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Taking Time for Yourself

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2021

Month 10, Week 1

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As a parent, you may be so busy focusing on your baby that it’s easy to ignore your own wellbeing.

Your baby needs you at your best. So now that you’re out of the marathon newborn stage, it’s time to make sure you’re carving out time to take proper care of yourself.

Focus on these three areas to increase your energy and gain back some control.

  • Sleep. Yours, that is. Now that your baby’s on the move, you’ll need all of your energy to keep up with them. Take advantage of their longer sleep times in order to make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye. (If they are going down early and waking up early, you’ll have to follow their lead.)
  • Exercise.Working out will help you get fit, clear your head, and give you energy. Maybe your partner can watch the baby first thing in the morning while you go out for a run, or you can pop in a workout DVD during naptime. Taking a long walk with baby in the stroller counts too.
  • Smart snacks. Make a point of stocking up on healthy bites you can grab on the go, like nuts, fruit, and yogurt. That way you won’t be tempted to buy candy or other treats that may give you a quick hit of energy that soon fizzles.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Playtime isn’t just fun for your baby -- it’s how they learn about the world. Give them a new object and watch them shove it in their mouth, drop it, roll it, and turn it over as they discover everything they can about it.

You may notice these growing signs of cognitive development:

  • Your baby’s attention span is increasing. They used to move from one toy to the next in a matter of seconds, but now they can focus on the same object for longer periods.
  • They are beginning to use objects correctly. They imitate the way you drink from a bottle, use a phone, and brush their hair. They are starting to understand that each object has its own function.
  • They may start to point at objects. When something catches their interest, they want to make sure that you’re looking at it too. Reinforce their understanding by saying, "That's a cup," etc.

You might wonder about:

  • Anger. Is it an emotion your baby can feel? The answer is yes. If you take something that they want away from them, they may be mad at you.
  • Walking. Many babies are able to take a few steps at this age. Others will be a little less sure of themselves, and will try a little later.
  • A security blanket. If they haven’t already identified an object that they find comforting when they are upset, they probably will soon. It can be a useful tool to help them calm down and can be a good part of their bedtime routine.

Month 10, Week 1 Tips

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  • Schedule a date night. Relationships need upkeep. And when you go, try to talk about things other than the baby!
  • Get the spark back. You're tired and your libido may be low, but sex might actually help. You'll connect with your partner and might even get more energy.
  • Do Kegels. These pelvic exercises aren't just for pregnancy. Keep doing them for stronger pelvic floor muscles, which may help if you're having issues with leaking urine.
  • Got friends who don’t have babies? Don't cross them out of your life. Look for common ground.
  • Schedule your own doctors’ appointments. The pediatrician should not be the only check-up appointment on your calendar. You also need to tend to your own health.
  • Get your teeth cleaned. Changes during pregnancy can lead to gum disease, and moms can pass their cavity-causing bacteria to their babies.
  • Are you so drained and down that it disrupts your life? Seek help. Postpartum depression doesn't always happen right after a baby is born. Talk to your doctor or a trusted therapist.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Healthy Children: "Cognitive Development: 8 to 12 Months."

AboutKidsHealth: "Learning to Think: The Next Six Months;" "Motor Development: The Next Six Months;" "Postpartum: Physical Concerns;" and "Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression."

Healthy Children: "Transitional Objects;" "Breastfeeding and Sexuality;" "First Steps to a Healthy Smile;" and "Understanding Motherhood and Mood -- Baby Blues and Beyond."

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