Bonding with your baby...now is it just me or that a daunting phrase. So much pressure is put on parents to feel this immediate overwhelming connection and for a mother to turn into a Stepford wife overnight but lets face it, is the world going to end if you are too exhausted to simultaneously do the dishes whilst you giving your baby a massage and cooking dinner for the whole family?!!? I say, if you manage to put on fresh pyjamas and eat something other than chocolate in those early days, then you are doing better than most of us.
One of my close friends gave me some great advice when I had my daughter, and that was if you manage to do one thing every day then you are a super mum. Forget about that ever growing list in your head and just pick one thing. Now some of those days I would make that one thing something that really needed done, such as food shopping or changing the bed sheets but as often as I could I would make that one thing something new with my little girl so that we would enjoy my maternity leave as much as possible and create some amazing memories together.
Here are my top 5 to hopefully inspire you for your own fun.
1. Mucking around to music
Before I had my daughter I was determined I wouldn't be signing up to any baby classes, I could do it all at my own house so what was the point in paying someone else. Well first of all my flat was a tip half the time so I didn't want other mums seeing it but also its good to get out and get some fresh air every now and again.
Edinburgh is a wonderful city for finding things to do with your baby and my absolute favourite is a baby disco. We have been to some really great ones over the last year but I would really recommend these two:
For Babies - Joytots Sensory Disco
We are lucky enough to have this fab baby cafe just round the corner from our flat and once a week they put on a baby disco that will appeal to all your babies senses. They have loads of activies for little ones and even get out the bubbles but you need to remember to book in advance as there are only 10 babies allowed in per session.
For Older Children - Baby Loves Disco @ Electric Circus
We had so much fun at this superhero themed disco with everything from arts & crafts to a dressing up room, as well as a DJ on the dance floor, this disco really does have everything but I would say that the older kids had a much better time than the babies. However, if you are looking for something to take multiple age groups to then this is a good call to keep everyone happy.
If you are looking for something more regular to meet up with other mums and babies then you could try a music class. We went to Moo Music in Stockbridge and it was nice to have a bit of routine in the early weeks. We would get up in the morning and go for a nice stroll to the class, then my daughter would enjoy rolling about with her other baby friends and then the mums would go for a lovely lunch out after whilst the babies slept - bliss!
But as much as all this partying is fun, it can get expensive and as my daughter got older, I felt more confident to try things out at my own house. Chuck some blankets down on the floor, get out all your light up noisy toys, put on your best 90s playlist and crack open the non alcoholic prosecco (Sainsburys has the best in my opinion, and I've tried a lot haha). Me and my friends have had some brilliant times round each others houses and it really gets the babies used to being around other people.
When I say photoshoots, I don't mean going out to a professional studio, but instead just grabbing your camera or phone and having a giggle. My daughter is a poser but that's probably because I record almost her every move on my phone. It was a great way for me to keep my partner and family up-to-date with what we had got up to that day, as well as being something to do when we didn't want to leave the house (or even get dressed). Yes I know she's not a doll to play with, but we turned our wee photo sessions into a game where her teddies told her stories or the tickle monster came out to play, so we would both be laughing away. These photos were all taken on my phone and edited in Instagram, so you don't need to be a professional to get some lovely keepsake pics.
3. Water Play
Water is always great fun with kids. We have had some of our best times, splashing around in the bath, garden and pool. We even put a towel under her high chair and fill the tray with water to let her splash around in, which is a great trick to get 10 minutes to put away the breakfast dishes or get something to eat. If you don't like the thought of water going everywhere then my friend bought us a mat that you can fill with water and lay the baby on to encourage tummy time. There are lots of places you can get them, like this jungle one from ELC on Amazon.
4. Fun with Food
We are not afraid of a little mess in our house and this especially applies to dinner time. My daughter gets more food on the floor than she does in her mouth but we've had lots of giggles whilst feeling our way through new textures and tastes. With her being a tiny 3lb7oz when she was born, I've always been a bit of a worrier when it comes to how much she's eating but seeing her smile like this reassures me that she's doing well and has helped me become more creative in the kitchen.
5. Movie Afternoon
It wasn't all giggles and smiles at first. I remember for the first few months my daughter wouldn't let me put her down without screaming her head off. Even for naps during the day, she had to sleep in my arms or not at all and this lead to me getting stressed that I wasn't getting anything done. Eventually I stopped worrying and started treating myself to movie afternoons. I would prep a snack the night before (or more realistically get my partner to pick me up something from the supermarket) and then when sleeping beauty was tucked up in my arms, I would dive onto the couch under a blanket and stick on my favourite films. This lead to be me being more chilled out when she was awake and we would have a much better day than if I was crying over the carpet not being hoovered.
Have you seen our Nursery Rhyme T-Shirt Collection?
Not only do these T-shirts make nursery rhymes trendy but they also come with a movement to music guide.
Looking up baby massage instructions can make the whole process seem daunting but there are simpler ways you can interact with your child, which still give you many of the same benefits. Whether you want to set aside some special bonding time or you just need a distraction for an upset little one while you’re out, this leaflet will give you a few ideas to connect through movement, set to some traditional songs for children.
So what are you waiting for...pop on over to our shop and take a peek