The interior designer and new mama shares how she starts her day.
We partnered with Skip Hop to show you how a few smart pieces of gear can make a big impact on your day with baby.
There's nothing like a new baby to change up your morning routine. What may have once been a quiet, seamless string of events that took you from bed to breakfast to outward-bound has now become an intricate puzzle of feeding, cleaning and getting ready for the day. It's chaotic. And messy. Yet mind-blowingly beautiful. Even when it doesn't feel that way.
New mama and interior designer Danielle Colding knows this feeling well. She's balancing a 4-month-old baby girl with intricate design projects ranging from an upstate New York residence to a Brooklyn apartment building lobby, a brownstone gut renovation to a pretty powder room redux.
This small business owner's mornings have changed since her daughter arrived -- instead of rushing off to an office, she's been home with the baby, fitting in work during naps, playtime and after baby's down for the night at 7:30pm. “I now have to fit in work when the baby is napping or playing on her own," she says. “But creatively, I feel inspired to create in a different way. I want to make the world a more beautiful place for her."
Danielle recently invited us into her Bed-Stuy home to meet little Anais, and shows us how she makes it up and out of the house each day.
5:30-6am: Anais wakes up. I pull her into bed with me and she nurses while I dose. After nursing, she usually lays next to me chatting, playing, and rolling around. We cuddle and talk and—more often than not—wind up falling to sleep again together.
Morning has become the most incredible time of day for me. She wakes up happy EVERY SINGLE DAY. She smiles and chats the morning away, and it is truly a thing of beauty to behold. It's incredible to witness someone who meets each day with such unbound optimism. Waking up with her has put everything in perspective in a whole new way. The small stuff just doesn't seem that important, and the big stuff seems somehow manageable.
9am: We officially wake up and nurse again. Then we get out of my bed and do our rounds of opening the shutters and shades and saying "Bonjour" to the world. We then go into the nursery where I dress her. Then Anais either plays in her Skip Hop bouncer — catching that flower is her main obsession — or on her playmat. She is able to play alone during this time so I can actually get washed-up and ready myself.
My mornings have had to slow way down. It used to be that I would jump right into work. Now, we have a routine. We spend time together. I try not to be distracted by my phone when I'm with her. So in a very real way, I start my work day much later. The plus is that when I work, I am very focused because I know the time that I have is limited. And in truth, I can't wait to get back to spending time with my daughter.
9:30am: We go downstairs. I put her in her Skip Hop activity table during kitchen time, so that I can get myself a smoothie or some yogurt and granola. We listen to music together during this time, while she plays and jumps and talks, and I go about starting my day.
The “mommy brain" thing is absolutely true. I used to remember everything. Now I must write things down because thoughts go in and out of my head more rapidly. It's required an adjustment, for sure.
11am: She goes down for a nap and I am able to start the process of working in earnest. When she wakes up, we start the whole process again. Eat, activity, sleep and mama works.
I know our routine will eventually evolve out of necessity. We will soon have real schedules to contend with. So, our time chatting in bed will have to be cut short. The thing I don't want to ever change is that we carve out time just to be together. I want to take that with us and greet every day as she does with an exuberant smile.
Our morning chats are my very favorite part of the morning. To see how her mind works. To experience how alert she is and how connected we are. I hope that never changes. She is such a communicator. I will never forget this time. Never.
Photography by Jonica Moore Studio for Well Rounded NY.