In Understanding the Human Being, AMI Trainer and Author Dr. Silvana Montanaro describes the first 6-8 weeks of life as the “symbiotic period” — which is both mother and baby need each other to “give and receive something absolutely necessary for the continuation and quality of each of their lives.”
The most important thing a newborn baby needs is its mother or caregiver. Most of the first three months will be spent cuddling, eating, and sleeping. Still, there are a number of other physical materials you can provide that support their development.
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Here is a list of the most important materials for 0-3 months:
- Topponcino – A ‘security wrap” made to hold the infant securely from birth, preventing the startle reflex, and allows infant to be easily put down after falling asleep.
- Floor Mirror – for installation in the movement area (note: baby will not recognize self in mirror until 12-18 months)
- Floor Quilt or Movement Mat
- Mobile Hanger for visual mobiles & Activity Gym for tactile mobiles
- Visual Mobiles (Munari, Gobbi, Tetrahedron, & Dancers)
- Black & White Picture Cards
- Tactile Mobiles (Montessori Puzzle Ball, bell on a ribbon, Montessori crocheted ball)
- Early grasping toys (Crocheted rattle, Grimm’s hedgehog clutch toy)
Traditionally, many of the Montessori infant materials are handmade (e.g., topponcinno, puzzle ball, mobiles) but almost all can now be purchased online (e.g., Amazon, Etsy, Michael Olaf, Alison’s Montessori, etc.).
Far and away, my own personal favorite item to use during the newborn period was the topponcino. I used it daily, from birth, with all three of my children. Using it made it easier to hold, feed, and carry them. It also allowed me to put them down for a nap more easily without startling them awake with jostling or a cold bedsheet.
I made mine using this tutorial at Voila Montessori.
What materials did you find most helpful during the newborn period?