8 ways I make the most of my time with my child—and how you can, too

Balancing work with a child at home is difficult for any parent to manage.

As a working dad, I look forward to weekends with my son since I never feel like I have enough time to spend with him during the week. I usually leave for the office either before or soon after my son wakes up in the morning and return close to his bedtime.

But as a pediatrician, I know how important the bond between parent and child truly is to the healthy development of kids and families.

So here’s what I do to maximize one-on-one time with my child—and how you can, too:

1. Talk to your child while getting ready for work activities.

I typically have about 15 minutes each day from the time my son wakes up until I have to leave for work. I try to use this time to talk to him by asking him to help me choose my socks (which I wear even if they don’t always match!) and, at 19-months old, he even enjoys helping me find and gather my wallet, keys and everything I need to get out (almost) in time.


I also try to have breakfast with him whenever I can, even if it means occasionally having an unexpected smear of oatmeal on me when I arrive to work.

2. Come home early when you can.

Although this is not always possible when I have meetings or patients scheduled all day, on days when there is anything I can do at home after my son is asleep, I do. Leaving early gives me some extra time to see him at night and I can catch up on unfinished work after I put him to bed.

3. Put the phone away (or at least on vibrate.)

I have a tendency to take a lot of pictures of my son, which can often be distracting since he becomes more interested in touching the screen than with the activity we are doing together. I try to turn my phone off or leave it in another room altogether during this time I have with him, so I am never tempted to check emails or return texts that can wait until later.

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4. Leave your work day at the door.

This one is a hard one for me especially after a stressful day at the office. Be in the moment, try to leave work at work and focus on the time you do have with your child. Just last week, we spent time in the backyard and he helped me water the garden. He loved blocking the flow of water from the hose as it caused the two of us to get wet. I only had 20 minutes to spend with him and it was a great way for us to have fun together before bath time.

5. Prepare dinner with your child.

When I have time to prepare dinner after work, I put my son in a highchair so he can help out and be included. He has his pot and spatula in his hand and plays along. I also find this helps him eat what we make—helping to forge good eating habits.

6. Bath time can be quality time.

Even bath time can be quality time. My son loves choosing a

bathtub crayon to draw with. I use it to draw letters and animals on the tiles and make up a silly story. My son loves to draw with them and they wipe off the tub and tiles easily.

7. Make bedtime a daddy and me routine.

After his bath, my son and I sit in his room. He chooses a book that I read to him while he drinks milk. He often wants to read the book again and again. We end the night by brushing his teeth and turning out the lights in the house. I find that he loves having a set routine which helps him wind down and know it’s bed time.

8. Include them in every day activities.

I have my son help me with daily activities including putting away the dishes, the laundry, or groceries, and cleaning up his toys. It’s a win-win situation because he loves to be dada’s helper and I get what I need done, while still spending quality time with him.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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