Playing with Baby

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Title: Playing with Baby: Researched-Based Play to Bond with Your Baby from Birth to Year One
Published by: Familius
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Pages: 264
ISBN13: 978-1641704663


A baby hears her mother’s voice in utero, claps her hands a few months later, plays peekaboo over and over and follows your pointed finger at her toy. What does it all mean? In Dr. Laurie’s Hollman’s inviting style, she wends her way for her readers through dozens of stimulating and imaginative ways infants play from birth to one year.

Multiple illustrations in words and pictures are backed up by fascinating cutting-edge research about how play promotes infants’ development and a secure attachment between mother and baby.

Readers learn to be keen observers of their babies not only as their infants master milestones but also as they relate expressively with all their senses to others.

Dr. Hollman effectively explains how mothers discover the fertile minds of their infants from day one as they follow their mother’s voice not only in sound but visually watching her lips. The outstanding interplay between the minds of mothers and fathers with the minds of their infants occurs with their mutual understanding of each other’s vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions that eventually lead not only to communion between the infant-parent pair but also to the baby’s development of a core sense of self.

As mothers and fathers with their babies grasp each other’s intentions even before language, trust builds exponentially. Hollman details how babies develop secure attachments so they can manage separations and reunions as you, the reader, learn how to be a highly attuned parent when this is happening.

If you want to get to know and enjoy your baby inside and out, this book is for you. How shared joint mother-baby attention develops toward objects and people through loving mutual interactions over the first year will give you not only deep insight into the workings of your baby’s active mind but also the opportunity to revel in the great joy of your infant’s accomplishments with you as their safe, loving, empathic companion.


"Laurie Hollman, PhD, knows very well parents and babies, and the intensity of their relationships. She captures the essence of the complex and stimulating playfulness that is essential for a good connection with a very young child... This is a brilliant book, exciting and very accessible: a good combination of education, emotional support, and psychoanalytic thinking."
Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, MD, director of Parent-Infant Psychotherapy Training at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center

"Laurie Hollman captures the magic of play for both parents and babies during the first year of life. In this original book, specific month-by-month play suggestions are linked to validating state-of-the-art research. Understanding the science behind parent-baby play enriches parent’s experience of the baby’s developing brain and the deepening parent-baby relationship."
Ilene S. Lefcourt, author Parenting and Childhood Memories: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Reverberating Ghosts and Magic, Faculty Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Parent-Infant Program

"Dr. Hollman has done it again – written an invaluable book for parents and caregivers, this time of babies. How does one have a “play date” with a one-month-old or five-month-old? Here you have it. Dr. Hollman distils decades of research and hands-on experience into month-by-month insights, knowledge, and play time, designed to strengthen your bonds with baby in the first year."
Marcelle Soviero, Director, Marcelle Ink, classes and community for women who write; Author, An Iridescent Life, Essays on Motherhood; Former Editor-in-Chief and publisher of Brain Child and Teen Magazines

"Laurie Hollman’s high regard for her audience, parents of babies, is demonstrated by how clearly she communicates useful information previously only accessible to developmental psychologists and infancy researchers... I would recommend this book to any young parent embarking on the great adventure of being with baby. With Laurie Hollman’s book as a guide the journey will be that much more fulfilling and secure."
Andrea Remez,PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Parent-Infant therapist, Faculty, National Institute of Psychoanalysis, New York

"An excellent resource for new parents to create a loving relationship while examining their baby’s charming personality during the first year of life. Dr. Laurie Hollman effectively presents how to intensify your baby’s social and cognitive development through knowledge-based play techniques."
Lisa Lewis, MD, pediatrician, author of Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World

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A baby hears her mother’s voice in utero, claps her hands a few months later, plays peekaboo over and over and follows a finger pointed at her toy. What does it all mean?

In this book I wend my way through dozens of stimulating and imaginative ways infants play from birth to one year. Multiple illustrations in words and pictures are backed up by fascinating cutting-edge research about how play promotes infants’ development and a secure attachment between mother and baby.

Specific training as an Infant-Parent Psychotherapist that led me to spend decades of hours with mothers, fathers, and babies who inspired me to write this book.

Playing with an infant month by month the first year may or may not come naturally to some parents. These parents who do not have experience playing with newborns month by month find it challenging and exciting but seek guidance. These parents may not have received nurturing themselves throughout childhood and so they want to get the knack of play by talking to me about their baby’s development month by month while also joining me on the floor playing. As they observe me play with their babies, they learn first by watching then by playing on their own. It’s wonderful to see.

Even experienced parents who play rather easily are so inundated by a broad range of play activities that they are immensely grateful to discover which activities promote development each month.

Remarkable experiences with babies have led me to want to write this book with numerous illustrations of my actual play with parents and their infants that is based on cutting edge research I was privileged to observe in the making. The choice of play activities described endlessly in this book are based on this research done by world renown psychologists and psychiatrists whose careers focused on the infant’s inner and outer worlds.

The infants’ worlds that I admire are the inspiring development of their minds as well as their daunting physical prowess. For example, from the start newborns recognize their mother’s voice and begin to interact with her sounds and movements.

It’s a great joy for me to share my own continuing astonishment at the workings of a baby’s mind with parents in my therapy room and now in this book.

A brief example I enjoy reveling in with parents is how after several months their baby points. Why is this so exciting? Because the baby is demonstrating her motor development along with her brain development.

How? Her pointing says through action what she intends. Yes. Babies already have clear and specific intentions that motivate their actions. When mothers respond by picking up an object being pointed to, all without words mind you, the baby feels understood and shows delight with a giggle or smile.

So, what’s so amazing? The mother and baby are having a conversation before words. Then the mother can point at something and the baby follows the line of her pointing with his eyes showing he knows that his mother has a mind separate from his. How? Well, he sees the mother has her own specific intentions, just like he does.

Parents of all ages, from adolescent mothers to mothers in their twenties, thirties, forties and less often, but possibly, in their fifties feel how important playing with their infants becomes as they learn how to change their play choices month by month.

Play is the vehicle for babies to learn and interact with their mothers and fathers forming secure attachments. An infant’s feeling of security is what allows them to trust and learn from others.

Helping mothers and fathers develop secure attachments in infancy through play at four months, for example, leads to secure attachments at one year and beyond.

This is the marvelous understanding research reveals. And by writing all this down in one book – infant development – infant play - infant and parent social interactions – empathic journeys with babies – I have felt a tremendous sense of pleasure and satisfaction.



“By reading all the great experiments researchers do all over the world, you begin to realize how important all those observers think YOU are to your baby. They want you to know that all you do with your baby enhances their development. So, by reading about this fascinating research, you will become an expert, too, with your specific unique baby whom you love! You will understand how and why to choose to play in different ways during different months. How proud you can be not only of your baby but also of yourself as his or her parent.

Early researchers like Rene Spitz (1965) thought that in the first weeks, the outside world was practically nonexistent for infants. Today we question this. Recent research has demonstrated that from birth infants are capable of what is called a primary social relatedness (Beebe 2014). This means that from birth the baby wants to relate to you, their primary caregiver.

Experimenters like Meltzoff (1990) have even discovered that “as early as forty-two minutes after birth, infants can imitate gestures of others” (Beebe, Cohen, and Lachman 2016, 13). Can you imagine? Just forty-two minutes after delivery your infant wants to imitate you! How is it that these experimenters discovered this incredible finding?”

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