1) “I’m Gonna Get You or I’m Gonna Love You” – your nose, your cheek, your tummy, whatever body part comes to mind. Touch baby’s body gently while saying the name of the part you are touching. Keep your face close to baby and let them see your smile, your eyes, the sound of your voice!
2) Find baby’s fingers and toes – leave some fingers or toes swaddled and take others out gently…run your own fingers over baby’s hands or toes and allow time for baby to investigate the touch/feel/smell of your own hands. Repeat for each finger or toe: “This one’s old…this one’s young…this one has no meat…this one’s gone to buy some hay…and this one’s gone to the village” ~traditional Chinese OR The traditional “This little piggy went to market” is also a good one.
3) Talk in softer, higher pitched tones to your infant and talk frequently. Point out things in the room, the car, SING for your baby even if YOU don’t think you sing well (your baby will love it.) Get in the habit of “talking to baby” to let them know what you’re doing…”Mommy’s going to fold the clothes..OOOO this is a GREEN TOWEL!” Only YOU will think you have gone slightly CRAZY:), your baby will delight in hearing your voice over and over again. Read to baby anytime you have an opportunity! Let them explore pictures with their eyes while you read. Language for infants begins in the womb and they already know the sound of voices at birth. Babies usually will begin to make sounds in the first three months. Mirror those early sounds back to your infant as you hear them. As your baby grows, they will carry on what seems like very intelligent conversations in nonsense syllables! I, personally, love this stage when they are imitating the rhythm and intonation of…LANGUAGE!
4) Rock and hold your baby…get to know what kind of rhythms your baby likes…FAST or SLOW?
5) Play soft music and gently dance holding your baby – some infants LIKE louder sounds, but most thrive on softer sounds and textures. Put different textures between you and your baby to see which is liked best. One of my own children loved cashmere. I had one scarf that I treasured, I still have it, although slightly stained as baby kept loving it until almost 2 yrs. old.
6) Let baby look in mirrors with you. Hold baby and look in the bedroom mirror. Point out things you see and find.
7) Older infants love to play peek-a-boo with blankets or clothing. For babies, out of sight = out of mind. It is truly amazing for them when you RE-APPEAR. Make the cover-up quick and say, “Where’s Daddy?” or “Where’s Baby?” Ask other questions like, “Where are Daddy’s EARS?” As your baby grows, this will be a favorite game!
8) As vision develops in the first few months, say baby’s name or body parts as he begins to focus on yours. Make silly faces as baby will love looking at you! Ceiling fans almost always are BIG “attention-getters” as are mobiles that spin, play music, or have lights that move. Outdoor wind chimes were favorites with our infants, especially if there was a breeze that made them move.
COLIC – for parents with colicky babies, these are ultra-exhausting times! There are some things that work, some that don’t, and some that you just have to bear! If you have a colicky infant and need someone to talk with…we’ve had experience and know how alienating, frustrating, and tiring it can be for the entire family. Let us know if we can talk with you or help refer you to others with insights you might wish to try!
Bringing up baby:) can be overwhelming and exhausting at times as ANY parent knows! Try visualizing your baby…the closeness you have now (even through crying)…how baby will be a year from now…your baby starting preschool. The TIME goes by quickly and you have the ultimate gift of helping your child have a successful beginning to those early years!
We’ll post more on older babies/toddlers in the next few weeks! Let us know what works for YOU with your own infant!