The Ultimate Guide – Bonding Activities for Your 0-3 Month Old
The time from when your baby is first born to 3 months of age is such an important time in your baby’s development.
There are several things that as parents, you naturally know you should do with your baby like talk and sing to them.
Why are some of these natural things so important?
There are also several things that your baby will naturally do on their own like imitate you or play with their hands and feet.
Why do they do that? How are those acts helping them to grow?
Here are 21 activities you can do with your new little one and why it will help them to grow, develop, and encourage a strong bond. You will notice lots of these will seem very natural.
Skin to Skin:
There are so many great benefits to having skin to skin time with your newborn. This act is recommended in the hospital right after your newest bundle of joy has been born, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there!
At the hospital skin to skin is recommended for the benefits it provides to not only baby but also mom.
Moms who do skin to skin are less stressed and heal faster.
If you plan to breastfeed, skin to skin is a must! Skin to skin will help new moms produce colostrum and have a better milk flow.
Skin to skin has also been known to lower the chance of new mommy having postpartum depression.
For your baby skin to skin is going to help keep your baby calm, stabilize your baby’s heart rate, breathing, temperature, and blood sugar.
Skin to skin will boost your baby’s immune system and help them to build a strong brain through smells, sounds, and even textures.
Skin to skin is not just for momma, daddy can participate too and create an even stronger bond with baby.
Who doesn’t love snuggling?
It’s natural to feel safe, secure, and comforted when being snuggled. This is because of the oxytocin hormone.
Cuddling with your baby creates a strong bond between the two of you.
Making eye contact provides both intellectual and emotional learning for your baby.
By looking into each other’s eyes, you are helping your baby learn how to communicate.
Later on, when your baby starts getting better at being able to follow where you are looking, they will learn to understand what you are talking about by putting two and two together.
For example, as you are looking at an apple and talking about an apple your baby will start to understand that it is an apple.
Eyes alone will say a lot about how a person feels and your baby will learn those connections.
Your baby will start to pick up on things like smiling and what that means and how it makes them feel.
Bath time is something you already have to do with your little one, so make it fun.
Remember everything is new to your brand-new baby. Something as simple as looking at the tub spout is fascinating!
Baby Massage should be a nice, relaxing and enjoyable activity for your tiny one.
Just like massage has great health benefits for an adult, it’s great for your baby too!
Massage has been known to promote sleep for your baby along with calming colic, relieving gas and constipation, lowering risk of jaundice and blood pressure, reduces stress, boosts muscle development and, of course, relaxes the muscles.
By talking to your baby, you are teaching them how to communicate and interact with others.
They will learn eye contact, social cues, and facial expressions by watching you talk with them.
Practicing saying something and then giving your little one a chance to respond.
Singing or Humming:
Even if you’re a terrible singer your baby will love the sound of your voice. Well… until they’re older and learn what embarrassment is.
Singing is another form of communication and will help teach your baby words, rhythm and rhyme.
Reading is another great way to bond and connect with your baby.
You can even use reading to help develop a routine in your child’s life. For example, start reading to them every night before bed.
Make reading fun by using different voices for story characters.
Believe it or not, dancing comes naturally to babies.
Babies recognize a beat, and while they can’t quite dance on their own yet they will love being in your arms dancing around the house with you.
I love wearing my little girl in our baby wrap and dancing around the kitchen together while I put dishes away or clean off the counters.
Kisses and Raspberries:
A baby will understand kisses mean love and affection and very quickly will love getting kissed by you.
Some babies even love raspberries and every time you do this they will smile and giggle.
Wait until your baby is laughing and giggling for this activity.
Tickling is only fun for a minute or two.
Your baby is still too small to be able to tell you to stop and just because they are laughing doesn’t mean they enjoy being tickled. Babies are just happy you are interacting with them.
Tickling can be fun but make sure you don’t overdo it.
Peek-a-boo is an important activity for your baby.
Even though it seems silly, peek-a-boo teaches your baby object permanence.
When something disappears, your baby believes it to be gone for good. Peek-a-boo helps show them that it’s not gone forever but just hiding.
Everyone knows how to play peek-a-boo with your hands over your face, but you can also play by hiding objects under a blanket.
Play with Hands and Feet:
Show your baby their hands and feet by putting them in their eyesight.
It won’t be long before you catch your little one just staring at their hands or trying to grab their toes.
You can also show your baby your hands. Wiggle your fingers around and let them grab on or intertwine their own fingers with yours.
Showing them their hands and feet will help them learn about their own body and begin to understand what is their own.
Swinging is a great activity for when YOU need a break.
You may not be bonding with your baby while they are swinging but the motion of the swing will soothe them and give them a feeling of security.
Make sure you have a safe swing and that your baby doesn’t fall or slide into any uncomfortable positions.
It is best to not let your baby sleep in a swing, but the swing is wonderful for short entertainment while you have a chance to get somethings accomplished.
Rocking is a good way to get in some baby snuggles because the rocking motion helps to calm your little one.
However, I would not recommend using rocking as a way to always put your baby to sleep.
Rocking a baby to sleep can be a tough habit to break.
If your baby always wants rocked to sleep they will have trouble learning to fall asleep on their own, so instead use rocking as a tool to get them drowsy then lay them down in their bassinet or crib to drift to sleep on their own.
Making silly sounds with your mouth can also be quite entertaining for your baby.
Your baby will probably give you some funny looks. Their eyes might get really big as they stare at you or they may smile and giggle as you make silly noises for them.
As your baby gets older they will try to imitate the faces and noises you are making.
Imitation is actually something that can happen as early as 2 months, but probably closer to 3 or 4 months.
If you stick your tongue out at your baby, they will start trying to stick theirs out right back at you!
Babies develop a sense of smell while in the womb and will continue to use their sense of smell fresh out of the womb.
A baby will recognize the smell of mommy right away and will be drawn to the smell of breast milk.
By 3 months your baby will begin to use smell as a way to recognize other people.
Smells can be used to calm your baby. If they are scared or upset a familiar smell can help calm them.
Some people will use essential oils to help calm a baby. Lavender oil has been known to help calm a colicky baby and reduce stress.
(Side note: My baby hated being in her car seat, so we got her a lavender infused Scentsy Blankie Buddy to help give her a sense of calm. It worked like a charm!)
If your baby smells something bad you may see them wrinkle their nose or turn their head away.
If you wear them close to your chest, chances are they will probably fall asleep from the motion of you moving about.
If you are wearing them where they can look out, they will most likely be excited from looking all around at new things.
Baby wearing doesn’t just have to be for mommy’s.
I will never forget the morning my husband let me sleep in and I woke up to find him walking around the house wearing my Boba wrap. It was both hilarious and so sweet.
Going for a Walk:
Taking your baby out for a stroll will expose them to all sorts of new feelings, like the breeze blowing across their body or the sun in their face.
Walking also exposes your baby to a lot of new things to look at.
Make your walk even more fun by talking and singing to your baby as you walk.
Social interaction is an important part of your child’s life.
Your baby’s social interaction can be as simple as interacting with parents and grandparents, but also remember that babies do love other babies!
It can be fun to get babies together and watch them play side by side and learn from one another.
Play dates are mutually beneficial. While your babies play you have another parent you can talk to about all the similar experiences you are having.
What are some things you like to do with your baby?
Next, I will be blogging about activities that will encourage muscle development.
Remember your baby is new in this world, so everything around them is new and exciting.
Pin these ideas for later…