Mindful Methods for New Parents: How to Do All the Right Safety Things with a Smile on your Face Instead of a Pit in your Stomach!

I just got off the phone with a new Dad who shared with me that his absolutely adorable baby girl is starting to crawl. He sent me a video – she is combat crawling, one elbow, the other elbow, and then dragging up the rear knee by knee. She’s so cute! He lamented that now he has to make the house baby safe.

That took me back 22 years; my babies are now 23 years old!

Danielle and Cara when they were babies

I told him that I made the upstairs part of our house into a play area. The stairs were gated at the top and at the bottom. We had plexiglass zip tied to the balcony where there was an iron railing.

I had those blocks and little ramps that kids climb on and one of those pop up tunnels for them to crawl through. Little cardboard books for them to gum after I read to them, and other teething plastic toys that are probably not recommended anymore because of some bad toxins or something!

We talked about the whole sleeping on the stomach, then sleeping on the side (that was my era, with a little wedge in front and behind the baby who was wrapped like a little burrito), and now how his baby needs to sleep on her back with nothing in the crib – no stuffed animals, toys, extra blankets or bumpers. She has to wear a little helmet so she won’t have a flat spot on the back of her head!

He was worried because he put something around the outside of the crib because his baby was sticking her little arm through the bars, as if she was sticking her arm out of baby jail. I laughed and told him to take it down; sticking her little arm out won’t hurt her.

I said, “Can you imagine we didn’t even have seat belts! Never mind car seats! Car seats that have to meet all these strict safety standards and be installed correctly.”

He said, “Yep, I bet I came home from the hospital in my mothers arms, and there might even have been a cigarette hanging out of her mouth!”

So the point is to do all these things that are recommended, of course, to protect the little bundle that you love more than anything imaginable, but to be able to do it with a smile on your face, instead of a pit in your stomach. It’s the attitude that you bring to the task – the intention in your mind – that will make it either fun or stressful.

You might want to try this exercise:

1

Smile. Now, close your eyes and imagine your baby sleeping.

2

Focus your attention on your breath coming into your body, and going out of your body, holding the image of the peaceful baby in your mind.

3

Take one more breath in, one more breath out with the baby in your mind. Now notice how you feel in your body. Notice any areas of tension and try to soften them.

4

Open your eyes. See how you feel. Smile, to connect to your parasympathetic nervous system, and enjoy the rest of your chores with my wish that you have a little more ease to go with the grind of being a parent!

Please share your thoughts. . .
By |2018-05-14T11:08:52+00:00May 15th, 2018|Mindful Methods|

About the Author:

Julie Potiker
Author and mindfulness expert Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She was trained by Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer and UCSD as a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher. She went on to study with Rick Hanson, becoming a graduate of his Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course. Potiker also completed Brené Brown’s Living Brave Semester. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” She holds a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University.

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