NICU babies also love play and are learning as well. For young babies, play is about gentle, enjoyable interactions with you and gaining their new strengths. Play is good for premature babies because it helps them get to know you and their surroundings, develop their essential skills, including hearing and vision, feel loved and secure, learn about meaningful relationships, and feel comforted.
Black and White Contrast Cards:
Early childhood experts have recommended black and white stimulation cards for decades. For example, a 1984 article from the American Journal of Nursing suggested using black-and-white patterns to promote growth, development, and attachment in the NICU. The black and white stimulation cards encourage sensory stimulation in the NICU and vary in complexity and patterns. From day one, the black and white stimulation cards help your little one with their critical growth and vision development.
Faces and Standing Card Holder:
Your premature baby loves having something to look at, especially if it's your beautiful face. After a while, your baby might like watching you gently waggle your fingers or move your head slowly from side to side. And as your baby gets stronger, they will enjoy having new things to look at, like the black and white rattle. One tip is placing some family photos in the standing card holder and placing them 12 inches away from your baby's face to encourage an enjoyable learning experience.
Black and White Book:
Your baby loves hearing your familiar and soothing voice. This is an excellent time to read and talk to your little one. Try using our Black and White Book to tell a story and encourage your baby's hearing and vision growth Or sing a song! Babies learn to recognize songs and tunes quickly and that they can mean certain things. For example, some songs mean it's time to go to sleep, some might mean it's nappy change time, and so on. Experts say when a baby associates a song with a feeling, it can improve their heart rate, sleeping, and feeding.
Touching and holding your little one is another way to start playing together. Then, when your baby is older or well enough, and your doctor or nurse says it's OK, you could start with baby massages. Most NICUs have a physiotherapist who can teach you how. Massage is a great way to bond with your baby. Always consult your doctor first and take medical advice before starting a baby massage.
On behalf of the MonkiBox family, we send all NICU babies and families our best wishes and support. We love you and are here to help. If you have any other questions about how to support your little one with playtime, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy NICU Awareness Month!