Just like we track our kids’ milestones as they grow up, we should track our own milestones as parents. For example, I celebrated being able to leave the house for the first time on my own with my newborn. So, in my opinion, there are some things you need to do with your baby before they are 3 months old, just to get a little sense of accomplishment as a new mom. Being able to eat a meal uninterrupted by a child’s needs was huge "win" for me, and helped build my confidence.
It took some convincing, though, before I was sold that I should try to cross a bunch of stuff off a “new mom” bucket list when my newborn was so… new. Veteran mothers advised me that while the baby is still that little, I should pay attention to my own needs more often that I thought necessary. And, yes, babies under 4 months sleep a lot, and while they don’t always sleep at convenient times (like at night), at least during those stretches of time when they are napping my partner and I could shlep them along to a local restaurant and enjoy a nice-ish dinner out. I could still carry them in one arm, without much effort, and hold a book in the other.
This ideology wasn’t foolproof, though. In fact, I had many false starts with showers, where I’d be just about to step in and my infant would wake up too soon from a nap, wailing in hunger. But I will say there were more opportunities to do things for myself when my baby was under 3 months than there were when she was in progressively more active stages.
So here are some things I suggest you trying to do with your baby before they reach 3 months:
Go Out To Dinner
One of my co-workers, who was the only other mom in my department, shared this wise piece of advice and she was so right. Babies this age mostly sleep and their cries are not horrifying loud (provided they don’t go on for long). Though I didn’t really feel like shlepping my tired, fourth trimester ass out to dinner, I am so glad I did. With our infant asleep in her carseat, my partner and I were able to get through a meal, which didn’t happen again until… well, I’ll let you know.
Take Them To Ball Games
For the same reason it is sort of easy to take a wee baby out to dinner, taking them to loud ballgames is not terribly difficult. There is no need to pay for a seat for them, and the ambient crowd sounds usually lull the kid to sleep. I can see the exception to this being a hockey game, though.
Stage Hilarious Photo Shoots With Them
If you can’t have fun with your kid, why even have one? I regret not dressing my children up more when they were babies and had no say in the matter. I am glad I staged a few silly photos with them appearing to interview oversized stuffed animals, though. Those are the memories you want preserved, trust me.
Stare At Them While They Sleep
I don’t think this gets creepy until they’re double-digits. But when they are brand new and still such a wonder to behold (“Holy sh*t, I made this.”), I just can’t take my eyes off them.
They will never be this small, and this light, again. So even if you don’t have a need to wear them much, try it anyway. That way, you’ll have done it and won’t have any regrets. You also won’t throw your back out giving piggyback rides to your preschooler, trying to make up for the guilt of not wearing her when she was the size of a football.
Make Sure You’ve Dressed Them In Every Item Of Newborn-Sized Clothing
The newborn-sized clothes may only fit for about 10 seconds, so make sure the kid has worn every tiny thing you’ve been gifted so you can feel you got use out of it. I regret waiting too long for an occasion to dress my infant in a beautiful little dress. I finally went to put it on her and it was already too small.
Spend Several Hours Away From Them
In preparation for my return from 12 weeks of maternity leave, I had the caregiver we hired come for a day before I actually went back to work. I got a haircut. I shopped for some clothes that would fit since I was somewhere between maternity and pre-baby sizes. I ate a very delicious lunch, without looking at a clock, frantic about how much time I had until my baby would start wailing to be fed. This dry-run of going back to work didn’t ease all my anxiety, but it did help to start feeling somewhat normal about leaving my child for 10 hours for my job.
Talk To Them Like A Regular Person
There is something about a baby that just makes me want to have deep philosophical discussions in their presence. I would recite a running commentary of my day when I was home on maternity leave, and my child did indeed appear to be listening. Babies younger than 3 months tend to resemble wise old people, so maybe that’s why it felt so therapeutic to talk to them. I would definitely recommend chatting them up at this age because they become much more self-centered as they get older. Honestly, my 10-year-old and 7-year-old could care less what I was talking about unless it involved dessert or Disney World.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.