November 6, 2015


When you're doing solo baby duty, you may feel the hours stretching on and on. But a long day at home alone with your baby doesn't have to feel so long. In fact, it can be rejuvenating. Here's how to make the most of it.
Chill, baby
With all the emphasis on educational toys and baby brain-boosting these days, it's easy to feel like you're slacking off if you're not constantly stimulating and interacting with your baby
In actuality, a little slacking is good. "Babies can easily get overstimulated. Sometimes they need to just zone out," says a pediatrician.
Place your baby in a safe area with a few enticing toys and let him/her play independently while you enjoy some guilt-free relaxation nearby. He/she will let you know when he/she is bored or otherwise ready for a change of pace.
Dance party
Exercise is a proven stress-reducer and mood-lifter for parents. Babies love music and benefit hugely from physical contact with their caregivers. Put it all together and bingo – you've got a great activity! Crank up your favorite music, scoop up your baby, and bust some moves.
Your baby will adore this. "There were times in the early months when the only thing that made her stop crying was to turn on upbeat music and whirl around the living room. It gave us both some respite." The best part is that you can get as crazy as you want – your baby's not going to tell anyone.
Sing your heart out
It doesn't matter if you can't carry a tune in a tin can. As far as your baby's concerned, you have a voice like honey. "My daughter really enjoys my singing. She'll stare at me, mesmerized by my voice. She especially likes it when I match my tone with her squeals – it makes her giggle with delight," says Mummy Kamsi.
Babies aren't discerning about genre either – so you can sing your favorite Broadway tunes, stick with nursery song standbys, go for the hard rock, or even compose your own songs.
Work it
Believe it or not, you can get household tasks done with a baby in the house. You just need to take advantage of the fact that, as Bundy puts it, "The most boring task in the world can be utterly fascinating to a baby." Loading the dishwasher may seem monotonous to you, but to your baby it's a delicious medley of new sights, sounds, and even smells (mmm…yummy scent of dishwashing soap)!
"I used to place my twins in their bouncy seats in front of our front-loading washing machine and let them watch 'laundry TV,' while I sorted clothes nearby," says Jennifer Gordon. "They would squeal and laugh as they watched the clothing soap up and turn over."
As your baby grows, you can start to involve him or her in the activities. "Once my daughter could sit up, she enjoyed 'helping' me clean out the refrigerator. I'd take out all the stuff and put it on the floor. She'd pick up an item, look it over, then put it down and move on to the next thing," says another mom.
Rediscover the phone
Remember back in high school, when you and your friends would gab on the phone for hours? While you may never again have that much social time at your disposal, the early months of your child's life are a great time to reconnect with the joys of the telephone.
"The sound of Mom's voice is one of the main sensory inputs for a small baby. It's a comforting stimulus that they're used to hearing," explains Bundy. Listening to you chat also exposes your child to language.
Try wearing your baby in a sling or rocking him or her while you talk – or just let your baby hang out next to you on the rug. It's easy to get a bit isolated in the first months of parenting, so you probably have some calls to return anyway!
Luxury spa
Who needs a fancy spa? Give your baby a nice warm bath, follow it up with a baby massage, and she'll be putty in your hands. For fun, you can add a little aromatherapy by scenting the bathwater.
"My son seemed to really enjoy a lavender bath followed by massage. It was very calming for him," says mom of two -Jennifer
Before starting the massage, adjust the room temperature for warmth, dim the lights, and turn on some soft music. Lay your baby on a soft towel, blanket, or your lap. (Ditch his/her clothes so that he/she benefits from the skin-to-skin contact, but have him/her wear a diaper for your own protection!)
Rub his/her legs and feet, moving in a downward motion. Then do the same with his/her arms and hands. Gradually let your strokes become longer, slower, and lighter, and watch your baby to see what kinds of touch he/she likes. Side benefit: This activity will likely relax you as well.
Are the walls closing in? If so, it's time to take your little one on a walkabout. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders – calming your baby and giving you a surprising energy lift. It might be hard to fight the inertia that comes after hours inside – and bundling a fussy baby into a front carrier, sling, or stroller may not seem worth the effort at first, but once you feel the fresh air on your face, you'll be glad you did it. Stay kamsified!

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