They weren’t kidding when they told you that time flies once you start having kids. When it’s time for your partner or spouse to return to work, you might be feeling like it was just yesterday when their parental leave began. Although, not every parent has support from a partner and some are alone with their baby from the first day home from the hospital. Whatever your situation, you are more than capable of caring for your baby on your own. Remember, you were made for this baby and vice versa. Here are a few steps to help make your first days home alone with your baby a smooth transition.
Baby proof your home ahead of time
Take advantage of the time before your baby is born to do some baby proofing around your home. Although baby proofing isn’t entirely necessary during the newborn days (since your baby won’t be moving or crawling around yet), making some small adjustments can help you feel more comfortable with the environment your baby is in. Plus, it’s one less thing to think about down the line. Take a look around your house and think of anything that might be a potential danger for your baby. Plan where your baby will mainly be hanging out and make sure there is a soft, safe area on the floor where you can play with your baby and do tummy time.
Utilize a playpen, crib, or bassinet for safety
You’ll need to have a safe and secure area where you can set your baby down at times when you have to step away. Even if you don’t have pets and other kids, there will be times when you have to walk away and you want to be prepared for this. A bassinet, playpen, or crib are all great options. Make sure to follow safety guidelines for your baby and don’t set them down in a crib or bassinet with loose pillows and blankets.
Plan ahead as much as possible
Any possible way that you can plan ahead or prepare things for yourself and your baby will make your days alone much more seamless. For example, think about what you’re going to eat and make sure you have some easy-to-grab snacks and prepared food on hand. You’ll likely be breastfeeding, meaning you’ll need to eat a lot of calories. You have to make sure that you’re taking care of not only your baby but yourself as well (as challenging as that may be)!
Try baby wearing
Utilizing a baby sling or wrap is a great way to free up your hands while also having your baby close to you. Your newborn will likely want to be held all the time and, while those sweet snuggles never get old, there will be times that you need to get up to make yourself food or coffee. In those moments, you’ll be grateful for the ability to be hands free without setting your baby down. Baby wearing is also a great way to comfort fussy babies and may even help your baby fall asleep.
Get out of the house once a day
It’s definitely easier said than done to get out of the house when you have a newborn with you but it is entirely worth it to try. When you’re home all day caring for a baby, you can easily start to feel cooped up and stir crazy. These feelings definitely don’t help with all of the other stressors that come along with welcoming a new baby into your home, so try to make it a priority to do whatever you can to support your mental health. If you live in a safe, residential area, planning a daily walk with your baby in the stroller is the perfect way to get out of the house. The fresh air will be beneficial for you and your baby. If the weather isn’t ideal or you don’t have the energy to walk, then you can even just go for a drive.
Have patience and go easy on yourself
By far the most important action you can take while caring for a baby by yourself is to have patience. Try to refrain from setting expectations because things will likely not go as planned. Remain in the moment as much as possible and roll with any stressors as they occur. Understand that you will run into plenty of stressful situations and it’s all just a part of the process of raising a child. It definitely won’t be easy but know that it is 100% worth it.
Know that you’re doing an important job
Raising a baby can feel mundane, but you have to remember that raising a child is the most important job that anyone can do. By taking the time to pour into your children, you’ll be raising happy and healthy people who will go on to contribute positively to our society. Keep that in mind during the challenging moments, or if you start to feel envy towards your working partner.
Prioritize the needs of other kids
If this isn’t your first baby then you may be feeling stressed about finding a balance while caring for multiple children at once. This will definitely up the ante, but remember, you cared for your first kid by yourself at some point so you’re clearly capable of caring for this one as well. Depending on the age of your older kid or kids, their needs will vary. Having a playpen or baby carrier will be even more useful when you have other kids to tend to, since you’ll have a safe area for your newborn. You can help your older kids adjust to the new baby by offering them some new activities or toys to play with, encouraging them to be involved with household activities such as cleaning or caring for the new baby, and placing a stronger focus on them when the baby is napping.
- Planning little activities to look forward to can help break up the day even more. Although days with a newborn are often unpredictable, you can brainstorm a few activities such as going for a walk, folding laundry, or going for a drive that can be done between naps.
- It might sound impossible but you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Do what you have to do to feel good and find strategic ways to squeeze in self care, such as taking a shower while your baby naps.
- If you’re running out of activity ideas and don’t feel like leaving the house, singing to your baby is a great way to occupy your time and feel good. Play some of your favorite songs and jam out with your little one!
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a parent-approved playpen that is safe and comfortable for young babies to lay in.