New year winter walks mother and baby

By Kylee Sallak

It’s hard to believe the new year is here, when you’re with your baby, time flies. Whether you participate in the tradition of making a New Year’s resolution or not, wouldn’t it be interesting to hear what New Year’s resolutions our babies would want us to make on their behalf? While they may not be able to talk just yet, that has never stopped them from expressing what they want and need. I, for one, would like to think they do have a short list of requests to share with us.

If our baby could make New Year’s resolutions for the new year, here’s what I think they would be.

1. Repetition please.

Your baby is thinking: You assume I am bored singing the same songs, reading the same books, and playing the same games over and over, but I really love repetition. I am a baby, and repetition is great for my development—my social development and language development to be specific. Please don’t feel bad about repetition. I’m not bored, I’m loving it!

I am paraphrasing for your baby, but this is one she definitely wants you to commit to - more of the same! Continue the good stuff on repeat and not only will she be thrilled, but will also learn and grow along the way. That doesn’t mean stick to the same three things you have been doing since birth. You can (and should) rotate in some new songs, books, and games. It just doesn’t need to happen as of-ten as you might think.

2. Catch my most important sleep cues please.

Your baby is thinking: I love you guys, but you often miss my most important sleep cue. I would like to ask you to try to catch it before I am overtired. I understand why you miss it. It’s really subtle and easy to miss. My most important sleep cue is when I look like I’m spacing out, eyes completely glazed over. You might wait until I am rubbing my eyes and cranky before you put me down but I might be tired before then. I should nap and sleep better at night if this is one of our 2018 New Year’s resolutions.

This is true of pretty much all babies. There is an optimal sleep window that occurs about 20 minutes before the crankiness starts. If you can catch that glazed over look, and you know it is nearing their next sleep, then your baby will thank you for putting him down as soon as possible. If you wait until he is cranky, you might notice he may fight going to sleep.

3. I will stop putting everything in my mouth. I promise.

Your baby is thinking: I have a sneaking suspicion you don’t love it when I put everything I find directly in my mouth. We could argue that I am a baby after all, and this is how I learn and explore, but I understand you are less thrilled when things like paper and dryer lint find their way into my mouth. Therefore, this year I promise to stop putting everything I find in my mouth.

January 1st, 6:03am-

"GASP! Sparkly paper! I need to put that in my mouth immediately!”

While this is a New Year’s resolution we’d love for our little one to put at the top of their list, don't expect it to stick much longer than moments after waking up on January 1st. Get that vacuum cleaner ready and just assume if they can reach it, it WILL go in their mouth. While it’s understandably gross, keep in mind that they really are learning by crawling around and picking up that little piece of dust they found under the couch. Babies learn much of their tactile development through trying many different things. Picking up small things they find on the floor is helping your child gain the pincer grasp skill, among others.

4. Let me explore.

Your baby is thinking: In the beginning my own hands were fascinating! Now that I’m bigger, and aware that my hands actually belong to me and will always be attached right there at the ends of my arms, they are less interesting. I am enthralled by new sensations, sounds, sights, smells, flavors, and textures! I won’t judge any of your homemade attempts to en-tertain me. Remember that empty, half crumpled up water bottle you filled with glitter and dried rice? I loved that thing!

Sometimes we are too hung up on making sure everything we offer our babies is picture perfect or a traditional toy. In reality, your baby will be thrilled with any homemade sensory activity you throw together. There are so many simple ways to make your little one have sensory play at home. Here are a few ideas you and your baby can do together to get you started:

  • A big square of crinkled wrapping paper can be so much fun to scrunch up (supervised of course).

  • Grab a sealed bag full of clay or paint and let them feel how squishy it is.

  • Use herbs and spices to add some flavor to their purees to get their tastebuds excit-ed, age appropriate of course!

  • Put an ice cube on the high chair tray, next to a shallow dish of warm water. Help them feel warm with one hand, and coooollllld with the other hand (don’t leave them unsupervised with the ice)!

  • Fill an empty water bottle with various colors, shapes, and sizes of items (i.e bells, rice, dried pasta, or water & soapy bubbles), then seal tightly with the lid. Let them shake-shake-shake! How do they all sound?

  • Gently brush your baby’s arms or legs with various textures like a feather, towel, your necklace, daddy’s beard, etc.

You will think of many more, the possibilities for exploring are endless.

5. Blow on my belly.

Your baby is thinking: You’re hands down the funniest person I know! Every time you blow on my belly or make that one silly sound, I can’t contain my jolly belly laughs! I feel like you have other tricks up your sleeves. Perhaps there are other untapped, obscure things you could be doing that will also make me belly laugh.

Don’t feel self-conscious digging into the depths of your inner child and pulling out every silly face, sound, song, voice, or activity you can come up with to make your baby laugh, and giggle. Become a connoisseur of your own baby’s sense of humor. If they don’t laugh at the usual suspects, then mix it up and see what unlocks your baby’s biggest belly laughs! Don’t leave out the things that make you laugh too.

6. Show me pictures.

Your baby is thinking: Who is that delightful, snuggly lady who occasionally comes over and then disappears for a while? Come to think of it, there are several people who seem to pop in, hold me, play with me, and then leave for long periods of time. Who are they? They always seem so happy to see me and hold me, but I gotta tell you, I have no idea who these people are. Could you do me a favor and show me pictures of these people and tell me over and over who they are? That would be amazing.

For families who don’t get to see grandma and grandpa regularly, it’s a good idea to make a family picture book. Have relatives and close friends send you a picture of them with a big happy smile. Put this together in a book and flip through it every day with your baby. Pause on each picture and say, “Who is that? It’s __________!” They will love getting to know those smiling faces that they don’t get to see very often.

This year, when you make your New Year’s resolutions, keep your baby’s wishes in mind too. They will thank you for it with extra slobbery kisses, hilarious faces, and warm snuggles.

About Kylee Sallak

Founder of Back To Basics Parenting in New York City, Kylee specializes in newborn through 5-year-old sleep and behavior. The overall premise of Back To Basics Parenting is that happy parents raise happy children. Kylee brings the issue of managing parental happiness to the forefront of the conversation with all of her clients

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