Q: I am going stir crazy at home with my new baby. I find myself pacing in front of the window for an hour before my partner gets home from work. What can I do to alleviate this terrible monotony?
A: Oh I know how that feels! I remember those days myself—feeling marooned at home and disconnected from real life. It is a very isolating feeling.
Luckily, even though you feel utterly alone in those moments, you are far from alone in that experience. Many new parents find themselves feeling stuck, bored, and trapped during the first few weeks or months with their newborns. Here are some tips from the trenches:
- There are many, many groups for new parents in Vancouver
- La Leche League has free monthly meetings, wonderfully supportive and a great place to connect with other new parents
- The Childbearing Society’s Postpartum Classes are informative and social—every Monday 12:30 – 2pm right here at 3569 Commercial Street. Only $5, and the first one is free
- Local Health Units host free parent/baby groups weekly, led by community health nurses
- Neighbourhood Houses & Family Centres have free daily or weekly play groups for parents and babies
- Libraries have weekly or bi-weekly story/song time for parents & babies
- Mother Goose hosts mama/baby play & song-time; Man in the Moon does the same for fathers
- Community Centres almost all have parent/baby groups that cost a small amount and require registration
- Other organizations, such as Gymboree, some art/dance companies, offer “classes” for parents & babies
- There are many postpartum fitness groups that include bringing your baby (stroller fitness, mom/baby yoga, kanga-training, mom/baby dance, zumba…)
- There are events for you geared towards bringing your baby (Movies for Mommies, Mom’s the Word, etc)
- Connect with other new parents
- Contact the other graduates from your prenatal classes. Chances are they are feeling the same way and would love to get together for a late morning coffee. Arrange a weekly meeting time.
- Go for walks with your pre-baby friends. Load baby into a sling or carrier and walk briskly with a friend or two. It’s a great way to get endorphins, get energized, and get fit again
- Don’t be afraid to take baby places
- It is relatively easy to take baby to restaurants & cafes when they are too young to crawl
- You can go to art galleries, museums, movies, and even some plays or concerts (depends on the venue) with a baby in a sling or carrier
- You can go hiking or snow-shoeing while wearing your baby
- As soon as baby is old enough, try wearing baby on your back in a mai-tai, ergo, baby back-pack, or equivalent
- Once baby is 4 – 5 months old and be safely carried on your back, a whole new world of hands-free possibilities opens up
Beyond this list, be creative!
Talk to other parents and see what worked for them. The first step, is getting out of house and connecting with other people who understand what its like. The second step is figuring out how to incorporate baby into your new life—discovering what you can still do with baby in tow, and new activities that you can enjoy together. Soon, this will all seem easy. And eventually, your baby will be running off to enjoy his or her own independent activities, and you’ll be wondering what to do with so much free time.