As a practical parent, you’ll need to build-in a ton of baby playtime activities to your baby’s schedule.  But in the first few months, oftentimes your baby’s “awake” time is nothing more than being outside of her crib.  Even if she’s sleeping anywhere other than in her crib, it counts as playtime!  The goal is for your baby to join the wide-awake world that is going on outside of her nursery – so household noises and voices are a good thing, even if she still sleeps through them.  You want your baby to get used to her schedule and before you know it, she will be up, alert, and ready to play.  In the interim, trying to keep your baby awake can be an exhausting task for you, but it’s important to try your hardest because her naps will truly suffer if she’s getting too much sleep during her playtime.

Here’s a list of 10 playtime activities to try during the first months of your baby’s life:

1) Lay her down in a Boppy Lounger anywhere close to you, under strict supervision of course.  Examples: on the couch, on your bed

2) Bathe her (See Baby Bath Time Post)

3) Read to her.

4) Lay her down in a pack-n-play, looking up at a mobile — we like a black and white one which young babies are particularly attracted to.  We used the Musical Infant Stimulation – Black, White & Red Mobile by Baby Genius for the playpen in our living room.  It’s important that your baby learn how to self-play and she will if you allow her some alone time.  When she’s able to sit up, take the bassinet feature out and put some books and toys in.

5) Supervise Tummy Time on an activity mat or blanket.

6) Pass your baby around from family member to family member or friend to friend and let them creatively try to keep her awake.

7) Sing to your baby — any lullaby or song you know will do.

8) Talk to your baby and respond to her coos and grunts as if she’s talking to you too.

9) Flirt with your baby by winking at her, tickling her, hugging her, and kissing her!

9) Place your baby in a baby swing, as long as it’s not in the nursery.  She might sleep, but it’s much less restful than the sleep she gets in her crib, especially if it has a mobile attached to it that moves and it plays music.

10) Play together with a toy, rattle, or other baby-friendly household object (like a tissue box).