You’ve seen the memes. Schools out, parents are stocking up on snacks, guzzling wine and counting down the days until back to school. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I love when my older son is home for summer break. The mornings are slower, the days are filled with adventures and we make lots of memories. I’m so lucky that my doula business allows me the flexibility to set my schedule but even if your home on maternity leave, you can have peaceful, exciting and fun summer with your newborn AND your school-agers home for break.
If your school aged kids are in camp while you’re home with your newborn baby:
- Have a plan. Get a game plan together for drop offs and pickups. If your partner, family or friend can help with this great! Pack bags, lunches and outfits the night before so that the mornings move smoothly. What’s for breakfast? Something quick and healthy like blueberry muffins and fresh fruit simplify your routine. Make sure you eat too!
- Maximize your time. Know what times your newborn tend to wake for their morning feedings and work around those times for your morning routine. If your newborn doesn’t go back to sleep after your morning nursing session, baby wearing can free up your hands to help get your older kids ready and into the car.
- Take it easy. After drop of reward yourself with a snack and a big glass of water and relax. You have the rest of the day to focus on yourself and your newborn. But be mindful of your baby’s afternoon awake/ nursing times and pick – up times so you can be strategic with your timing.
- Get some help. If you’re doing things solo, enlist the help of postpartum doula or mother’s helper to help you with drop offs and pick ups. You can even have them stay through the day to help you make the most of your time with your newborn.
If your school-aged kids are home with you and your newborn baby:
- Have a plan. Set a loose schedule for the day. Think of some low key outdoor activities and some engaging indoor events that will keep your older kids interest. You want to think things like water play outside, splash pads, age appropriate playgrounds, storytimes, gymnastics open play, music classes, robotics classes, art activities etc. you want to be able to sit and rest when needed and keep an eye on your older children from a safe distance that works for you. Again, wearing your newborn can help make things easy, especially if you have to nurse while out and about. Remember to schedule some quiet down time with your children too.
- Maximize your time. Schedule outings and activities around nursing times as you see fit. If you are uncomfortable nursing away from home you can focus on shorter activities and staying closer to home. If you find things to do that are popular for moms with newborns you can take that as a chance to practice nursing while out and about with your baby.
- Take it easy. Don’t try to do everything in one day. I like to focus on getting out of the house or doing our highest energy activity in the morning after breakfast and taking it easy after lunch. Let your older kids embrace their older sibling roles and model positive parenting.
- Get some help. If your doing things solo this summer and your older kids are staying home for the summer you could seriously benefit from the help of a postpartum doula. Or even a mother’s helper or nanny. Having an extra set of hands, eyes and ears can really save your sanity through the summer months. Plus, you’ll have another adult (who can answer all of your breastfeeding, postpartum and newborn questions) to talk too. Yes!
So what do you have going on this summer? Are you home with your newborn baby? And older kids? Is everyone going to daycare and school? Got any summer parenting questions?