Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Newborn Diaries | Leaving the house and my best tips

*If you prefer to just read my tips, scroll to the bottom of the post. Although, I'd love for you to actually read the post ;)

After Cruze was born I was terrified to leave the house with him. Terrified. Mostly because I didn't want him to get sick while so young. I was and still am fully aware of the fact that something that may seem as minor as a simple cold in an adult can manifest itself differently and far more severe in a newborn baby. But I was so aware of this fact that it consumed me. The few times we left the house, I felt like I couldn't breath. It was bad. After Cruze was a few months old and I thought I would feel okay venturing out, I realized that not only was I still nervous about him getting sick but now? I didn't know how to manage my time to actually get out of the house before his next nap, diaper change, feeding etc. Many of the days I tried, would end in me half dressed and frustrated that yet again, we stayed home all day.

In hindsight, while I know that a certain amount of anxiety is normal, mine was excessive. And I desperately needed to get out of the house. I was starting to lose my mind just a tad. So this time around I've made an effort to get out sooner. I've done things that are SO unlike me. Like going out with my friend to a mall when Caleb wasn't even a month. I've done this a few times now. Since I know how important it is for my sanity, I'm trying to think of ways to balance keeping Caleb safe and healthy while also maintaining some sort of normalcy for myself and Cruze.

To do this, I choose only places that are outdoors. This way we are not in a closed room or building with anyone who can potentially be carrying something like the Flu virus or worst. I try to choose times or days that are less busy and only if a store is empty, I will go in. This has worked well for us since we live in an area that has many outdoor shopping/activity options.

Another thing that gave me anxiety with leaving the house with Cruze was the idea of failing him somehow. One time I felt so good for getting out when, on my way home I realized he needed to eat. Like, I completely forgot to feed my baby. I was a mess when we got home. A big bawling mess. I was so concerned about not holding my friend up too much while we were out that I wasn't thinking enough about myself and more importantly my baby boy.

That experience taught me something. Only go out with people who are patient and understanding or if they're not, don't care about what they think when you need to spend an hour in a dressing room to change, feed, burp your baby and regroup. That's what I learned I needed to do. So now? If I need to take a break with baby I go into the dressing room of an empty store or my car and take as much time as I need to take care of my baby. And if the person I'm with doesn't like it, then I don't need to be with that person. It's that simple. Now that I have a baby and a toddler, these breaks are even more important.

Now I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't admit that I still have some anxiety with leaving the house. It's just more manageable this time. I've also had some moments where I've felt like the worst mother in the world for even taking my newborn out and exposing him to anything that can hurt him. It's all just a big balancing game. Trying to stay sane while doing right by my children. I don't have it all figured out but I'm doing my best and learning along the way.
Here are a few of the things I've learned to do

1 - Choose places that make me feel good about being there. I choose outdoor areas so that we are not engulfed by anyone's yucky germs.
2 - Pack the trunk with an extra of everything. This way, if I forget an essential item, I don't go into a complete panic.
3 - Dressing rooms are my friend. Pick up a few shirts to try on and head on in. I use this time to let Cruze run around, I entertain him while nursing Caleb. And I don't leave the dressing room until I feel like everyone's needs are met.
4 - Prepare well. Pack your diaper bag the night before if you know you'll be heading out. Set out outfits for everyone and decide on a look for yourself that is as fuss free as possible. Think: nursing friendly and easy to move in

5 - Bring snacks for yourself and other kids if you have any. I've learned that snacks are the perfect weapon when shopping with a toddler. I've also learned how important it is for me to keep up my calories in order to nurse. So I pack bananas, granola bars and water. 

6 - Take time to cuddle the babes. Sometimes we can get so busy with what we have to do that we can forget the other things. Cuddling and doting on my babes keeps everyone in a cheery mood. 

And this could be the most important tip of all

7 - smile, laugh, sing. Really. Make yourself laugh over the things that may go a little wrong. Just spilled your child's sippy cup all over your white shirt? Baby wipe that junk up. You forget the wipes? wet a napkin. No napkins? Laugh. Just laugh and remember that one day you'll be looking back on that very moment with a smile on your face. Then put on your favorite tune and sing your heart out on the way home while patting yourself on the back. 


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