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Interacting with your newborn baby can be a challenging task. Since the only mode of communication for a newborn is crying, adults often feel at a loss when it comes to interacting with the babies. It is advised to keep your baby engaged, but too much of the stimulation is known to make the babies irritable. So, what should you do?
The ways you choose to interact with your baby will allow your baby to learn things such as communicating, socializing, moving and understanding the environment surrounding him. One of the major things your infant will learn during the initial weeks is associating with your touch, voice and face. Your role is to promote your baby’s learning by triggering off his senses in a positive way with gentle caresses, soothing sounds and friendly smiles. It is surprising to know that even at such a young age, infants love to explore and learn about their surroundings. An infant loves to observe faces, especially the face of his mother. The baby will connect with your voice and slowly start responding to it by appearing alert. In fact, when you start communicating with your baby, he will become familiar with your voice, associating it with comfort and warmth.
Rooting Reflex in Babies
This is another inherent quality in infants which allows them to respond to certain stimuli such as touch, voice and facial features of people surrounding a child which will contribute in their understanding of the world around. In response to stimuli, your baby may turn his head around, for example, when you touch the baby’s cheek, he will open his mouth and look at you, ready to eat. The baby will exhibit these reflexes when he is wide awake and highly stimulated. Once he has learnt his response the baby may respond accordingly and the next time you stroke his cheek while he is breastfeeding, the chances are that he will pause.
When to Interact with your Baby?
During the initial month, your infant will spend most of his time either drowsing or deep in sleep like an angel. It is only over a span of several weeks that a baby matures and remains alert for a longer period of time. It is vital for you to be able to recognize when your baby is ready to interact with you and when he wishes to be left alone. If the baby is awake but too active, like if he is flipping his arms, squirming or kicking his legs, chances are that he will not focus on you. If you try to gain his attention, he will get irritated and may start crying. This is a typical sign of over-stimulation. On the other hand, if he is awake and not too active, you can divert the baby’s attention towards you by trying to interact.
Suggested Activities to Interact with your Newborn
1. Give the Baby Company After a Good Night’s Sleep
It is a good idea to let the night be quiet and calm for the baby, and plan a fun-filled day of activity for him. It does not mean taking your child around for grocery tours. You can let family members mingle and spend time with the baby, talking and playing with him. Put a comfortable booster seat or high chair in the hub of your home and let the baby watch human movements. While you are watching the television, you can let your baby sit and enjoy with you. The baby may not understand what’s going on, but you can keep talking to him at short intervals and have a hearty laugh over some funny television time.
2. Silent Strolls for Your Baby
Let your little one enjoy precious moments of silence. When the day is bright but comfortably cool, take him along for a stroll in his comfortable stroller. You can also sing a soft and rhythmic song that he will start associating with you in the future. Let the baby gaze around and enjoy the serene environment.
3. Maintaining Physical Contact with Your Little One
It is important that you maintain physical touch with your baby. Skin-to-skin contact is essential to make your little one feel loved and cared for. Just hold the baby close to your body, giving him comfort and reassurance. You can also lie down and place the baby on your belly and rub his back gently.
4. Give the Baby Interesting Visuals to Get Amused
Your little one will not be able to differentiate between images just yet, but the idea to introduce the baby to different colours, sizes and shapes is great. Take your newborn to locations that are amusing and soothing. These playful methods will certainly have a positive impact on the cognitive development of your baby.
5. Try to Make It a Two-way Conversation
Try to invite some positive response from your little one. Sing nursery rhymes which involve using different sounds. These will entice your baby in learning different sounds and respond to them in his own manner.
Understand that your baby’s normal language development will have a broader range of alphabets and sounds, but it is best to start early. Your baby does enjoy hearing your voice, so go ahead and indulge in some gibberish and baby-talk!