I have a bunch of newborn toys hanging around the house. Soft, plush bunnies and teddy bears, brightly colored plastic teethers to chew and hold on to, and plenty of black and white checkered objects (for those first weeks when babies can only see black and white). These are all guaranteed to hold your newborn’s attention. Honestly, I found these to be absolutely worthless for at least the first three months of a baby’s life.
Might I offer an alternative to the vast array of toys that companies are hoping you will spend money on? A full grown tree, visible from any window in the house, will keep your newborn’s attention like nothing else will (with the exception of nursing). Mere days after the birth of both our daughter and son, I remember being in awe of the power of nature at such a young age. The contrast between the blues and whites of the skies and clouds and the greens and browns of tree trunks and leaves captured the attention of our tiny babies even more than face to face time with mommy and daddy. Eyes were especially drawn outside on windy days when clouds billowed by and branches swayed to and fro.
Let me further suggest that that fresh outdoor air will calm a baby better than any sound machine. My second baby was fussier during the first few weeks of existence than my older one. I remember evenings when his little stomach seemed to be giving him no relief and he would cry softly throughout the late evening hours. Walking up and down the halls would sometimes appease him but, more often than not, simply walking out onto the porch would bring a calm to the little one cradled in my arms and sleep was soon to follow.
God has created us to revel in the natural world around us. From infancy, there is a connection to nature that just blows my mind. It takes hard work to turn us and our kids away from that connection. We must increase T.V. time, surround ourselves with expensive toys and gadgets, decrease outdoor time and allow for more sedentary activities. Sadly, that reality is becoming more and more prevalent. I want to say “yes” to the simplicity of nature and all it has to offer and “no” to manufactured happiness.
My youngest is 4 months old now. He has started learning to grasp things that are put before him. I am just now using one or two of those colorful teething toys. But I am happy to say that being outside still catches his attention and calms him down more than any of the other baby objects lying around the house. And it does wonders for mommy, daddy, and big sister too!