How to Stimulate Your Newborn
While your newborn might seem like an inactive participant in the world around her, she was born a natural explorer. She’s constantly observing a multitude of new stimuli — from the lights in the room and the bark of a neighbor’s dog to the feel of clothing against her skin — and she’s ready to take in every bit of information her senses can offer.
You can help your young explorer stimulate her senses with a variety of simple activities that will encourage her to learn, grow and develop into a toddling adventurer.
5 Magic Ways To Stimulate Your Baby’s Senses
1. Capture Your Newborn’s Attention
Hold your face approximately 10 to 13 inches away from his face — the distance at which he can see you the best — and let him enjoy the contours of your face. You can play peek-a-boo with him, too. Newborns have a preference for faces.
Stick out your tongue when you have his attention, and, by 2 to 3 weeks, he might be trying to imitate the movement.
2. Mobile and Pictures
Hang a mobile above your newborn’s crib — ensure it is always out of her reach — and pictures around the nursery to catch her eye.
During the newborn period, use a mobile and pictures with black and white contrast designs. Her vision isn’t as clear at birth as it will be as her eyesight develops over the next several months.
Until approximately 3 months of age, bold-contrast colors and patterns are captivating and will encourage her visual development, explains the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.
3. Give your Baby a Massage
The physical stimulation infants receive during massage has a multitude of benefits.
Babies who are recipients of infant massage have lower cortisol levels, cry less, and are active and alert for longer periods of time, according to the Touch Research Institute.
Both full-term and preterm infants also experience an increase in healthy weight gain. Use a baby-safe massage oil, such as vegetable oil or a baby moisturizer, for the maximum effect. Other stimulating touch activities for an infant include gently moving his limbs and introducing him to different textures, such as cotton balls, terrycloth towels and silk scarves.
Gently brush the soft fabrics over his skin to let him experience the different sensations.
4. Read and Talk to Your Newborn Often to Stimulate Her Sense of Hearing
The sound of your voice tops your newborn’s favorites list. In fact, she can already differentiate your voice from others after listening to you from within your womb, says the Association for Psychological Science.
You can also turn on some music and sway with your baby in your arms. She’ll enjoy the new sounds and the movement that is familiar from when she was in your womb.
5. Stimulate Your Baby’s Sense of Smell
Let your newborn experience a variety of scents. You can add scented baby wash to his bath, fill the living room with freshly cut flowers or cook a variety of foods for his nostrils to enjoy.
However, during feeding times, try to avoid heavy scents, such as perfume and soaps, because your baby’s sense of smell and taste are closely associated.
Consult your pediatrician if you’re concerned that your newborn is not responding to stimuli to rule out any developmental issues.
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : How To Stimulate Your Newborn
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