday greeting cards.
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