Play time

I had a lot of people asking me questions following one of my previous post's 'The Newborn Routine'. A lot of them were stressing about how they'd tried it and their babies were still not sleeping through the night, and that their babies weren't interested in toys.

Firstly, I just want to say that babies will wake up. They wont sleep through the night due to a routine, Aria doesn't sleep through the night. They need regular feeds while they're still very young, don't stress! The routine was mainly so that they begin to form associations with the times of the day. Aria knows when she gets her nappy changed, she is getting fed afterwards (usually). She also now knows after her bath and change shes getting fed then gets cuddles and goes in her basket instead of staying awake and playing or sleeping in her bouncer.
Starting a routine early embeds those associations and they don't put up much of a fight. Or at least that's what I found! She's stopped fighting her Moses basket and is slowly starting to enjoy her bath because she knows she's getting fed afterwards.

As I said, other questions I received were regarding playtimes. Mum's of young babies were stressed that their babies weren't interested in toys or playing. When I wrote my post, I had been reading a lot of articles and posts of others experiences with playing with their babies. I found a lot of interesting ideas and theories behind the playtime activities in this article.
Aria isn't very fussed on actual toys as she's still very early in her development. She can probably only see high contrast colours such as black and white and is only stimulated by noises and lights. She likes toys that play songs or make sounds, and she also likes toys that have lights. And toys that do both? Jackpot!
I found the best ways to play to Aria, being a young baby, are these:

Face to Face 
I like holding Aria in a sitting position either on our knees, or with legs up on the sofa with our knees bent so she is lying on our thighs facing us. It's nice to have her looking at you and focusing on you and it's fun to copy her facial expressions. I love it when she actually looks right at me and I can see shes smiling in her bright eyes.

Tummy Time
I let Aria have Tummy Time either with a rolled up blanket under her arms to prop her up or without - apparently the rolled up blanket makes them work harder. She also loves doing it on her big elephant teddy which acts in the same way as the blanket. Tummy Time is great and obviously super effective. Short bursts of time on her tummy allows her to strengthen her neck without overdoing it and ending up tired. She also loves being held against a shoulder with your hand supporting her back so she can hold her head up and feel involved in the conversation.

Playmat/ Baby gym
Aria's jungle baby gym is super fab! It's got everything she loves, dangling toys that rattle, leaves that crackle when she kicks, a mirror to see her reflection; it has lights underneath that she can see when she's lying down AND it plays music! Did someone say perfect toy?
She sometimes reaches up to the toys but she can't grab or anything yet, she just sometimes accidentally whacks them when shes flailing her limbs around and likes the noise they make.

Chicco Rainbow Cube When Aria was in hospital, the baby next to her had this fabulous Rainbow Cube by Chicco. It played classical music, forest noises, had a light that could be hearts, stars or clouds and all the babies (and nurses and mummys) just loved it! I used to make them put it on all the time because it was just so refreshing to hear something other than beeps and cries.
One of the nurses contacted Chicco and asked if they would donate a few Rainbow Cube's to the unit and the post when viral! LOADS of people decided to donate cubes to the unit so all the babies could enjoy the calming sounds and lights. My mum bought one for the unit and one for Aria to have and it has always comforted her. I think she is used to the sounds because she's known it for so long.
Sound play
When Aria is lying down, on her playmat or on my legs, I get a toy that plays a sound and hold on one side of her head while it plays, I wait for her to move her head to that side then I do the same on the other side. It helps her neck strength and also her senses.

Sight play 
Like the sound play, I do the same with high contrast black and white pictures or light toys and wait for her to look at them.
Singing/stories/conversations Obviously Aria can't speak back so it's not really a conversation but I enjoy talking to her it allows us both to feel a strong bond because were looking into each others eyes and she responds to my tone and volume of voice. Same with singing and stories. She doesn't really understand what's going on but she notices the changes in my voice and enjoys it. 
Sometimes your baby may drop her head and headbutt you then cry like it was your fault or punch you in the face while your talking to her...



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