Whether this is your first, second, or even fifth baby, there is nothing like those moments spent gazing into your newborn’s eyes, touching their tiny toes, or kissing their warm heads. You will spend countless hours holding, soothing, feeding, and changing your newborn. And when you are not taking care of them, they will probably be asleep!
However, there will also be brief moments in the day when they are awake and alert, and these are great opportunities to introduce them to newborn toys.
The first two months of their lives are an orientation to the world. The Montessori curriculum provides newborn toys that support this transition.
How to choose the best newborn toys
The best newborn toys are simple and support your baby’s developing hand and eye strength.
- Rattles that are very small with slight variations in shape allow them to utilize their reflexive grip and feel different objects in their hands. Offering both wooden and cloth rattles allow them to absorb the sensation of different textures and temperatures. Keeping the rattles simple in color and shape ensures your little one will not be overwhelmed by a lot of new information.
- Balls (soft ones!) may be too big for them to hold at first, but they can work on becoming stronger by doing tummy time while looking at them, and they will eventually be strong enough to grasp them.
- Mobiles support your newborn’s vision. These will take advantage of their curiosity about the world around them, and give them focused practice controlling their eyes. Again, choosing simple and naturally beautiful mobiles will allow them to elicit the necessary information from the mobiles and practice without too much stimulation.
Related: The Essential Guide to Baby Mobiles
Introducing toys to a newborn
Simplicity is key for introducing newborn toys to your baby. Do not offer too many toys, or it is likely that your baby will become overwhelmed. Your newborn is not yet able to reach for toys with a purpose, so they cannot show you which toy they would like to use by reaching for it.
Tips for newborn toy introduction:
- Wait until your baby is awake and calm, and in a state ready for their “work.” Calmly and slowly give your newborn one rattle at a time to hold with their reflexive grip, or offer one ball at a time for them to look at while they are on their stomachs doing the hard work of lifting up their heads.
- Quick movements may distract or upset them, so it is important to be deliberate and mindful when you are interacting with them in this way.
- When you are ready to introduce the mobiles, choose a space where there are not a lot of other distractions. Hang one mobile about 12 inches from their chest and make sure they can look without straining. Ideally, your newborn will only be working with one toy at a time. For your little one to gain the maximum benefit from this work, avoid giving them a rattle while they are looking at the mobile. Let them be fully absorbed in each experience.
The newborn period is a very brief one in your baby’s development. Introducing newborn toys to your baby during this time will support their development and encourage their natural abilities, helping them grow into the next stage of their lives.