Monday, 20 May 2013

What do I do with it when awake??

I remember when baby no 1 started to stay awake a little more and more during the day time.  I had no bloody idea what to do with him!  How can you entertain a child who doesn't understand you, doesn't particuarly respond and can't do, hold or say anything??! ... What classes as 'entertainment' to them??  This may be quite obvious to you natural mums out there who can't understand this even being an issue - but believe me, for those of us who aren't maybe the most naturally 'in tune' with babies, what the fuck do we do with them??

I have to say, that even though I'd experienced and become more of a 'natural mum' by the time I had my second, I still was a little at a loss with no 2 - don't get me wrong, I love my gorgeous babies, I just think so practically about everything that some things can be over thought (a friend has tagged this as 'OT'ing something' - over thinking it).  Oh yes, I totally OT everything!

So, for those in a similar position here are my suggestions - up until around 3 weeks they really don't do much so something as simple as changing a nappy can suffice.  And a baby bouncy chair can also be a good stop gap between sleeps (but without meaning to sound preachy - just be careful it has a head support/sits quite far back as their heads a v floppy still).  So what to do with a 3 week old??  Well, I found that a play mat/baby gym did nothing yet so you could walk round singing a few songs (with my first I hadn't got back into the whole nursery rhyme thing yet and didn't know many, so just sang football songs to him! - Admittedly not the best language but fortunately he hasn't been damaged by any of this, e.g. my old man said be an arsenal fan, I said **** *** ******** you're a *** - I'd like to think it's more about the sound that the words!)

Changing their clothes or holding a book in front of them is also a good one at this age (preferably one of those black and white picture ones - they can vaguely see the shapes in those).

Finally at around 7/8 weeks they can start to hold things so maybe soft rattles or material books are good options here.  And also the babygym starts to come into it's own.  From now on have tended to start a circuit for mine - as attention spans can be quite limiting, maybe 10 mins on the mat, 10 mins in the bouncy chair, 10 mins on my lap with a toy etc etc - having that control and knowing a litle of what I'm doing really helped me anyways ... It's also nice that they still go to sleep when you travel somewhere - so you could have awake time at home for half an hour after a bottle and then get them packed up in the car seat to then go and do some jobs out and about whilst they sleep.  Means they've had their proper awake time.

As they get a litlte bigger (around 18 weeks) their necks are stronger and you can think about a door bouncer or one of those baby einstein things - just so their toes touch the floor (they shouldn't put proper weight on their legs yet).  So this can take up another 10 minutes of awake time - honestly, all these little circuit stops really helped me - I had a right panic recently when I was going away for a few days and we couldn't fit the circuit training equipment in the car.  Obviously I realised that I was mental and didn't need everything with us for those days (after the event) but it didn't occur to me before we went ... you'd have thought I'd have learnt second time round - but I made sure I had enough other small toys and books to keep no 2 amused and all was okay!  Phew!

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