Remember when summer days were carefree and fun? You could hang out at the pool or the lake, watch fireworks, and eat watermelon to your heart’s content.
If you’re afraid being a parent might keep you from relaxing during the sunny summer months, take a look at these tips to help stress melt away.
You can relax—even with a baby!
The key is planning ahead.
Stock a “Hit the Road Bag”
Beyond your regular diaper bag, keep an extra sack stocked with the stuff you’ll need when you’re going to be outdoors. This can be as simple as a plastic grocery sack, primed with a few items that take the worry out of sun time with Baby. Just grab it when you’re ready to go.
Baby experts (like these and these) recommend you have these items on hand:
- Sunscreen with SPF 15 or more. For babies under 6 months, use sunscreen only if protective clothing and shade aren’t available.
- Hat for baby (and one for you?) with a broad brim
- Bug repellant—with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Do not use on repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- Fluids – Bring supplies to breast- or bottle feed your baby 50% more often than usual. (Don’t give water to babies younger than 6 months of age.)
- Snacks and water bottles (for you) That one is our idea!
When you get home, remember to re-stock anything you used up.
(And, by the way, you can trade your free Baby Bucks for most of these items in our Boutique.)
Take Your Cues from Baby
Pay attention to the times of day when your baby is happiest, and have your fun then. Aim to play while Baby is alert and enjoying activity, then head home when it’s time to ease him into a nap.
Also avoid being out in the sun from 10am to 2 pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
Keep an eye on your baby so you will notice if he is starting to get fussy. Here are some tricks for preventing a tear-fest:
- Is he over-stimulated? Take him away from the group into a quiet, shady spot to calm down and re-connect with you—especially if lots of people have been playing with or holding him.
- Is he overheated? Remove excess clothing and/or move him into a cooler, shaded place. His tummy should not feel warmer than your hand. (For info on preventing heat stroke, check out this article.)
- Is he over-tired? Soothe him with the calming techniques that work at home—a cuddle in your arms while you walk, a gentle massage, a quiet song while being held, his pacifier, a drink of breast milk or formula . . .
Let Friends Help
If your friends are good with babies, allow them to share the care of your child. Enlist trustworthy friends to help make sure your baby stays shaded as the sun’s position changes overhead, insects stay away, and Baby is entertained.
Around a pool, take turns being the Water Watcher. That’s the person who promises to keep an eye on kids in and around the water. That way, only one of you has to be ultra-watchful, and others can relax until it’s their turn.
A little gift for you:
Print out the pdf of this card to give your group’s Water Watcher
as a visual reminder that they’re “on duty.” Just click on the image and print.
Enjoy Your Baby
As much fun as your friends are, be sure you take time to soak up the moments you have with your child. Take plenty of pictures and giggle along with him. Because next summer, he’ll be a whole year older!
Like the Water Watcher card?
Bring it in to Choices Pregnancy Center and we’ll waterproof it for you for free.
While you’re here, ask us about any parenting questions you may have.
You may want to sign up for a free DVD-based class on a topic of your choice!
Have a great summer!
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