15 Ways to Be More Present With Your Baby
They say the days are long, but the years are short. They often fail to mention that the first year is the absolute shortest! Bringing a new baby home is one of the most exhilarating and terrifying things you will ever do, but despite all the question marks and the long nights, there is so much beautiful bonding to be done with your baby while they are still a baby.
Often, overwhelmed parents get in the habit of scrolling social media to escape the pressures of daily life or loading up on extra tasks and responsibilities out of guilt or obligation. We are wasting this precious time with our babies when we do this. Some of our habits might be hard to break, but you have only got one shot at your little one’s little years, so today is a great day to work on creating new habits that cultivate bonding and closeness during this special time.
Here are 15 simple ways to be more present with your baby. You will not regret any of them!
Put your phone down. Sometimes important business needs to be managed, but usually we are focusing on our phones instead of our babies out of boredom, exhaustion, or habit. Leave it at home or in another room, take pictures with a real camera, and wear a watch to tell the time!
Book a class. Find a yoga, music, or other baby-and-me class and sign up ASAP. Learning and playing together in a new environment will allow you to truly fall into the moment and strengthen your bond with your baby.
Get outside. Whether you take a walk around the neighborhood or set up a picnic lunch in your own backyard, fresh air and sunshine are good for both of you. Watch cars go by, explore textures (tree bark, blades of grass), and just focus on this peaceful moment with your little one.
'Black out' time for Baby. No matter how hectic your schedule is, commit to solid time one-on-one, no distractions and no agenda, to play, sing, and read a story together. Even if it only happens from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Quality over quantity is key.
Shelve your to-do list. In our multitasking-obsessed culture, we often hustle too hard to enjoy family. Be realistic, but mindfully move less pressing to-dos to tomorrow if it allows you some extra time with that sweet baby who will only be little for a little longer.
Make a baby bucket list. Set aside the time, but not sure what to do with it? Write out some goals and activities to do with your baby in the weeks and months ahead, then check them off together.
Do not be afraid to 'spoil' your baby. Physical touch is a need for babies, just like feeding and rest. Pick your baby up and cuddle them, indulging both of you in the love-snuggles. You cannot spoil a baby with love!
Talk to Baby while you go through your daily routine. You might feel silly, but they are learning language cues and you are slowing down to enjoy the moment as you go.
Say 'NO' to others, so you can say 'yes' to more time with Baby. It sounds simple because it is!
Get more sleep. It is hard, but make it a priority. A well-rested parent is better able to get through the harder parts of parenting a baby and enjoy all the good parts. (Learn how SNOO aids sleep for both Baby and Mum/Dad.)
Eat together, not on the fly. Once Baby starts solids, avoid distracted spoon-feeding while checking email, or tossing snacks on the highchair tray while vacuuming. Sitting down together and intentionally chatting to your little one while you both eat a meal is so relaxing and special.
Put on music instead of the telly. Background noise is great. Getting lost in the news or wasting time getting sucked into a reality series is not. Listening to music will invite creativity and bonding, even dancing with your little one, without the distractions.
Look into your baby’s eyes. It is one of the easiest things on the list to do. You do not even need to say much or have any kind of agenda. But make and hold eye contact as often and for as long as possible; the magic is in the simple exchange with your sweet baby.
Retrain your thoughts. This is tough, but doable. Try one negative thought at a time, like turning 'I cannot believe I’m still in here rocking him to sleep' into, 'I’m so lucky to have him and be here for him.' Even if it sounds hokey, give it a try… you might be amazed at how your stress level responds to a shift in perspective.
Remind yourself that this time is fleeting. Being in the moment is not always easy, but sometimes stating out loud or closing your eyes for a moment and meditating on the fact that these baby days are short, can do a world of good in putting you right back in this moment where you are today.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.