Becoming a stay-at-home mom is what I have wanted since I was a girl. When our little boy was born and our own business was taking off, we were so blessed to be able to make that happen! While I know it is not the best choice for every family, most families have the first several weeks off too. The first three months are filled with so much joy! Their little yawns and coos are adorable! But it also has its challenges. Being completely dependent on you, not being able to lift their own head and yet staying awake for longer and longer during the day. What can you do with baby all day? The 0-3 month stage can be so much fun when you are able to fill your time with special moments. After reading many blogs and books and trying out different ideas I decided to write out the ones I actually used! If you’re getting stuck on what to do, here are some ideas for you:
1. Wear your baby! It may sound too simple or too stupid to work but it is life changing for those first 3 months!!! This is the number 1 thing I would recommend to any new mother! Get out and keep doing life… and bring baby with you. This is a great way for them to learn and see new sights! Plus, it is nice to get things done or grab that coffee date with a friend. Wear them in the store, while doing chores around the house, seeing friends etc. It makes for a happier baby which means a happier mama! Until your baby has the ability to hold their head, try a sling carrier. My favorite is the Happy Wrap! There are all sorts of carriers and once they can hold their head up they may enjoy facing outward! I tried a bunch of different ones I would find at thrift stores but ended up buying the Britax because I was having trouble finding one that fit him and was comfortable for me. Dr. Sears mentions in his book The Baby Book, how when you wear your baby they are too distracted and busy to think about fussing! And when they are not fussing, they can spend all that energy growing and developing!
2. Walk walk walk! Again…so simple. The fresh air can do wonders for both you and baby! Wear them or put them in a stroller to give your back a break. Take the dog or invite your spouse or a friend! Studies show that babies sleep better when they are exposed to afternoon sun, so be sure to take one after lunch.
Plus, here is a fun little parenting hack! Use a changing pad cover as a blanket with your baby carrier! You can put their feet in one end and tuck the other end by their chest!
3. Hammock Time My baby LOVED being in the hammock—outside + swinging + snuggling!! In addition, I loved it! I would sit in it sideways and have him lay in it how an adult normally would with their legs over mine. I would often take this time to relax or read to him. Even your own novel can be read aloud during this fun hammock time.
4. Reading Any baby book or baby expert will tell you how important reading is—even at this age. Reading to your infant can help them develop their language/early literacy skills and auditory skills. Read them baby books or your own book in a “mom voice.” Here are some fun ones that are my favorites!
2. The Wonderful Things You Will Be
5. Sing songs Baby will love interactive singing and songs! Time to pull out those old nursery rhymes! “If you’re happy and you know it” was one of my baby’s favorites! Anything that got his feet moving!
6. Telephone Whispers Use a paper towel roll to whisper into each of your baby’s ears. They will likely turn their head to see where the sound is coming from. Move your mouth away from the tube and talk so that they can see the source of the sound.
7. Rattle or Key Shake When your baby is seated shake a set of keys all around. Once they identify where the keys are move them to a different area and see if they can find them again. This will help their neck to strengthen too! Love this Organic Rhino Rattle!
8. Texture Tickle Choose various soft objects to rub on different areas of your baby’s skin. Try different textured cloths or feathers. You can even try various temperatures, but make sure whatever you use is not too hot or too cold! As you rub the items on their skin talk to you baby and name the body parts you are touching. Just like baby massage, this can stimulate lots of nerves as well as benefit your baby’s emotional well being.
9. Mirror Mirror Hold your baby up to a mirror or have a baby safe mirror on the ground during tummy time. You can to their face in the mirror and name their features. Get behind baby so they can see you in the mirror too- they will definitely recognize that face!
10. Kick it Have baby lay on their back and place soft items at their feet (such as a soft ball, tissue paper, cloth toy etc). When they feel the items touching their feet they will kick back! The tissue paper is great because they will also love the sound it makes. This helps them develop their next milestone of learning cause and effect!
11. Balloons Buy a shiny balloon and tie the ends to baby’s ankles. They will get a kick out of making it move! The shiny balloons add fun colors and reflection to the mix—a great way to keep baby entertained!
12. Splash Time Fill up a pan or cookie sheet with warm water. Place their feet in it while lying on their backs and let them kick their feet around! If it is hot out this is also a great way to help cool baby down.
13. Target Practice When baby is laying on their back place toys so that they are hanging over them. Most of us have some type of baby play gym that has hanging toys- but be sure to switch it up! Most of your child’s toys have a loop or hook to hang on their stroller or car seat- use this to add news toys to their play gym.
14. Tummy Time Have baby lie on a play matt for time on their tummy. Many babies don’t like tummy time so pick them up once they don’t enjoy it anymore. Even if its only for a minute, tummy time is important for a growing baby! To make some of their tummy time more enjoyable grab a pillow, or rolled up towel to place under your babies chest. I always used my boppy pillow for this. When babies heads are propped up like this they can see more (like you!) and will be more inclined to play with toys that you place in front of them.
15. Superman! Another way to let your baby have some tummy time is to place them on their tummy against your shins. Lie down on your back and pull your knees to your chest. Your shins make a great support for them while you can hang on to them and move your legs around!
16. Eye Contact – It may sound too simple but it is so important! Take time to make meaningful eye contact with your baby. Eye contact helps foster attachment and teaches the nuances of nonverbal communication.
17. Stretch Out – After being in fetal position for so many months, newborns are quite curled up. Gently stretch your baby’s arms and legs one at a time. This helps develop body awareness and stretches their muscles. Of course, if your baby doesn’t enjoy the stretches, stop immediately.
18. Music – Research suggests that newborns are able to recognize music they heard regularly in the womb. If your baby had any regular sounds he was exposed to in the womb, play those sounds. If your baby didn’t hear any music consistently enough to recognize it in the womb, choose a few songs to start playing or singing for your baby now. Familiar music will stimulate your baby’s mind and can help soothe them.
19. Imitation – Flatter your baby by imitating her sounds and expressions. It communicates to your baby that she matters, that you are paying attention to her, and models the communication process.
20. Airplane Ride – Give your baby a new perspective on life (and some vestibular input) by holding your baby face down using your arm across his tummy to support him. This position can be helpful for gassy babies, but un-gassy babies will enjoy it too! Gently sway your baby side to side. You can even make airplane noises if you want.
21. Pleasant Conversation – Talking is teaching. Talking is one of the most essential aspects of language development and it starts from Day 1 (some would even argue it starts in the womb). Talk to your baby often throughout the day.
22. Massage – You can help your baby’s circulatory and digestive system develop by massaging your baby with gentle pressure and motion. Choose a time when both you and your baby are relaxed to do this activity. You can use baby lotion or unscented, natural, edible oil (like grape seed, almond, or olive oil) to massage your baby.
23. Black and White – A newborn’s vision is not fully developed when they are born. They can most easily see high-contrast images, such as bold black and white patterns. Print off or make your own high-contrast pictures and hang them where your baby can easily see them. Some good places are where your baby does tummy time and on the changing table. Look at and talk about these pictures with your baby.
24. Dance! – Dancing is a delightful way to bond with your child and offer the physical contact and swaying motion your baby loves. Put on some groovy beats and dance! My little guy loved to do this while looking in the mirror!!
25. Light Play – Young babies are interested in moving objects and light and dark patterns. Capture your baby’s interests by playing with a flashlight in a darkened room. Shine the light on different objects and cast shadows too. You’re baby will be fascinated. You can also see them fascinated by taking them to the light fixture isle of Homedepot or Lowes!
26. Baby Sit-Ups – Strengthen your baby’s neck muscles by doing an infant version of this adult exercise. Lay your baby on a blanket and sit at her feet facing her. Securely grasp the top corners of the blanket near her head and gently bring her towards you. Gently lay her back down. Repeat this several times until your baby shows you she’s tired by squirming or looking away.
27. Cycle Time – Strengthen your baby’s abdominal muscles and increase his body awareness by gently moving his legs in a cycling motion. This activity also introduces the idea of alternating motion (one leg, then the other), which he’ll need to understand in order to crawl and walk. I would often sing “The Ants Go Marching” while doing this to make it more interactive!
28. Mobiles – Encourage visual tracking development by offering mobiles to your baby for gazing. Some great spots for mobiles are over a changing table and in a common hang out space where your family spends time. We hung a mobile in our living room for our baby to enjoy. Change out the mobile every few weeks to keep your baby interested. This doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Lay down beside your baby and share in the activity!
29. Balancing Act – Develop your baby’s balance and strengthen her neck muscles by securely holding her on top of a large beach ball or yoga ball. Gently roll your baby back and forth and talk to your baby about what she’s experiencing.
30. Swing- Investing in a good baby swing was one of the best things I did! This one has a reflective mirror and mobile on it as well as plays music!!! Baby loved this swing and, as you can see, would often takes naps there. You can try to find a good one for cheap at a thrift store. But in case you can’t find one, here is the one we got from Amazon: Fisherprice Baby Swing.
31. Photo shoot If your baby is okay with getting clothes on and off—it can be fun to dress them up and find creative ways to take adorable pictures. Plus, you’ll love having the memories to look back at later. Bring different props or outfits and find a fun new spot to take these pictures for an additional twist!
32. Play date One fun thing to do with baby is to have them around other babies! They learn from each other and it can be great for you too. If you don’t know anyone else around you with a baby, try joining a mom’s group through a local church!
33. Bath Time Everyone loves a nice bath! Bond with your little one during a nice bath time. You can even combine some different activities—turn on some music, bring some essential oils, play games, massage, or just splash around!
I hope these are helpful to you! Have fun with your little one!
Nice article, Al. I’m thinking of creating a carrier or wrap that has a place for the baby in front, two side slots for puppies, and one in the back for the mama golden retriever. What do you think?
Haha!! Sounds like you have your hands full!
So many great activities.. What a lovely blog post!