As I have mentioned a few times now, I had decided prior to Maximara’s arrival we would be the family on the go. We wanted our life to be flexible, even with having a newborn. I never, ever wanted to feel housebound.
I was super pregnant during the cold winter months, felt like a large unattractive blob, and in doing so I spent a lot of time on the couch. Truth be told, there is actually a permanent indentation from my fat ass sitting in the same spot for so many months. I wish I was kidding.
Once Maximara was born I was asking the doctor how soon I could get her out for a walk. It was March. Still pretty brisk in Chicago, but I wanted to get the fuck out. I had read many, many stories about women feeling housebound, lonely and sadness (not like PPD sad, just sad) with the new arrival of their baby, and I didn’t want to experience that.
When we got home from the hospital I felt alive. Truly alive. I felt ready to get out there and do something, anything really. We went on walks, we went to the coffee shop, we went to a local bakery and just sat. I was so thrilled to be out of pregnancy hibernation that I didn’t care what we did, I just needed to be out of the house. A lot of people will say their lives are over (a bit dramatic, I know) when their kids are born. I think it actually gave my husband and I life. We did more in the first 11 months she was alive than when it was just him and I. Sure the baby will never, ever remember where we took her but I wanted her fresh little eyes and brain to see the world. I wanted her to see zoo animals, colorful parks, different parts of our beautiful city. The time we spent exploring got me out of the house (+1 for my sanity), allowed my husband and I to experience new things as a couple and it built a solid foundation for us as a team to live a flexible lifestyle. Again, not housebound. We aren’t afraid to bring her places and we now have a routine of how to make it work.
Life on the go with a newborn – 6 month old is crazy easy, guys. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you can do that shit anywhere. And these babies can sleep anywhere. ANYWHERE. In your arms, in a car seat, in the stroller, with noise in the background, with lights on. If you start taking them out early, they will become accustomed to napping in such environments. This builds your foundation for a more flexible life, it’s important. Somewhere around 6 months, it got a little trickier for us as she started to get on a solid sleep schedule and I was (am) a freak about it. She sleeps 14 hours at night and takes two naps (at 10 and 2) during the day. I thoroughly enjoy those 14 hours of me time and I know how important it is for her growing body to get them. Now that I don’t want to mess with her sleep schedule, we have had to adjust our lifestyle a bit. I want her to get those naps in and sleep through the night, but I also want to get out of the house. The combination of cold temps + what feels to be like her always sleeping I have 100% felt housebound. So I sat down with my husband and strategized about how we can make it work. I decided that if we needed to get out we would have to do so as soon as she woke up from a nap. I now have our bag packed and ready to go so when she wakes up we are off. I will feed her on the go with the help of Oh Baby food pouches and ChooMe lids. If we have no where to be and no errands to run, I will bundle her up just for a quick walk outside. Anything to not feel so couped up. And a little fresh air is good for everyone.
If you aren’t as determined to leave the house right away with your baby, that’s OK too. To try and reduce those feelings of being housebound, lonely, etc. ask friends to come over and visit. If you have friends or acquaintances with little ones, ask them to come over for a play date. It’s never too early to introduce your baby to other children. It’s good for them to socialize. If you know other parents, ask them to come over for Friday night take-in dinners. Sure you are still in the house, but at least you have company to keep you distracted about your ever-so-familiar surroundings.
I am not a miracle worker. I am not telling you parenting is easy, that I don’t feel lonely at times and I don’t feel trapped (especially during the winter). What I am telling you is that with a little strategizing and determination you can make the best out of anysituation. When life gives you lemons, make that lemonade girlfriends.