Updated on July 16, 2015
Connecting with a new baby can be hard, especially when you’ve likely gone through a very exhausting ordeal (labor and/or C-section) only to get practically no sleep for a few months afterwards. Even if you’re in love with your new little angel, your exhaustion coupled with your baby not even being able to focus his eyes on you can make you feel a little bit disconnected from your baby. If you’re feeling this way, first, you are not alone, and second, it’s ok! I’ve got some tricks that worked for me to help me feel closer to my baby during those first few awkward months. *
Put down your phone, or camera, or tablet, or whatever you’re using, and just look at your baby. While you’re nursing, while you’re cleaning, while you’re relaxing, anything. It’s so easy to gravitate towards entertainment, or want to take pictures of your baby, but make sure that a good portion of your day is “unplugged.” Appreciating this time to snuggle your baby and just study his face, memorize the wrinkles on his toes, or rub his tiny tummy. This will not only help you, but it’s great stimulation for him to be close to you as well!
Sing lullabies to your little one. For me, this was the most natural way to connect with my first son. I’ve always loved singing, but singing for my baby was so rewarding and fulfilling. It was something I could do to connect with him no matter what I was doing. He usually reacted really positively to my singing and it helped to calm him down.
Your baby heard your voice all the time when he was in your tummy, even if you weren’t specifically talking to him. Your voice is familiar to him, and it will make him happy to hear it. It can be awkward at first, so just try narrating whatever you’re doing. Here’s a typical dialog (well monologue) from the early days around here, “Time for a diaper change. I’m getting out the baby wipes. Let’s unzip your jammies… oh! P.U! you made a stinky! Good job!” If that’s still too hard, try reading out loud to him. The more you interact with your baby, even if they don’t seem to reciprocate, the stronger your relationship will be and the more connected you will feel. I promise, it feels more and more natural over time.
Little games like peek-a-boo, this little piggy, and “how big is baby?” can all be great little games to play with your baby. Even before your baby can respond emotionally his reflexes as he responds to tickles or a blanket touching his face can be so adorable!
The most important thing to remember as you try to bond with your baby is that, they love you and enjoy your attention, even if they can’t show it yet. And what’s more, they love you. With time your baby will start smiling and reacting to what you do and then it will be so rewarding, but until then, keep playing with him! It will become more natural with time.
*disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor am I a therapist. If you feel like you just can’t connect with your baby, or think you may have postpartum depression, please talk to a professional. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Updated on July 2, 2015
If you have a toddler, hopefully you understand why my house is rarely clean, and why those rare moments are usually between midnight and 6 am. That being said, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love my little one, I love his creativity, and I love his enthusiasm! I can’t wait to play with him when he wakes up rom his naps, but oh man, he grows out of his toys quickly! So here’s a round-up of 5 things I want to make for my little toddler:
ONE: A Teepee
I saw this adorable teepee from the Land of Nod, and fell instantly in love! However, I quickly fell out of love again when I saw the nearly $160 price tag. After looking closely, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make myself! I found this great tutorial from Pink Toes and Power Tools that requires a bit of sewing, but I have seen some others that don’t require a needle or thread, so if that intimidates you, there are plenty of other options.
TWO: Felt Garden Toy
When I grow up, I want a garden. I think a garden is a great place for kids to learn to work hard, and also to have fun and learn about healthy food. However, we have no where to grow one right now, and when we move to New York in a couple of months winter will last until May, so there won’t be much chance to garden with my little one. Making this adorable felt garden box from A Beautiful Mess looks fairly easy, and it would be so much fun to play with once it’s done! This would be one of those toys that I would want to play with now, let alone when I was little.
THREE: Busy Board
This busy board looks pretty simple to assemble, and my little boy would love it! He’s a huge fan of doors and switches and anything along those lines so I think this could keep him entertained for a long time! The original blogger over at Million Ayres said that it cost her around $50, but I’m hoping to cut the cost dow a little bit. I know my husband would love this project, because it would mean we would probably need to buy that power drill he’s been wanting for a while.
FOUR: Magnetic Fishing Pole and Fishies
This darling fishing toy from Make It—Love It has such a sweet, rustic kind of feel to it, which goes perfectly with the theme I’m hoping to get in my son’s new bedroom when we move, and I love that the fishing line can actually be reeled in. As an added bonus, my little boy loves playing with magnets, so that is a definite upside for our little family.
FIVE: Hooded Towel
This one isn’t technically a toy, but it’s incredibly useful. I had one when I was a little girl and I absolutely loved it! It was so snuggly warm, and great for the cold trek from the bathtub to the bedroom on chilly winter nights. To make this even better, the blogger over at Simple Bliss said it only cost her about $5 to make!
I can’t wait to get started on these projects, though sadly, some will just have to wait until after we move so that I can stay focussed on packing and not on making messes. Have a lovely day!
P.S. as promised, here’s your free printable! I made it in two colors because I couldn’t decide which I liked better. I love “chalkboard” art, but I felt like the cream might go better in my home, so thanks to my indecisiveness you now have a choice!