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Activities with newborns from birth to 4 months, esp outdoors??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hope this is not a dumb question! And please forgive my lack of knowing terminology on baby stuff....I haven't begun to register for things or shop at all. I am pregnant with our first baby. I posted about our rental house, now just kind of wondering what you "do" with little babies during the day, when they aren't sleeping, feeding, or having their diaper changed. I am assuming that leaves very little time, with so many feedings, but still! I would like to know what to expect when not doing those big 3 things mentioned.

 

My understanding is that they don't really do "blanket time" until they are a little older, so I am wondering what things you do to engage them before then?

 

And I am also wondering how to make use of our new neighborhood and backyard, possibly even the park. If the baby can't sit up, does that mean he will either be in a sling or stroller (I realize some discourage strollers and baby holders but honestly I will use them sometimes) the whole time?

 

So when I want to take the baby into the backyard......if I want to sit on a blanket in the yard with him, what do I put the baby in? Maybe if his stroller has something that snaps out? Then I should keep him entertained by talking to him, I think. Then if I want to wander around, is a sling the best thing (I realize he's too young for outward facing carrier?)? Are they too young at that age to want to see the world? If he wants to see stuff, I could just hold him?

 

When going to the park, I'll probably either use the same methods as the backyard, but maybe integrate a stroller to do the really long path walks.

 

Or is he really just too young to do any of that?

 

 

Oh hmmm...I am now realizing maybe it IS okay to just lay a baby of that age on a blanket in the grass? It is just that they can't move around much. Correct? So him and I would be moreso snuggling.

post #2 of 15

DD is 7 weeks old. She does like to lay on a blanket and kick her legs around inside- it's been too cold to try it outside, although I'm sure she'd love it. She also lays on her tummy on a blanket and tries to crawl (she's determined!). 

 

Honestly at this stage she still is barely aware that I even EXIST outside of being a food and comfort source. She's not really into toys at all- she'd rather stare at my (high contrast black and white with some yellow) shower curtain than watch me dance a toy around for her. She does like to be carried around and talked to, and I show her things ("Look at this tree. Isn't it a pretty tree?", "This is the bookshelf. It holds all of our books. Your books are there, too".) I read to her sometimes and she seems to like it, though I think she likes listening to the rhythm of my voice more than anything.

 

Outside, she likes to ride in her stroller and look around, or be carried, or go in her wrap. As far as going and sitting in the back yard, when we do that, I just hold her. 

 

She is just now getting to the stage where she wants to be entertained sometimes, and doesn't just eat and sleep. I'm figuring it out as I go and you totally will, too. Even if I suggest all these things to you, your baby may hate laying on the blanket and like to do something else, y'know? They do have personalities even when they're tiny. Enjoy your baby! You're going to be a great mama.

post #3 of 15

We had a couple of weeks just lying in bed together to start with.  

 

Baby massage was really great. We'd walk to the library and the park and the museum and friends' houses - just places I liked and hoped we'd learn to enjoy together but we'd also spend lots of time just hanging out together, me singing to them or snuggling.  Housework was bare minimum and my husband did most of it so we could just relax.  They were both winter babies so we didn't do blankets on the ground yet and I was ill after the eldest was born so I couldn't lay him on the floor as I couldn't pick him up again.  But it's amazing how much time we spent in bed looking back.  I'm surprised I didn't go stir crazy but I was exhausted and we were really very happy just getting to know each other.

 

The youngest loved the sling, outward facing when he was older, but snuggled in towards me at this stage.  He slept a lot during the day and preferred to be at home than out, the eldest liked having time out and about every day and never slept.  They're very much like that still!

post #4 of 15

I love this link: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/c25004199/lets-play

It lists games to play with babies for each week that are developmentally appropriate.  Like you, I was worried about what exactly I would DO with a baby.  For the most part he just slept and nursed for the first few weeks, so all we did together was snuggle in bed.  Once he was big enough to use a carrier I went for a lot of walks with him.  He was born in August, so I also sat outside with him laying on a blanket a lot and just held things up in front of him for him to see &/or smell.  He also loves it when I sing to him - I turn on Pandora and choose a station like "toddler radio" or "baby beluga" and sing along with it (most baby songs are super repetitive, so you'll know the words in no time...and then you'll never get them out of your head again!).  You can also just sing along to your own taste in music, of course - I like to go through different genres in itunes and play him random songs (he seems to like Joni Mitchell and the Beastie Boys equally).  We spend a lot of evenings dancing around the living room and singing.

post #5 of 15
I have a 7 week old too. She spends 99% of her time in a carrier on my chest and my first LO was pretty much the same. I don't do any activities specifically *for* the baby but she is with me for all my day to day activities and I talk to her or sing to her sometimes.

I really like the continuum concept idea of babieS being at the centre of the activity (but not the centre of attention) so they can observe and learn about their society. Even as tiny newborns they would watch my face and listen to my voice and it's all learning for them.

I also sometimes let them lie on the changing table with their nappy off for awhile. They both enjoy that. And I stand and chat to them or play with their toes.

By 4 months you can start playing some little games with them like peek-a-boo or This Little Piggie but for the first couple of months at least I'd say just do your normal activities and include your baby :-)

Oh, I also started reading to them in the first few days as well.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Wow, thank you so much!!! :) This is all very helpful and gives me a good idea of what to expect. This little boy will be an early summer baby, so I think we'll have some good indoor and outdoor time. :) Yes, I'm realizing that he won't seem too "aware" of things....he'll be busy growing.

 

For a stroller for a baby of this age, I think something that holds them upright would be good? (which is most? though I see ones where you can lay the baby flat, carriages) Anyone have a favorite stroller? I believe what I'll look for the most is something with a "smooth ride" for baby because I don't want to have to worry about bumps!

 

My guess is that I'll only use a stroller about half the time when going out around the block, and the other half, I'll carry him or use a sling so I can be close and talk to him.

 

I love the singing idea! I am sure we'll do a lot of that. Maybe I should start making him a playlist..... :) I guess I will gauge what he likes and what he's ready for, as we go. But it is nice to know what others have done.

post #7 of 15

The usual recommendation is to have a stroller that reclines (and a head supporter thingy) for up until around 3 months, when babies are usually capable of holding their heads up by themselves.  After that you can use an upright stroller.  We didn't use a stroller really until our daughter was about three months or older because the sling or moby was easier and I liked being close to her and being able to see what she was doing.  She had great head control though, so a normal stroller probably would have worked.  It'll depend on your baby what he/she prefers.

 

My daughter was born in August and like everyone else said, we did a lot of walking, lots of lazing about, singing, rocking, talking, angry tummy time (she was not a fan), and napping together.  It's never too early to name things and point things out, but they can't really see well for a while so it's more for just letting your babe know you're there.

post #8 of 15

Just kind of wondering what you "do" with little babies during the day, when they aren't sleeping, feeding, or having their diaper changed.

 

Heh, heh, that's IS pretty much what a typical day with an infant looks like for the first 3 or so months.  It seems like navigating the feed/poop/sleep cycle is about ALL you do for awhile, but then gradually you do get a little space for doing other things.  The feeding takes up a whole lot of time in the beginning because you are doing it almost constantly--and usually you just have a small window of time between one feeding and the next...such a short window that some days it really seems like you have had ZERO down time.

 

Usually when I wasn't feeding the babe, I was doing something related (trying to feed myself), or trying to do the wash, or any sort of chore that could be squeezed into a five minute window of time. 

 

It depends on the kid, but mine really wanted to be in my arms at all times for the first three months--and would only let me put him down if he was already passed out.  So blanket time didn't really happen much until he was closer to 6 months, and he didn't actually enjoy it until he was able to sit up/crawl.  Until he was able to at least sit up, he had no interest in being by himself.

To be honest, I have no idea how to entertain a baby, so I mainly just wore him around the house in a carrier and tried to narrate whatever I was doing.  As long as he was being held, he was usually content.  If I couldn't wear him, I'd put him in a bouncy seat in whatever room of the house I was in for as long as he'd tolerate that.  A lot of days, I sat around listening to audio books to keep from going insane from the lack of mental stimulation.  For lack of any better ideas on how to pass the time, I would take long walks around the neighborhood, or sit in a rocking chair on my front porch, or go to the park with the stroller.  Going on outings got easier when he was old enough to go for a little longer between feedings.  And having a stroller was good for really long walks--or walks that involve going into a store.

 

So when I want to take the baby into the backyard......if I want to sit on a blanket in the yard with him, what do I put the baby in?

 

I had a hammock in my backyard, that was a lifesaver--I'd lay in it and rock with him for long periods of time.  If I needed to do yard work/etc. I put him either in his bouncy seat near where I was working (pre-ambulatory days).  When he got a bit bigger, and more mobile, I used his high chair as an outdoor seat (so I didn't have to worry about what he was doing).  I don't think it matters how old they are, you can do a lot of things with even a young infant, but different things work at different ages. Generally speaking, the less they can do for themselves, the more they need to be with/on you, and you'll have to factor in bringing stuff along if you're away from home for any length of time (e.g. diapers/diapering supplies). 

 

 

post #9 of 15

So when I want to take the baby into the backyard......if I want to sit on a blanket in the yard with him, what do I put the baby in?

 

 

Bouncy seat, carseat, put him in a moby wrap or sling and once he's sleeping, you can sit in a chair. Some babies do tolerate "blanket time" early, mine didn't. Some babies like to be on a boppy, either on their backs or tummy.

Around 3.5-4 months is when babies start to really get interested in their environment, but before that it seems like they can enjoy the change in atmosphere in my experience.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by bootsvalentine View Post

Quote:
So when I want to take the baby into the backyard......if I want to sit on a blanket in the yard with him, what do I put the baby in?

Bouncy seat, carseat, put him in a moby wrap or sling and once he's sleeping, you can sit in a chair. Some babies do tolerate "blanket time" early, mine didn't. Some babies like to be on a boppy, either on their backs or tummy.
Around 3.5-4 months is when babies start to really get interested in their environment, but before that it seems like they can enjoy the change in atmosphere in my experience.

I agree. Since she was born, if my babe is unsettled, taking her for a walk outside is the quickest way to get her to sleep. Sometimes it only takes til the end of the street and we're the second house from the corner!
post #11 of 15

I'm a wacky extremist. I set my kids down when required during that period (I do sometimes need to use the bathroom alone--sorry kid) but otherwise they were kept in a carrier against a body--either mine or my husband's. Have you heard of the fourth trimester? The short explanation of it is that humans are born kind of under baked. Giving them as much of a womb-like experience for the first three months of life is something that folks recommend. A number of cultures around the world have rules about mothers and children not leaving the house for a period of time (often around 40 days) because babies are so delicate and mothers need to heal.

 

For most of that period a child isn't able to focus its eyes far enough away from its body to properly enjoy pretty much anything but looking at an up close person. 

 

So I went on a lot of walks. :) I was bored and couldn't manage to get much of anything else done. They get older. Things get easier. That period is just rough.

post #12 of 15

You can practice a little tummy time to keep your baby's head a nice shape.  Try rolling up a small blanket a putting it under your baby's arms and lay your baby down on his/her tummy and watch him/her lift their head.  You only have to do it for a few seconds but it builds head and neck strength and gets them off of the back of their heads.  You can do it a few times a day and once baby gets older he/she will tolerate it for longer periods.  The rest of the time your baby will sleep and feed and want to snuggle or observe to world from your arms.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

I'm a wacky extremist. I set my kids down when required during that period (I do sometimes need to use the bathroom alone--sorry kid) but otherwise they were kept in a carrier against a body--either mine or my husband's. Have you heard of the fourth trimester? The short explanation of it is that humans are born kind of under baked. Giving them as much of a womb-like experience for the first three months of life is something that folks recommend. A number of cultures around the world have rules about mothers and children not leaving the house for a period of time (often around 40 days) because babies are so delicate and mothers need to heal.

For most of that period a child isn't able to focus its eyes far enough away from its body to properly enjoy pretty much anything but looking at an up close person. 

So I went on a lot of walks. smile.gif I was bored and couldn't manage to get much of anything else done. They get older. Things get easier. That period is just rough.

This is what we do too. I'm rather excited to "meet" someone else. With my first we started leaving her on the bed for some daytime sleeps at about 4 months but we kept her on us for the majority of the time until 6 months-ish. The plan is to do the same with the new little person.

OP, if this sounds like something you might be interested in then I recommend the book The Continuum Concept. I'm not a hardcore CC parent at all but I love some of the ideas and have incorporated them into my parenting.
post #14 of 15
I have a 5 week old and I have been doing all of the above with him. I also have a yoga ball and I hold him while bouncing up and down and singing rhythmic songs or reading to him. He also enjoys laying on his tummy on the yoga ball while I hold on to him and gently roll it back and forth. He loves getting baths, listening to music, and being carried on our shoulder while we show him things. Eating, sleeping, and diapers take up most of the day and If I get a spare second, I us it to quickly get a glass of water or something. I never believed it would be so intense and time consuming and I was a daycare teacher for an infant room! Breastfeding is very time consuming, at least in the beginning. I have no qualms with setting him down in the swing or bouncy seat, but he usually only tolerates those things for about ten minutes or so. (Nak)
post #15 of 15

the first three months is actually one of my favorite times in a child's life because they are just so content being held, cuddled and loved on.  truly, my kids were totally happy just being on my chest while I did whatever - cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, lunch with friends, walks, school activities, church...whatever.  they fit pretty seamlessly into life.  the first few weeks, we spent a lot of time in bed.  after that, they just went with me and did whatever I had to do.  "life" as it is is enough stimulation for a tiny baby.  at about four months they start to desire some entertainment and will let you know what they need/want, but until then don't pressure yourself.  you baby will just want to be close to you.  I would strongly recommend a moby for the first month or two!  totally comfortably and almost always produces a very happy kiddo.  

 

oh, and there were certainly times that my kiddos spent 10-15 minutes in their bouncy seats.  cooking with hot oils, showering, using the bathroom, getting dressed, cleaning something or another with a chemical I didn't want them around, or sometimes, just a little break.  that time was good for them, too.  my son was way less high needs than my daughter and actually seemed to like some "space" so he could watch the world around him from a different angle.  each baby is different!  you'll figure it out.

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