Can you play with a five week old? Of course! In fact, it is important to lay the foundations for speech, language, social and cognitive skills as soon as baby is born. My daughter, Maely, is currently five weeks old and she loves to play!
First, here are some important facts to remember for this age:
- Their visual field is about 12 inches from their face, so place items within this range
- They like to look at other faces
- They can easily see lights and shadows
- They can easily see black, white and red
- They are attracted to striped and angular objects
So, how do you play with a newborn?
- Hold and cuddle your baby: In the first few weeks, it is important to create a bond with your baby and to make them feel safe and secure. Cuddle and hold them as much as you would like! This bond is the beginning of your relationship together
- Sit close and talk to them: An infants brain is growing and changing and absorbing information all of the time. The more language input and interaction they get from you, the better.
- Talk through routines: Use daily routines to remind yourself to be extra talkative to your baby. Bath time, feedings and diapering are a great time to talk about what you are doing and what they see as early vocabulary exposure.
- Make silly faces: Face your baby towards you, talk to them and smile! Infants will imitate your facial expressions…try it out! Smile, open your mouth, stick out your tongue…but be patient, it takes a few seconds for them to respond. Here is a picture of Maely and one of the first smiles caught on camera
- Sing, play music and dance: Infants love music and they love interacting with you! Maely’s favorite music is currently the reggae station on Pandora…so turn on that music, hold them close and dance around the house!
- Expose to different textures: Use different fabrics and run them along their arms and legs. You can easily find items around your house that work great for this. Do this slowly, and watch your baby’s cues to make sure they feel comfortable.
- Get outside: The fresh air is great for everyone, but especially for infants. The natural light, shadows and shapes are fun to look at. They also have opportunity for many sensory experiences—sun, wind, animal sounds, smells and all kinds of textures. My Great Grammy Minihan used to always say to “take a baby outside for 20 minutes every day, no matter the weather”. I think she was on to something! Here is Maely taking a nap on the beach:
What are some recommended products and toys for this age?
Other than spending time with Maely and all the types of play mentioned above, the following items have been some of our favorites:
Board Books: We LOVE these black and white board books. They are perfect high contrast with large images and lots of simple shapes to keep baby’s attention!
Wee Gallery Art Cards for Baby: Another great visually high contrast item! What I love about these cards is that you can move them around and place anywhere for baby to look at, such as on either side when doing tummy time!
Crinkle toy: Maely loves all her crinkle toys! She is easily drawn to the sound as I hold them for her. Her current favorite is this giraffe!
Rattles: These rattles stimulate visual, auditory and tactile senses. They are a great way to play and interact with your baby!
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