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Playing with Baby (0-12 months)

We all have visions of how we’ll spend time with our baby but sometimes, especially if it’s your first baby, it can feel awkward in the house when you are alone at first. The baby doesn’t talk & if the baby’s not crying, it can get very quiet at home- but awkward – as it feels quiet, but there is someone else (baby!) around. It can feel funny at first but talk to your baby- things like:

  • “Now Mommy’s going to turn on the lights”
  • “Let’s go to the kitchen & see what Mommy’s going to snack on”
  • “Let’s put on the BLUE sleeper today…”

Eventually, this will come naturally. I had trouble at first & used to sing everything I was doing to my first born- You wouldn’t believe the things that fit into the tune for “This is the way we wash our face, wash our face…”! My daughter loved it & of course, this was a way that we bonded.

Another thing to keep in mind when communicating with your baby is that this is an ideal time to teach your baby about respect- that may sound odd- but consider this. As Tracy Hogg, author of “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” & other parenting books, suggests: When changing your baby’s diaper, ask her “Is it ok for Mommy to change you now?” It shows some respect to your baby & in turn sets an example of how to behave towards another person. Let her know what you are doing- by showing your baby respect, you teach him/her to show respect to others as well.

I am a fan of Tracy Hogg & she has something to say in her book about time spent with a new baby at home. She calls it E.A.S.Y. Eat – Activity-Sleep-You. In other words this makes up your baby’s routine: He will eat, then have some activity, which at first will simply be a diaper change & eventually will include things like tummy time or time in the swing or listening to you read a story. Then he will go to sleep at which point there is some time for You- which may mean you go to sleep, shower or prepare dinner, if need be. When he wakes up the cycle starts again. I tend to agree that this is how it is with a baby at home. For a more elaborate understanding of her philosophy, read “Secrets of the baby Whisperer” – It’s a worthwhile read. Some stuff may be obvious- while for other things, she lays it out in such a way that it becomes obvious even if it was not before.

As far as the “activity” part of your baby’s day- of course this will change as your baby gets older. Here are some things that would qualify as activities for babies 0-6 months.

  • Diaper change
  • Bath time
  • Infant Massage from Mommy
  • storytime
  • Going in the stroller for a walk with Mommy, Daddy or a grandparent
  • Tummy Time
  • Playing under an arch-type toy like the Tiny love Gymini
  • Swing time, listening to music or watching a stage-appropriate baby Einstein DVD
  • Lying in the crib watching the mobile
  • Time in the Ultra-saucer-type activity center (once age & weight requirements are met- see manufacturers directions)
  • An outing with Mommy to Movies for Mommies
  • An outing with Mommy to Mommy & baby yoga or strollercize*
  • An outing with Mommy & her friend to a Cafe

* Keep in mind that young babies have not yet built their immune systems- it is a good idea to consider this prior to bringing a baby to rooms full of moms & other kids!
* Remember that other children present at such venues may have older siblings who are more “exposed” to certain viruses/illnesses due to being in daycare, school, camp, etc.

For babies 6-12 months, in addition to the above ‘activities’ that may still be relevant & appropriate (storytime is still appropriate for many years to come!), here is a list of activities that your baby will enjoy – some independently, some with you:

  • Going to a “mom & tot” class
  • Going to a mom & tot swim class
  • Playing with a rattle
  • Playing with action-reaction toys e.g. busy box
  • Playing with stackables- cups, “donuts’ and the like.
  • Cruising (walking holding onto furniture)
  • Playing in a ball pit: Note some kids love it while others are absolutely overwhelmed by the sensation & don’t like it at all!
  • Playing in the sand

Whatever it is that you choose to do, just enjoy being with your baby…This precious time goes by so quickly!


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