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Am I Giving Baby Enough Attention?
Berkeley Parents Network >
Am I Giving Baby Enough Attention?
This might sound weird, but here goes. I keep reading that I should talk to and play
with and hold my child every chance I get. Well, I am a single mom, I am in graduate
school, but am going half-time and have it worked out that I only go to class once a
week and I take her with me. I study everytime she falls asleep. I also work about 8
hours a week from home. So about 3-4 days a week I dont think we even leave the
house. My baby is two months old now. I don't understand how I am supposed to
pay attention to her constantly, during her waking hours. She can't do much of
anything on her own yet and it gets old doing the same things over and over and
talking to her, and her googling back at me. I mean its great that she interacts
me and we love eachother, but seriously. Is it bull that anyone sits and talks to
plays with and holds their child every chance they get? I feel guilty not paying
attention to her. I feel like she gets bored. Please tell me what you did when you
child was an infant. Especially if you were a stay at home mom and especially if you
worked or studied from home. I have read on here that there is no way you can get
any work done from home with an infant. So this makes me feel bad. Like I must
not be paying enought attention to her if I can get work done. And sometimes I
want to chill out and watch a movie to unwind...if shes awake, am I a jerk for
ignoring her? I am just confused cause my baby is content not to cry? She has only
cried like 4 times since she left to hospital, though she does ''yell,'' as my mom
it, which will turn to crying if left ignored.
are we okay?
I worked at home as well when my baby was young. I paid a lot
of attention to him, but certainly did not hold him or talk to
him every minute - I would have gone insane! I incorporated
him in a lot of my daily activities by talking with him about
what I was doing. ''Mommy's going to talk on the phone now''
etc., which I'm sure would have sounded inane to an adult but
worked for us! I also put him in a bouncy seat or baby swing
while I worked sometimes. He liked to lay on the floor
surrounded by toys as well. Also, we took walks a lot and I
would talk to him then, about the trees, weather, etc. Again,
the neighbors probably thought me nuts but I got some exercise
and he got some stimulation. He's much older now and a very
happy, well-adjusted child who can entertain himself easily.
Sounds like you're doing fine!
I would say: enjoy these first few months when it is still
possible to be productive with your baby around. They don't last
long. Very young babies mainly need to sleep, eat, and poop.
Sounds like you have a lovely low-maintenance baby who is not
fussy once those basic needs are met. Enjoy! If you don't already
have one, get a gymini (always available used on the BPN
marketplace) so she can lie on her back and look at and reach for
the toys. As she gets older she will gradually let you know that
she needs/is ready for more interaction, and once she gets mobile
life as you know it is over! I will say something a little
controversial: I think the emphasis being placed on ''attachment
parenting'' is over-the-top and terrorizing parents into feeling
inadequate. I say this as someone who just had a baby last year.
Just do what comes naturally and you will give your baby what she
needs. She will be fine! Get as much done as you can right now
while you have the chance.
Babies need time to space out too. Sounds like you have a mellow
happy baby. Do watch a movie and have time to yourself; it's
important for your sanity. I recommend a reference book
called ''Baby Play'' put out by Gymboree. Each page shows an age-
appropriate activity. It briefly explains what babies need from
a developmental perspective. I was never fond of goo-goo ga-
ga'ing my baby and found the book helpful for feeling like I
was ''doing something''.
I totally know what you mean. My daughter was
definitely ''easy'' for the first 3-4 months. I thought I would
never need daycare because she was SO easy I could just work
while she watched her toys dangle in front of her! But for
her, between 4 months to 8 months, she needed CONSTANT
entertainment until she learned to crawl and entertain
herself. And what age your child will start to need more
entertainment will depend on her temperment. So, you're time
could be coming.
But to answer your question, when she would ''self entertain'',
which I consider anytime she was happy without me doing
something to keep her stimulated, I would get work done then
intermittently I would take her for walks, change our location
(work in the office, work in the dining room, etc) or run
Hands-free entertaining options: hang toys on a bar on a
vibrating seat; hang toys from a play mat; sit her in front of
a mirror; hang her in a door jumper (even if she can't jump yet
as long as her head is somewhat stable).
Maybe you just have an easy baby, too!
I am a PhD student and a stay at home mom with an one year old child. And I have
had the same feeling as you do, guilty not to spend more time taking constant care
of my child. And guess what? My baby is the most independant, mild, active and
good-mannered I have EVER met. Other parents usually get frustrated when they
see him, because theirs have taken the habit to constantly ask for something. My
son is very sociable and interested in people, but likes and knows how to play on his
own, feed by himself, etc. I don't think infants get bored as long as they have
something to play with, be it an adult or not. My boy loved the playmat with arches
and hanging toys, and was always precocious in his motor development. I was not
taking constant care of him, but when I was with him, I was ther completely, and
forgot all about my research! Just remember you're doing a great job. And the best
way for your child is your way...
peaceful mother and passionate student
I felt that way with my first baby! What do I DO with him? I think it's very natural,
especially if you never had little brothers or sisiters, or babysat. Suddenly you have
this tiny person who is entirely dependant on you, and they don't even read, or
I used to bathe him a lot. (once a day) because he liked it and it was something to
do. Take him for stroller rides (good excercise), Get a mobile, he can spend some
time under that. Other moms are good to hang out with, for so many reasons! If you
can't find a playgroup (try Bananas) go hang at the park and see if you can meet
And sometimes the baby is fine not interacting! Especially if she's not complaining!
I find it really hard to get much done at this age, but it gets better soon. Good luck!
One thing you can do is ''narrate'' your day. Children benefit
tremendously from the language learning that happens if you talk
to your child about everything that is going on around them.
So, explain everything--at home, at the grocery store. This
builds your child's understanding of the English language,
builds their vocabulary, and makes life more interesting.
Plus, go places that you want to go--take walks,stroll through
museums and shops. Narrate those experiences. Do what you like
to do and involve your child in that through talk.
It was definitely easier/less boring for me with the second
because there were ready-made conversations/activities that the
first was involved in.
Hang in there!
You are doing fine. When my son was 2 months old i just took
him eveyrwhere with me. I did not always talk to him or play
with him. He was entertained by whatever i was doing and the
fact we were together. Frankly i think that constantly
entertaining your baby means that he/she will nevrbe able to
First of all, you rock for doing this alone. The first few
months is extremely hard on any couple, much less on any
individual woman who already has her hands full with school.
Your child already has a head start with you as a mom.
Second of all, the whole thing about interacting with your
children is to make sure parents don't plop their kid in front
of baby einstein for 800 hours a day.
Being a parent can be insanely, mind-bogglingly boring.
Definitely read to her, talk to her, etc. But don't go nuts
trying to do a tap dance that will keep her constantly
entertained. If she'll watch a little Baby Einstein(no more than
half an hour a day), let her. If you can put her under the
little exercise mat and half play while you talk on the phone or
do study, do that. All of the experts say to give your baby
quiet time to just absorb and watch. You do not have to devote
all of your attention to a teeny child until they can endanger
themselves by sticking their tongue in an outlet while you check
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
I'm not a huge fan but the baby whisperer has an
acronym. ''EASY'' Eat, Activity, sleep, You. So you get your time
built right into the baby care equation. Our little one started
to love an 'activity' toy she batted at which hung over her
crib/cradle at about 2 1/2 mos. some babies like to look out
the window at light patterns in the leaves. You can also tie
your baby on and go out and have a pretty normal day until your
baby gets bigger and more active. browse in bookstores, walk in
the neighborhood, have lunch out. the baby and you get lots of
entertainment. museums too! your baby will tell you if she's
Yes, this is a difficult time to be alone with a baby, but you do
need to hold her a lot. Get a good sling (check Marketplace!)or a
bjorn and wear her around the house, put her in a swing for some
stimulation while you work. Get a friend to take her on a stroll.
Put some music on and dance around with her. Babies this age LOVE
to be carried around all day. Body contact will do both of you a
lot of good, you will respond with more oxytocin. Breastfeed her
a lot. Good luck.
You do not have to do something with your baby constantly. Even the books will tell
you that babies need time to figure stuff out on their own and chill out (well, they
probably don't say ''chill out.''). At two months, you can take 5 or 10 minutes at a
time to sing and play and stuff. You should give them one or two tummy time
sessions for a few minutes a day. I usesd to bring my son around the house in his
bouncy seat while I checked email, cooked, etc. As they can sit up more they can sit
in a high chair or something. I think it's good to give them time to look around. You
can watch a movie. Don't ignore the baby completely, but you don't have to sing and
entertain all the waking hours. check out baby center or touchpoints and other
parenting books and give yourself a break, because when you have two, you won't
get to ''ignore'' anybody!
Don't worry! I have a 5 month old, who is my second, and man! I
am not spending nearly as much time with him, just holding and
talking with him, as I did with my first. And, I don't feel bad
for it. It's just life. Your little one will be just fine! You
sound extremely busy as a single mom; what you are doing with
your life, even (or especially) your relaxing with a movie will
help her. Go easy on yourself.
Happy mom=happy baby
I felt the same way when my son was two months old....It is great
to spend time with them, get them out, talk to them, but at two
months there is a lot of chill time. I can't say we ever watched
a movie, but my husband worked a lot from home at that time, and
the little guy was pretty content to be a cat curled up in
daddy's lap while daddy plugged away at the computer. We both got
a decent amount of work done at home in those first few months.
I think that a lot of the advice you mention refers to older
babies. By 4 or 5 months, my son wasn't happy sitting around--we
had to be standing and walking. By 6 months, he was crawling, 7
months, he was learning to stand up by climbing up the walls (a
very dangerous stage)....You get the idea. I had a job working
from home--I quit. It was true. I could get nothing done. At 13
months, my son still demands most all of my attention; writing
this post had to wait until after he went to bed.
Babies are different. You know yours best. As long as the baby
isn't sleeping too much or not eating well (a baby that is too
quiet can have a thyroid problem), you're probably fine. If she
was bored, she would be crying. Enjoy the time she is giving you
now--it may not last!
I completely symphathize! I am also a grad student, and I also
used to wonder what to do with a baby. With both my babies, I
simply wore them in a sling almost all the time until around 6
months old (when they started getting restless and unwilling to
sit in the sling for too long). I found a really comfortable
sling called the ''stretchy wrap'' at www.mamankangourou.com.
Because it is so comfortable, I was able to wear my babies
while working at home - and even at school. This past summer,
I wore my youngest baby while making photocopies in the copy
room, getting stuff done at the media center, and even while
attending a talk - she was a mini-celebrity! She was so used
to hanging out in the sling that she simply sat there and
looked around at everyone and eventually fell asleep. Dr. Sears
claims that babywearing is great stimulation both mentally and
physically. I don't know how much stimulation my babies got
from me sitting at the computer most of the time, but they seem
to be developing well. My older one is now almost 3, and her
language skills exceed many older kids. The younger one is 11
months and has great motor skills (almost walking, feeding
herself most of the time). So I would recommend babywearing -
but the key is to find a comfortable sling! (I personally hate
the one that Dr Sears recommends - I need something that
distributes the weight on both shoulders.)
Don't stress out about it. I am in the same boat - I have a 5
year old and 2 month old twins, so there's no way either of the
babies is going to get as much attention as attachment
parenting advocates think a baby needs. (Frankly, my main
issue with attachment parenting is the guilt so many mothers
feel when they can't live up to expectations.) A two month old
is easily stimulated, so talking to and playing with your baby
every chance you get would be way too much for them anyway.
It's ok to let your baby lay there on a blanket, looking around
and exploring w/ her eyes and ears. My twins love watching me
fold clothes. Sometimes I just have to set them down and do
something else or I will go crazy, and what kind of mother
would I be to them then? You have to find a balance of giving
your baby plenty of touch and interaction, but also staying
One thing you could do is wear your baby in a baby carrier (I
love the Ergo carrier) while you study or do something else.
She'll be on you, getting to smell you and feeling secure. You
don't have to talk to her constantly or interact. I take a
break and have some one on one time w/ my twins by laying one
on my chest while I read a book.
Some new moms want nothing else than to hold and coo at their
new babies. Other moms get bored out of their minds. This does
not prove that one type of mom loves her baby any more or any
less than another type of mom. We just have different interests
or tolerances for infants. The great thing about infants is
that everything is new and stimulating for them. Nevertheless,
it's still important that they get attention from their parent
(s). When you have things you have to or want to do, you can
easily include your baby. I was in a clinical training program
when I had my first baby. I carried her in a baby-carrier
(Sling or Baby-bjorn) where-ever I went and read out loud my
academic material. This way, she was near my body and heart
(literally & figuratively), she heard my voice, could see my
face, and watch whatever I was doing from her safe, cozy,
contained spot. If she didn't want to be held in that way, I
could put her on my lap or on the floor, for her variety as
well as mine.
As you experiment, you'll find what works for the two of you.
You are lucky you are blessed with such an easy baby. Your baby,
at this age, is thrilled and engaged when you do ANYTHING with
her. To answer your questions directly - the best thing you can
do is talk to her. I am also a grad student and also do a lot of
my paid work at home. When my son was that age, he is now 20
months, I would do a lot of my regular business but engage him in
it while he was sitting in a swing, laying on the ground, or I
would pull him around from room to room on pillows and blankets
in a laundry basket! I would sit in front of him and pay bills,
narrating the whole thing. ''This one is for the water. Do you
know what water is used for?...Now I am pulling out my pen...''
I would clean house, pull him in the laundry basket from room to
room, talking to him the whole time, telling him what I was
doing. I read outloud to him from books I was reading for
school. During all of these things, I would make eye contact
whenever possible. He loved it all. When they are this small,
babies are really content to be integrated into your normal life.
All you have to do, in my experience, is let her know that you
are doing that! Talk to her a lot. She doesn't care what it's
about - you dont need to talk to her about teddy bears and
breatsmilk. Talk to her about what you are studying. Talk to
her about what you have planned for the day. My son has always
been a big talker, ever since he started to talk. I think this
is about the fact that he has always been talked to so much.
Just my thoughts.
You are OK! You are not doing anything wrong by being able to get things done with
a 2 month old. When she gets older she will demand more attention but right now
she is sleeping a lot, eating a lot, and just chilling out. The world, even just inside
your house, is plenty stimulating for her. Remember, it's all new to her! Whatever
you do, don't put her in front of the TV. For the next year she can be entertained
just by looking, touching and exploring things. It sounds like you have your hands
full and are holding it together beautifully. Don't feel like you need to be talking to
her every second. It's nice to hold her rather than put her down all the time, and
when she's a little bigger it's nicer to have her on a blanket where she can try to roll
over rather than in a bouncy seat or car seat or swing all the time. But the swing can
break it up a little bit. If you are nursing or even just holding her everytime she has
a bottle, she is getting plenty of cuddle. There are some people who will say your
baby should always be actually attached to you but I definitely felt that 9 months on
the inside was enough of that! I nursed a million times a day but I did not hold her
when she was happy on her own. It is true that babies are used to being all cozy
with their mommies but on the other hand they are also used to being alone! Also,
my baby liked listening to the radio and looking at mobiles.
take it easy!
Oh but yes you can watch a movie! What I would do is put the baby in the bouncy
chair facing me, so she could watch me watch the movie.
If you can't think of what to say to your baby, just show her around the house and
point things out, tell her what you are doing when you're in the kitchen or whatever.
take it easy!
You are lucky to have a peaceful baby- as mine is also. This
must be your first child. You need to talk to and play with your
baby often.This is how babies learn.Cuddle and nurture your
baby.There's no need to feel guilty for taking a moment for
yourself when the baby's sleeping (we all do it)- just make sure
the baby's needs are met.They get more interesting as the months
Truth be told, there's not too much you can do with a 2 month old, because they
don't do much. And if you have a low-maintenance baby (as I did) who doesn't cry
much, then just relax and be grateful. I did a lot of work from home by dragging
my infant around in a sling, or setting him on a pillow on my lap and letting him
sleep. Or, putting him on a blanket on the floor beside me and letting him roll
around. If you think she's bored, put one or two big, brightly colored toys beside
her. We got one of those ''Tiny Love'' gym things (blanket with a couple of arches
and some mobile figures attached), and our boy spent many happy hours trying and
trying to grab ''the pentapus'' (a 5-legged octopus thing). He's in school now, and a
plenty happy, smart boy -- and no, I didn't spend anything like all my free time
playing with him. Still don't.
She'll get more interesting in a month or two, and no one, absolutely no one,
spends all their time staring at and playing with a baby. More important is that you
get the work done that you need to, to be able to support your child eventually.
And more important yet is that you do what you have to do to be happy. Miserable
mothers do not usually have happy kids.
I don't think anyone constantly plays with and googles at a baby.
If you think about people in other parts of the world, they need
to get stuff done, or they don't survive. What they do is wear
their baby (Baby Bjorn not required). Try www.mamatoto.org for
some creative, low-cost ideas for baby-wearing, and you can
likely wear your baby on your chest while you get other things
done. Also, as they get older, you can put them down for a bit,
but I think a 2 month old needs almost constant contact with
mommy so I would try to wear her as much as possible. You don't
have to necessarily interact with her, at least not actively,
because she is taking in everything that you are doing as she
sits on your chest and is totally comforted by your presence.
The main piece of advice I give new moms is: cut yourself some slack and enjoy the
fact that babies' needs are so simple and they can't understand grown up talk. You
do not need to ''entertain'' or ''stimulate'' your baby. You can watch t.v. and movies in
front of them and they won't be affected by the content. If she is bored she will let
you know. Babies can look at a pattern on the wall or a plant and study it like a
Derrida text. Sometimes a complicated pattern of shadows is too much and they
have to turn away like they've been studying physics for 5 hours straight. All the
stimulation they need is in an ordinary home or on an ordinary walk down the
street. Also different babies like/need different things. Some like to be held all the
time, others like to be left alone with something interesting to look at, listen to, or
hold. It sounds like your baby is letting you know what she wants. If your baby lets
you get work done, congratulations! You have an easy baby. So don't feel bad. Enjoy
your good fortune. You are doing a fine job!
--miss being able to watch t.v. while holding the baby
I think what you are doing with your baby is just right. At 2
months old, there isn't a lot she can do back at you. Some say
the first 3 months is like the 4th trimester, so snuggle her
close! Get a sling and at least have her snuggled up to you
while you work. Take advantage of the fact that you can get work
done now, because soon you won't be able to do as much when she
can do more. Put her in a bouncy seat next to where you are
working, so you can check each other out with eye contact often.
Get one that has a toy bar, play music for her on the radio,
etc. Perhaps the stories you have read about babies that don't
let their parents get anything done are older, more active (and
interactive) babes or are colicky. My baby was mellow and easy
going, too, and I got loads done when she was awake. It is now
that she is more interactive and demanding that I struggle with
Hi - You're not a jerk. I had the exact same question with my
first. I took seriously my responsibility to do everything and
interact with my kid .... here's the thing I learned. Both you
and your child need breaks from each other. Your baby needs
time to just ''be'' and so do you. You in particular because
you've got to recharge your batteries so you're the best you can
be when you are interacting. I also recommend you come up with
a list of things to do with Baby not all of which involve your
constant interaction ... for example, placing the baby on a
gymmat and letting them look at the playthings. Have items in
different areas of your home that you use. I refer to them as
stations and when you're interacting with the baby teh stations
can help you organize your time.
Hang in there ....
I was in school and the primary care giver for my son when he was
an infant, just taking one class like you. Everyone was amazed
that I could get any work done, but I would let him play by
himself for a half hour at a time, especially once he could sit
up. I wasn't in school the first two months though, since
thankfully he was born in July. Anyhow, he is a very well
adjusted, perfectly happy little guy, still able to play by
himself. I think it is a valuable skill for babies to not always
expect 100 percent external stimulation. They are adaptable.
But just be aware that 5 years from now, you might have a more
independant child than you would have had otherwise, if you let
her play on her own for periods of time every day. My son is
very good at letting me know (now that he is 18months) when he
actually needs my attention, and then I give him all the hugs and
kisses he can stand. Everyone says how well behaved he is, and I
think the alone time is part of that.
Well, I don't interact with my 4-month-old whenever he's awake,
no way! But here are some ideas. The attachment parenting
people recommend ''wearing'' the baby as much as possible. To
whatever extent your body can take it, put the baby in a sling or
carrier and go about your business. Your baby feels close to you
and secure, and gets the stimulation of looking at whatever is
going on. (If you're studying, the baby may not be sufficiently
entertained or jiggled, however.) ALso, when I need to cook or
my back is sore, I put the baby in a bouncy seat right near where
I am and give him periodic attention while doing my other activities.
Let her look at other things than the ceiling. I taped
pictures of people from magazines next to the diaper changing
table and made a mobile of Target advertising (circles, strong
graphics, smiling children). Until the kid could roll over,
that changing table was his heaven, staring at the pictures.
Your child will develop relatively soon, so these quiet,
immobile (boring) days of her face and eyes being a blank
slate, staring seemingly aimlessly, will end. No one ever
seems to admit that: babies that age are indeed boring.
Parents forget the boring stage usually because they are so
tired, and is so short anyway. Another month or two, and
she'll be too active for you to do anything but listen,
interact, observe, chase, change, feed, reposition, etc. When
it's appropriate, start tummy time, use a play mat/gymini/toy
hanging doo-dad that she can stare at or kick at, and her
googly-eyed staring off into space days are done. As long as
she's not so passive she's a concern to the pediatrician, enjoy
studying and working and being a mom.
boredeom only lasts so long
It sounds like you have a calmer-than-average baby.
Congratulations! You CAN watch a movie and not be interrupted a
million times by your baby's needs. :-) Many babies are more
demanding, and it's their mothers who generally complain they
can't get anything done. Both are perfectly normal.
I have two kids. One has always been much more attention-
seeking than the other. With both, when they were babies, I
worked while also caring for them full time, but was able to
keep it up much longer with my daughter than with my son,
because she was much happier playing more or less on her own
than he was. There did come a time that I felt they needed more
attention, and more outdoor play, than I could give them while
working, but that time was at 5-6 months old for my son, and at
13-15 months for my daughter.
(The personality difference, by the way, is still evident now
that they are 6 and 2, but the fact that I didn't spend every
waking minute playing with them when they were 3-month-olds
doesn't seem to have harmed either of them any.)
If your baby likes to contemplate her own fingers and is
perfectly content by herself in a bouncy seat for half an hour
or more, you're not doing her any harm by more or less ignoring
her. Just be sure you respond when she tries to engage you,
whether by crying or just by gurgling or waving at you, and that
in fact she does eat and sleep enough!
You may also want to try wearing her in a sling or other baby
carrier. That way, you can just go about your business and she
gets lots of social interaction opportunities (because she's
closer to adult face level, rather than at feet or knees as she
would be in a bouncer or stroller) and exposure to lots of
different things (books, food preparation, etc.) that she
wouldn't otherwise have a good view of, and a developmentally
advantageous physical ''workout'' (learning to balance while you
move). It's the most ''educational'' way for a young baby to
(However, I'd say if you're watching TV or at the computer, your
baby is probably better off hanging out somewhere other than in
front of the screen.)
Hehe. Yours is the cutest post ever. ''Every chance you get'' is
meant more for the mom who is so busy, she hardly has time for
No, you're not a jerk for having mommy time. You're figuring out
your personal balance, and absolutely, you need some time just
for yourself, or just for grownups. In general, if you can put
her in a sling on your body and go about your day, that's a good
thing. She'll feel safe and cozy with mommy. Then talk and play
with her some of the time; and layher on a blanket on the floor
some of the time, within your sight, while you relax.
I have two month old twins. My feeling is, as long as the kids
aren't crying and don't look unhappy, they're okay. Both kids
like sitting in a vibrating chair or swing. They like hearing my
voice, but it doesn't really matter what I'm talking about -- you
could just talk out loud about what you're studying. I think the
kids spend a lot of time learning from looking around. And I
don't think you need to be constantly interacting with them. One
thing our kids absolutely love: we have a mobile with plastic
cards with simple drawings in black, white, red, and some other
colors on them. We got it at Mr. Mopps for $20. We hang the cards
from their bouncy chair and swing, and they love staring at them.
If your child is easy-tempered enough that you can get other
things done while caring for her, I think you should just count
yourself lucky and go on doing as you've been doing.
It’s been a few days since your post, but I couldn’t stop
thinking about it and had to reply, as someone who has been
through 2 newborns, had a lot of the same emotions you are
having. Here’s what I have learned:
1. 2-month-old babies are boring. They want to have their
eating/sleeping/diaper needs met, and cuddle/social time is
bonus. They don’t really “play” in the usual sense, and tire
quickly, as you said.
2. If your baby is not crying, she’s FINE!
3. Stop reading so many books. :) Your parenting instincts are
already guiding you better, I can tell.
4. Be sure at least some of your ''chill out'' time is spent with
OTHER PEOPLE you love (with or without your baby). Helps ward
off the blues and the guilt.
5. The guilt comes from the blues.
6. Likewise, get out of the house EVERY DAY, even on your non-
school days, even for just a few minutes.
7. This is the time in your baby’s life when you can (almost)
live your own life and take her along with you, because she’s
still so portable. So put her in her stroller, and do the
things you want to do – go shopping, run errands, visit
friends, get your hair cut. Don’t worry about needing to
do “baby activities” – there will be plenty of time for that.
When you want to watch a movie at home, just prop her next to
you on the couch, and WATCH!
Don’t worry- you’re doing great.
I am a new mom and my two week old has two stretches lasting 1-
2 hours of being wide awake. She seems too young to play with
and none of the bright rattles or stuffed animals seem to
interest her. Ultimately she seems to want to suck on
something but I am very weary of offering her a pacifier
because I used it once and she just cried when if fell out of
her mouth. I end up spending much of the time nursing her and
rocking her to sleep. This will prove to be very difficult
when I have to get ready for work or if someone else is
watching her. Any suggestions?
I'm sure you'll get a whole menu of options, just like I did when I faced the same
challenge. But I have to say that I wonder if we wouldn't have been better off
providing LESS entertainment. I know that sounds funny, but it's sort of a setup for
the future: I found myself having to ''wean'' my son from relying on me to make
things fun. In my fantasies, if I could do it again, I'd let him lie on the floor a
more, maybe with a few scattered objects around him, and wait. I realize that's
fantasy, and that you're in the hardcore reality of needing to cook dinner. But to the
extent you can, I encourage you to experiment with letting your baby work through
boredom and frustration...in little doses, and then in growing doses.
Newborns are just absorbing the world--looking and listening mostly. I used to
put mine in a baby bjorn and just go about my day--he hung out there
happily, looking around to see what was going on. You can also try putting him
under a mobile--that would keep mine happy for at least 20 minutes, long
enough to brush my teeth and get dressed. If your mobile doesn't have a
motor, you can (if you're closely supervising him) attatch it to his leg with a
string, and he can make it move by kicking. With a one-year-old now, I look
back fondly on those times of just having him close, relatively immobile, and
being able to get some of my own things done at the same time! Enjoy it while
you can! : )
Put her in a sling or other carrier and go about your usual
business! She may fall asleep, especially if you nurse her
and/or do a lot of walking, but even if she stays awake, just
being close to you and observing the world is plenty of
stimulation for a young baby. (My own 3-month-old is sitting in
my lap, in a sling, as I write this. She's been asleep for
several hours and is now ready to be awake for a while. She's
completely content to watch my hands on the keyboard and the
trees moving in the wind outside the window for at least a
little while, and when she gets tired of that I'll shift her
position in the sling and nurse her or go for a little walk.)
Anyone can do this -- dads and nannies often find that
babywearing helps them even more than it does moms -- and it
will allow you to fix breakfast and other mundane tasks even
while you rock and/or nurse your baby. There are lots of
different types and brands of slings, wraps, frontpacks and so
on, so it isn't hard to find at least one that is comfortable
for both you and your baby. And don't worry -- the need to suck
does eventually go away!
I think two weeks is WAY too young to be thinking about
training your baby for your return to work. She is hardly out
of the womb, and needs to be treated as though she is still
there. Hold her, nurse her, talk to her, read or sing to her,
give her a little massage, take her for a walk outside... Just
relax and enjoy her and do whatever it takes to make her happy
When baby's are two weeks (or three weeks or even six weeks
old) they really won't give you much feedback other than crying
and really aren't into much other than sleeping, pooping,
eating and sucking. Nursing, rocking, walking, popping in
pacifiers are pretty much what you do as a new Mom during this
time period. It can be frustrating.
Keep at it with the pacifier if you don't want to constantly
have your child at the breast. It will pop out. You will put
it back. It will pop out. You will put it back. At some
point your child may get over the sucking issue or your child
will find her thumb (the thumb can take a few months to find).
Try bouncy chairs or swings. Some infants find these soothing
for periods of time. Also, try a sling or a baby bjorn -- this
way the baby can cuddle next to you while you get things done.
Don't worry, in a month or so, your child will be completely
obsessed with her playmat. She will play for an hour or more
at a time. And then you'll look over because it has suddenly
gotten quiet and you'll find your baby conked out. The newborn
frustrations will seem like ages ago.
Don't use a pacifier all the time (you want her to learn not to
need to suck all the time)...but do use it when you need peace.
And if you use it alot now...just try to wean her from constant
use by 6 months...after that it is hard to wean her from it.
Carry her alot. Carry her around in a sling or baby bjorn when
she is a little older. Get a bouncy chair...the chair says not
for use with such young infants but I found it works fine. Just
be near and watchful. (Don't put it up on a table though...my
neighbor's child fell off the table in a bouncy chair.) Put your
baby in the chair where she can see you. I found my daughter
loved being outside in the chair...so much to look at. I used it
in the bathroom when I took showers, in the kitchen when I
cooked. My daughters loved the vibrating of the chair when they
were fussy...it often put them to sleep.
Give her some time laying on the floor with you sitting near her
and talking to her. Give her some tummy time too while she is awake.
The first few months are difficult...you need to carry them
around a lot, but don't worry...they are constantly changing and
they will grow out of this. The more you carry her now...the
more secure she will be later and the more comfortable she will
be to explore her environment alone. Soon she will like laying
on the floor and reaching for toys.
Don't worry. Unless you are starting work very soon, chances are
she *will* want to play by the time you go back to work. You also
might consider getting a wind-up or battery-powered swing, which
soothes some babies (it works for ours).
When my daughter was that age a few months ago we experienced the
same thing. We found that she responded right away to black, red, and
white visuals (toys or images) that had bold patterning. We were
amazed that she could ''play'' at two weeks old! Tiny Love has some
great toys that we used a lot for her jus tto look at as we moved them
around and she still likes them at 3 months. Also, regarding the sucking,
many people don't know (we didn't) that all babies really need to
exhaust their sucking reflex this means being able to suck on something
quite a lot other than nursing. We found our daughter would need to
suck on our index fingers for up to 5 or 6 minutes at a time in order to
soothe her need. This is really normal. Pacifiers didn't work for us either
but the finger does! Try taking your baby around the house and
showing her different things - this works well. Even going outside for
some leaf or tree looking was helpful. Get creative - it is amazing how
they respond. Music is always good for us too but by far the best thing
we did was hold and carry her. We had her in a sling or baby bjorn
much of the time and she loved it. Good luck!
It's tremendously difficult to transition from being pregnant
to having a baby. The infants amount of dependency, constant
need for care and attention, and your lack of sleep can make it
extremely stressful. Having emotional and tangible support is
crucial to support you and help ease you into this fulltime,
lifetime responsibility. The new mother needs mothering in
order to mother her new baby. Right now, your baby needs you
and you still need to have a life so you have something left to
For the time being, you can carry your baby around in a sling
or baby-bjorn type carrier as you go about your business. This
keeps the baby ''entertained'' and close and warm.
I wonder how much experience you've had with infants prior to
having your own? What were your fantasies of what it would be
like? What are your fears or concerns about the baby's needs?
How does your need to prepare to go back to work impact your
ability to be available and attach with your baby? I wonder if
you feel irritable or short tempered with your baby's
dependency? Could you be having a post-partum depression?
I am a psychotherapist who specializes in post-partum
adjustment including depression and anxiety, and balancing work
& family life. I'd be happy to talk with you and help you
through this signifant life transition. Please feel free to
I wish you well.
I spend a good portion of my day entertaining my 4-month-old,
and while I have invented quite a few games which he enjoys, I
am starting to get bored. He tends to get overstimulated
quickly by toys and books, but he can spend a long time playing
face-to-face verbal and movement games. I am hoping you can
share you and your baby's favorites with me, to give me some
more ideas of things to try, so that mom can have as much fun as
You're right that babies love face to face contact. You can
also prop the baby up on some rolled towels or blankets and put
some toys in front for him to look at and practice reaching for
and touching. Lots of different textures and colors or toys
with faces on it are good. Gynboree Play and Music also has
infant classes. You can find out more about them by logging
onto www.gymboree.com. Hope that helps.
Maybe you should give yourself a break, and let the little tyke
just be. He may be content to stare out the window, or watch
you wash dishes, or play with toys that attach to a bouncy
seat. At four months, I presume he's not sitting yet, in which
case the Gymini-type! play mats with dangly things are perfect--
lay him on the mat, let him paw at the things that dangle, and
you can relax or do something nearby. I carried my daughter a
lot at your son's age; I'd create errands to run, to occupy our
time--she didn't need to be entertained in the car (we also
have a mirror in the backseat she can look into), and once we
arrived at our destination, I would carry her in the Bjorn.
She loved being carried in the Bjorn (still does at 11 mos).
Lastly, you may be interested in the book, ''Baby Play'' by
Gymboree, which suggests interactive games for babies from
birth to 1 year. Best wishes.
OK, here's my advice: put your child DOWN and don't stimulate
them all of the time! I have heard from many many people that
they are frustrated with their children. ''They're so clingey!
I have to be there all the time! They won't play by
themselves! They require constant stimulation!''
Realize that boredom in childhood is a boon! It's a growing
thing, it's during boredom that the baby has downtime, can
ruminate, can just ... stare at stuff and learn to be content,
to comfort themselves a bit and to entertain themselves.
You should NOT be working so hard to ''entertain'' your child
that you end up calling yourself a one mommy show.
Take it from someone who's heard a lot of moms lamenting their
choices: don't overstim your kid.
Not sure if that helps, but your post made me think of it.
BTW, at 6 months, my son would happily lie on a fur rug with
some toys in my office for 1/2 hour plus. I'd come by
sometimes, but he was quite happy on his own for a while.
Hey, let's face it, at 4 months of age, you ARE the show,
Mommy! At 4 months of age, there's not a whole lot
physically that a baby can do, and we as humans are wired
to respond to other human's faces and features. Your baby
wants to be with YOU and play with YOU! I know that is
impossible, even boring for you at times, perhaps, so try to
intersperse your play time with some time in the sling or
Baby Bjorn while you get a few things done around the
house. This can be a tough age until baby gets more mobile
and can entertain herself with toys -- she's pretty young for
that yet. Meanwhile, try some tummy play -- both of you on
your tummies playing peek-a-boo or singing a song! (this is
when i do some of my trunk strengthening exercises so at
least I get some smiles and strong abs out of the deal!).
Tummy play is very important for developing your babies
trunk strength too, so you both win! I am a pediatric physical
therapist and trust me, we all need more tummy playtime for
stronger tummies and backs! Good luck -- when I get bored,
I remember that this is a very brief time in life and it will be
gone befoe we know it. That always keeps me interested.
Two books which I've found to be great resources during my son's
first year are ''WonderPlay'' (Reitzes & Teitelman) and ''Baby
Games'' (Martin), both of which offer tons of ideas for games and
activities with your child at different stages of development.
Some of my son's favorite things around 4-6 months, in case you
haven't already tried these, were: dancing (in my arms or lying
on the floor while I moved his legs) to music, The Mighty Duke
of York (some people know this as Captain Brown, I think), Patty-
Cake (with me doing all the work), This Little Piggy, and lying
on my knees for airplane rides while I lay on my back (a good ab
workout, too!). He also really enjoyed mirrors and books with
different textures to explore - we had a great one by Lamaze
with animal faces where the elephant ears are leathery, the
tiger's tongue is suede, etc - it's designed for older kids, but
he loved it early on, maybe because of the faces. Have fun!
my baby loved to be ''parked'' under a tree at the park, she would
spend a long time making noises to the moving leaves and smiling. Her
other favourite 4 month old ! activity was to watch her little older
friends playing from her boucy chair.
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