The first few days after a baby is born, his/her reactions are mostly uncontrolled and are pure reflexes. As time passes, the movements and reactions become more deliberate.
There are various activities which stimulate their sense of hearing, touch, movement and sight and help in baby brain development. As a newbie parent, its good to know how can engage in activities that aid cognitive development.
A lot of importance is given to diet and nutrition of a baby. A mother feeds IQ to her baby through breast milk and this is undoubtedly the best form of nutrition that a baby can get. Breast milk is rich in Natural Vitamin E and DHA which aid cognitive development.
But apart from food, its also important to bear in mind that as parents and caregivers we create a conducive environment for the baby which stimulates his/her cognitive development.
A few activities which I indulged in with my daughter when she was an infant that immensely helped sharpen her senses and her cognitive abilities are:
- Tummy time– Do you remember that first time your little bundle of joy turned on their tummy? What a joy that was! Newborns can be placed on their tummy for a few seconds and the time can be increased gradually. They need to be under constant adult supervision though. It helps to develop a strong neck and muscles and motor skills. The tummy time can be increased gradually. My daughter never quite liked it initially but gradually started enjoying this new way of looking at the world.
- Finger game– I loved holding my baby’s tiny fingers and placing my finger within her fist as she clasped it tightly. I soon started a new game where I used to massage and tap her fingers in rhythm as I sang a song and make her touch each part of my face as I spoke aloud “eyes” “earns””nose”.
- Mirror Mirror on the wall– The first time I held my daughter in front of the mirror she was startled. It took her sometime and a few mirror visits to figure out who she was looking at. I used to stand holding her and make gestures and sing out loud “Mumma” “Angel” and we slowly started including other family members in this Mirror game.
- CopyCat CopyCat- One day I lay beside her and started imitating her- the gurgling noises, hand movement, kicking my legs, rolling eyes, laughing out in glee and how she loved it! How it helped is let her know that what she says matters and I will always be around to listen, whenever she needs me. Building this bond with your child is crucial.
- Facetime– Research has shown that babies feel most comforted when they can look directly at the face of their parents and caregivers, a pleasant face where the person is making direct eye contact. I used to speak in a gentle voice to my little one when I changed her diaper, gave her a bath, changed her clothes, massaged her or simply took her for a walk around the house. This was a part of our routine that we thoroughly enjoyed, though it was hard initially with sleep deprivation, I persisted and with time things got better .
When I look at my daughter who is now just 3 months short of turning 4 years , it feels awesome. The early stimulation techniques that I applied have helped shape her overall cognitive development. Her fine motor skills and gross motor skills are well developed and her thinking ability continues to amaze me.
These first few months of a baby’s life are extremely tough for us new mums as its a whole new journey which can get really hard with lack of sleep and breastfeeding woes for some of us. There are days when I felt like just shutting down everything and going to bed and days when I yearned to get back to my old life- dress up and go to work. We all go through these times but hang in there. It will get better, one fine day it will be fine and we will then look back at these bittersweet memories.
How was your experience as a new parent? What activities did you take up to stimulate cognitive development of your baby? Do share them in the comments section.
Image courtesy https://www.todaysparent.com