Yesterday was my weekly Mommy Group. No time to blog; places to go, people to see! Tuesdays have quickly become my favorite, favorite day of the week (aside from the weekends when Benjamin is home all the time).
This week one of the moms suggested meeting for lunch prior to class. Benjamin and I have only been out to a restaurant once in the last 7 weeks, and that was a few nights ago with Benjamin’s parents and cousin. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it also wasn’t the most relaxing evening out. Owen was a little overstimulated by all the sights and sounds and family and had a tough time falling asleep, like I hoped he would do so I could enjoy a glass of wine and a steak Nonetheless, it was nice to get out of the house. Given that experience, I wasn’t sure how a lunch with 5 women and 5 babies in a small Mediterranean restaurant was going to go, but you never know if you don’t try! So I joined them. Turns out, it was lovely! I was the first to arrive. I grabbed us a table (tough to find a table with room enough for strollers and baby gear when moms get together!) and took the opportunity to feed Owen. In public. Without even my nursing cape (horror of horrors!). The place was so empty I didn’t think it was worth the trouble. Owen sat quietly in his car seat just long enough for me to gobble a delicious falafel sandwich, and then I held him so he didn’t cry. The other babies were just as well-behaved, and the moms and I had a great time sharing stories/questions/concerns, etc.
In class this week we talked about “playtime” (what to do with a newborn that is both fun and educational), day/night schedules, infant massage and vaccinations. Here are my key takeaways:
- Playtime. Although I was already doing a lot of these things without really knowing it, the instructor showed us some simple “games” we can play with our babies that will help them begin to develop fine/gross motor skills and language. At this point, the best thing I can do is just talk to Owen (and believe me, I do a LOT of that, especially with no one else here to talk to!). I use my face as our only real “toy”, and spend as much time as I can interacting with him when he is awake. That’s not to say I don’t put him down, but when he’s awake, I try to fill his time with “me time”. The teacher showed us how to use black and white flash cards to practice tracking from side to side so Owen learns how to turn his head to follow an image/object. She dangled brightly colored toys above his face and we watched in awe as his little hands begin to clasp and unclasp, moving in circles. Someday soon he’ll be able to (intentionally) reach out and grab that toy. She also encouraged us to spend time with our faces close to our babies making language sounds like “oooh”, “ahh”, etc. so that he can begin to copy us and vocalize as well. It is so unbelievable to watch him process and learn this early in life. Everything, from the table lamp to the carpet to the blinds on the window is new and interesting and engaging.
- Day/Night Schedules. As I’ve said before, I know I am very lucky to have a baby who is a naturally good sleeper and sticks to a relatively consistent schedule (much like his Mom!). That said, I feel the tides a’shifting. His schedule during the day is getting less and less predictable as he gets more and more interested in his surroundings. Although this learning time is wonderful, he doesn’t know how to turn his brain off when he needs to, and gets easily overstimulated and awake for too long. The teacher introduced an idea that I had head before (but always thought “well that doesn’t really work for my baby”): Eat – Play – Sleep. I think it comes from the Baby Whisperer book. The theory is that the ideal schedule for a baby is to eat, then play for a little while, then sleep. This way they do not associate eating with sleeping, so it helps sleep training down the line. Also, it allows them to play when they are happy and full, so they can learn as much as possible during that time. I sort of poo pooed this idea in the past because Owen preferred to go from one nursing session to another and either be awake or asleep the entire time… he didn’t switch back and forth between them very well. Until recently, he’s been a lot harder to put to sleep during the day; and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because he’s wide awake when I’m putting him down! So I’m going to give this idea a go, at least for the next week, and see if it improves daytime naps.
So that’s the new plan! Work on eat – play – sleep and do more educational playing.
And Owen is up from his first eat – play – sleep nap (shorter than in the past! boo!), so I gotta run. Baby’s callin’.