After about three weeks of living with our new roommate, my husband and I joked that he was more of a blob than we had anticipated. We would eagerly wait for him to wake up, but when he did, he did not smile or clap or say da-da. No, he just laid still and gazed into the distance, with unfocused eyes, occasionally lifting an arm (if it was not swaddled to his torso) up into the air. But that arm? He didn’t even know it belonged to him!
So, what to do with this new, clueless sidekick? If you were surprised, as Heather describes she was, that The Pregnancy had turned into A Person, you might relate to our feelings of disorientation. Here’s a little bit of guidance for our fellow lost souls.
Talk to the baby. Place the baby in a seat so that he or she can track you as you move about the room. It is ok to leave the room, too! Baby is strapped in and will not go anywhere. When you are together, tell your baby what you’re doing, what you’re planning to do, or anything that pops into your head. Your voice is one of your baby’s favorite things. She does not judge if you are summarizing episodes of reality tv.
Wear the baby. The natural state of a newborn’s mother is trapped underneath the sleeping or feeding newborn. To unlock your freedom, learn to wear the baby. Babywearing permits movement around the house and into the world outside your home.
Leave your home. Master whatever know-how is required to get yourself and the baby out the door: packing a diaper bag; using the car seat; collapsing the stroller. Pretend you will be tested on these skills at the end of the first quarter.
But where do I go? Start tackling the Rookie Moms Challenges, one at a time.
Make commitments to show up, with baby in tow. My new mom support group ensured I went somewhere every Tuesday morning and then those women and I made plans every Thursday. Suddenly I had goals!
Visit people. Different rooms and destinations offer new ambiances: lighting, sound, and temperature are new to a baby at a store, office, or home.
Massage baby to wind down. Layout a towel, get some coconut oil or lotion and queue up a YouTube video of how to massage your baby. My yoga teacher said it is good for baby’s digestion.
Read to your baby. The length and depth of infant-level board books mean that reading one only takes about 45 seconds. When you run out of ideas for talking to your baby, grab a pile of books and tell him what’s in the pictures. I love everything by Todd Parr.
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