Developmental Milestones and Play
At this point, your baby is still getting acclimated to his or her brand-new environment – with sounds, sights and smells completely foreign, and at times, utterly overwhelming. You’ll notice that while they might not sleep for large chunks of time, those tiny eyes tend to flutter closed more than they’re awake. Video footage might be a bit of a yawn fest, but give them a break – they’ve only been here a couple of days. The first week, your baby will probably:
- Focus on objects only within 8 to 15 inches of his or her face, so snuggle up close.
- Be able to move both arms and legs equally.
- Briefly lift head during supervised tummy time, working those tiny neck and back muscles.
While you might have a desire to keep your baby entertained, this isn’t a bored houseguest we’re talking about. Your baby has enough on his or her plate – like making sense of this strange environment and taking yet another nap – without worrying about having a dull parent. However, there are some activities that are more beneficial than others:
- Use your face: Since babies can only focus on objects 8 to 15 inches away, your face makes the perfect object to study – and, really, the only thing they’ll want to look at.
- Black and white: Babies can only see strong contrasting colors at this point, so black and white toys and mobiles will be the most stimulating for them.
- Tummy time: Once upon a time, babies were put to sleep on their stomachs. While this tends to be the most natural and comfortable way for many babies to sleep, it’s also the riskiest when dealing with SIDS. We now know that it’s safer for babies to sleep on their backs, but there is a minor drawback: Babies spend much less time developing their back and arm muscles as they did when the majority of their day was spent laying on their stomachs. Also, too much time on their back can cause a flat spot in the skull. Because of this, it’s important to spend about 10 minutes a day supervising them while they play on their tummies.
- Story time: Okay, so they probably can’t even focus on the book in your hand, but it’s never too early to make a habit out of reading. Besides, hearing the voice that’s been comforting them for so many months is always soothing.