8 Brain-Building Ways to Bond With Your Baby

mom playing with baby in the mirror

Your baby grows more in the first year than in any other time of his life. And not just in height and weight! His cognitive, physical, and behavioral development is so amazingly quick that every day you’ll probably see him learn or do something new. As your baby builds his own personality, try shifting your bonding time from cuddling and cooing into brain-building activities that will stimulate his development.


1. Play peek-a-boo. You’re sure to get a giggle out of this one. Babies love to see you “disappear” behind your own hands, a blanket, or a chair. When you pop back into view, your baby is so excited and is learning object permanence, abstract thinking, and even improving his memory.

2. Read! And then read some more. It doesn’t matter that she has no idea what the story is about. As you hold her in your lap with a book, the sound of your voice and the turning of the pages teach her the basics of reading. The more you read, the better!

3. Create an obstacle course. It’s never too early to learn that life isn’t always easy – there will be meandering pathways and obstacles to overcome! Challenge your baby to crawl his way around an obstacle course you create (and supervise) with big pillows, sofa cushions, or boxes.

4. Tell her why. Start showing your baby how things work. She’ll learn a lesson in cause and effect as you wind up a toy and let it spin on the floor, push a button to start the music, or squeeze a stuffed animal to make it squeak. Pretty soon she’ll be able to do it herself.

5. Let him make a mess. Fill a low kitchen cabinet with all plastic food-storage containers and other baby-safe objects. Sit on the floor with him and watch as he stacks and sorts, learning about sizes, shapes, and different textures.

6. Talk to her. Talk about everything you’re doing. Use consistent words for objects and explain everything. You can never talk too much – at least not to your baby. Not only does she love to hear the sound of your voice, all the repetition sinks in and helps her learn.

7. Make funny faces. Mirrors make for marvelous fun! Hold your baby in front of a mirror and make all kinds of faces. Happy faces, sad faces, confused faces, angry faces. Pretty soon your baby will be imitating Mommy in the Mirror, turning all those frowns upside down!

8. Stretch it out. You can challenge your baby to do just a little bit more by placing objects slightly out of his reach. Lie on the floor facing him with a favorite toy and encourage him to move toward it.

As your baby grows bigger and smarter every day, it’s important that she gets the nutrients she needs to enhance her development. Similac® is the only formula with OptiGROW™, a unique blend of DHA, lutein and vitamin E for supporting brain and cell development as well as eye health.

What’s your favorite brain-building baby game?

Image ©iStock.com/Yuri_Arcurs

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