Mommy Time or Baby Time? Who knows the better schedule?
New moms often find themselves gently laying their sleeping newborns down into their beds and then saying to themselves, “Finally! The baby is asleep, what can I get done before she wakes up?” Six weeks later, the baby is awake more often and the mother is trying to figure how to get that sleepy baby back so she can have a moments rest. Does this seem a little backwards to you? Perhaps instead of asking what we can be doing while baby sleeps, we should be asking what we can do while the baby is awake. When baby is sleeping, mother should be sleeping. Especially during those first 6-8 weeks postpartum.
Take Time to Rest
Labor and pregnancy is hard work and our bodies need some time to recover fully from the experience. Likewise, the birth and a totally new environment is hard on the new baby. Both need this time of rest and bonding. When baby sleeps, mom should sleep, when baby eats, mom should be eating, when baby has a dirty diaper, mom should…well, you get the idea.
Follow Your Body’s Cues
As both mom and baby become rested from this time of postpartum healing, they are more awake and ready for new activities and experiences. Moms want to start venturing outside of the home and babies are staying awake longer and taking in more of their surroundings. At this point, telling the mother to get back into bed is not much different than placing your awake and curious infant into a boring crib.
New Adventures for Mom and Baby
Around 6-7 weeks, babies are much more alert and receptive to new learning environments and activities. This is a great time to recite all those nursery rhymes, or pop 80s songs you enjoy so much. Dancing with your baby is great fun as is reading aloud you favorite book or magazine while the two of you sit on the couch.
Another activity for the more alert baby is baby wearing. Baby wants to go where you go and baby wearing makes this possible. Anything from chores around the house, a walk around the block, sitting in church, or grocery shopping are all stimulating activities for your infant.
Brief moments of tummy time while you are folding laundry, or sitting in a bouncer seat while you paint your toes for the first time in months are also stimulating activities for you and your baby.
Meeting the needs of Family and Baby
What if I have other children? How can I balance every ones needs along with my own?
Have a designated quiet time each day. The older children may not sleep, but at least being in their rooms laying down or playing quietly will give you and baby an almost guaranteed rest each day. Also, make sure there are times the older children get to do an activity of their preference, rather than activities that only suit the needs of the newborn. The can work especially well at this age, as the now alret newborn is up for almost anything, as long as mom or dad are near.