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I believe the Babywise Method is the secret to stress-free shopping trips.
At first, I struggled to find the balance between Babywise and errands. My rigid schedule severely limited my ability to cope with any deviations to my newborn's routine.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my non-Babywise friends were also stressed. In their lives naps, hunger, and meltdowns were completely sporadic, making errands quite a gamble.
Whichever scenario sounds like your life, I promise there is a happy medium. Babywise and errands actually complement each other beautifully, but to get to this point we need to do a little bit of work.
With these simple guidelines, you'll be able to complete your daily tasks without ruining the schedule you've worked so hard for.
Babywise and Errands: How to Find the Harmony
Limit to One Errand a Day
While you're trying to establish a schedule, it's best to limit your errands. This way, if one nap is destroyed, your baby can make it up during the next one.
Of course, this goal isn't always achievable.
There will always be unexpected tasks or responsibilities that come up. Try to prepare for these events by eliminating or at least minimizing your routine errands. For example, if you find yourself taking multiple visits to the grocery store, it might be time to implement meal planning and grocery delivery. If this guideline seems limiting, don't worry. This is just until you can get your routine established!
Time Your Errands Right
This is where Babywise and errands can really clash or work well together.
If you take your baby on an errand at the wrong time, it could turn into a disaster. However, timed correctly, you and your baby will enjoy the outing.
Ideally, you'll want to run your errands right after your baby eats and well before he begins to show sleep cues. The exception to this is when your drive time is over a half hour. In that case, it might be easier to run the errand right before baby's nap, so he can sleep in the car.
I've found that babies adapt to errands more efficiently at varying times of the day. Experiment to see what your baby prefers!
Bring a Portable Nap Station
The primary goal of On Becoming Babywise is to get your baby to sleep independently, in his own crib. However, sometimes life does require flexibility.
It's better to sleep during an errand than skip a nap altogether. When you're on a long errand bring a "portable nap station." This should be something your baby is comfortable falling asleep in, like a car seat or stroller.
When naptime is near, perform your "sleep ritual" and put your baby down for a nap, like you would at home. For my daughter, I tried to minimize the light and sound around her nap station. That way, the motion of the stroller and comfortable sleep environment would facilitate a full nap for the duration of the errand.
This trick is mainly for newborns, but I used this trick into the pre-toddler phase as well (minus the lullaby and rocking).
Hopefully these simple tips help you find the balance between Babywise and errands. Once you do, you'll discover that you can confidently take your baby just about anywhere without the worry of surprise feedings or meltdowns. I'd say that benefit definitely justifies the extra work!
Read more of Erin's articles.
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