Easy, everyday activities that make a big difference.
As much as babies love you blowing raspberries on their tummies, tickling them, kissing their little heads and shaking rattles above their faces as they gurgle with delight, there are also many ways to combine fun activities like these with those that will help your baby’s development.
It all starts before they are even born – particularly in the final trimester, when talking to your future baby, singing to them and playing music is encouraged. Then, once that little bundle is in your arms, there’s even more you can do each day.
In the seconds and minutes between sleeping, feeding, nappy changes and the aforementioned raspberries on their tummies, there are things you can do to help your baby’s development.
I’m no expert, but these are some tips according to Johnson’s:
1. Baby massage.
Most Aussie parents have heard of baby massage but don’t understand how helpful it can be. Massage can help your baby relax before bedtime. Research from JOHNSON’s So Much More campaign highlighted that close contact between mum and baby (or dad and baby) helped calm baby’s breathing and routine touch and massage improve sleep quality and quantity when part of a bedtime routine. Alice Campbell, a touch expert from the International Association of Infant Massage, says massage can even aid your baby’s development.
“Baby’s first emotional bonds are built from physical contact, or touch. This contact serves as the foundation for emotional and intellectual development later in life,” she says. Campbell suggests taking classes in baby massage, so ask your hospital if they offer them, and use oils and creams made specifically for babies to make the massage more enjoyable.
I used to use JOHNSON’S baby oil ($5.49 for 200ml) on my little ones because it just smells so amazing.
2. Minimise stimulation.
Babies use a lot of their brain activity to move, play and take in their surroundings – and it can be tiring and overwhelming. Campbell suggests reducing things like overhead lighting and excessive external noise to help your baby to concentrate on enjoying their time with you.
I noticed this with my children when they were really little. By removing all the toys from their room and allowing them to just focus on their little mobile hanging over their cot, they fell asleep much faster.
3. Eye contact.
Offering your baby lots of eye contact is such a beautiful way to spend play time with your child, but remember, the amount of eye contact they can return varies.
I remember my first baby making prolonged eye contacts with everyone, however, my second took three weeks to open his eyes and then had difficulty focusing on anything for long. All babies will get better at it the more you do it.