Newborns often seem like little lumps. Hardly aware of the world outside of their own little “bubble.” And to be fair, the first 3 months of a baby’s life are called “the fourth trimester” for a reason. It’s kind of like being a fetus on the outside … all the baby wants to do at first is nurse, sleep (preferably in mama’s arms or wrapped against mama’s body), and well … not much else.
But there are some things you can do to connect with your newborn in a meaningful way.
1) Look at your sweet baby when he’s nursing (or you’re feeding with a bottle). A new baby’s focal range is right about the distance from breast to your eyes! So baby will be looking right back at you (when he’s not dozing), and learning the face of the person he’s with the most. (This doesn’t mean you have to gaze lovingly into baby’s eyes for the whole 8 hours a day your baby might nurse in the beginning … but now and then, drop everything and focus on your little one.)
2) Sing to your baby. He doesn’t care if you aren’t perfectly in tune or if you forget half of the words. And if you have a favorite lullaby, this is a great time to start “imprinting” it in baby’s mind and heart. Babies can even recognize music they’ve heard while still in the womb, so they can definitely start to remember songs they hear in the “fourth trimester.”
3) In the second or third month, baby will start to react more to things you do. This is a GREAT time to start nursery rhymes that involve your baby, like “Pat-a-Cake” or “This Little Piggy.” Make your voice really animated and get your face involved too. You never know when you’ll get that first baby giggle!
4) Just snuggle. Wear your baby close with a wrap, ring sling, or other carrier, and just breathe in your baby’s sweet smell. Or stay in bed all morning just cuddling, nursing, dozing together. Why not?
5) Baby bath time can be a really sweet time if your baby likes the water. Take your time, swish baby around in the water, or hop in the tub too (a hand towel on your legs makes a great not-too-slippery spot to lay your baby, facing you). Afterward, give your little one a gentle massage with coconut oil — great for baby’s skin, and touch is a fantastic way to connect.
How do you connect with your newborn baby?