Your baby is finally here. Now what? I spent the first month and a half wondering what the heck to do with a newborn. I felt like all we did was feed him, make sure he had a clean diaper, make sure we had lots of skin-to-skin touch with him and make sure he did tummy time once a day. Feeding, sleeping, and making sure his diaper was dry and clean took up a big portion of the day, I’ll grant you that, but what do you do the rest of the day? Every mom I asked said the same thing “not much, I guess”.
It all started when a couple of our friends came over for our routine “games night” for the adults. Long story short, we had Linden in the Bumbo seat and one of our friends picked up a small yellow M&M’s packet and started crinkling or ruffling it in front of Linden. He started tracking it with his eyes, followed by a mere attempt to grab it. It was the first time he had shown interest in possibly “playing” with something. For those wondering, he managed to grab it but not for long. For me, it looked like I was watching someone who had been paralyzed try to relearn how to reach for, grab and hold an item. Truly amazing.
Tummy Time – we were fortunate that our son didn’t despise tummy time. He didn’t take a liking to it, but he didn’t hate it like some babies. But we always thought it was weird because he wouldn’t do anything. He would just lie there. He wouldn’t try to move. Eventually he did but not till quite a bit later. I think having a proper tummy time mat with a “pillow” to put their chest on really helped. We didn’t have one at first but then we purchased one and it almost forced our son to work on lifting his head. He was always able to lift his head just enough to turn it from his left to his to his right but not strong enough for him to lift it right up.
Activity Mats – around 2.5 months, we bought him this activity mat (which you can also use as a tummy time mat) which had a little piano at the base of it so your baby can kick it. It was awesome and we wished we got it for him from the beginning. Although, this is an exercise he does on his back, but it gets his little legs going and stimulates him because of the music/noise he realizes he can make.
Jumparoo – at almost 3 months (12 weeks), we bought Linden a jumparoo as he started showing interest in toys and noise and colours. He absolutely loves it. He’s still a little small in it (like in the seat), so we just padded his back with a small pillow and/or a blanket/towel. The other purpose this has is that it helps to support his neck when the jumparoo moves since his neck muscles aren’t 100% developed yet. He doesn’t really jump in it, but he stands up and puts weight on his legs and he is also insanely fascinated with the toys that are attached to it. We bought a Finding Nemo one, which has a plastic “bubble”, filled with small balls inside which make noise and light up when he spins it. It’s by far his favourite toy on there. Then there’s Dori, which he could just stare at for 20 minutes and not do anything – I’m not sure what his fascination is with it but he seems to like it. The actual jumping feature on the jumparoo is a little too much for him at this age, as he seems to prefer the sensory part, like figuring out how to spin the plastic nemo thing in the front and making noise. Also, because he is still kinda small for the jumparoo, it seems a little challenging for him to reach some of the toys, so when he reaches for some of the toys and the thing moves, he can tend to get a little frustrated sometimes. But if you hold it, he’s happy. We kinda just let him play with the sensory toys for a while, and then let him jump/kick his legs a little, while he is in there so he can also work on his coordination and leg strength and get some exercise in as well.
This specific jumparoo (pictured above) was purchased from Babies R Us in Canada: click here to go directly to the product site (not the Babies R Us Home Page).
I wish we had known about these 3 items when Linden was first born, or when I was pregnant with him so we could’ve been more prepared to do activities with him (other than the usual things). These items seemed to really stimulate his senses, and watching him play and learn is priceless. To top it off, he seems to really enjoy playing with his activity mats and his jumparoo and seeing the determination and smile on his face is unlike any other feeling in the world.