As a new father, you may be wondering how to be closer and more hands-on with your baby as they grow up.
Well, the answer you’re looking for lies in what most fathers are good at: physical activities. While you may not be physically capable of producing breast milk for your baby, you can be their personal trainer and help with baby exercises, among other things!
Simple physical exercises are safe for babies, so you have nothing to worry about! Your baby is actually getting some form of exercise every time they throw their toys, kick their legs, and even squirm during diaper changes.
For today’s article, we’ll talk about the 4 easy newborn baby exercises that new dads can do to bond with their little ones! These exercises are a massive help in your baby’s development, helping them develop the muscles needed to hold up their heads, crawl, rollover, and walk.
1. Tummy Time
It’s the most recommended newborn baby exercise by paediatricians, so no dad will go wrong with this one!
You’ve probably noticed that your little one loves lying on their back, but placing them on their stomach after mealtime is good for them! It helps them build their neck, arms, shoulder and stomach strength.
Instead of placing them on a playmat or bed, why not position them on your tummy? It promotes bonding through physical touch, which is just as important for a baby’s development.
You can do tummy time for 3 to 4 minutes after every feeding. To keep your little one entertained and engaged, try talking, singing, making silly faces, or even reading them a book!
Try keeping a toy within their reach too, so your baby will be tempted to reach it. The simple movement of reaching builds and exercises their little muscles.
The more your baby is engaged, the more they will look around, reach out their hands, and kick their feet, which develops the muscles needed to rollover and crawl.
During the first days of tummy time, you’ll notice your baby being fussy at first, but over time, as their muscle develops, this will soon become an exciting activity for them!
Another way to strengthen your baby’s shoulders, back, arms, and core is through sit-ups.
You can even start doing this exercise as early as 6 months or if you see your baby is already capable of supporting their head on their own. If that’s not the case, then more support is needed.
To do this, lay your baby on their back, and then grasp their forearms and slowly pull them towards you. Even if you’re the one doing the lifting, your baby flexes their abdominal muscles.
If your baby can’t support their head yet, place your arms on their shoulders with your hands behind their head to keep it from swinging during the exercise.
It will take a while before your baby can do a proper sit-up, but once their muscles get stronger, you’ll soon notice that they can do more.
By doing this exercise, you’re helping your baby prepare how to crawl, stand, and walk independently.
3. Bicycle Motion
The first two exercises target your baby’s upper body, but the bicycle motion exercises their leg muscles, which is helpful when they’re learning how to crawl and walk.
Apart from putting their leg muscles to work, this exercise promotes flexibility and is a natural way to push air out of the system. It’s an exercise that hits three birds with one stone!
To do this exercise, put your little one on their back and gently move their legs up and down, similar to pedalling on a bicycle. We’d recommend repeating the exercise 3 to 5 times, with short breaks in between.
Since you’re facing your baby, you can make this simple exercise more entertaining by singing a nursery rhyme or making funny faces!
By exercising your baby’s lower body, you’re helping them develop the leg muscles needed to crawl, rollover, and walk.
4. Baby “Weightlifting”
A baby’s grasping ability is important in teaching them how to feed themselves. At around six months, babies develop more control over their hands, which is the best time to introduce them to finger foods.
You can help strengthen your baby’s grip by introducing them to weightlifting! It not only promotes fine and gross motor skills, but improves their hand-eye coordination and develops shoulder and arm muscles as well.
As soon as your little one is capable of grasping toys, you can introduce them to a variety of objects of different sizes and shapes and encourage them to pick them up and play with them.
What we like about this exercise is that it can be done anytime and anywhere, whether your baby is standing or sitting.
If they don’t know what to do at first, slowly demonstrate it to them a few times and they should quickly get the hang of it! Your baby will like this exercise more if the objects make a sound or light up.
Bonding with your baby through exercise
Exercise doesn’t only promote muscle developments in babies, it’s a great way for fathers and their little ones to bond as well!
That’s why it’s important to build a nursery where fathers and babies can do different types of exercises. Here at Hatchery Cribs, we carry all sorts of baby essentials for nurseries!
You can check out our wide range of baby essentials on our website, or even book a tour to our showroom to see them for yourself.