Make Him Feel Safe and Secure – and Use Your Voice, Eyes, and Touch to Engage Him
Unless a tiny infant is experiencing pain (as with colic), it is fairly easy to keep them happy and entertained.
Young infants like (and need) to feel very secure, so holding them in a way that makes them feel snug and secure may be the most important way to keep them happy. They’re new to the world, and they get easily frazzled. Sometimes it’s easy to misinterpret a baby’s being “frazzled” with being bored.
Little babies like to be cradled in an arm, but they also like being held up over a caretaker’s shoulder and having their face lean against the side of the caretaker’s face.
When “still-holding” doesn’t seem to be enough, adding a gentle rocking motion is often enough to make a newborn feel “entertained”.
Hearing a pleasant, soothing, voice is another thing that tiny babies need. Talking in a gentle, cheerful, way or talking in soothing tones keep new babies feeling “entertained”. They have no idea what someone is saying to them, but they like to hear the pleasant tone being used. Singing softly or just saying silly words in a sing-song way adds variety to what the baby gets to hear
Babies like faces, which is why mothers just naturally place their face directly in front of their baby’s face, look in the baby’s eyes, and talk. Again, babies don’t really know what a mother or caretaker is saying to them, but it is entertaining for them to have interaction with this adult.
Related to their preference for faces, infant toys that are in an eye-catching, bright color and that have a face on them, will sometimes keep a young infant busy looking for quite a while.
Generally, newborns are not as much looking to be entertained as they are to feel secure, comfortable, and without distress. Part of feeling secure, comfortable, and without distress is, of course, having a caretaker do the things mentioned above.
Other things newborns generally enjoy are being clean and dry after a nice warm bath and having their backs, arms, legs, and heads stroked. Soft music is a nice thing for them to hear, although, again, the mother’s (or caretaker’s) voice is what keeps them most engaged and entertained.
The weeks following birth are a time of transition, when the newborn becomes accustomed to being in the outside world, with the focus of his own world being on his mother (or primary caretaker). Everything is new and strange (and therefore “entertaining”) for a newborn, but because his world is primarily made up of how he feels and what his mother does/says, there isn’t a whole lot of “entertaining” to be done beyond what is mentioned above.
With the sense of wellbeing and security that a calm, capable, mother who relates (talks and sings) to him provides, a newborn will generally have what he needs to develop into a baby who can easily entertain himself (and much sooner than some would expect).