Caring for a newborn is an emotionally exhilarating ride and one that you wouldn’t trade for anything. When people say that this stage goes so quickly they are not wrong, with so many activities and priorities squeezed into each day, compounded by how tired the whole family is.
Whether you are a new parent or welcoming your second or third, you might be wondering how you plan for their activities and what they should be filling their days with. Well, relax weary parents, as we have put together a guide to keep you on track and give you some ideas on how you can fill the day and make the most of this beautiful stage.
Be ready to capture the milestone moments
Breastfeeding and bathtime might not feel so monumental after the thousandth time, but there is a first for every moment and you want to be capturing these moments. Have a camera handy around the house but also consider newborn photography from a professional so that you have tangible mementoes from this fleeting stage before they become a little less predictable in front of a camera. You can also involve them in the process and have them draw pictures at certain ages, take hand and footprints in paint and really get creative and messy with your memory-making.
Establish a routine
Seasoned parents might laugh in your face when you mention a baby routine but it is possible and is at the very least worth working towards. Your routine might be as simple as a morning walk with the pram to get a coffee and then twenty minutes of tummy time before a nap. This is absolutely enough and anything else you plan might go awry as your little one struggles to stick with the program. By having some constants in place, it allows you to be open to any activity that your newborn might be up for, freeing you up to seize a day when they are well-behaved or bunker in for a more difficult day.
High and low sensory activities
All activities are not the same for newborns and they are typically characterised as low and high sensory. For example, watching television, playing with your phone or coming to a cafe and interacting with other babies are high sensory activities. This will keep your little one entertained with all the activity unfolding, but it can make them over-tired and actually less susceptible to sleep. Low sensory activities would be playing with wrapping paper, being read a storybook and enjoying time in the pram. These activities still use the brain but they are not going to be ‘wired’ and can actually partake in many low sensory activities at a time. Try and allocate any high sensory activities to the start of the day and keep the low sensory activities closer to bedtime.
A newborn baby goes through many developmental leaps in the early stages, and they are worth familiarizing yourself with so that you can celebrate your clever baby when they reach them. It will also inform your activities with your child as you can anticipate what’s to come next. If your baby is due to start rolling soon, you might want to spend more playtime down on the mat with them so that they are happy to spend time on their back or belly rather than wanting to be picked up by you or your partner.
Parents have a lot on their plate in those early months and it can be quite overwhelming to know what to do next and wonder if you are on the right path. Be kind to yourself in this process and listen to what your little one wants and try to go with the flow as best you can when it comes to their activity threshold.