September has been a month of adjustment. I’m out of survival mode and have begun to establish some simple routinues. Our little one generally sleeps for longer chunks at night. I am learning how to fit more into my day, but it is still difficult to keep up with the clutter. As I write this post, I am staring at the pile of laundry that has enveloped our futon.
Between the last period and the capital “B” I changed a diaper and put my baby in her sling. Since this little person has need that are more urgent than my need to keep things tidy, I find that taking a deep breath and promising myself that I’ll clear off the futon before bed time is the best way to stay sane. Or rather one way to stay sane.
This month I have clung to 5 sanity saving tools for living in a tiny space with a new baby.
1. The 5 S’s
There’s no closing the door and shutting out baby’s cries, so soothing her has been crucial. The 5 S’s have been our key to keeping the crying down. They are: Swaddle. Shush. Swing. Suck. Side or Stomach position (but not unattended). For more information, check out www.happiestbaby.com.
2. Baby Carriers
With no extra room for things like baby swings and bouncy chairs, wearing my baby has been crucial. She gets to feel the motion she felt in the womb and I get both my hands back. I’ve got a couple of wraps, a front pack, and a sling. These are worth the space!
3. Crockpot Meals
This goes along with baby wearing. It’s not safe to work at a hot stove while she’s in her sling or front pack, so I’ve had to learn to use my crockpot. I’ve discovered and invented some tasty meals. One of them uses green tomatoes, which I always have plenty of in this cool, mountain climate. I’ll post the recipe soon.
4. An exercise ball
I bounce our little one every night. She loves it and it often ends the crying within a couple of bounces. Of course, the ball takes up way less room than a big old rocking chair and it can be deflated if we really have to have the space.
5. Getting out.
Of course, it was important not to push myself too hard during the first weeks after birth. I spent tons of time at home establishing breastfeeding relationship and letting my body recover. However, it has been wonderful to start adventuring again. Our first hike with baby was an easy half-mile jaunt, but I got to nurse her by a mountain stream and Steve changed her diaper on a boulder.