Last updated on Feb 16th, 2021 at 11:06 am

The first 3 months are a time when you are likely to be focusing on feeds, sleep and mastering the basics of motherhood. It’s a period of incredible growth and development for your baby. There are a few core foundations of development that emerge in this period and stimulating these areas will enhance your baby’s long term development.

Your newborn’s milestones

Your newborn is able to focus with complete clarity, and in colour, on objects that are 20cm away from their face. Any further, or closer, and it’s all a blur. One of the first tasks of early infancy is to hone those visual skills in order to develop 20/20 vision. From there, your baby will take it a step further and visually track objects. To help your little one develop her visual skills, a mobile is a fabulous toy. Place her under a hanging dangly object while on the changing mat. In the early days, hang the object to one side as your baby won’t have the motor strength to hold her head in midline. But, as she gets older, move the object directly over her head to strengthen her neck muscles.

ALSO SEE: Baby milestones – 0 to 3 months

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Ruby Melon Heartfelt Changer Set, R1 735. Available from Kids Emporium, or email to place your order.

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Ruby Melon heartfelt changer set

A mobile playgym with detachable hanging toys is a really good investment. During her awake time, put your little one under the mobile, changing the objects that hang from time to time. Since highly contrasting colours are most visually interesting for young babies, use black, white and red (or other contrasting colours) objects to attract her attention.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Tiny Love Black & White Gymini Playmat, R1 200. Available from Baby City, Baby Boom, Kids Emporium and

Tiny Love Black & White Gymini

Another wonderful way to develop visual skills is with a baby-safe mirror. Research has shown that newborns are visually attracted to the human face – they are wired for social interaction. This is why your baby loves to watch your face, and within a few hours of birth, can actually mimic your facial expressions. Try an experiment of sticking your tongue out for your baby and hold it for a few seconds – it will amaze you to see that she copies the movement. Prop a mirror in front of your baby while she lies on her tummy on a mat. Not only are you developing those visual skills and socialisation, but she will also be working those little neck muscles.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Galt Smiley Sun Mirror, R415. Available online from

Galt Smiley Sun Mirror

Developing neck strength and the extensor muscles of your baby’s back is the first critical foundation for gross motor control. For 9 months, your baby was in a curled up or flexed position in utero. In the last trimester, this position was firmly contained by the uterus walls. As a result, your baby was born in what we call physiological flexion. The first gross motor task of infancy is to uncurl and work those little back muscles. The very best way this happens is when your baby lies on her tummy on a mat on the floor (we call this tummy time). You can make a textured mat that suits the purpose or buy a mat that has little activities and textures to keep your little one engaged.

ALSO SEE: Tummy time – why it’s important for your baby and how to start

Place your baby on her tummy for at least 5 minutes at a stretch every time she is awake. She will have to strengthen her neck muscles to lift her head and look around her. If your little one protests the time in this position, place a roller under her chest to support her upper body and put that interesting baby mirror in front of her to encourage her to lift her head.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Chicco Move ‘n Grow Animal Tummy Time Pillow, R349. Click here to find a stockist near you.

Chicco Move ‘n Grow Animal Tummy Time Pillow

More about the expert:

Megan Faure (BSc OT, OTR) is a lecturer for Institute for Sensory Integration (SAISI) and regularly lectures to both professionals and parents on baby and childcare issues. Megan is the founder and chairperson of Infant Sensory Integration Training programme. She is also co-author of the bestselling baby care series: Baby Sense; Sleep Sense; Feeding Sense; Your Sensory Baby. Visit her website here.