Bouncing Inside and Out
It can be hard to know when a baby is cranky and needs a nap, or is simply in need of a little fun and distraction. I find bouncer seats to be a great device to transition from active play to rest-and if it's a warm day, they're super easy to take outside with you so your baby can get some fresh air, too.
Your little one will stay entertained by playing with the toys on the play bar as the chair vibrates, while soothing music or other fun sounds play. Whether your baby is gurgling and cooing as he bounces to the music, or slowly slipping into an afternoon nap, he's content-as are you with your hands free to watch him enjoy himself while you relax with a good book. Make sure your baby stays snug in his bouncer seat. Here's how:
- Only use a bouncer on the floor. Never set a bouncer seat on an high surface and always make sure the bouncer is on a smooth, level surface.
- Make sure you clear away things (coffee cups, power cords, coins, pebbles, etc.) within your baby's reach while he's in the bouncer seat.
- Check the manufacturer's weight restrictions. (Most bouncers can hold babies up to 18 pounds.) Make sure it it stored away once your baby hits that limit because if it's within eyesight, she will want to go back in!
Gearing Up for Bath Time
After you both get some peaceful rest, it will probably be snack time-and then active outdoor play can begin! (Even if, for babies, it's a matter of introducing them to the feel of a patch of grass.) Romping around outside can make for a fun and messy day for active babies and toddlers. So what better time to have a cleansing and calming soak in the tub?
I was beyond nervous the first time I gave my newborn daughter a bath. She was so tiny, so squirmy, and once she was wet, slippery, too! But before long, she and I were pros-bath time became a sweet and soothing routine for both of us. Baths can work wonders on your child's mood and yours because nothing puts moms at ease more than a serene little one.
Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind while you're child is in the bath. Keep these strategies in mind to help make bath-time the fun and relaxing treat it should be.for both of you.
- Never take your eyes off your child-even for an instant.
- Keep a hand on your baby at all times.
- To make the first two "must-do's" possible, have all of your baby's bath supplies (baby-friendly soap and shampoo, bath toys, washcloth, towel) right by your side-that way, you won't need to turn around to retrieve them from the towel rack or under the sink.
After a long day, many babies enjoy the lulling movement of being rocked back and forth before they're ready to be put down in their cribs. But after the same long day, your arms may be tired out-and your other responsibilities don't always make it possible to hold your baby.
I've found that baby swings make a wonderful alternative: They cradle an infant on all sides, reclining to allow your baby to really take a snooze or keeping her upright for a more active experience; the various settings can be ultra-gentle for the almost-there sleepy babe or the "I-don't-think-so" alert infant. (You can gradually change the swinging speed to encourage your baby to go from one stage to the next.) And get safe-swing savvy:
- Check the manufacturer's weight restrictions. (Most can hold babies up to 25 pounds; Graco has one that goes up to 30.) And just as with bouncer seats, stow the swing when your baby has grown out of it, so she doesn't try to get in once she's too big!
- Make sure you use the provided harness - EVERY time you put your baby in the swing
- Use the provided infant head support to make sure your baby's head stays snug and secure, and doesn't strain his neck.
- Make sure any older children in the house stay away from the moving swing-without meaning to, the baby could give your unsuspecting toddler a strong kick!
Wrapping Up a Sweet Day!
Bouncers, baths and swings are tailor-made for a restless baby's soothing needs. And once the kids are asleep, it can be mere moments before your own head hits the pillow. And no one has earned that sleep more than you!