Play ideas with a 0-3 month old

During pregnancy, it’s hard not to think about your bump, marveling about how in the not-so-distant future you’ll be holding a beautiful baby in your arms. What will that feel like? What will my baby look like? What will feel? Who will I be?

What will we do together?

In those early days of parenthood, we spend lots and lots of time caring for a newborn baby… and that physical care can feel overwhelming at times. It’s difficult not to wonder whether we’re “doing enough” for our baby’s development when everything seems to revolve around diaper changing, feeding, and sleeping… and then in start the opinions – get your baby on a schedule / don’t worry about routines, babies can’t be spoiled / it’s ok to let your baby fuss for a few moments…

And on and on and on with the conflicting opinions, the “absolutes” and the “one-size-fits-all” solutions, each one leaving us feeling more vulnerable than the one before.

Here’s a thought: step back, take a deep breath, and just BE for a moment. 

Okay. Now, start from the beginning. Let the voices of “should” and “need to” drown out around you, and think only about what you can do to sit and enjoy your baby. The rest is just noise. Here’s the thing: you already have everything your baby needs from you. It’s in your home, in plain view. It’s just a matter of maximizing the materials you use and the interactive time you spend. Here are three simple play ideas for you and your 0-3 month old baby.

WOULD YOU PREFER INFORMATION LIKE THIS SENT DIRECTLY TO YOU, AS YOUR BABY GROWS?

simple play idea: mirror play!

Materials you need: a mirror!

Instructions:

  • Place a mirror up to 10 inches away from your baby so your baby can look at himself, his movements, the light, etc.
  • Talk to your baby about what he sees, Sing a song about body parts, or simply change your baby’s diaper and talk through what you’re doing
  • Play with a newborn doesn’t have to be complicated, and doesn’t involve much other than being near your baby, allowing him to feel you, touch you, hear you, see you… and learn about the world he’s in!

Simple Play Idea: Massage

Materials you need: some oil (sunflower oil, olive oil, or other emollient oil)

Instructions:

  • Take a small amount of oil and rub on your baby’s skin, ensuring there’s no adverse reaction.
  • Look into baby’s eyes and talk to him as you massage her!
  • Many infant massage practitioners will suggest you ask your baby’s permission first – giving her a chance to look back at you, and giving you a chance to read her mood and connect for a moment!
  • This is a wonderful way to start to pay attention to the way your baby communicates from you – even from day one!

Simple Play Idea: bathing tummy time

Materials you need: your body, a bathtub

Instructions:

  • Tummy time can be done on a parent or caregiver’s body!
  • Caregiving routines like bathing are wonderful opportunities for play and connection.
  • Your skin, your scent, your breath and your voice are some of the most powerful “play materials” for an infant!

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We weren’t meant to parent in isolation.