It is even more important when you have a high need baby but then it is also much harder to do and sometimes even impossible.
After Livi was born, my husband was able to take a leave for two weeks and work the third week from home. Then I was on my own.
Trying to get out of the house with my husband’s help was a huge undertaking. Doing it on my own, was almost impossible for the first three months.
But I tried, every single day. Because otherwise I would have gone mad. If you have a baby that screams almost all the time she is awake, you will lose your mind if you don’t get out of the house for a change of scenery, some fresh air and to remember that there is a whole other world out there that you completely forgot about.
And it wasn’t easy.
- You have to make yourself somewhat presentable while holding a screaming baby. Hats that covered my hair and shaded my face where a constant accessory.
- You have to somehow wrestle your reluctant baby into the car seat. Livi hated being strapped in and many attempts to get out of the house where derailed by her completely freaking out the minute I tried to put her in the car seat.
- You will have to deal with looks and comments when you’re out and about and your baby starts screaming. And she will. And it will be embarrassing. But in the end, I dealt with it and learned to ignore the stares.
- And finally, you will have to overcome the fact that you are too tired, too exhausted, and too anything to even think about leaving the house. And just do it.
And when you come back home to the battlefield and get ready for another round of feeding and walking and rocking and shushing, you will feel like you just won an Olympic medal. Because you accomplished something that seemed impossible just yesterday and may actually be impossible tomorrow.
There will, of course, be mishaps that will send you running back home. But over time, it will get better and you will become more confident.
On my first solo walk with Livi when she was three weeks old and my husband had just returned to work, I had walked for not even one minute when I turned around to run back home.
You see, Livi suddenly started to scream and when I looked at her, I saw blood coming out of her mouth. I ran as fast as I could, tears rolling down my face. Holding my screaming baby, I called the advice nurse, who calmly asked me if I could see a small cut on Livi’s gums. Sure enough, there was a tiny spot with blood on her upper gums. She had cut herself with her sharp little fingernails, which I was too scared to cut because she was always flailing her arms.
Looking back, it doesn’t seem so bad, but at that moment, my sleep deprived, overwhelmed self could hardly handle it.
When I managed to get out of the house, I mostly went for walks. But every few days or so I would go to Target or Babies R Us or a similar store and try to buy a few things we needed. This way, I was among other people and it felt like my outing had a real purpose, which gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment.
So if you are reading this while holding a screaming bundle of joy, please listen to me and get out!