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15 Scientifically-Proven Ways To Engage With Newborns

Newborns are boring. They can’t play, laugh or even move around. Their daily schedules basically revolve around eating, sleeping and pooping and not much else. But according to experts, newborns can still get bored and lonely if they receive limited interaction and/or minimal stimulation of their senses.

While it may seem like newborns are little more than uncomprehending, squirming lumps, this statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the way a parent interacts and engages with their newborn can affect the outcome of their entire future. The recently hyped term “infant stimulation” is buzz-worthy and for good reason. When done correctly, it can help a newborn make giant strides in their development process.

Many parenting behaviors thought to be cheesy and annoying actually serve a higher purpose. They are often considered to be instinctual - nature’s way of ensuring parent and baby engage and ultimately bond with one another. That said, it doesn’t mean babies must be stimulated during their every wakeful moment. They actually require downtime where they are awake yet peaceful. This will give them a chance to process their surroundings and any stimuli new to their senses.

A brand spanking new infant only has a limited amount of time per day where they are alert. Be sure not to squander this brief window. Instead, embrace this prime opportunity to play and communicate meaningfully with them. Continue reading for 15 scientifically-proven ways to engage with a newborn.

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15Baby-Wearing

According to renowned American pediatrician and parenting expert Dr. William Sears, “Baby wearing does good things for babies and makes life easier for mothers.” Baby wearing may sound like a hot new fashion trend, but honestly, it’s the perfect way for a parent to hold a baby close while leaving their hands free for other matters.

Keeping a baby close in a wearable sling, wrap or front carrier allows a busy parent to still enjoy some up close and personal snuggle time while getting things done. Even if not completely focussed on baby, this close physical contact is reassuring to them. They can hear their parent’s voice (even if talking to someone else) and will pick up on their emotions as well.

If a baby seems upset, nervous or afraid, cuddling them close in a wearable carrier is the perfect way to offer them some stress relief. And when bundled up close, both parent and baby will share a similar point of view of the world which is an amazing yet simple way to bond.

14Say Cheese

Often one look at a baby brings out uncontrollable smiles in anyone nearby. Again, this is thought to be a human instinct meant to aid in bonding and forming an attachment between baby and parent.

Even if a person’s face-splitting grin is only met with a glassy blank gaze, don’t underestimate the power behind that smile. Babies love and enjoy face time - especially a face-to-face connection with their primary caregiver(s) with direct eye contact and smiles.

A smile is basic communication from parent to baby, letting them know that everything is copacetic. It makes them feel safe and secure within the rapidly expanding framework of their world. A baby only has a parent’s face to provide them with cues about the outside and what it entails. Their parents’ facial expressions are what guide them through, letting them know that they are loved and protected.

Smiling is also the base ingredient in developing healthy relationships with others. When a baby takes in a smiling face, they are being introduced to socializing and silently learning how to develop a solid relationship with another person.

13Where's The Action?

Often there’s nothing more that a new parent would like to do than sit and watch their baby’s every delicate yawn and sneeze for hours on end. But for anyone who’s been there and done that, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Luckily, there are several short cuts for parents who are looking to engage their baby but can’t focus 100 percent of their attention on them.

Set baby up in whatever area of the house gets the most action. Whether the kitchen or family room, if it’s the room where everyone seems to congregate and things tend to happen, put baby in their bouncy chair or bassinet and allow them to enjoy the chaos.

This is the easiest way for parents to keep baby occupied while they go about their regular day. With the phone ringing, the overheard conversations, a variety of social interactions occurring, a baby watches and learns from these diverse situations.

12Tag Along

Another parental shortcut in order to keep baby occupied when free time is scarce is to bring them along on errands and chores. Everyone knows a parent’s work never ends. In fact, any parent who plops their baby down in a bassinet or bouncy chair while they attempt to get their chores done may find their baby can easily remain there the entire day - until they begin to scream their lungs out anyway.

Allowing baby to tag along as parents tackle the mountain of dirty laundry or ironing, while they clean out the fridge or prepare dinner - or when reading a book, watching Tv or exercising - is a great way to stimulate baby’s senses. Even if unable to devote undivided attention their way, a baby will enjoy the change of scenery.

Parents can further include babies by talking or singing to them as they check the items off their to-do list one by one. It really does not take all that much to amuse a newborn. To ramp up engagement even further, considering getting baby to help out with the ironing - JK!

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