While it’s hard work to motivate yourself to do anything when you have postnatal depression, it’s also vital that you start to make time to bond with your baby. It’s so important to do this for both you and your child, for many reasons including your baby's opportunity to experience new surroundings, explore new textures, learn new vocabulary and start socializing with others.
It’s imperative for your mental health as well to keep busy and put negative thoughts aside while focusing on something else. A calm day, a creative outlet and even social interaction can help boost your mood too.
Here are 10 easy ways to ditch the baby blues and start bonding:
You can read books at home or at the library. If the weather is nice, get outside for a reading session in the park. The important point is to allow your baby to listen to your voice as you read, connect as together you look at the pictures, feel the textures of the book and learn to turn the pages, which supports development of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
The earlier you introduce your child to reading, the better chance she will love books. Choose one of your early childhood favorites for a familiar, soothing read.
Sing rhymes and songs
Singing and music isn't just a fun activity to do with baby — it also is a proven mood booster as you follow the rhythm and beat. Your baby will get excited too, especially if you're the one singing. (Knowing how much your baby loves your voice, no matter how bad you think it is, can be an ego boost.) Teach your baby to sing along by enhancing certain short words when you speak and also by repeating the same songs or rhymes. Adding action, like hand gestures, can also make a sing-a-long more engaging.
Make messy art
Sticking your hands in a soothing, calming batch of paints, or squeezing kiddie clay hard can actually be as much as a stress reliever to you as it is fun for your little one. It's also a perfect opportunity for your baby to gain some sensory input during play. Best of all, you're creating vivid, beautiful memories together – something that postnatal depression can trick you into thinking doesn't exist.
Go outside for a hike, run or walk
If there's a natural way to lift depression, it's a nice long walk, jog or hike in the great outdoors. Aside from the head-clearing fresh air, and if you're jogging, potential added endorphin rush, most babies are soothed in a stroller or swing – so this can give you the peace and quiet you crave.
Enjoy a mommy-baby fitness class
A mom-baby fitness class isn't just about bonding. You get the added bonus of social interaction, the satisfaction of getting to exercise, and a healthy dose of social interaction. Plus as mentioned, exercise can boost your endorphins and make you literally feel happier.
Build baby's interests
From music to art and beyond, there are many classes that focus on different activities for your baby, and with a little diligence, you may even find some that are free or inexpensive.
This will give you the opportunity to bond with your baby but also meet other new moms to hang out with. You never know when you may end up finding a lifelong friend at one of these classes – and the same goes for your baby.
Stroller or pram fit classes
While the baby classes above focus on children, stroller or pram time classes tend to focus on moms. The best of all worlds, you get fitness, a sleepy baby and a social opportunity. Google can easily help you to find a local group. And if you find you've had enough for the day, the good news is you're still able to get plenty of fresh air in the park!
Time with toys – together
Playing with toys is fun and essential for your baby's learning. And it's the perfect time to play together. Even a quick 15-minute session can help you leave your worries behind, set down the phone and chores, and enjoy seeing your child laugh and have fun.
This can be the best time of the day for parents and infants as well. This is where you will really get to feel like a proper parent, using your newfound skills wisely. The feeling you will get once you teach your child something new is so invigorating and so special it will leave you both craving for more learning time.
As mentioned, toys are the best way to teach your baby in a fun way, but they can also learn without props. Activities like walking, crawling, talking, eating and drinking from a cup are all huge milestones to reach. These will make you feel immensely proud of your baby and yourself for being able to teach your little one.
Baby swim classes
Let your troubles drift away as you and baby take a dip in the pool. A sweet splash session also helps teach baby new skills, as the two of you bond. Neither one of you has to be a swimming star, just enjoy a dip and you'll make your day!