Do you use an activity mat? — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Do you use an activity mat?

I was given an activity mat at my baby shower, but I'm not sure if I want to use it or not. I think maybe DD might need other forms of stimulation besides me for proper development, but I feel like I would be neglecting her if I put her on an activity mat instead of holding/talking to her. I'm just not sure what I should do. Do I keep holding her and talking to her for playtime or do I use the mat? If I should use the mat, at what age should I start? Sorry, I just have no clue. TIA!
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BFP 1/6/2012

Re: Do you use an activity mat?

  • I do. I really only started using it recently when DD started getting interested in toys. I don't see how using an activity mat means you can't hold and play with her too.  DD does tummy time on her mat, then we work on sitting up while we I sing to her, then she plays with her hanging toys for a bit, then we read a book. Mix it up.
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  • I don't think it's an absolute NEED item, but it could come in handy. My DD is 5 months now and she likes to do lots of different things throughout the week. Granted she usually only hangs out on the activity mat for about 15 minutes tops at a time, but I'm there with her and showing her stuff or talking to her. She also has built in entertainment with my 2yo who shows her how the stuff works. I didn't put her in it til she was 3 months... I hate overstimulating when they are itty bitty. Neither of my kids are ones that will hang out in a swing/bouncy/activity center for long periods of time anyway.. so maybe that's why I think it's no big deal. I've heard some kids do that... not mine :)
  • At some point you will need to put your LO on the floor.  How will she learn to roll, crawl, pull up, or walk otherwise??? 
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  • image Libby1978:
    At some point you will need to put your LO on the floor.  How will she learn to roll, crawl, pull up, or walk otherwise??? 

    Well I know I need to put her down eventually, but I didn't know how early. She's getting more interested in looking at things, so I thought maybe she might like the activity mat, but she's still so little. With her only being 6 weeks old I don't really want to put her down yet.

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    BFP 1/6/2012
  • image mrsbmw09:

    image Libby1978:
    At some point you will need to put your LO on the floor.  How will she learn to roll, crawl, pull up, or walk otherwise??? 

    Well I know I need to put her down eventually, but I didn't know how early. She's getting more interested in looking at things, so I thought maybe she might like the activity mat, but she's still so little. With her only being 6 weeks old I don't really want to put her down yet.

    Here's a link for info on tummy time for babies 3 weeks & up:

    http://www.pathwaysawareness.org/tummytime/tummy-time-for-babies-3-weeks-and-up

    Hope it helps! Smile

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  • I started pulling LO down on the activity mat a few days ago. He loves it- for about 20 minutes. I am down there with him most of the time though. Talking/singing/playing with your LO is excellent, but the activity gym will help them develop gross motor skills such as reaching for objects.

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  • Sorry, but I have to give a big eye roll to the "I feel like I would be neglecting her" part. If you don't feel comfortable putting your child on an activity mat, ok, but it's a huge jump to say you're "neglecting" your child if you use one. If you were asking if you needed an activity mat, I would say no, but you seem like you already have one and are philosophically opposed to the idea of it.

    Personally, I feel like I was as engaged as I could be when DD was a newborn (and now), but I loved having the ability to read the newspaper or eat some lunch every once in a while if there was a safe place I could put DD for 10-15 minutes at a time where she was happy and playing. DD loved laying on her back on the activity mat and kicking up a storm at the toys hanging overhead or looking at herself in the mirror. The truth is that I don't consider it "neglect" until you've left your child in a swing, on an activity mat, etc. to the point where he/she is no longer comfortable there and is visibly upset or on the verge of being so.

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  • image anna7602:

    Sorry, but I have to give a big eye roll to the "I feel like I would be neglecting her" part. If you don't feel comfortable putting your child on an activity mat, ok, but it's a huge jump to say you're "neglecting" your child if you use one. If you were asking if you needed an activity mat, I would say no, but you seem like you already have one and are philosophically opposed to the idea of it.

    Personally, I feel like I was as engaged as I could be when DD was a newborn (and now), but I loved having the ability to read the newspaper or eat some lunch every once in a while if there was a safe place I could put DD for 10-15 minutes at a time where she was happy and playing. DD loved laying on her back on the activity mat and kicking up a storm at the toys hanging overhead or looking at herself in the mirror. The truth is that I don't consider it "neglect" until you've left your child in a swing, on an activity mat, etc. to the point where he/she is no longer comfortable there and is visibly upset or on the verge of being so.

    Ditto Anna.  Putting your baby down for a few minutes with a stimulating activity is not neglect.  Sometimes you need a few hands free minutes to shower, go to the bathroom or make something to eat!  I had a very high needs infant, and I was grateful for any activity that he enjoyed on his own for a few minutes at a time.

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  • Tee activity mat just became useful right around 10-12 weeks. Now she can't get enough of it. I leave her on there until I notice her staring at me, watching TV or fussing. I think it's important for her to feel comfortable playing alone. She can entertain herself while I cook dinner, run to the bathroom, etc.

    Edited for reading comprehension fail.

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  • We used ours all the time starting from about a month old. At first she just like to look at things, and then she would reach out for them. Sometimes I would lay with her and play, sometimes she did it on her own. Eventually when she was 6mo she began rolling over to get the other toys dangling and it shortly went to the basement after that.

    Putting your kid down is not neglecting them. They can play by themselves occasionally. You do not have to be their entertainer. 

  • We did when LO was little. Sometimes I think she got overwhelmed by all the things on it though, so we took off some of the attachments and only used one or two at a time. 

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  • my daughter is over a year old and her activity mat comes in very handy for one important and specific purpose. after her bath, she is the biggest wiggleworm ever and it is nearly impossible to get her diapered. so i will turn the soothing jungle sounds/lights on on her activity mat, give her her tooth brush, and she will lay still for JUST long enough for me to get her repantsed.
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  • image katie.i.do:
    my daughter is over a year old and her activity mat comes in very handy for one important and specific purpose. after her bath, she is the biggest wiggleworm ever and it is nearly impossible to get her diapered. so i will turn the soothing jungle sounds/lights on on her activity mat, give her her tooth brush, and she will lay still for JUST long enough for me to get her repantsed.

    I just might have to try this! After bath is horrible for us, he screams and fusses and wiggles around everywhere! It is impossible to get his teeth brushed and his diaper and pajamas on.  This might work for us too, thanks for the idea!

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  • image anna7602:

    Sorry, but I have to give a big eye roll to the "I feel like I would be neglecting her" part. If you don't feel comfortable putting your child on an activity mat, ok, but it's a huge jump to say you're "neglecting" your child if you use one. If you were asking if you needed an activity mat, I would say no, but you seem like you already have one and are philosophically opposed to the idea of it.

    Personally, I feel like I was as engaged as I could be when DD was a newborn (and now), but I loved having the ability to read the newspaper or eat some lunch every once in a while if there was a safe place I could put DD for 10-15 minutes at a time where she was happy and playing. DD loved laying on her back on the activity mat and kicking up a storm at the toys hanging overhead or looking at herself in the mirror. The truth is that I don't consider it "neglect" until you've left your child in a swing, on an activity mat, etc. to the point where he/she is no longer comfortable there and is visibly upset or on the verge of being so.

    This!

    Things like the "neglecting" comment are why AP moms get bad rap as sanctimonious twits.

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