Archive for Baby Activities

To Sling, Or Not to Sling

Every time I take my babies out, I have a choice: Sling or stroller.

I’ve seen parents carrying young infants with neither option, but I cannot imagine that and there is no way I’m carrying my 18 pound infant in a car seat without a stroller.

Let’s do a case study:

Slinging It:

Today I took my toddler to the doctor and I placed Junior in the sling. While we were waiting for the doctor, he fell asleep and continued to sleep through the entire exam.

I brought them to “Toddler Tango” at the library and held Junior in the sling while I danced with my daughter. Junior flirted a bit with the ladies and then passed out. Another mother’s infant woke up from a nap in the travel system and she commented that she did not have her Bjorn with her. I whipped out my spare pouch sling (hee, hee) as a loaner and now she wants one, too.

Strolling:

We went to a craft program. I decided to place Junior in the stroller, hoping he’d fall asleep and I’d get a little break. I maneuvered our Sit N’ Stroll into the elevator along with another adult and toddler. Then, a Dad came along and we held the door for him. He came in with toddler and his stroller.

The doors closed and…the elevator did not move.

We pressed buttons, the doors stubbornly refused to reopen.

Three adults, three toddlers, two strollers, and one infant stuck in an elevator for 15 minutes.

When maintenance finally got us out, I placed Junior in the sling, left the stroller, and walked down the stairs. We arrived in time for circle time but missed the craft.

Now, in the stroller’s defense there are times when I need a little more freedom of movement (like undressing and dressing the toddler for swimming). And sometimes I want to move faster than the toddler can walk. So, strollers definitely have their uses. After the elevator experience, though, I am even more convinced of the benefits and convenience of my slings.

How about you? Any stroller or sling experiences that made your day or drove you crazy?

Toddlerism: Princess Obvious

Toddler: (climbing off her toddler bed; whump; falls on floor; cries a little)

Me: Are you okay, sweetie? What did you hit?

Toddler: The floor!

Ba-dum-cha!

In other baby news, Junior started his swim “lessons.” They offer free lessons from two to six months’ so he goes in the pool when his sister has her lesson. It is so funny to watch them together. Who would have thought that the same parents and the same parenting could produce two such different children?

Junior just chills. Someone is holding me and it is not mommy? Oh, well…she seems nice. She’s lifting me up? Nice view. Now I’m under water? No problem.

He’s now three months’ and 18 POUNDS. Not sure how tall, but really tall. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks. Pictures coming soon.

Baby Activities Week 1: Healing and Bonding

This first week with baby I concentrated on healing and bonding with baby.

What do you feel is important in the first week? What tips do you have for postpartum healing? How do you bond with your newborn?

Healing:
Babies spend a lot of time sleeping and eating the first week and I strongly encourage mama to do the same!

I’m a terrible sleeper and usually just cannot nap. However, this is the one week I’m just so pooped that I need and enjoy a quick daytime snooze.

I’m fortunate enough that my husband is around this time and able to use some of his vacation time to stay home with me. He is seriously a Superman and makes my life a gazillion times easier. His parents stayed with the toddler while I was in the hospital and my mom visited for a few days when we first got home. All four grandparents have pitched in with home repairs, babysitting, frozen meals, cleaning, etc. It is definitely nice to be living close to family this time around instead of halfway across the country.

Graciously accept any and all help offered during this time.

Be good to yourself because the quicker you heal, the better you’ll be able to care for your family!

Sibling Note:
We have a toddler girl, too, so she also needs a lot of attention during this time. We are trying to maintain her routine as much as possible, allow her to help in age appropriate ways (picking out clothing for baby, counting his toes while he nurses, getting his diaper), and also give her some individual time with Mommy and Daddy. She has a doll and she enjoys feeding, burping, changing, and swaddling her dolly (and assorted stuffed animals).

Bonding:
Bonding with baby begins even before birth and it is never too soon to start enjoying your baby.

Feeding
In the first week, one of the biggest bonding activities is eating! I breastfeed so we spend a lot of baby’s waking time in this activity. If you do not breastfeed, feeding time is still a perfect time to relate to baby. Breast or bottle, baby should be held during feedings. And, if baby’s awake, you can also rub baby, talk to baby, and gaze at baby.

This is the beginning of the bond of trust for me and baby. He expresses hunger; I meet his need by feeding him.

Although it is tempting to “get stuff done,” I try to really enjoy this time and remember that feeding my baby is one of the most important activities I can do this first week. So many vital things happen during mealtime and baby learns that eating is a social activity that nourishes the soul as well as the body.

Babywearing
I am up and about so I am also wearing baby in a sling. If you are still in bed, then another caretaker can do this (a great opportunity to bond with another parent or grandparent) or it can certainly wait until you are feeling stronger!

In baby’s sling, he can eat, hear my heart beat, feel the familiar rhythm of my walk, enjoy a swaddled feeling, and gaze into my eyes. For me, I get to keep baby close and comfy while having my hands free. And it is much better for my back, too, then carrying him in my arms all the time.

The cradle hold is ideal for newborns, so I’m using my favorite ring sling (and some mamas like pouches, too). Hard carriers have low weight limits, are usually limited to one position, and are not very ergonomic for baby or for the parent. If you like the idea of a front pack, try a wrap, a mei tai, or a soft structured carrier, instead.

Bath Time
Touch is so important for babies. I’m sure everyone’s heard about the studies of babies who were fed, but never touched. Without touch, a baby may die or suffer serious developmental delays.

Besides, who can resist touching that silky soft baby skin?

During baby’s first week, he also gets his first sponge bath at home. Babies don’t need to be bathed everyday, but keeping baby clean is important for his healing and it is another good time to bond. I love washing and rinsing each part carefully and then wrapping him up in a soft, warm towel. It is also his first massage! Some people are suckers for baby shoes…me, I can’t resist a funny hooded towel.

Next Week:

The first week can establish the pattern for bonding. At the same time, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, so try not to dwell on missed opportunities and instead focus on the joys ahead.

There are other activities you can do with your baby right from the start–like reading, singing, and dancing–but if you are not feeling up for much activity, just take a break and cuddle. Your love and food are the real essentials. I’ll focus more on these sorts of additional activities in week two.