This is Day 17 of our series on “Surviving & Thriving with a Newborn” — part of the 31 day writing challenge hosted by the Nester. Every day in October I’ll be sharing a tip about how to make the most of and enjoy the sleep-deprived newborn days. For a list of all the posts in this series, click here.
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When you have a new baby, it can be easier to stay home.
Baby needs to take a nap. What better place than in her crib?
Baby’s hungry. Who wants to nurse a baby out and about? Not me!
Baby’s crying. I’d much rather try to comfort my baby at home where I know she isn’t bothering anyone else.
So, you stay in. Baby’s happy in her safe little world, but the rest of the family is restless and bearing the signs of cabin fever.
As you may imagine, I’ve gone to both extremes in this tip too. With my first child, we were NEVER home. Looking back, I see that maybe a significant part of our trouble getting this child to sleep may’ve been from always being gone. She had no structure to her day. Today, this child is very structured. In fact, the first thing she asks before going to bed every night is, “What are we doing tomorrow?” She’s planning her day the night before. If I’d only known…
With our second daughter, I stayed home all.the.time. We didn’t go anywhere. Seriously. Our lives revolved around her nap time. We might leave the house right after feeding time, but within an hour or so, we were racing back home to get her to bed. Life was not pleasant until she dropped to just one nap.
With our third child, I opted for a middle ground approach. One where we would get out of the house every day, even if we just played in the yard or walked down the road. We would also run errands a few days a week. I’d try to time them around sleep times, but that didn’t always work out. When you have other children in the picture, you simply cannot schedule your days around the baby. It isn’t fair to the other children nor to the baby,who must learn at some point to adapt to circumstances.
So, my advice for today is to Get Out of the House! Not all day every day of course but within reason. Take the kids to the playground. Go to the grocery store. Grab lunch with a friend (not for the faint of heart). Go to the library. If it means getting out during baby’s nap time, wear your baby.
Some tips for getting out with your baby:
1. Feed baby before you leave the house. Unless you don’t mind feeding your baby in the car or at a store, then do it at home. Then there are no worries about covering up or a baby spitting up everywhere.
2. Bring your diaper bag with all essential supplies. My diaper bag has a nursing cover, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a change of clothes, the baby carrier, and a water bottle and snack (for me).
3. Have a plan. I like to have a list of all the places I intend to go, prioritizing the most important first. I also take along my grocery list, coupons, and anything else I’ll need (i.e. mail to drop at the post office, books to drop off at the library). Determine in advance how long you have before nap time (or meltdown), and plan to be home well before that time.
4. Don’t despair if you have to end your trip early. So you get to the store only to discover baby has had a blow-out or baby is inconsolable. It happens. Go home. Plan to try again another day.
Sure getting out the house is an overwhelming prospect with a newborn especially when you have multiple little ones to wrangle, but sometimes a change of scenery is good for everyone. Don’t revolve your family’s schedule around the baby. Consider the needs of the ENTIRE family. Plan ahead and go for it.
What tips would you offer someone who might be reluctant to get out of the house with a baby?