Babies are a bundle of joy and we love cuddling with our little ones. Babies love hugs and kisses too – skin contact is also one of the ways to bond with your baby.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is one of the ways for a mother to connect with her child to provide a sense of security and comfort to this new life.
Besides feeding, there are other ways to engage your new baby and daddy can play a part too!
At this stage, your baby transits from seeing shadows to large images like faces and can react to a light source (American Academy of Pediatrics).
Fun activities: During diaper changes or awake moments, babies love visual simulation which would pique that curiosity. Patterns in contrasting colours in black and white or bright colours such as red and green, are colours that babies are drawn to and can aid in vision development. Take these moments to talk to your baby about what you see – expect to feel like you’re talking to yourself – before you know it, baby starts cooing back in response to you!
During this stage, babies are taking in sounds from their environment. A honking lorry or the sound of thunder can get their attention and over time, they learn that these are part of everyday life as they make sense of things round them.
Fun activities: Playing soft music in the background can help baby be familiar with noises if the home is too quiet during the day. Simple materials like a plastic bag can keep babies entertained too while they fiddle around to explore. Let baby shake a rattle and work his hand-eye coordination too.
Who says babies are too young to exercise? Gentle movements can help them in their muscle development and encourage them to kick their legs and swing their arms. Always be careful to use light strength and slow movement.
Fun activities: Lie baby on his back, flex and extend legs alternately like he’s pedaling a bicycle. This is also a method to ease those bowel movements too! Try different movements such as bending his arms towards his chest and bending outwards to lay them straight and watch him smile back at you. Spend some quiet skin-and-skin contact with baby body massage and always ensure that it’s done with gentle long sweeps without tugging baby’s delicate skin. This can also be a nightly affair as part of a bedtime routine. Babies enjoy skin contact, and it’s a wonderful way to bond with baby. As you massage him, look into his eyes and tell him what you’re doing or sing a song to him, and soon your baby can pick up your voice from the crowd.
Don’t forget about tummy time, but do so only when baby’s neck is able to lift his neck a little. An average time to start is around 2months old, depending on your baby’s development too.
Fun activities: Not every baby will love being on his tummy, so make this activity a tear-free one. Wave squeaky toys, clap your hands and call his name to get his attention. An activity mat can help encourage motor skill development and keep him entertained. Bright colours and different textures within baby’s reach will arouse his inquisitiveness.
Babies are happy to explore their surroundings and it’s a great way for the family to bond with the new baby. If there are older siblings, let him or her be involved too so big brother or big sister can enjoy some playtime fun with the little one from young!
By Cindy Gan | Edited by Crystal Tan