Monday, March 28, 2011

Infant Stimulation and the Face

Within her second month of life your baby begins to focus on the center of objects. Faces in particular hold her attention. Naturally mom and dad’s faces are the most interesting, but I doubt you have the time to allow your baby to stare at your face all day. So make a face for her! It is as simple as getting a white paper plate and with black ink make a simple but accurate drawing of your face (eg, if you have bangs draw them on the plate). Hang the paper plate on the crib rail or prop it up on a box! Allow your baby to enjoy the stimulation, but don’t leave her too long. She need s you more! Pick her up with a big smile.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Infant Stimulation & the Extended Family

How wonderful that other members of the family want to enjoy the activities that you are doing with your infant. What a great stimulator to hear other voices, see other faces, and smell other scents.

The most important part of having others enjoy the infant stimulation program is having them understand that babies enjoy extended periods of interaction. This is not a fleeting moment of play, but a focused period of stimulation.

So perhaps Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt and Uncle, and cousins, should observe what you have been doing, understand it, perhaps read this blog, or get the book How to Have a Smarter Baby, and they will have a great education in how to get directly involved in their new family member's health, happiness, and brain development!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Infant Stimulaton: the magic of black on white

Two 2-inch triangles point to point, yes, this looks like a bowtie and is a featured design on a Babysmartees t-shirt. This is a preferred shape to offer your infant for visual stimulation - to learn to focus and concentrate. It may seem like a simple shape to you, but it is complex for your infant.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The amazing thing about sound is that every one is new to your infant. Even the most mundane sound is of interest, especially as your baby matches the sound with a movement and/or object. If you are in the kitchen, tap a spoon on the table while baby sits in your lap or in her high chair. If you are reading a book, or finished reading a book, flip the pages. If you were writing, then tap the pencil.

Don’t forget to smile, showing your baby how much fun this is. Even though you have tapped a pencil a million times, it is new to her and therefore a fun first for you both!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are you surprised to learn that eye-to-eye contact, especially with a newborn baby, is a stimulator? Your baby will examine the expression in your eyes as well as on your face. Expressions are an important stimulation to babies.

To get your newborn to focus on your eyes try this stimulator in a room with dimmed lighting. Maintain face-to-face contact and allow baby to examine your face and find your eyes. Make sure you have eye-to-eye contact to ensure your baby is looking at your eyes.

Allow baby to examine your eyes and, again, see the expression in them. This should only last a few seconds as newborns have a small attention span and you can repeat a few more times.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One, two, three, bend your knee!

“One two three, bend your knee!”

Lay your baby on her back. Hold her ankles or just place your hands firmly against her feet then bend and straighten her legs. But do not force the motion; the movement should happen naturally. You can sing a simple tune of “one two three, bend your knee” or any tune you enjoy. By singing and keeping eye contact with your baby you will be enjoying a fun, stimulating activity together.

Infant stimulation is primarily about the interaction between you and your baby: the feel of your touch on her skin, the look of your happy face, the sound of your comforting voice, and the smell of your familiar scent. So even with this simple activity there is so much happening to stimulate your baby’s brain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Infant Stimulation Activity 129: ball in bowl

Here is an easy way to change things up and stimulate your baby. Take a small ball, not too small that it is a choking hazard, but not too large where it cannot fit into a plastic bowl. Roll the ball around the bowl so that your baby can see it. He will enjoy the movement as well as the sound of the ball.

If you have them, try balls made of different material. Explore the different sounds of a rubber ball, a plastic ball, and perhaps a ball with a bell inside.

And do not have all the fun yourself! Allow your baby to check out the ball in the bowl too. Prop him up on the floor and let him touch and enjoy. So easy, so inexpensive, and so stimulating!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Infant Stimulation Activity: change of scenery

Changing what a baby can see is a nice easy stimulator. If you change your baby's diaper on a changing table or usually in the same place, consider hanging a picture where she can see. Talk to her about what she sees, even after the diaper change is complete. What a great way to incorporate a stimulation activity into an every day (every hour!?) task.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Balance Ball and Baby

Balance balls can be a great tool for playing with your baby. Have your baby lay on top of the ball on his back so he can see you. Roll the ball gently and be sure you are smiling and showing him what a great time this is.

Eventually place your baby face down on the top of the balance ball and roll the ball gently back and forth. Once your baby is able to sit you can place him in a sitting position on top of the balance ball while you bounce it or roll it back and forth.

It is fun to put this activity together with a song such as Rock-a-Bye Baby or Row Row Row Your Boat – and roll the ball to the beat of the song.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Infant Stimulation Activity 128: Fabric Ball

Choose a couple pieces of fabric strips of various textures - for example, a strip of terry cloth, a strip of burlap, a strip of felt, and a strip of satin. Tie the strips of fabric together and secure in the center with another strip of fabric to make a ball.

Your baby will enjoy holding the ball and feeling the different textures. And you can interact with her by explaining the different textures as you rub the fabric strips on her hand. "This is satin. It is smooth." "This is terry cloth. It is soft."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


1. The foundation of the infant stimulation program is the interaction between a parent and child; the whole point is to enhance the close and loving relationship between you and your baby.

2. The activities are fun! You should and will enjoy the activities as much as your infant. Or better yet, you will enjoy your baby’s reaction to the activities.

3. Infant stimulation activities do not require a lot of time. An activity should not last longer than 15 minutes. Surely you can squeeze that in to your day!

4. There is nothing particularly special to buy, so infant stimulation activities are inexpensive. The few things you might purchase (such as orange or peppermint extract for scent stimulation or fabric for a tactical blanket or ball) are minor expenditures.

5. The human brain has its largest growth spurt within the first year of life and a baby’s environment has the strongest impact on his brain. Therefore do not wait for preschool; create a stimulating environment during your baby’s first year.

6. Although you do not need to wait until baby is born. Infant stimulation has been enthusiastically validated to do before birth. Your baby is able to sense and respond to the world while in the womb. And guess what research has shown to be the best time of day for pre-birth stimulation activities? Fetuses are most alert in the evening between eight and midnight. So rest up from your day and learn an activity to do with the beautiful child you carrying.

7. A father’s involvement is just as important as a mother’s. Infant stimulation activities are perfect opportunities for bonding, in fact bonding is the foundation of the program. And while mom bears the responsibility for the pregnancy, the birth, and the feeding, both parents can be and should be doing stimulation activities with their baby.

8. Actually these are activities that the whole family can enjoy with baby. There is no reason to limit infant stimulation activities to the parents and baby only, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles can learn and enjoy the program too! Just be certain they understand the goal and to always ensure that baby is enjoying himself.

9. Finding activities to do is free! I have dedicated The Babysmartees Blog to infant stimulation activities with 126 activities posted so far and eventually there will be 180, one for every day of infancy. Or for the whole program and its research go to your local library and borrow “How to Have a Smarter Baby; Infant Stimulation – Proven Ways to Enhance your Baby’s Natural Development.”

10. With all the good reasons to do infant stimulation activities, this is sincerely my number one reason. Sometimes day in and day out with an infant is not the most stimulating for you. I still remember how every day can feel the same. Having a variety of activities to do with your infant can change things up for you and help you get through another day without it feeling like you are reliving the same day as yesterday!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby Kisses: stimulating your newborn

Blow gently into your baby's palm, then stroke it, then give it a kiss. Continue this activity for 5 to 15 minutes. For a newborn simply doing these actions is stimulation enough.

As your baby grows into infancy (within a month) start to vary this activity by telling your baby what you are doing, "Mama is going to kiss your hand" then "Mama kissed your hand." You can also vary the activity for speed, stroking your baby's hand slowly or quickly.

This is a great activity to start with your newborn and continue into infancy to see how your baby's reaction to it changes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Infant Stimulation Activity 127: hanky panky

Tie several hankies or thin scarves together. Push them into an empty tissue box. Start by pulling one out for baby. See if he understands what to do and help him along by continuing to pull out the scarf. Then watch your baby's reaction he pulls out one scarf and then another…and then another!

The fun of this activity is of course your child's reaction, but also how simple, easy and inexpensive it is to set up!