Of course you want to bond with your new baby and stimulate her rapidly developing brain, but how do you play with someone who can't talk yet, or even sit up? Reading stories and singing lullabies are classics for a reason, but after a few months, moms can get a bit bored — I know I did. Even the baby seemed bored.
The solution? I got creative, finding new ways to connect with and amuse my little one that were also fun for me. If you'd seen me in action, you might have thought I was nuts, but trust me, the baby loved every minute!
Keep reading for five fun ways to shake up the routine and keep baby entertained.
1. While cooking dinner, imagine that you're hosting a Food Network show. Channel your inner Giada as you describe and explain each step of the process ("I give my sauce a little stir . . . yum, looks good"). Your baby, who can watch at a safe distance in a bouncy seat, will love all those new words, sounds, and smells. Before you know it, you'll be baking cookies together.
2. Play your entire music collection in alphabetical order (easy to do on iTunes) and pretend you are DJ-ing one of those "Songs from A to Z" holiday weekend radio shows. Dedicate the songs ("This one goes out to Daddy"), sing along to the music, and add personal stories ("Ooh, it's Mama's prom theme"). Not only will you boost your mood, dancing to your favorite jams with baby snuggled in your arms, but you can also help shape your little one's musical taste — at least until she's a tween.
3. Head outside with baby on your lap to watch the cars drive by. Make like a NASCAR announcer as you comment on the action ("The cement truck is about to pass the silver Prius, but don't count out the big blue bus"). Fresh air is good for both of you, and the neighborhood provides so many interesting sights and sounds. If motor vehicles aren't your thing, you can always gossip about the neighbors — your baby won't tell anyone.
4. This one's fun and productive too: While you declutter your closet, put on a fashion show! Try on everything from PJs to party dresses and describe the styles and colors, letting baby feel the different textures (this is a great time to bust out that feather boa from Halloween for tickling). Baby will be mesmerized by the rainbow that is your closet, and you can finally pack away the maternity clothes. Which brings us to . . .
5. Ready to work off the baby weight? Exercising can be pretty interesting to an infant, especially if you let him join in. Lay baby on a mat and do push-ups above him, gazing into his eyes and kissing his tummy each time you descend. Or hold him while you do squats — baby's extra weight will give you a great workout.
What are your favorite ways to engage your baby?