By Guest Blogger Catherine Cottingham

When I was a brand-new mom a couple years ago, I didn’t anticipate the want, or the need, to find ways to play with my newborn baby. As a result, I spent hours sorting through Pinterest, and Google to find new ways to engage my son and help him start to explore the world.

As it turns out, I was able to come up with a list of many favorite favorite activities from when he was a newborn to three months. I discovered more ideas than I thought I would, and wanted to share this list with other new moms. If you have additional ideas, please include as a comment to this blog!

Reading a Book- I have loved reading to my little one since he got here. It is a great way to spend time with him, engage in stories that were part of my childhood, and help develop his vocabulary. I cuddle him up, pick out a book (If Animals Said Goodnight is a personal favorite), and read. As he has gotten bigger and gained better head control, I have started propping him up in the rocking chair with his stuffed animals. He loves it!

Tummy Time- The earlier you start tummy time the better. This was never our buddle of joy’s favorite but it’s a great exercise to get your baby moving. Start with just a minute or two at a time. You can play by laying down as well and interacting while they are on their tummy. Also add a mirror, favorite toy, or music to keep them entertained.

Skin-to-Skin- I know the hospital encourages this while you are there but it’s a great way to keep bonding once you get home. When its nap time snuggle up for a bit before putting your baby in their crib. This will only continue to increase your bond to your baby, and your baby’s bond to you. Plus, who doesn’t want to snuggle up their baby??

Going for a Walk- I am not one for sitting down so as soon as I was able, I was back outside walking (very slowly at first). I put Thomas into his stroller and off we went. It was great for him to experience the outside world before we were ready to take him anywhere and it was great for my mood. Being a new mom isn’t for the weak! Be sure to consult with your doctor about exercise before taking on too much.

“Sit-Ups”- This was one of our favorite playtime activities. Place your baby on their back and gentle use their hands to pull them up. Before they get full head control be sure to use your hand to support their head and lift from their back. Thomas would giggle and giggle. I count to ten saying 1 Thomas sit-up, etc. and then we have a celebration dance when we get to 10. He makes me laugh and smile so much! Plus saying his name helps in him recognizing it.

Playing in a Mirror- Who knows why babies love mirrors so much, but they do!! We have one right above his changing table, so I prop him up and make funny faces. He loves it! It’s so fun! I also spend time pointing out his body parts, using his name, and pointing out different items on his clothes (cars, animals, etc).

Singing- I had totally forgotten all the nursery rhymes but I dusted up a bit. Singing is a great way to help their development with sound as well as get your baby use to your voice and your partner’s voice. Wheels on the bus is a personal favorite of ours. The doors opening and shut seems to be hilarious!

Music and Dance Time- Who doesn’t love a dance party with the newest family member? Turn on some fun baby-friendly music and dance around. We love Disney tunes around here. It absolutely made me feel like a kid again.

Mommy and Me Class- I joined Fit4Mom when I was 6 weeks postpartum. I love this group of mommas. I also love the outlet it gave me to exercise and Thomas the chance to see other babies since he isn’t in daycare. Finding a group of moms was huge in helping me feel normal again. I love this group because the classes interact with Thomas while allowing me to get exercise in. Other mommy and me groups could be an art class, music class, or swim class. Whatever is your jam, find a group!

Smelling the Flowers- This is a great one to do closer to 3 months as your babies smelling abilities develop. We have an herb garden on our patio, and I would take him out there to smell all of them. It was so cute seeing his reaction. He loved mint but wrinkled up his nose at basil!

I hope you are enjoying every second with your newborn and these play activities give you some inspiration.  Dance around and giggle it out! The fun has just begun!

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