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Although a very young baby can't hold toys or take part in games, even the newest of newborns will get bored and lonely if his caregivers don't interact with him during most of his wakeful periods. That said, though, don't let the stress on stimulating brain development make you feel guilty for every minute your baby spends awake but alone. If he's peacefully content, he isn't bored and lonely. In fact, if you're too quick to jump in with a rattle or a song, you may actually interrupt the time he needs to rest, to gaze, and to quietly process all the new stimuli he's bombarded with.
Of course, the more cuddling, cooing, smiling, and talking your baby is privy to, the better. Apart from that, there are three main ways to stimulate your newborn. First, accept that adult company is the best entertainment for him and find different ways of providing it. Park his bassinet or bouncy seat near the hub of household activity, for instance, and encourage everyone to stop by for quick "chats." Also keep your baby beside you while you're reading or watching television, and get into the habit of taking him with you while you putter around the house.
Second, understand that being carried provides the perfect vantage point for your wakeful newborn. The rhythm of your movements is as good as a massage or a dance, and the panorama of life that he sees and hears as you stroll through your garden or up the street is as interesting as any movie. So find a sling or a strap-on baby carrier that's comfortable for you and that has good head support for your newborn. In addition to providing your baby a good spot from which to see the world around him, this has the added benefit of freeing up your hands for simple jobs around the house, grocery shopping, and other errands. Once he's able to hold his head up on his own (usually around 3 or 4 months), try occasionally switching your baby around in the carrier so that his back is to you and he faces forward, where he can easily take in everything around him.
Finally, give your new baby lots of different things to look at. One simple way to do this is to move his crib or baby seat from one interesting spot to another. At first, he won't be able to see anything more than a foot away from him in great detail, but he'll nevertheless enjoy the delicate play of shadows your window blinds project onto a nearby wall, a bright curtain gently fluttering in the breeze, and the varied shapes and colors of a big houseplant or an outdoor tree or bush.
Interesting things to ponder from close up are the best "toys" for this age group. Don't limit yourself to conventional mobiles and cradle toys, though. Most newborns are absolutely riveted by black-and-white patterns, and flash cards, mobiles, and board books with these high-contrast designs are widely available now. Try tucking a few cards between the mattress and the rail of your baby's crib, or tape them to the wall just outside his crib. In addition, look for mobiles that are designed to be viewed from underneath (in other words, by him rather than by you!). Supplement them with interesting everyday objects that you hang overhead, such as a hanger suspended from his ceiling with various objects tied to it, or a crib gym that's been "retrofitted" with different focal points. If you rotate these objects frequently, your baby will always have something new to look at. What's more, his senses will be stimulated even when you're not there to coo, babble, or dance with him.