Your new baby may love to sleep (as in, loooooove to sleep), but when she’s awake, she’s still taking it all in. “Exposure to new sights, sounds, and smells helps babies maximize the development of their senses,” says psychologist Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D., creator of the website BabyShrink. And there are plenty of places to hit besides the supermarket and the mall. Why not visit…
An art museum. “New babies are still developing their various senses, including eyesight—so things generally tend to be a blur for them,” says Wittenberg. But they can see items with high contrast, so make a beeline for the modern art section. It will also coax along your baby’s ability to see colors, which kicks in at around 2 months of age.
A restaurant. Your baby won’t be enjoying the special of the day, but she will be exposed to new smells and new faces as you enjoy a well-deserved meal out.
The aquarium. Zoos are more enticing once you have a curious toddler, but for newborns, this more contained and smaller environment—with its slow-moving, patterned fish—is just the right speed. It can encourage them to track movement with their eyes, which typically happens between 8 and 12 weeks.
An animal shelter. Infants 2 months and older will enjoy watching the frolicking puppies and kittens. Caution: You may be tempted to add another mouth to feed.
Your old office. Reconnect with the outside world by visiting the work gang. Hopefully, they’ll take a break from oohing and ahhing over the baby to give you the latest scoop on office gossip.
The farmer's market. Stock up on fresh food and fresh air. “Outdoor activities are great for everyone,” points out Wittenberg. “Getting a little exercise gives you energy. And the motion and sunlight help parent and baby sleep more soundly.”
Public garden. Babies can gaze at patterns and colors—or just snooze—as you relax in the tranquility of the place. Take time to stop and smell the roses!
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