How to give yourself a baby-holding break.
*We've partnered with Skip Hop to help give you a hand with your baby this holiday season.
The holiday season is in full swing, and we bet you've got your hands full...literally, with your baby. Between visitors, parties and holiday socializing, it can be overwhelming to put your baby down, especially if you have some attachment parenting tendencies. I kind of fell into attachment parenting myself—I loved the idea of keeping my daughter close all the time and the concept of the “fourth trimester" made a lot of sense to me. But I'm your classic Type-A person who wants to do everything exactly right… so I didn't put my daughter down. Ever. For like, a year. And especially not during the holidays.
Let's face it: there are times when mama needs a break. You can't hold your baby ALL the time. What no one's willing to tell you is that they get sick of us sometimes too. Here are five ways that parent and baby will benefit from a little time apart.
1. They do have other family, you know.
Your family members may have traveled far to see you this holiday season, and they're itching for the chance to play with your little one. Putting them down doesn't mean leaving them without someone to lavish them with lots of love and attention. Besides, which is better: hanging out with Grandma, or hanging out with an unshowered, angry woman that's been up cleaning the house since 3 a.m.?
2. You might be able to cook with one arm, but it's not safe.
Every parent develops the miraculous ability to cook, work and change diapers with just one hand, but it's definitely not the fastest or the easiest way to get a meal on the table. It's also not that safe—I burn myself enough cooking with both hands, and even in a carrier it's not exactly easy to prep your holiday dinner while peering over someone's head. Even worse, you might spill your wine.
3. They'll develop skills sooner.
I remember being concerned that my daughter was taking forever to learn to crawl, but I soon realized that had less to do with her development and more to do with the fact that I never put her on the floor. Nowadays there's a whole range of toys dedicated to helping baby develop their fine and gross motor skills. If you're worried about baby getting themselves into trouble, a stationary play station like the Skip*Hop Explore & More Activity Center is perfect. Designed in collaboration with a pediatrician, the table (and toys) support playing and learning, with details like a Discovery Window that teaches cause and effect by letting baby see their feet while they play. The Activity Center converts to keep up with your little one's developing skills, keeping them safe and entertained while you do what you've gotta do.
4. They'll make friends.
I got to witness the cutest moment when my daughter, newly up and moving on two feet, got to play with another toddler. They chased each other around the room, banged on the air conditioning unit, played hide-and-seek (yes, really!) and hid under tables. I've never seen her have so much fun, and afterwards, she slept so hard. Total win. And there's better time for your baby to make baby friends than at a holiday party.
5. That's the whole point of attachment parenting.
Contrary to popular practice, attachment parenting is not about wearing your child until they're thirty. The goal of attachment parenting is to promote secure attachment between parent and child by teaching them that they can always count on you to take care of their needs. The ultimate sign of a secure attachment, according to Mary Ainsworth, the psychologist credited with developing attachment theory, is when the child feels comfortable exploring on their own, checking in with their parent occasionally for reassurance. So put your baby down every once in awhile, and let them enjoy their independence. It's a sign that you're doing something right—and don't worry, they'll always come back.
Want the cool Skip Hop Explore & More Activity Center pictured here? Headover to SkipHop.com and save up to 30% thru Sunday, December 11, PLUS receive a FREE gift with your purchase over $40.
*This post was sponsored by Skip Hop. Photography by Jonica Moore Studios for Well Rounded.