Dear Boston Mamas: What Do I Do With A Newborn All Day?
Today's Dear Boston Mamas question comes from a friend -- I know lots of new moms have the same question so I'm sharing here:
Dear Christine, I am asking all my friends who have had (or currently have again) newborns: what do you do with them all day? Sometimes I get really bored during the day; is that normal? Does he have to be learning all the time? Is it ok if he just sits there in his bouncer? Going out with a newborn in [my city] is tough! We go out once a day, but nothing too complicated that requires public transportation, not yet. I find myself saying...ok, what are we going to do next? [My son] is amazing...he has such a gentle and sweet demeanor. In the morning when he first gets up we spend about 20 minutes "talking" to each other, then he naps and I shower and we take it from there. Tuesdays are awesome because I go to this fantastic moms group -- just a few, quirky, non-judgmental, amazing women and our babies. We rotate houses and literally stay all day. It rocks.
Here are some thoughts and tips that I shared with my friend. If you've got additional ideas, please share below in the comments!
First, don't be too hard on yourself...it is completely normal to get bored. Newborns don't do a ton and it is possible to get your fill on staring at your baby for hours on end (and I say this as someone who spent a lot of hours gazing at my wee babies!). Many parents find life with little ones more exciting when the babies become more interactive. Even at 3+ months Violet has really "waken up" as a baby...she's so funny and interactive now.
Second, I am really anti-newborn enrichment propaganda. Remember that initially newborns can't even see very far, much less be enriched by videos or whatever. It's the basic contact with loved ones that will be enriching for them in the early months (and beyond).
Now, on to some basic action items...
1. It is awesome that you have a moms group -- keep that up! My first time around I had a lot of nearby friends having babies at the same time so I had my own built in moms group. This time around life is more dictated by Laurel's schedule so we're out and about quite a bit in that respect.
2. I highly recommend getting out and having one adventure a day. With Laurel I always felt really bummed out on the days where I realized that I hadn't left the house, yet couldn't remember what I had done all day. Some of the ways I suggest getting out include: doing on foot/stroller errands with the baby, visiting a cafe, power walking just for fun (and so you can eventually get into your regular clothes again!), seeing if you can find mom/baby friendly movie theatre hours, and meeting a friend for lunch.
3. Try something new where you can meet more new moms (e.g., mom/baby yoga, music together, etc.). When your son gets mobile and you can hit the local playground it will be easier to meet other families, but at the newborn stage it will be harder...hence, classes.
4. Check out your local library to see if there are singalongs and baby friendly programming.
5. My friends Heather and Whitney have a great site called Rookie Moms. They offer lots of fun ideas for adventures and things for new moms.
6. Consider pushing your boundaries a little. For example, try the stroller on public transport for a short distance. Or take your son out in a carrier instead. I love babywearing because it's so much less clunky to get around. Of course, it's better for short distance type things (especially in this heat!) -- use the carrier in the neighborhood or only go as far as you can comfortably tote a diaper or two and wipes in a small pack (so you aren't straining carrying too much stuff). You'll feel triumphant when you make it home after the adventure!
7. Do stuff at home. I take care of a lot of household matters babywearing Violet (e.g., tidying, laundry) or chatting with her while she's in her bouncer (e.g., prepping food). I've found it rather amazing that our house is more in order and we eat better with a baby around and it's because I incorporate Violet into all of these things that need to get done anyway. And all of that close time while babywearing, and all of the chit chat while she is in the bouncer is bonding!
Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.
Image credit: Jonathan Fitch via FreeDigitalPhotos.net