Being responsible for another human being is a full time, permanent gig! As a new parent it can feel exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. Raising a tiny human is one of the most important and impactful things we do in life….and it's fun! Am I hearing you say….“Fun, how can it be fun when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted?”
It is fun when you allow yourself to be present, one moment at a time. Instead we have the tendency to look to the future for better days. As if the next phase, change or growth will be better or easier. Do you recall saying…“I will feel better when the baby sleeps longer than 4 hours at a time!” or “I can’t wait until my child is out of diapers!” or...I can’t wait until my baby says ‘mama’ or ‘dada’” These are thoughts that feed your perspective that…I will be happy, when….
The truth is that even when those moments wished for arrive, you are ready to replace it with another wish. Have you forgotten when you said…"I so want to be pregnant!” which only a few months later you found yourself saying “I can’t wait to have this baby!” Take it from someone who has said “I’ll be happy when…” at least a thousand times in my life so far. Happiness is now, in this moment, noticing what you are touching, feeling, hearing, tasting, and seeing…now.
Play with me to awaken your happiness now…experiment with the following steps:
Close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths, a count of 4 in, hold for 4 and breath out for 4.
Notice the smells in the air or the temperature of the air as you breath in and out.
Listen for sounds that are far away, then close and closer still by hearing the sound of your breath.
You can do this in 30 seconds, and for greater peacefulness do it for two minutes. I promise that you will enjoy the two minutes of mindfulness for your inner peace and mental health while baby is sleeping or safely swaddled in your arms. AND you can do it while baby is awake and active, too. Babies in their first year are absorbing the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings every moment. They are in what's called a 'Theta' brain wave pattern which allows them to experience everything without attaching a meaning. They are sponges of information in the early years. You can join them in their peacefulness by doing any mindful practice such as the one I described above. You can also add to yours and their experience with sensory play!
For babies (roughly 1-9 months)
place baby on their tummy on a brightly coloured blanket. They can see colours and shapes.
Name the objects on the blanket to form associations with objects and words.
As they grow and learn to grasp and hold objects, make their blanket become 3 dimensional. Place plastic fruit or shapes that match the blanket motifs. The example in picture below is of lemons and strawberries.
Shop this Newborn Essential Muslin Cotton Swaddle Set here:
As baby grows again, you can expand the learning by placing real lemons and strawberries in front of them. (Cover the blanket with a plastic covering or do this on the grass to contain the squish) and encourage your toddler to squeeze and taste the lemon and strawberries.
Each time you interact with your child on their first blanket you can expand the learning and build on the same experience all the while triggering your own sense of peace, calm, and happiness!
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