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Baby Whisperer: Playing with your small baby - 6 April

Playing with your small baby - 0 to 3months of age

Understanding a newborn baby's ability when it comes to having play time is very hard for most new parents, some are ready earlier than others, those being the inquisitive babies, while others, particularly sleepy and sensitive babies who are normally ready a little later.

- Until your baby is roughly 3 weeks old all they require is milk, sleep and love, all of this taking up their limited awake time of 1 hour.
- By 3 weeks of age they will start to 'wake to the world', showing more interest in you, your environment and ready for some more interaction and a little stimulation.
- Starting with just 10-20 minutes of play when they are 3-4 weeks and increasing that time as they grow and are able to cope with being awake for longer periods in between a feed and their bedtime.

Where to start

- Floor play - Lie your baby on a mat or rug without their nappy on and let them stretch and move with the new freedom and space they are adapting too.
- Black and White - Babies love the contrast of the two colours and by placing something like a black and white book, fabric or picture on the floor or by the nappy changing table, they will love to study and observe these different patterns.
- Tummy time - Around 5 min everyday or every other day! This is important for strengthening their back and neck muscles.
- Looking in a mirror - Babies love to watch their bodies move and to steer at their own face.  Place a mirror safely against a chair or leaning again a wall while they kick on a mat.
- Reading books - they need to be about a foot in front of them, they love picture books with noises and big bright pictures to start with, soft books they can hold are great too.
- Sitting your baby in a baby chair while you in the kitchen, talking to them while they watch you do your jobs.
- Dancing to music
- Singing to your baby

Some handy hints

Use plenty of animation and different octaves when talking and singing.

Watch you do not over stimulate your baby by keeping an eye on the time they have been awake and by reading their tired signs.

Where to go for further info

Sharlene Poole - Baby Whispering DVD, 0-3mths
Plunket - Baby and You Courses
Parenting Organisations