You all knew the odd mummy post would crop up from time to time as I learn and experience new things. For this post I wanted to share some ideas of getting back to normal and getting out and about as a new mum. I think it’s very important to still be you, get out and have a change of scenery, get some fresh air, enjoy the sun, enjoy the company of other adults and enjoy the time with your baby too. I think a lot of mums get a lot of stick for all kinds of silly things. If you want some time to yourself that's wrong, if you go out with the baby a lot that's wrong, if you stay home, that's wrong...you can't win! For me a balance is key. You re a mum now and things have changed. You need to keep a baby stimulated and happy every single day, you also need time for yourself too.
I have listed 13 things that work for me and hope they may work for others too!
- I had to put this at the top of the list as for me it’s been a real game changer. As you will notice from my recent cosplay posts I am a film buff. I love movies and hitting the cinema is favourite past time of mine. The last time I went to the cinema I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens which feels like forever ago now. I went less and less in pregnancy too due to being the size of a house and needing to pee every 10 seconds! Recently I had a real breakthrough. I went to baby cinema! That’s right, BABY cinema. I went to my local Odeon and on a Tuesday morning at 11.15am they do a baby viewing of a normal new release film with slightly reduced sound and a bit of lighting so you can see to feed baby. I thought I would try it out and saw the new Snow White and the Huntsman – The Huntsman: Winters War. I arrived early, had enough time to book tickets and go and change Leif. They offer free tea, coffee and biscuits or you can go and purchase any drinks etc. I went to my showing and I was the only person there! For £8.50 myself and Leif had a whole cinema screen to ourselves. He was interested in all the bright colours and sounds and watched some adverts etc. He played in his car seat a bit, played on my lap, chatted a little, had a bottle and had a nap whilst I sat back and watched! It was brilliant! We were all finished by 1.30pm and we still had the rest of the day to do what we needed to. I also went to the cinema with a friend to see Captain America: Civil War just us adults which was great, nothing to worry about at all other than sitting back and enjoying it! Now I can see the lasted releases with or without my boy and nothing gets in the way! Win!
- It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip to the local shops, a supermarket, café, shopping mall; babies love a change of scenery. Somehow it does help to wear them out which is also good and gives you that much needed break from the house environment. Me and Leif are always out doing something and even if it is just running errands he’s happy!
- One thing which is free, local, in walking distance for a lot of people, fun and perfect for this season is children’s play parks! I have one outside my house and another just down the road and even at such a young age Leif has enjoyed sitting on the swing, going down the slide and sitting on various bits of equipment (all assisted of course). People tend to forget about parks but they can be a lot of fun and something different for them to do. Pick a time when it’s quiet on the way back from a walk to the shops and give it a go!
- Another free and easy option is going for walks. This could be just around your estate, to the shops, down the woods, to a nearby park, pond to feed the ducks etc. Its free, its exercise and a lot of babies love the pushchair movement and they may even drop off to sleep which is a bonus!
- I always pictured myself with my new baby sitting in a coffee shop catching up with friends as a perfect mum trip to do. In the very early days I was desperate to do this but couldn’t even leave the house. When things picked up I managed a few coffee house trips on my own to have some me time. Now I’m at that place where you can have those perfect coffee house moments catching up with friends and I beg you to make the very most of it. I have been told and I can only imagine how these don’t last. Terrible twos in coffee shops having tantrums, picking up everything, getting bored are very different to babies chilling in their pushchairs so enjoy it whilst you can!
- Leif enjoys going out in the car, a lot of babies do. It’s the whole movement thing again they love. Why not take it further and instead of sticking to short journeys around town I like to head off occasionally for a longer ride. You could go to a petting farm, zoo, the beach, a different town or city, find a nice village to check out, museum, etc. They will enjoy the car journey and may fall asleep and will love the activities once your there. Its new sights and sounds again, all a new learning experience and yes I am repeating myself but it’s a change of scene for the parents too!
- Seeing family is really important. I love that Leif has such great relationships with those closest to him. He loves seeing our friends and family and spending time with other people. This can be in our home, out and about or at other people’s houses. You don’t always need to be doing something crazy, sometimes simply sitting around having a drink and chat and Leif having cuddles with other people can be time very well spent.
- Talking of being at home, sometimes that’s just perfect. I try to have a couple of ‘at home’ days per week. I find that Leif can have a weekly routine which consists of his baby class, swimming, set stay at home days and days out work as a good combination. Our stay at home days means he has familiar surroundings, can nap in his cot, makes for easy meal times etc. We have fun playing with his toys, bouncing in his jumparoo or bouncy chair, tummy time, we listen to a lot of music both adult of various genres and children’s music, watch the odd kiddy tv show or film, read books, play peekaboo, look around the garden, have visitors, have the food shop delivery and catch up on housework too.
- Establishing a bed time routine has been incredible. I recommend starting as early as you possibly can! At 2 months old Leif started sleeping through the night, no night feeds just straight to bed and waking up in the morning. It’s made such a difference having my evenings back to myself and being able to actually get stuff done. Leif’s happy with his routine and it’s really helped us all.Leif now has 2 naps a day too. This is wort considering when planning your days out and about. Try to leave just after the morning nap, try get him to sleep in the pushchair instead if your out. As much as i want to be out alot I also want him to have routine and not get cranky!
- Since Leif was tiny I started taking him to a Baby Development Course for 6 weeks. I then signed him up for the next course on and after term I signed him up to 10 weeks of Baby Sensory classes. I personally think its brilliant for babies to see other children and interact with them. The classes are designed to really stimulate the senses and over the courses I have done I have learnt baby yoga, baby massage, baby sign, nursery rhymes, music play, sensory games, various activities to help their learning and development process, free play time with equipment I don’t have at home, interaction with other new mums, babies seeing one another. The classes really wear him out, give that much needed change of scenery again and become part of his weekly routine he gets used to.
- Leif has just finished a 10 week swimming course and I would highly recommend it to anyone! We are actually booked in for an underwater photo shoot this week and a second term too! I decided to sign Leif up to Water Babies as I didn’t want him to have the same fears and issues with water that I do. After being recommended by a friend we decided to join. It’s not a cheap course to do but it really is worth it. Every Saturday morning we get to the venue for 9.30am ready for our lesson at 10.00am. It’s only a half hour lesson which doesn’t sound like much but for a little one it’s the perfect amount of time. The lessons teach you how to be confident in the water from being happy with his swimwear and the pool temperatures, how to hold him in the pool, swim with him, keep him entertained, be safe etc. From the very first lesson you are getting your baby used to having water on their faces, swimming under water, singing, playing, working the muscles and building strength etc. He’s progressed massively in first term already. He loves his swimming lessons and kicks and splashes like mad in the pool. He’s not bothered if water goes on his face and this now includes at bath times too. He doesn’t cry about water, he can swim back to me when let go underwater, he really is a water baby. It’s a perfect weekend family activity to do. Were out of the lesson and back to the car by 11:00am and usually drive straight off somewhere for late breakfast/early lunch where we feed the baby and let him have a nap or chill out whilst we catch up over some food and still have the rest of the day to do what we want with.
- Have that much needed baby break. Whether you get daddy on duty, enlist the help of your own parents or friends get someone else to look after the baby for some time for you to do what you want. For me that might be going to the cinema just as adults, seeing a burlesque show, going for a drink with a friend, a meal out, watching TV, working on the computer, lying on the bed staring into space! Whatever you choose to do with the time to enjoy being you again, your still a mum, just off duty for a short period of time so make the absolute most of it!
- Speaking of baby break, it’s not just you as an adult that needs your own time but you need time as a couple too. Dating/courting may seem old fashioned but it’s certainly made my 13 year relationship stand the test of time. Having a meal together, going for a walk, snuggles on the sofa watching a movie, playing a board game, game of chess, just being normal, being yourselves, talking. You put another person first now all of the time it’s very easy to forget about each other. Talking in between nappy changes, cooking and cleaning isn’t quite the same as sat over a candle lit meal talking about your hopes and dreams rather than reminding each other to put the bins out or put the washing on.
I hope this is helpful to some people. Time for both you and baby is really important. Getting back to 'normal' is impossible, adjusting to a new lifestyle is part of motherhood and done in baby steps. Just remember, happy mum, happy baby!