One of the first things I thought I would “need” was a changing table. I had worked at a daycare in college and knew that you change a lot of diapers in the course of a day. Thankfully, a friend said something to me about her changing table being the most useless things she recieved as a baby shower gift. Needless to say, I was a bit confused on how this could be, but I decided to just register for a changing mat and covers instead. To date, I think this is one of the best decisions I made while registering. Once recieving the mat, I put a fleece blanket down on top of Baby’s dresser and placed the changing pad with a cover on top. I also filled a basket of diapers, wipes, and Anti-Monkey Butt cream and put it on top of the dresser. This solution has served us very well and there was no need to try to squeeze another piece of furniture into Baby’s already full room!
So we all have a list a mile long of things to do while Baby is sleeping, but what about that all important awake time? Below you will find just a few activities you can do with Baby while he/she is awake.
- Read Together – Yes, your baby is young, but as a teacher, I know it is never too early to start instilling a love for written language. Some personal favorites to read with Baby include:
- Anything written by Eric Carle
- Moo, Baa, La La La
- Lift the Flap Books
- On the Night You Were Born
- Mouse Paint
- Nursery Rhymes
1. Hickory, Dickory, Dock: And Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes
2. Dance Together – Babies love motion! Rocking back and forth together or turning in reasonably paced circles to the beat of the music gives you and Baby some much needed fun movement time.
3. Tummy Time – Babies need to spend time on their tummies in order to strengthen neck and core muscles. It is also important for gross motor development (think crawling, walking, and climbing). Put a blanket on the floor and lay Baby belly down. I prefer to lay with Baby as we talk and exercise together. Sometimes we even play with toys while on our bellies!
4. Sing Together (especially if the song has motions) – Songs are easy to learn and remember. They also are a great way for Baby to hear spoken words directed at them since most people feel less inhibited singing to a Baby than when speaking to them. We don’t always sing with a cd but some of our favorite cd’s for when we do are:
- Red Grammar – Favorite Sing-Alongs
- Red Grammar – Hello World!
- Red Grammar – Teaching Peace
- Fisher Price Little People: 50 Sing-Along Classics
- Vol. 2-We All Live Together
5. Baby’s Alone Time – Everyone needs some alone time. Try swings, bouncing chairs, activity mats, and mobiles. Baby won’t entertain him/herself for long times, but I love watching him play by himself for a few minutes while I dust, sweep, or cook dinner.
6. Take a Walk – We love to walk outside! As we walk we talk about what we are seeing. Sometimes we walk with the stroller, sometimes with the carrier, and sometimes just being held. However you choose to walk, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Graco Metrolite Stroller, Clairmont
Infantino Ecosash Baby Carrier, Bloomin Vines, 8-35 Pounds< Whatever you choose to do with Baby while he/she is awake, remember to have fun!
Getting anything done with baby in your arms is quite difficult as you are limited to one hand and arm if you are lucky. In order to clean my house, make dinner, or garden with any efficiency I need two hands; so, I put baby into my baby carrier. I love my ecosash carrier for so many reasons beyond the simple one of it gives me two hands.
- I tie the knots and I’m not relying on plastic clips to keep my baby safe.
- The straps allow for different people to wear the carrier without having to slide a bunch of tighteners in and out. Can you ever get those back where they were comfortable after you move them?
- It has three different positions for baby – facing you, facing forward, and back-pack style.
- The facing you position is safe for baby as soon as they are 8lbs (which for us meant the day he came home from the hospital) – most carriers do not leave you with this ability as the baby has to be able to hold his/her head up before it is safe.
I do not carry the baby in the carrier for extended periods of time right now (baby is 7 weeks old) but I am sure as my husband and I return to hiking more we will use it for longer sessions. Baby is comfortable and loves being close to us. It also sometimes has the benefit of helping baby fall asleep!
Our baby loves to bounce! We do squats and lunges constantly – feel the burn! Thanks to a friend we learned that we needed to bring our exercise ball out of the basement and put it in the family room to keep our legs from going crazy. Now, we haven’t completely quit doing squats and lunges – after all who doesn’t want to get a bit of a workout; however, we have cut back considerably. Now instead of doing squats, we sit on the exercise ball and bounce. This also allows us to work different muscle groups depending on how we are sitting. Happy baby and happy parents without the pain of hundreds of squats!
If you are of average height – the 65cm ball is for you.
The 75cm ball is for those of you that are much taller than my husband and I.
Your diaper bag goes with you everywhere. Some things you need, other things just weigh you down.
- Pacifier Pod. Diaper bags are like women’s purses… whatever you are looking for will elude somewhere in the depts of the bag. We use a pacifier rarely but when it is necessary, it is necessary NOW! Pacifier pods allow you to keep the pacifier attached to the outside of the bag, the stroller, your belt loop, the basket next to your rocking chair or where ever else it may come in hand.
- Disposable diaper sacks. Wet and/or smelly diapers don’t need to be loose in your diaper bag contaminating everything else, so these bags become a mess saver. I didn’t necessarily think that a dispenser of bags was going to matter, but when it comes to the limited space of your diaper bag – it does! The dispenser keeps all of the bags neatly rolled and out of the way until they are needed. It also is easy to find as you are blindly digging in the diaper bag while holding your little one and a dirty diaper!
- Travel size baby soap. You probably aren’t planning on bathing your baby everywhere you go… however a visit to a friend’s or grandma’s may turn into bath time when baby gets into something or spits up a significant amount. Chances are, they have towels and wash clothes. Baby friendly soap… maybe not.
Obviously, don’t forget the diapers and wipes!
Not only does Baby Anti-Monkey Diaper Rash Cream have an excellent name, we’ve found it to be an excellent product as well. Our baby’s butt prefers baby anti-monkey butt to other leading brands. No one wants a red monkey butt!
If you can’t find Baby Anti-Monkey Butt… Boudreaux Butt Paste comes in second for a cool name, though we like it the least as far as baby butt protection.
Okay so seriously, how hard can it be to keep a glass of water near you when most of what baby does is sleep? HARD! After kicking my glass over more times than I can count, I jokingly mentioned needing a sippy cup to my husband and sister-in-law. The next day in walks my sister-in-law with the best adult spill-proof sippy cup ever. I now carry my camelbak water bottle everywhere! It helps me stay hydrated which is so important for nursing and shedding those pregnancy pounds and since you have to slightly bite the straw to get water out I have yet to spill it even when I toss it down beside me on the couch so no messes to clean up! The loop on the lid makes it easy to carry around even if I can only get one finger free.
I prefer the BPA-Free plastic bottle because I can see how much water is in it and it doesn’t dent when it hits the floor.
Some people prefer the stainless steel especially if drinking a lot of flavored beverages that can leave a taste in the plastic bottles.