Baby ECOS Blog
Keep things Fresh: Activities to Curb New Baby/New Mommy Boredom
Of course, the experience of being a new mother is wonderful. Caring for your newborn entails all sorts of activities that begin to forge perhaps the most meaningful connection you’ve ever had with another human being. All the cooing, cuddling, holding, singing, smiling, rattle-shaking, feeding—those simple activities can often feel very engaging and exciting for both you and your baby. But let’s be honest, no matter how much we love spending time with our newborns, there are those days when we’ve baby-talked our own ears off, spun the mobile over the crib until our heads start to spin, and are now asking ourselves, “I wonder if my baby is as bored as I am right now?”
Since a newborn’s capacity for activity is very limited and still evolving, it can be hard to find things for both of you to do together. Here are some creative ‘mommy and me’ ideas that are sure to be lively and engaging.
1. Go for a walk together. Exercise releases endorphins, which help to curb boredom. Even though you may have to walk a little slower, a good stroller will have enough weight to intensify the workout for you. Plus, a walk is a learning experience for your baby; every time they enter a different environment, they acquire new information to ponder and process. You may not have the same sense of wonder your baby does, but you too can be energized by exposing yourself to the stimulus in a different environment. Also, try to vary your routes; but, of course, be sure to stay in safe areas.
2. Plan to go somewhere different together. At some point, when your baby is of a certain age, he or she will discriminate and prefer to go certain places instead of others. But for now, your baby is generally fascinated by the newness of different places. So let your creative side out! For instance, Loews Theatres has a program called ReelMomz where they reserve non-kiddie showtimes for parents that want to bring their infants without worrying about disturbing other movie-goers. There are also a lot of parent/infant exercise classes popping up, such as Mommy and Me exercise classes, Strollercize, Stroller Strides, etc. Many museums and galleries are becoming more and more infant-friendly. Or perhaps, you can plan an instate trip together. Or visit a family member or longtime friend. Often, the extra effort expended on travelling is worthwhile if it curbs those boredom blues.
3. Stay connected. Whatever you’re feeling—whether it be boredom, guilt, stress, physical discomforts—there are plenty of new moms who can relate and would love to share their experiences with you. There are many networks of new moms that can be found on the internet, and support groups or gatherings you can attend. Staying connected or re-connecting with old friends that are new mothers too can be very helpful. The more connected you feel to the world, the more engaged and entertained you will feel. The same is true for your baby.
4. Read something to your newborn that YOU enjoy reading. Perhaps, don’t go overboard with an Armageddon novel or Sylvia Plath poems. But a book with reasonably adult content will keep you much more engaged than re-reading that Dr. Suess book for the 20th time. The sound of your voice, the incantations and inflections, are really what your baby is processing at this point in development. Plotline and substance of characters really aren’t much of a concern to babies, so don’t feel like you’re being selfish. Both of you will enjoy reading and hearing something different. You can also sing songs that YOU like, or watch TV shows YOU like. These all provide your baby with new things to process, so he/she stays entertained too!
Lastly, remember—if your baby is laying peacefully and calmly in his/her crib, don’t worry too much about their level of boredom. They need that kind of downtime to process all the new information and stimuli they are inundated with every second. Sometimes when your baby is in this state, any additional stimuli me feel disrupting and overwhelming. So don’t feel pressure to shake that rattle until you give yourself carpal tunnel. Relax and enjoy a little ‘me’ time.