The day I discovered the bouncing baby activity center changed my rapidly unfolding life as a new mom. Eureka! I could put my daughter in the seat, she bounced and played with the buttons and toys happily, while I could take a shower or do the dishes. (Note: Your baby should have good head control and be able to sit up with assistance to use this – usually around 4 months). Also, don’t just put the activity center in front of the TV; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for babies less than two years old; and why would you need to?
The truth is, if your baby is happy and safely occupied, it helps you be happy, too. Imagine, you can take a shower, write that report, play with your older children or even kiss your spouse. Here are more hints and products that will help keep your baby blissful and you, as mom, at peace:
1. Boppy® Garden Patch Play Gym is a delightful play mat with suspended toys – including a light-up bumblebee – that can be used from birth. The soft Slideline® toy adjustment system lets the toys be placed in just the right spot for your baby, and also is high enough for you to crawl in beside your baby (that’s what I did the first time I saw this play gym!). Great for all –important for tummy time play, too. ($60, boppy.com)
2. I’ll admit, at times I felt like a human pacifier with my baby girls, which was fine. But you can also unlatch and get a little “me” time with help from a quality pacifier, like those from NUK. The NUK® Orthodontic Pacifiers have a unique nipple that fits a baby’s mouth like a mother’s nipple does during breastfeeding. The soft, rounded tip conforms to your baby’s upper palate and limits pressure against teeth and gums. The flat, angled bottom maximizes tongue movement, while the thinner neck helps reduce jaw pressure. And the heart-shaped shield creates room for the baby’s nose, so she can breathe easily. A soothed and calm baby is a happy baby and a happy mom!
3. One of the best ways to soothe your baby and give yourself a little space is a swing; many moms swear by swings for calming a crying, colicky baby, too. And you don’t have to spend a lot on bells and whistles; The Graco® Comfy Cove DLX Swing has three recline positions and 6 speeds, as well as a plug-in option so you can save on batteries. ($110, gracobaby.com)
4. For your sanity, take your friends up on their offers to watch your baby while you go to the gym, shopping or even to a movie (if your boobs can wait that long if you’re breastfeeding!). Make sure you pump some milk (the NUK® Double Electric Breast Pump does a fast, efficient job), or leave formula with instructions, then take your phone and go. You will be more relaxed and appreciative of the adult interaction (or quiet time!), and will also have the chance to actually miss your baby.
Now, do not take this getaway stuff to mean you shouldn’t spend lots of time with your baby. A happy baby is one whose mom gets down on the floor to play with her, who talks to her constantly (even when it feels a little silly) and holds her close most of the time. It might even feel strange to plan a break, a guilty pleasure here and there. But trust me, you deserve it.