Playtime

We had our third birth class this week, and I have to say it was the best one yet. I know I learned a lot, but I couldn’t tell you much about it since we ended class with a 20 minute relaxation massage. I left feeling like a noodle, with a goofy smile on my face. Always the joker, Tom said while he was rubbing my back “isn’t this what got us into this situation?” and everyone got a good laugh out of it. The husbands learned different pressure points and techniques to focus on while we’re in labor, and having him press on my lower back felt absolutely amazing. I know it’s going to help a lot when I’m trying to breathe through labor –and shrieking profanities in between contractions.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about fun things I can do with the baby and playtime type stuff. I know that they need tummy time and they enjoy having books read to them, but what else do you do with a baby? I remember the little Spanish songs my mom and nana would sing to me, and all the other babies in our family, but I’m thinking of other ideas. I used to babysit a lot in high school and college, but the kids I babysat were older, not babies.

One of the books I read said that babies don’t need to be entertained all day and that for every 10 hours, they’re only really alert for 1. They’re happy just to be near you, looking around and taking everything in.

We’ll be spending a lot of time together, and I want to help her learn and enjoy the day as much as possible during the times she is alert and wants to play.

nursery

[The family who lived here before us had that playset in the nursery. Now I think it would be awesome to get one similar]

Here are some of the things I’ve found online to do with the little one when she’s here:

1) Toys. Rattles or other infant-friendly toys

2) Make funny faces at them. [I’m pretty good at this one]

3) Put on soft, soothing music, and sway while you hold the baby.

4) Talking to the baby, showing them different objects and colors.

5) Swing time

6) Teaching them “eyes”, “nose” and “mouth.”

7) Practice smiling

8.) Hang a mobile or let them swing in a swing.

What was your favorite way to spend quality time with your baby? When are they old enough to go for walks in the stroller?

Friends sans kids, do you remember any of the little songs your mom would sing to you when you were little?

Something to read: Stephanie sent this to me on my 24-week update, and I sent it along to Tom. It made me a little teary to read, and he loved it too:

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

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53 Comments

  1. Morgan on October 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I miss just relaxing together, with Aaron in the Moby wrap, asleep in the afternoon. That was one of my favorite parts of the day. Just being together. Now he’s on the go, and though he’s a snuggler, it’s not the same.
    We started stroller walks right away. He was born on a Wednesday and on Saturday we started 45 minute daily walks.

  2. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides on October 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    We started with walks early on – mostly because I couldn’t stand being in the house. In the beginning, he would sleep but now (at 3 months) he looks around. One of our fave things is to turn on Toddler Radio on Pandora and dance in the kitchen. We also sing “Wheels on the Bus” and move his legs and arms to the song. My LO is still not really into toys but he is batting at stuff that we hang from the carrier or kicking the ball on his tummy time mat.

  3. Kristen on October 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Babies just want to be with you! Both of mine have loved “talking” to me and watching me cook (while strapped into their bouncy seat, usually). No matter what you’re doing you can be teaching them something. Talk to them about the colors in your food, the sounds you hear from outside, how something you’re holding feels on their skin.

    We started stroller walking immediately. Little ones can get a good nap, and if they’re alert it can be incredibly stimulating. Probably my favorite activity with both kids was long nature walks either in the stroller or the baby bjorn.

    • Lauren Boito on October 7, 2011 at 11:09 am

      My son and I have always loved our walks around our neighborhood. I keep a conversation going with him about where we’re going, what we’re seeing and going to see. I also keep a conversation with him whenever we have to do errands. Whether it’s grocery shopping or going to his grandparents’ house. 🙂

  4. Cynthia on October 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    My BB loved looking at a home-made black & white high contrast mobile. I actually made some similar flash cards and took those with me whenever we went somewhere – she was very intrigued.

    I would also recommend just spending time in your back-yard. Just stepping outside calms my BB down if she”s fuzzy.

    Also, she loved the Baby Einstein’s play gym at around 2 months.

    Many blessings!

  5. Katie @ Peace Love and Oats on October 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve done a lot of my babysitting in my day. Babies usually just like to see your face and have you talk to them! Whenever I handed them a toy they’d get bored of it and want me there! I also remember reading somewhere that if babies get overstimulated, they just go to sleep! I remember thinking that explains why my baby cousin was able to nap through holiday meals! Too many people and noises!

  6. Ashley on October 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    My sister-in-law taught my nephew to say “more” in sign language when he was young (right around a year). So, while my nephew wasn’t yet talking, we knew when he wanted more milk, water, food, playtime, ect. I was pretty amazed with that!

    • Errign on October 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Yeah, more is a great one – babies pick up on that one a lot! I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve watched that sign for more!

  7. Ashley on October 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    My sister-in-law taught my nephew to say “more” in sign language when he was young (right around a year). So, while my nephew wasn’t yet talking, we knew when he wanted more milk, water, food, playtime, ect. I was pretty amazed with that!

  8. Jill on October 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    When my older brother was a baby, his favourite thing to do was stare at my grandma’s stovetop (not when things were cooking, just when it was off and completely not doing anything)–he would just look at it and laugh his head off. Babies don’t care what they’re doing, they’re going to find something weird to like anyway, haha.

  9. TanyaS on October 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Ceiling fans are usually pretty good entertainment too 🙂

  10. Mary on October 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Along with all the things you mentioned, I would walk around our neighborhood in the mornings, and in the evenings with my baby in the stroller. They are old enough to do that as soon as they are born! Fresh air is wonderful…as long as the sun is not too strong (actually it is good for them in short doses , especially for jaundice that may show up in week 1 or 2), and they are warm enough. There are strollers that can lay all the way flat, and you can put a receiving blanket over the canopy to provide extra shade. Also swing time was popular. I would also put them in a bouncy recliner and just keep them wherever I was… in the kitchen doing dishes, in the bathroom while taking a shower, hanging out on the back porch. The baby will be happy to be with you as you go about every day stuff! BTW, down time is very important…for both of you!

  11. Mary on October 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Oh yeah, I also did a Mom and Baby yoga dvd. Great stuff!

  12. Ali on October 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I think you forgot about the Baby Einstein dvds and flash cards! Just kidding. I think you have some amazing ideas, but also you are right in saying most of the time they are content to just be with you.

  13. Courtney (greeneyedrunner) on October 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

    Yep, this one happens. Except for me it was never asking, it was “I’m going to marry my daddy.”

    Thank you for this Gina, I’m at a very different stage in my life but this made me realize it was about time I did a post appreciating my dad 🙂

  14. Jenn on October 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    #1… the Jumperoo (we have the Fisher Price Rainforest one). It’s one of those toys that you buy and then think, “what did I do without this thing?”. It’s a great toy to give your baby physical activity and visual & musical stimulation but keeps them in a nice secure spot so that you can run around the house and do some chores without worrying. You need to wait 3-4 months until they have proper head control, but this usually coincides with the age where they are more alert and outgrowing the swing, so it’s a natural transition!

    #2… long walks. Like you, I am lucky to live in a warm climate, so we take great advantage of walking weather. All of the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors are super stimulating for babies. Plus, it’s some exercise for mom!

  15. Angie on October 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    My boys are 8 (almost 9) and 7 so it’s been a while, but here’s what we loved to do during the day:
    Go for walks in the stroller (car seat that fits in stroller when they are little). My boys loved/love the fresh air.
    Listen to music – whatever was on the radio…
    Have me talk/narrate whatever we are doing. It’s so quiet with the baby – that was one thing I did not expect…
    Put the baby on my legs so baby faces me and I make crazy faces / do arm and leg stretches.
    Tummy time. My kids didn’t love tummy time on a mat, but they loved laying on me. That eventually got them comfortable with tummy time on a blanket.
    Reading stories or whatever I’m reading to baby. I read a ton of Nicholas Sparks books to my boys!
    Put a mirror in front of us and let the baby bask in the reflection. My boys loved looking at themselves!
    When the boys were 4 months old I started to use a jumper thing gave them a chance to bounce up and down. They loved it and it helped develop their leg muscles.

    I guess that’s it. Life goes at a different pace with the baby. At first I really struggled, but then I remembered that it’s only a few years before things speed up so I decided to enjoy every moment of their infancy. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Thanks so much for writing –

  16. Amy on October 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    We’ve always gone for walks right away with the stroller seat fully reclined. I do lots of reading to our little ones starting with while I’m pregnant. Our older boys seem to have a good understanding of anatomy. They like when we tickle and name the muscles that we’re tickling. I have crocheted each of them different toys, rings with jingle bells in them, cubes, rattles…whatever it is in black and white or primary colors. Doing workouts with the children, I wrote about it for the Happy Housewife while she was spending time with her family this summer, Google it if you want to see more. We also play in the tub, play with food and lay on the blanket out in the grass. When they’re newborns most of the time I wear them in a sling. We also spend a lot of our day down on the floor, on tummies, on backs, rolling…All of our little ones rolled early and used that as a way to get around until they started crawling.

  17. Errign on October 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Walks, for sure! Are you going to teach your little one Spanish (I can’t remember if you’re fluent or not…)

  18. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on October 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I think the thing we did the most was go for walks in the stroller. Every baby loves being walked in a stroller…it usually puts them to sleep 🙂 Or, they love being carried around in a sling. I used to turn on some music and dance with my babes in the sling!

  19. Czabrina on October 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I did everything with my babies….the one main thing I always did was talk to them while I was doing stuff, like have little conversations with them even though they couldn’t talk back. When I was changing their diaper, I would tell them what I was doing. Just interacting with them is important I think. I took my little ones for walks right from the start. My first one loved it and my second one would cry the whole time….take your cues from your baby to see she likes.

  20. Alison on October 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I just saw this segment on America Now (enjoying the Bill Rancic eye candy) while I was at the gym and had to share!

    http://www.americanownews.com/story/15625578/benefits-of-infant-exercise

  21. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength on October 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    You will quickly figure out what your baby likes and doesn’t like! Mine has loved the activity mat for awhile now (he’s 4 months) and is starting to like the Exersaucer. Also loves to lay on my bed and watch the ceiling fan. You’d think there was a circus going on if you listened to him sometimes just watching the fan by how excited he gets. You are going to just love being a momma.

  22. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on October 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    She will be with you soooo much of the time and I think babies crave, and need, that physical closesness. On your body…in your arms, at your chest, possibly in a carrier/wrap/sling, just being next to you is what she will want the most and you will find yourself walking with a bounce in your step, wiggling, bouncing, jossling side to side…babies crave the motion I’ve found.

    And glad birth class was great…I had a feeling a massage was going to happen 🙂

  23. Andrea of Care to Breed on October 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Bronwen has only been interested in toys for the last month – so around 5 months old. Until then, it was just me acting like an idiot to get her to smile 🙂 But now, all she wants to do is interact with the pug – he is highly entertaining and Daddy and I are old news.

  24. Melissa on October 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    My favorite thing to do with my son was lying on a blanket in the backyard and looking up and our trees and the sky. He wa about 2 months when we started this. He is now 3 1/2 and still loves it. He can’t wait to teach his little brother (21 weeks preggo over here!) how to “see the animals in the sky!”

  25. Lauren on October 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    My baby was born late November, so we didn’t take her for a walk until it warmed up a little. I would say she was 4 months old. We did take her to stores at around 3 months. Now that she is older she loves games like peek a boo, this little piggy, the itsy bitsy spider, but as an infant we read to her,showed her things like pics and objects, sang, and just held and looked at her. You will see what comes natural. My baby was on the boob 90%of the day, so we didn’t have too much play time. 🙂

  26. kara on October 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    aww, haha, it’s amusing to think about you guys just sitting there staring at each other, you wondering ‘what am i supposed to do now??’ i’m positive that won’t happen.. you and your daughter are gonna dance together. =)

  27. Deva @ Deva by Definition on October 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I loved to sing “frere jacques” when I was little, and “Little Bunny foo-foo”

    I always felt bad for Foo-Foo.

  28. Amy on October 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Hi, the name is Amy. I am de-lurking. 🙂

    Granted, we were probably three or four at the time, but I can always remember my grandmother singing “It’s in his Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)” by Betty Everett. (You know, the “If you wanna know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss” song.) After the chorus, she’d kiss us on the cheek and ask if we knew she loved us. We of course always said NO! so she would kiss us again and shriek with giggles when she did. It’s one of my favorite memories of her, and we do it to her now that we’re all grown up. It’s so sweet that you’re already excited about doing stuff like this with her!

  29. Kate Z. on October 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Baby massage with a natural baby oil after bath time! They love it!

  30. Katie on October 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    My dad used to sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” to my brother and me as our lullaby. We loved it! 🙂

  31. Kim @ girlevolving on October 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Leo is 7 months. We do a lot of walks (both for him and for me). He also likes tummy time (propped on a boppy pillow or just down on a playmat). He digs his bouncer seat and is starting to get into the hanging toys. He also LOVES that it vibrates. I do silly faces at him and my husband sings songs to him.

  32. Hilary on October 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    You can start walks right away! Most strollers will have the infant car seat adapter which makes it super easy. Playmats are good when they’re about 2 months and up, you can lay them on their back with dangling toys above. At first they’ll just stare but once they can start reaching for them it keeps them busy for a while. The bouncy sweats and swings are great for when they’re little.

  33. Laury @ thefitnessdish on October 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I sent that to Michael a few weeks ago! Think I got it form your comments sect. I shared it on my facebook page a a few dads of daughters were all gushy over it. I was so teary reading it!!

    Favorite Ella activities…she LOVES music and we sing to her and make goofty faces. I love lifting her legs over over her face and pulling them down and doing “one…two..[then get high pitched] THREE” Her favorite thing in TV is On Demand [we have comcast] under baby boost and nursery rhymes we do the “mother nature” video and it’s all songs about trees, birds, etc. Michael and I know every single song word for word and find ourselves singing them all the time. Ella LOVES them…but loves even more when I dance with her and sing when the “ba ba ba birds bumblebees and butterflies” song is on! She cracks up laughing. She laughs ven harder when she sees Munchkin and wants to pet him. That’s her favorite toy.

    BTW…Ella HATED her swing, vibrating chair, pretty much everything that was taking her away from being held. As she gets older she likes rolling around on her quilt but when she wants to be held, she wants to be held!

  34. Lauren on October 6, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I don’t have any children but I was a Nanny for many years and I loved teaching my babies sign language at a young age. They loved watching me make hand movements and it was even more fun once they started responding. Walks were another favorite, we would set out after breakfast and walk the neighbor hood for at least an hour or more.

  35. Molly on October 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    READ! Honestly, it is never too early to start reading to your baby! There are a lot of good children’s books out there.

  36. Natasha on October 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I sang Disney songs when my son was an infant….his favorite was “part of your world” from the Little mermaid. Lots of Tummy Time. Mirror play, babies love to see themselves and their mamas in a mirror. Lots and lots of cuddles….they become toddlers soooo fast and then it is like hugging on the go. Make faces with emphasis on mouth and tongue movement. When my son was a bit older he loved “this little piggy” on his toes…and of course “Peek a Boo” I also read to my son constantly and he loves loves loves books and letters (he is 2 1/2)

  37. Jan on October 6, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    A little off-topic here but I wanted to recommend a book that was just published, “The Whole-Brain Child” by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. This book helps parents understand the developmental stages their children go through and gives strategies to help the child thrive. It’s well researched, well written and integrates the latest findings on the brain and child development with practical everyday strategies that all parents can utilize to nurture their children’s development. The first chapter is titled Parenting with the Brain in Mind. I’m a child and adolescent psychiatrist and I plan on recommending this book to most of the families I work with!
    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and I think you and the Pilot will be great parents!

    • Fitnessista on October 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      that’s exactly the type of thing i was looking for- i’ll hit up amazon right now 🙂
      thank you <3

  38. Susan on October 7, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I just had my baby 5 weeks ago and we went for walks both with the stroller (we have a bassinette for the stroller, since we heard that they shouldn’t be in the car seat for more than 45 minutes at a time) and with the Moby wrap in the first week. Other than that, he just loves snuggling and hanging out with us. We also sing and make funny faces at him and I occasionally start seeing a little smirk, but I’m still waiting for that wide, toothless smile. 🙂 So far, he also still ignores his rattle, but he started looking at a black and white toy thingy on the side of his crib (I think it’s called “crib gallery”). He can get really frustrated when he’s overstimulated, though (he does unfortunately not simply go to sleep, as one commenter mentioned – maybe when he’s bigger…). If you’re planning on breastfeeding, then that will take up A LOT of your time, too (in my case between 10 and 45 minutes every 2-3 hours). Anyway, just wanted to share what we’re doing right now, but you will find the perfect way of entertaining your little girl, once she arrives!

  39. Krista on October 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Sarah was born at the end of May and I had her in the stroller right away. Noah was a January baby so I had to wait for the weather to warm up before we could do the stroller thang…As babies my 2 really enjoyed brightly coloured objects, but they don’t really focus on anything right away so don’t be alarmed if the baby doesn’t follow with her eyes.

  40. Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run on October 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

    My favorite mommy & baby time memories are during those first few months. Just breastfeeding and spending time alone with my child. Talking to them about how much you love them and cannot fathom that they came from you.

  41. Jill on October 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I loved sitting in the rocking chair with Isabella for hours a day. It was just her & I and nothing else mattered. We still sit in the rocking chair at night and read a book before we tuck her in. We also rock for a while and look out the window and talk about our plans for the weekend on Saturdays & Sundays.

  42. Lizzie on October 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Love that “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters!” It brought tears to my eyes. I’m 23 years old, but still forwarded that along to my daddy 😉

  43. Laura on October 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I loved wearing my babies. We would walk all over town, running errands!

  44. cassy on October 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    one of my best friends is about to have a baby (well nov 20!) and this post just made me 100000x’s more excited to meet him!!! love, love, love!

  45. Jess on October 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    You should definitely get the Rockabye Baby CDs! They’re amazing and everyone will love them.

    • Fitnessista on October 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      i LOVE those! the journey one is my favorite 🙂

      • Jess on October 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm

        Nice! The Journey one is pretty good. I love The Beatles, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins versions, they’re all so great and you won’t go too crazy singing along to little kid songs 🙂

  46. Jessica Ann on October 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

    My mom used to sing a different lullaby to each of my sisters as babies, and then when we were older she would still sometimes do it, and say it was “our song”. She chose a different one for each of us so we would each have one that was special.

    • Fitnessista on October 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

      oh what a great idea!

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