04 Oct Parenting: Managing Alone
At some point, maybe sooner than you’d like, you will find yourself doing the days with baby, alone. Your partner will have returned to work, your friends and family will have gone home, and you’ll be staring down the barrel of “just you and me, babe.”
Almost every family that Doulas Northwest works with brings up the anxiety they carry about this. So I thought I’d share some tips that can make this transition happen more smoothly than your anxiety is telling you to expect.
Ok, it’s really just one big tip, but it comes broken down into a few smaller tips: Prepare Your Zone.
Doesn’t matter whether you consider this your battle zone, your work zone, your nesting zone…just know that this is the zone for you and baby while managing alone at home.
A. Choose Where Your Zone Will Be
Pick one place in your home that you can be comfortable, have enough space to maneuver, and that gives you options. Oftentimes, this is in the living or family room where there is a comfortable couch with corner seating, lots of pillows and cushions, table space, a television, and windows to let in the daytime light.
Wherever you choose, make it a place that gives you space to move and set up mini zones, offers options like putting your feet up and watching a movie, and that won’t leave you feeling like you’re in a cave.
B. Gather Your Goods
Assemble supplies for the day (or as much of the day as you can) and set them up within arms reach of where you’ll be parked.
Water, coffee or tea, snacks, your favorite lip balm, a clean t shirt, extra breast pads, etc. If you might want to eat or drink it, if it might get spit up or leaked on, if it might get dried out…have those goods on a table to one side of you, within arms reach.
Don’t forget interactive entertainment! Grab your phone, laptop, tv remote, wallet, and associated chargers. Staying connected to your people by phone & text, having your laptop for emails, shopping at your fingertips when you realize you are out of something, your wallet for said shopping, and the remote can all help reduce the isolation of being alone with baby.
C. Gather Baby’s Goods
Put several diapers, a package of wipes, your favorite diaper cream, some pacifiers, burp cloths and extra receiving blankets into a basket. Toss in a couple of extra onesies or sleepers for good measure.
Anything your baby might poop or pee on, spit up on, want to suck or chew on, hold on to, or be wrapped up in…that’s what goes into this basket.
Put it on the coffee table, floor or beside you within arms reach of where you want to be parked.
Set up baby’s bassinet as close to within arms reach as you can, to ease your ability to get baby laid down when you need your hands free.
>Extra logistical energy saver: If your goal is to get up as little as possible because your body still needs you to go slowly, lay out a changing pad to one side of where you’re set up. Build a changing station into your Zone to avoid frequent treks to baby’s main changing station.
D. Check In
To avoid complete isolation and help yourself stay connected with others, choose a time of day that you think might be challenging and make a phone call. Schedule it in. Literally phone a friend and let them know, “I’m calling to check in and here’s how things are going…”
By doing this, you can invite positive encouragement into your space, talk through what’s been a struggle and celebrate what’s gone well. This is good for your emotional and mental health
Choosing a comfortable place to create your Zone and keeping your supplies within reach can reduce the feeling of always having to chase after one more thing and make it easier to manage alone.
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