It was surprising how delicate and fragile our newborn was. His dad was especially ready to play. But our son couldn't yet. He was very busy discovering his world. And we learned that this is what he needed, stimulation of his sense of sight, sound, and touch to help him develop.
Every child is different. And I'm sure you're settling into your own rhythm with your baby. And if you're having some challenges, then don't worry. Your love and care are what your baby needs most. And you'll find your own routine in no time.
As a mom, I've had the opportunity to learn from experience. And I want to share a few of the best ideas I've come across in helping a newborn discover their world.
I was surprised to learn that my baby could only see about 10 to 12 inches in front of his face. So we made sure to get in really close. We used toys with very simple patterns and high contrasting colors to help his eyes learn how to focus. He liked when we would move it very slowly and gently in front of him.
At about four weeks his eyes started to focus. So we started blowing bubbles for him to watch. And within a couple weeks of that, he was following them around with his eyes. And by three months, he was even beginning to reach out for them.
As he got a little older, we started to play peek-a-boo and other anticipation games like here I come, I'm coming to get you. And he would giggle uncontrollably. And we would do the same thing over and over again. He loved the repetition and never seemed to get tired of the anticipation.
While all children are different, you'll no doubt find they enjoy being close to you. Nothing beats physical touch in terms of feeling close, especially skin on skin. This kind of touch is critical to baby's healthy development.
The baby's skin is ultra-sensitive. So I used only a gentle touch. I would imagine that their skin started four or five inches from where it really did.
As part of our bath and bedtime routine, we would gently massage our son's arms and legs. It really helped him to wind down at the end of the day. I was always searching for different textures for him to hold and play with. I would just make sure the object was clean, large enough not to be swallowed, and not sharp. Some favorite textures were scarves, sponges, velvet, fur, lace, toweling, a plastic ball, and even cardboard.
Babies might not be able to see very far when they're first born. But their hearing is very good right from the start. Within a couple of months, my son started to response to the sound of my voice. Throughout the day, I would sing lullabies, nursery rhymes, or even made-up songs. Babies prefer high-pitched voices. And it helps them with language development. So don't be afraid of baby talk in your singing or storytelling.
I always say, it's never too soon to start reading to your baby. I made it a part of our daily routine. It was something we both looked forward to. One fun way we found to read was to get a picture book without words and point out different things in the pictures. We'd make animal sounds and tell stories. Babies love repetition. So we'd read these over and over again. We kept doing this as my son got older. And eventually, we would have entire conversations about the pictures. He would ask me all kinds of questions.
Placing your baby on his tummy helps him develop the strength in his back and neck to hold up his own head. You can start this for as young as a few weeks old. But be patient as it takes some time to get used to.
To start tummy time, we put a clean blanket on the floor and then lay our baby down on his back and gently rolled him over onto his tummy. Babies sometimes fuss a bit and cry at first. So I would lay down in front of him so he could see my face. Or I would put a mirror in front of him. My son also liked when I would shake a rattle or place a few balls in front of him. As he got older and stronger, he would start reaching for and playing with these toys. Or I'd lay on my back and place my baby on my raised legs so he could look down on me.
We always bought a blanket when we went for a picnic so we could play in the outdoors too where there were so many things to look at. We taught my son how to roll over by gently rolling him from tummy to back and then back to tummy again. Of course, we only practice tummy time when we could supervise and give him our full attention. And we never put him to bed on his tummy.
One big surprise was how important diapers were. My little guy did not like being wet. It made his skin more sensitive and he'd get very fussy. So keeping him dry was really important. First, we used a high-quality newborn diaper that was super absorbent and kept the wetness away from his skin. They were really comfortable and swaddled him up soft and secure just the way he liked.
It's fun to remember back to those days. Thank you for letting me share them with you. I'm sure you're finding your own ways of helping your new born discover his world. I'd love to hear about your experiences. On behalf of Pampers, this is Kathleen Fisher with Howdini. Visit Pampers YouTube channel for more parenting tips.