I don’t know how many of these I’ll do – I guess its a new series I’ll be doing for the next little while (#TFANM!) – but as Penny gets older, and I become more and more confident with being her mom, there are always new things I’m learning that I want to share with everyone!
When Penny was a newborn, she could nap anywhere! In the living room in complete brightness, while I was wearing her unloading the dishwasher – nothing could keep her awake. Now as she’s getting older, she’s realizing that the experiencing the world is WAY more exciting than napping. I noticed that we were having a really hard time with naps – she wouldn’t settle down in her room and didn’t want to sleep which leads to a very overtired (and cranky) little babe. After doing a lot of research, I realized something: now that her days and nights aren’t mixed up anymore, she knows that light = awake, dark = night. And her bedroom was actually really bright – we only had blinds, no curtains. So I hopped online and purchased blackout curtains (these pink ones from Bouclair) and Pete hung them up. I have noticed a HUGE improvement in the darkness of her room – they eliminate all the daylight!! Her naps are still a bit of a struggle (around this time, a lot of babies have this issue of not having long naps), but it takes a lot less time to wind her down for naps since her room is so dark. Highly recommend getting blackout curtains for babe’s room!
PLAY, PLAY, PLAY
Penny’s getting older and more active, and needs more stimulation. She used to be okay laying on her play mat, looking at the animals and lights for a LONG time. Now that she’s getting older and her brain development is really increasing, she doesn’t love to be in one place too long – so we’ve learned to switch it up! It helps keep her entertained (and happy), it helps keep her brain working hard AND it helps tire her out – so many toys, not enough time in the day! We switch between her play mat (back and tummy time), her Finding Nemo activity centre, her Jolly Jumper, going for walks and hanging out with us on the couch practicing sitting and standing and making funny faces with us.
NIGHT & NAP ROUTINES
Keeping a consistent nighttime and nap routines are key in helping Penelope learn to wind down for sleepy time. We started with a nighttime routine which she seems to really love! Bath, fresh diaper & PJ’s, nighttime lotion, bottle, book & bed – every night, no matter how the day went. Our nap routine is similar to her nighttime routine, just a LOT shorter: fresh diaper, book & bed. We try and stretch out each routine a bit (bedtime takes ~45mins, nap time is ~10mins) so it’s more enjoyable and less rushed – I want her to have ample wind down time. No one wants to be in the middle of doing something and get told “GO TO SLEEP” – everyone needs time to wind down.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Do you know how easy it is to spend a week inside and not even realize it? For me, it was VERY easy. You fall into a pattern of feeding, changing and playing with the baby, and when they’re napping you try and get as much housework done as humanly possible (or have a nap yourself, I did that a LOT). I was feeling so incredibly lousy one day and realized I hadn’t left the house in FIVE DAYS. Like didn’t even go outside for a breath of fresh air. And do you know how awful that made me feel? VERY awful. Once the weather started to improve, Pete and I made a promise that we would get out and go for walks as often as we can – now we aim for walks once a day! It honestly makes me feel like a brand new woman. It’s amazing what an hour or two of fresh air can do for you! If you can’t do walks, honestly even getting into the car and going to grab a coffee makes a difference. It’s a change of scenery and some fresh air – you will THANK ME for this seemingly obvious advice.
“Penny is pretty fussy today and doesn’t really want to be left alone – but I need to get stuff done…” BAM enter the baby carrier!!! Potentially one of the greatest inventions ever. We have 2 – the Ergobaby 360 and the Wildbird ‘Elapaio Double. We first bought the Ergobaby and I actually won the Wildbird in an Instagram giveaway and my verdict is in: I am OBSESSED with the Wildbird. They are expensive ($114 US), but honestly, SO much easier to put on than the Ergobaby and Penny just looks so much comfier. The fabric is super thick so it will support her when she’s bigger, and it’s just perfection. I actually might buy another one – I’m THAT obsessed. Any baby carrier works for helping you get stuff done around the house, or if you know you’ll be walking around for a while and want to skip the stroller. It’s the perfect combo of being handsfree but also being able to soak up baby snuggles!!
Chores can really start to pile up in a house when you have a baby – even in just one day, let alone a week or month. And time has this new magic ability where it just seems to disappear. One minute, it’s Monday and the next minute it’s Sunday night and you’re wondering where your week went and how did the house become such a mess!! To combat this, we’ve recently started implementing “chore hour”. Once Penelope goes to bed (which is around 7p), we spend the next hour doing chores. Could be things like tidying up her toys, doing a load of laundry, loading/emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage and recycling, wipe down the counters etc. It honestly makes a HUGE difference. Because now, instead of waiting until the house is a disaster and it you feel like you can never catch up, we are able to stay on top of things better and even better – wake up to a tidy house which is a big YES PLEASE in our house!
YOU DO YOU
I will be the first to admit that I look up EVERYTHING – I seriously googled “do babies need to wear socks” once. I look up anything from why is she eating so much in a day, to why babies drool so much, to what the reasoning could be for her change in mood. Why? I am guilty of constantly looking for a solution – something I didn’t realize about myself before I had Penelope. Anytime something comes up with her (good day, bad day), I research it. I read articles on blogs and medical sites, moms talking about their babies in forums, and Facebook groups I’m apart of. I am always in search of a solution to any problem we’re currently faced with. Bad sleep, short naps, ate a lot more than normal and fussier than yesterday and I am instantly wondering why did it happen, did it happen to any other moms, do any baby experts have explanations, and how do I fix it?? I have started to try and just do me – go with my gut. I’m Penny’s mom, NO ONE knows her better than I do – so why do I think Regina Phalange in the Facebook group would have the answer to my problem? Not that research is a bad thing, or looking to other mom’s for guidance is the worst thing ever, but I want to try and let my instincts guide me day to day. I know this basically contradicts this series of blog posts, but just take every opinion and blog post with a grain of salt and remember – no one knows your babe like you do, so go with your mom instincts!!