Are you home with a newborn and wondering how to spend those precious moments together? Our early childhood experts offer baby activity ideas. In the first days and weeks with a newborn, feeding, rocking, navigating, sleeping, and diaper changes occupy so much of the day. Accept this as the pace of life for now. It may take a while to find a rhythm, but eventually, you will notice a pattern in your baby’s needs and settle into a bit of a routine based on your newborn’s schedule.
Healthy, full-term babies (at least 37 weeks gestation) can usually go home from the hospital sometime between 24 and 48 hours after birth. Some late preterm babies (born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation) may be healthy enough to go home after a short stay (at least 48 hours) as well. Our exclusive range of baby nursery products will help create the perfect baby nursery for your baby.
Babies born by Caesarean section (and their mothers) or babies who have health complications may stay in the hospital a bit longer. Babies born before 34 weeks’ gestation need longer in-hospital care. If your baby was born this early, you might feel particularly nervous about bringing them home. Your health care team will work closely with you to develop a plan that helps you understand your baby’s unique health needs and feel confident about bringing your baby home.
What Should I Do to Prepare for My Baby?
Many new parents take prenatal classes before the birth of their first baby. The classes help prepare you for labour and provide information about primary newborn care. While each type is different, they usually include advice on feeding, common illnesses, day-to-day care, and car seat safety.
Consider learning about resources for new parents in your area. Many local public health offices offer support with breastfeeding and can answer questions about your baby’s health and well-being. Community centres often have programs where you can meet other new parents.
Before your baby is born, you should decide who will provide your baby’s regular ongoing health care. Your baby will see either a paediatrician or family doctor for routine maintenance. Midwives may give newborn care for the baby’s first 4 to 6 weeks.
Some other decisions to make before your due date:
- whether to breastfeed,
- if you have a boy, whether to have him circumcised,
- sleeping arrangements,
- how to prepare pets and siblings for the new family member, and
- whether to use cloth or disposable diapers.
The busy days after childbirth are not the best time to make these decisions. If you talk to your partner ahead of time and are comfortable with your choices, you can focus on your baby in his first days instead of these issues. To bring your baby home in a vehicle, you should have a properly installed rear-facing car seat. My Baby Nursery has a wide range of baby car seats to help you choose. Be sure you know how to secure your baby safely.
What Will Happen Before I Bring My Baby Home?
Before you go home, hospital staff will check that your baby:
- has an average temperature,
- is not at high risk of developing jaundice,
- has had a wet diaper and passed a bowel movement,
- has received all necessary medications, including vitamin K to prevent bleeding and an ointment to prevent eye infection,
- has received any necessary vaccines (such as hepatitis B),
- is eating well and has had at least two successful feedings,
- Has had all screening tests for certain treatable diseases. All newborns are tested for hypothyroidism (a condition caused by not producing enough thyroid hormone) and PKU (a disease where the body cannot use a natural amino acid essential for a baby’s growth). In some provinces and territories, babies are screened for other conditions and may receive a hearing screening test. Your doctor can tell you which tests your baby will receive.
If your baby were born preterm, doctors would make sure your baby is healthy enough to go home. This includes making sure your baby:
- is breathing well,
- has a stable body temperature,
- is feeding well, and
- has not lost a lot of weight after birth or is steadily gaining weight.
Preterm babies also have newborn screening and hearing tests done before discharge home. Depending on how preterm your baby was, other tests may be done as well.
Your doctor will check to make sure you are well. New moms should know the signs and symptoms of any complications they may develop, feel comfortable caring for their new baby, and have started to feel comfortable with breastfeeding (if breastfeeding) before leaving the hospital.
Don’t feel rushed to leave the hospital. Be sure all your questions are answered before you go home.
What Should We Remember When We Get Home?
It’s normal to feel nervous when you first bring your baby home. Try to protect this time for you and your family to adjust to all the changes.
- New babies can get sick quickly. Try to keep your baby away from anyone who has cold or flu symptoms, especially in the winter months.
- Wash your hands often to help protect your baby. Ask others to do the same.
When Should I Take My Baby for a First Doctor’s Visit?
A health care provider should check your baby within the first 48-72 hours of leaving the hospital or at any point if you feel your baby isn’t well.
If your baby were born preterm, you would develop a plan for follow-up care with your health care team before your baby leaves the hospital. They will also make sure you recognise the early signs or symptoms of any problems.
At the first visit, your health care provider will:
- Weigh your baby and measure their length and head circumference if this was not done in the hospital.
- Check for signs of jaundice.
- Check on how feeding is going for you and your baby.
- Do a physical health exam.
- Ask how the family is adjusting to the new baby.
- Complete any screening tests not done at the hospital.
This visit doesn’t have to be with your regular paediatrician or family doctor. The exam can be done by the doctor at the hospital where you gave birth, your midwife or a public health nurse. And it might be at home, in the office or a hospital clinic. If your baby doesn’t see her regular doctor at this visit, it will happen soon after.
You and your family are getting to know your baby, and your baby is learning to know you. Your baby is learning what you look like, smell like, feel like, that you are trustworthy and dependable, that he is cared for and loved, that there is some predictability in life, and that others besides you may also be trustworthy.
Remember that every child is different. If you have a baby who sleeps only a little, your days will be very other from parents whose child sleeps a lot. If this is your first child, your day will be different than those who are navigating the schedules of several older siblings.
So when you do get some blocks of time when your baby is fed, diapered, awake, and content, what can you do with your baby?
- Follow your baby’s lead. This is a good starting point. Watch what she is interested in and follow up on that. If your baby turns and looks when she hears a rattle, for example, repeat the sound.
- Mimic your infant’s communication. Babies learn language through the interchange of communication. Your baby coos, you coo back. Your baby waves her arms; you wave back.
- Engage with your baby. Faces are of great interest to babies. Your baby may enjoy looking into your eyes. Eye contact is a crucial way to connect with your baby. When you are engaged face-to-face, eye-to-eye, talk to your baby. “Do you feel the wind? The sun sure is bright.” While your baby won’t initially understand the words, your tone is essential. And listening to your comments will eventually help your baby make a connection between what you say and the meaning.
- Get on your infant’s level. Lay out a quilt and get on the floor with your baby—present toys or mirrors to look at.
- Develop your baby’s neck strength. As your baby builds neck control, provide small bursts of tummy time to help strengthen your baby’s trunk, neck, and arm muscles. Some babies don’t like a lot of time on their tummies. Start for just a minute or so and build up to a few minutes. Always closely supervise, and if your child appears sleepy, move her child to her crib on her back.
- Read to your newborn. Hold your baby on your lap and look at a board book together. Point to pictures in the book and name them.
- Captivate your infant’s senses. Provide exciting things for your child to view, touch, and smell. For example, provide different surfaces for tummy time — sometimes a quilt, sometimes the carpet — and let your child experience the different textures. Name them (“this quilt is softer than the carpet…”). Talk about what you have.
- Incorporate your baby into your routine. Carry your child around your house, engage him in your daily way; show him things, and name them. (“This is where our dog sleeps. And this is where we store the dishes. I see cups and plates and bowls…”). If you have never done this before, you may feel self-conscious at first, but it is an excellent way for your child to learn your voice and lay the foundation for speech development.
- Know when to hold your child. Each child has their threshold of “holding” time. Some prefer more, while others desire less. Tune into your child’s preference and respond to their cues.
- Sing to your baby. Whether you think you have a lovely voice or not, your child will enjoy listening to your voice as you sing simple songs or recite rhymes you remember from your childhood.
- Get siblings involved. Include your baby in your routines with older siblings. This provides its own incredible experience for all. It is usually the siblings who get the best reactions from babies!
In the initial months, your newborn gets attached to you the most. The way you connect with your baby in these months plays a crucial role in your baby’s language formation, social intelligence, logical thinking, emotional connect and overall development.
There are various activities for newborn babies that you can get involved in and enjoy the joys of motherhood.
Newborn Baby Activities:
Baby’s Day Out
Plan an outing with your baby. It need not be a far-flung place but a nearby park or any natural surroundings.
- Let your baby enjoy the lush greenery and feel the fresh air.
- Even though your baby may be too small to play, he may enjoy seeing the colourful environment and other children playing.
- It will also be a good chance for you and your baby from everyday routine.
All babies have an affinity for music. Melodies have a soothing effect on babies and can boost their memory as well as mental skills.
- Play different genres of music when your darling is awake and see which music relaxes him and which annoys him.
- Some music might charge him up, while some will make him sleep.
- It is essential to be present along with your baby while the music is playing.
- Your touch and voice may accentuate the benefits. Sing along and encourage your baby to do so too!
- Besides making your baby happy, music will also help calm you.
Record Your Baby’s Move
Each moment with your baby is unique and shall never come back, so make sure you capture them.
- Record your baby’s special moments through pictures or videos.
- Use different accessories and props to make it entertaining for your infant.
- Make him or her wear unique clothes, try a different hairstyle. Your baby will thoroughly enjoy the attention.
- Share these with your spouse and near and dear ones. It will be amazing to watch these together when your baby grows up.
It is a beautiful game to play with your munchkin.
- When your baby is awake and playful, hold him close and try to talk with animated gestures and expressions.
- Vary the pitch of your voice. You will be amazed to see how your baby reacts to your actions. This will help your baby learn and recognise emotions and increase the attention span of your baby.
- This activity can help your infant in early language identification and is a great way to strengthen your bond.
Play Hide and Seek
Play hide and seek with your newborn but not in a traditional way.
- Hide your face behind your hands or a cloth.
- Call his name or whistle or make any different kind of noise.
- Your infant will recognise your voice and try to find out where it is coming from.
- This activity can increase the alertness of your baby.
- When your baby finds you, pick him up and shower him with your love. This will create a happy emotional bonding.
- As a word of caution, don’t be too far from your baby. Always be at a distance from where you can pick him up if he is about to fall or get hurt.
Introduce your baby to toys and colourful things.
- Hang different colourful toys just above your baby’s bed or cradle.
- When touched, they should emanate a soothing sound or change shape or light up.
- Help your baby reach out to these toys with their hands or toes and show them how interesting it is.
- Your baby will soon learn the coordination of hands, eyes and toes and learn to play on his own.
Let your baby feel everything.
- Don’t hasten any activity you do with your baby.
- If you are bathing your infant, let him or her splash water and play with it.
- If you are feeding, then let him or her feel the bottle.
- This gives your baby an understanding of various senses.
- Such learning is essential for his overall mental, physical and emotional development.
Introduce New Things
- Take your baby around the house and show things that are non-hazardous and safe.
- Let your darling stare and feel the objects.
- It is a beautiful feeling for your baby and a way to increase memory power.
Of course, your little one cannot understand your story but read, nonetheless.
- Read or tell a story by enacting the same with gestures.
- Touch your baby’s toes, fingers, tickle his belly and see his expressions.
- You can use this activity when you are clothing your baby. It is an excellent way to divert attention too!
Try Some Dance
Sure your baby can’t dance, but you can sway him to the tunes of music.
- Take your baby in your arms and try some simple steps.
- Such moves are not less than any roller coaster ride for your little one.
- Be careful with your baby’s neck, and always keep a hand there.
- This activity can rejuvenate you and your little one.
When you engage in activities with your newborn baby or babies, it will help him or she learn things faster while enjoying it more. If your baby does not respond well to most of the above or cries a lot, make sure you discuss this with the baby’s doctor in the next visit.
You don’t need a special or scheduled time to play with your baby. The best time to sing, talk, and interact is to engage in the essential caregiving routines, such as holding, feeding, bathing, and changing diapers. Check out our extensive range of baby nursery change tables.
Most importantly, this is an adjustment time—for your newborn and also for you. Don’t put excessive pressure on yourself, and try to enjoy this particular time of life. We hope you liked our ideas for newborn baby activities month by month. Don’t forget to make every moment with your baby special.