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February 16, 2022

Montessori Baby: 3 Activities for Newborns

When we think about Montessori for babies, I think it's easy to think about all the unique ways that Montessori babies can interact with the world. They may have a movement area, special mobiles, or specific types of toys. We, as the prepared adult, might offer them opportunities and choices that traditional parenting styles wouldn't. But, I think it's important to remember that parenting using Montessori from birth is so much deeper than this. And, it doesn't have to be complicated. 

Now, that my 5th baby Penelope is home with us, I'm reminded about how simple our first few weeks with a newborn can and should be. We don't need to worry about creating complex "activities" or stressing about if we are doing enough. Simple activities that focus on connection, healing, and adjusting to this whole new world. 

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Three Activities for the First Week With a Newborn

I hope you can see these aren’t “activities” per se. These aren’t things that are unique to Montessori. But they are things that help babies slowly adjust to this big new world. They are slow and respectful. They meet the newborn right where they are. And, there’s no better way to start your Montessori journey than that. 

Skin-To-Skin Time with Baby

Skin-to-skin time has been proven to provide a lot of benefits to both mom and babies. It’s a wonderful, slow and comfortable way to promote connection and bonding. Plus, it’s a great way to just be with your baby when you’re exhausted, sore, and recovering from birth. Maria Montessori herself even suggested that for the first month a baby should be kept without clothes as much as possible. In the Secret of Childhood she says, "and yet clothes are not necessary for a newborn child, nor even during the first month of its has obvious need of being warmed, but its heat should come more from its surroundings than from its clothes. 

One twist on this activity we have been doing with Penelope is skin-to-skin time with her siblings. It’s been amazing to watch and so calming for both the bigger kids and Penelope. It has really helped them all bond to Penelope, and feel important. Penelope loves it and it's a great way to ensure a nice deep nap from her! 

Feeding On Demand

Feeding on demand is by far what we spend the most amount of time doing during the first several months with a new baby. I wanted to include this on the list to take the pressure off of new parents. Feeding is the activity. Feeding is the important work of the newborn. No matter how you choose to feed your baby, feeding is a time for connection and showing love. It's a great time to just soak in your baby. 

During these early weeks, we don't need to feel pressure to provide a ton other opportunities for activity. Newborns get what they need from these basic care activities. 
"By drinking milk, the relationship between the mother and the child is strengthened. One must be full of love; love is an energy in nature. In nature, man takes the child into his arms because a child needs to be held." Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures

Connection to Family

Finally, this first week is a time for connection. It's a time for getting to know siblings and parents. It's a time for resting and bonding. This is greatly helped with a Montessori topponcino which allows the newborn to be passed from one person to the next without disrupting their position or immediate environment. This can be a great comfort to the baby. A topponcino also helps to give siblings a little more support in holding the baby independently and taking a more active role in caring for baby. 

Connection happens while talking to the baby. Connection happens at diaper changes. Connection happens in every slow, respectful, and attentive interaction you have. Again, we don't need to add something to our lives to make this happen, we just have to be open to welcoming this little baby with love. As Maria Montessori said in her book The Secret of Childhood:
"The needs of a newborn child are not those of one who is sick...Our attitude towards the newborn child should not be one of compassion but rather of reverence before the mystery of creation, that a spiritual being has been confined within limits perceptible to us." 
I hope you can see that the first week is special! So much is happening for the baby and for your family. But, in order to parent with Montessori, it doesn't have to be complicated or full of expensive products. Simple activities promoting connection and love. That's all you need. That's Montessori for newborns. 

Here are 3 simple activities for Montessori babies for their first week home. These simple activities focus on connection and love.

This is week 1 in my baby series for Penelope! I look forward to sharing weekly about babies again! 


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