What to Do With a Newborn All Day


You bring your brand new sweet cuddly bundle of joy home. You feed her. She sleeps. You change her diaper. You take pictures of her. And then what? What do you do with a newborn so young she can’t yet grasp toys, let alone play with them?

To provide a little structure in the first few weeks, every day I exposed H to experiences that appealed to his senses: sight, sound, smell, and touch. He enjoyed exploring the world, and I enjoyed having ideas for what to do with such a young’un.


Take your baby on tours around your house, explaining what you’re viewing. Even take him into the garage and basement. H especially liked looking at quilts, our china cabinet, and any artwork. If bad weather prevents you from strolling around the yard, peer through several windows in the house to get a variety of views. Perhaps this is a bad-mom-move, but H and I watched Animal Planet and Baby First TV occasionally to expose him to the outside world.


Talk, talk, talk and sing, sing, sing to your baby. Your voice is her favorite sound. When your vocal chords are shot, expose your baby to a variety of music. H loved listening to the “demos tracks” on my electric piano as well as Raffi’s Rise and Shine Album. Play any musical instruments you have lying around. Take her outside and listen to the birds, wind chime, or just rustling leaves. YouTube videos of songs and sounds are a good option too.


Open the fridge and take out some fragrant foods: oranges, ketchup, ranch dressing. Explore your spice rack. Let her smell garlic power, paprika, dill. Sure, I felt a little odd holding pickles up to my newborn’s face, but when you’ve already taken half a dozen house tours that day, you crave a little variety!


Take a “touch house tour” of your home. In each room, choose a couple of items to touch to your baby’s skin: seashell, cotton ball, paperweight, silk blouse. And, don’t forget baby massage! There’s all kinds of research about the benefits of baby massage. I warm the room with a space heater, follow YouTube massage tutorials and play Pandora’s spa music station. The idea of massaging a baby always makes me laugh, but they love it.

It’s easy to forget that everything, and I mean everything, is new to your baby. Ease her into the world with sensory experiences right there in your own home.

You might also like Dos and Don’ts of Diapering and Pictures Pictures Pictures: What To Do With All Those Newborn Photos.

Photography by Andy Wise.


  1. Dani says:

    Those are great ideas! I’m due in September and am wondering what will be filling my days after I bring her home. I’ll be sure to try these. Thanks!

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