A Day In The Life Of My Baby
When it comes to planning… well, I get freaked out. I’m not a planner – so my daily plan is not to have a strict one. I’ve tried to make lists and plan ahead, but my creative side normally – meaning always – refuses to obey. My personality has a lot to do with the way I’ve chosen to look after Sofia-Malou and the fact that I haven’t tried to ‘teach’ her when she should be hungry and how much she should eat (that’s possible only when you’re breastfeeding). Instead, I’ve invested my energy in catering her needs and coming up with rituals that could help her distinguish between day and night. Some argue that it’s too early for a 1-2 month old baby to really ‘get’ the difference. However, out of experience, after I began doing things in a certain way, my baby started sleeping for longer periods time during the night.
For example, we spend the day together in the living room. I keep the room as light as possible (remember that I live in Denmark and it’s getting darkish around 3-4 now). All the lights are lit, the music is playing, I talk, invited friends over. I’ve simply refused to go down the ‘Shhh’ road, knowing that once she got used to silence, she would’ve never wanted to sleep in the presence of noise. Philip and I were also on a double date with her… and that’s the thing, now she adores being surrounded by people and being exposed to noise. The moment she notices a bunch of voices in the room, she gets incredibly joyful or just falls blissfully asleep. Does this have anything to do with the fact that her parents are social butterflies? Hmmm…
What about our evenings? When the clock hits 8-9PM we tone down the noise and dim the lights so she relax – then we change clothes and eat.
Side Note: Sofia-Malou has a bath only twice a week. The water in Denmark is quite ‘harsh’, when I moved to live her my skin got so dry it was literally peeling off, which makes it less than ideal for the soft baby skin. To lessen the ‘harsh-ness’ we add a few drops of baby oil to the water. Our lil girl gets so delighted when the warm water gets in contact with her skin and then the attention. Aw, that’s the best bit. When we’re all ready with the bath, Philip brushes her hair (Prodigy style) and I give her a long and relaxing massage – premium treatment.
I can notice that she is tired and ready to go to bed when the sudden bursts of crying and punches (yep, she hits me with her little fists) begin while she’s on my breast. That’s when I lay her in her crib. I try not to change her diapers during the night (unless it’s a very urgent situation) and I don’t talk to her or make eye contact during our night time feedings that take place around 3 and 6 AM.
Normally she sleeps until 8 AM when she initiates seeking my attention with some ‘I’m about to cry so you’d better come’ sounds. I get up change her diaper and clothes, do her morning gymnastics and place her on her belly to do some exercise herself, essential for strengthening her neck muscles).
I’ve noticed a pattern, my girl tends to eat more in the mornings than in the early afternoons. I would have never been able to discern that if it weren’t for the fact that since the day she was born I’ve been nursing her every time she wanted. That’s how I also decided that it’s best to go out with her after noon when she tends to eat less. The crazy Danish weather cannot scare or stop us.
If I let the weather determine our walks – we won’t be leaving the flat anytime soon. Sofia (as most babies) loves to sleep outside so I try to get out of the flat whenever I can even if only for doing some grocery shopping. I’ve never spent so much time indoors before, and by the end of the day the flat just feels way too small and suffocating. So it’s a win-win situation really. I go out to get some air and so does Sofia who blissfully sleeps, while I’m strolling down the streets.
My advice? Get to know your baby first. Not all babies like white noise (such as Sofia), some prefer pop music, others like when you dance with them under the sounds of electronic music (yep, Sofia). Don’t get frustrated if the tips and tricks you find online for how to calm your baby or when is best to go for a walk work also for you. Just pay attention to your little one and the hints she gives you. Then go on to try different things and when I say different you might get very surprised what calming techniques or evening rituals might work for your baby. For example, Sofia loves the sound my camera makes. Every time she is a bit sour, I take a photo of her with my professional camera and I immediately get her attention and she is more than happy to participate in a quick photo sesh. She also loves to lay on our legs and to make eye contact, while she despises to lay in our arms (snuggled in the most conventional way for a newborn), unless you hold her upwards and she can look behind your shoulder. Then she gets all happy again.I’m more than glad I let Sofia-Malou direct me. I let her determine when to feed her, kept her close every time she needed attention or was upset, never afraid that I could potentially spoil her by not sticking to a strict daily routine or giving her too much ‘love’. I’m saying that because I get quite confused when I hear that some parents choose to leave their newborns cry until they stop, just to teach them a lesson. The thing is – if a baby stop crying by itself after a hysterical burst, this doesn’t really mean that they are all happy and sound. They’ve just ‘realised’ that no matter how loud or long they cry noone is gonna come to calm them down.
Bottom line: babies are not manipulators, they always cry for a reason.
Is it because I’ve always been there when she needs me, I have no clue, but she has indeed become much calmer and willing to stay by herself and let me do the chores around the flat. As if she is no longer scared that she is left all by herself when she can’t feel my touch. Maybe I’ve managed to reassure her that IF she needs me I will be there.
And what about the day of your baby?