This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How to play with a baby? Seriously!(12 Posts)
My DD is 5 weeks old. She spends more time awake these days and I really want to make the most of this time but how do you play with a 5 week old baby? If I don’t engage her she ends up crying then I pick her up and soothe her which makes her sleep and we’ve missed our chance to play!! Any advice would be lovely :-)
I understand that, when you have a new baby, you're incredibly anxious to do all the right things for her but there will be loads of time for playing when she's older (so many years of it, you'll get bored!). All she needs right now if to be held when she needs it and to be fed, clean and to sleep. I used to chat to my newborn a lot and to sing (even though I can't - she didn't know that) and I can remember trying to play with her but, looking back on it, trying to play / stimulate her just made us both frustrated. Enjoy this as much as you can, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Time passes incredibly quickly (although it doesn't seem like it when you have a new baby) - my DD now at university!
I’m pleased to hear you say that :-) I was worrying that we ‘should’ be playing and that I was selling her short with all the sleep but maybe I just need to relax and let her lead the way!
Lots of cuddles, tummy time, lay her on your chest on her tummy.. it will encourage her to lift her head and strengthen her neck and muscles. Also babies have very blurry vision until about 4 months. They also see everything in black and white! Cool isn't it? You can take some white paper and make black and white shapes. Place them next to her and she will stare and focus on them for a very long time. Great for concentration. Avoid loud, flashy toys. Too over stimulating and will cause her to stress. Remember she's been in a quite, warm, dark place the past 9 months so she slowly will adjust. Keep her environment as peaceful as possible. Xx
Definitely don't worry too much. When you first start out you worry so much that you should be trying to teach them so much ASAP, but you have so much time for that!
We had a great Fisher Price musical baby gym but I don't think we used it until she was around 10 weeks as it was quite stimulating.
I did make a sensory bag of items just from around the house of things with different textures (different types of ribbon, a soft Pom Pom, a silky scarf, a wooden ring, the lid of a jar, a soft plastic ball) and I think that's what we used most! Obviously very baby safe items to begin with and don't leave them alone with any of it, but you can change it up as they grow, just anything that might feel interesting to them.
I used to lay her on my lap (or the floor on a blanket as she got older) and hold them above her to reach for or just put them in her hands, often with some nice music in the background.
It's hard to get our active adult brains on their level and realise how exciting really basic things are, so no need to do it for too long. They are learning and experiencing so much just by being awake! Don't worry about bringing the entertainment just yet
You sound like you’re doing a great job OP. My DD is 12 weeks and I worry that I’m not doing enough. Current routine is playing with her new turtle toy, playing with her in her bouncer chair which has rattles etc. Tummy time (which she loathes), lots of cuddles and kisses in between, reading interactive books and singing (badly!)
We also have playtime in the bath and lots of toys in there which she really likes.
Ps - messy play is also something my HV recommended. I couldn’t deal with the mess but took her to group where she was basically dunked in Jelly and cereals. She loved it!
Group style activities are really good, I take her to baby yoga, baby rhyme time and also baby massage.
I like the idea of objects from around the house. She doesn’t really grab things yet but when she does that will be a lovely idea. For now I’ve worked out that propped up on a pillow in front of the fire provides a good hour of awake time as she is hypnotised by the flames and presumably comforted by the warmth :-)
Just remembered that we also had a very simple baby gym - I think it started off with just black and white things hanging from it , to help her focus. No music / flashing lights. You could then change the hanging items as they got bigger and able to reach for things and make them move.
The main thing, as other posters have said, is not to worry, it sounds like you're doing a great job. x
I took my baby to adventure babies at this age. Total waste of money! Looking back I realise we would both have been happy hanging out on the sofa looking at each other! 8 months now and loves doing stuff.
Just enjoy her. She may well be impressed by you showing her your fingers and toes wiggle. DD remains impressed with mine!
The best thing for a baby that age is just to talk and sing to them while you look in their eyes. Your face is the most fascinating thing to them. They're never too young for stories. Read the Gruffalo and make it interesting by putting on silly voices for each character. It might seem pointless when they can't understand but it's great stimulation for them.
I remember feeling the same, we didn't rely have any toys and I was stuck, looking back I don't know why, here's some ideas:
I second the bag of random things around the house
Read her books
Show her things.. walk around the house or garden. Teach her about the different rooms
Quiet musical instruments like soft rattle
There are apps or you tube clips with moving black and white shapes
Sing nursery rhymes (I had to you tube them initially)
Dance either together or in front of her
Learn over her and let her touch your face
You don't have to suddenly turn into entertainer of the year, do more play as you feel comfortable.
Please login first.