Baby time! Keep boredom at bay all day

You know what no one ever tells you when you're pregnant? How exactly you're supposed to keep a baby that doesn't talk and isn't mobile entertained for hours upon hours every day. Sure, they nap and they eat, but after the first six weeks or so, they become a lot more like tiny humans. And humans need entertaining--just ask the creators of cable television and the internet.

Whether you're in the tail-end of your maternity leave or you've decided to be a stay-at-home mom, the prospect of spending 12 or so hours a day engaging your tiny companion can be overwhelming. So, here are a few fun ideas to fill the time:

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Tummy time. This one's a no-brainer--every pediatrician will tell you that you need to give your kiddo some time on his belly every day in order to strengthen the neck muscles. In the beginning, your baby may not love this position, so start with just a few minutes at a time, several times a day. As the baby gets a little older he'll have more tolerance for it and it will eventually lead to increased mobility, which gives babies the ability to discover new things and begin to entertain themselves.

Read. Babies absolutely love the sound of Mom's and Dad's voices. It's familiar and comforting, so most of the time they'll be happy to sit and listen to you read just about anything. With their colorful and graphic illustrations, board books are great for a wide age range of babies, from the youngest of infants to older toddlers. But trust me, your 3-month-old will also be pretty pleased to listen to you read from your own novel or a favorite magazine.

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Independent play. Lay your baby down on the floor with a few toys--rattles, teethers, soft books--and let her explore the different sounds, colors, and textures. This exercise is great for strengthening motor skills and it usually buys me ten to 15 minutes to wash some dishes or throw in a load of laundry. Just make sure to check on your little one every few minutes. 

Head outdoors. Nature provides tons of exploration opportunities for babies. Plop your baby in a stroller or carrier and take a walk, or you can even just sit out on the porch for a little while and talk to your baby about what he might be seeing and hearing. Plus, the fresh air and sunshine will likely give you a nice energy boost.

Television. I know this one is a little controversial, but sometimes mom needs to take a few minutes to veg on the sofa after hours of feeding, cleaning, rocking, reading, and playing. These days, there are lots of shows that have been specifically created to engage the littlest of minds. Most of these use animation filled with bright colors, patterns and simple motions. See if your provider carries channels like Sprout, Disney Junior, Nick Jr., Baby or Hub, all of which feature developmental programming for babies.

Image via Cassey/flickr

Topics: baby  book  child rearing  family fun  how to parent  on parenting  toys