Babies need near-constant supervision to ensure they don’t get hurt. However, that doesn’t mean they need constant attention. If you never put your baby down or spend all your time entertaining them personally, you won’t ever get anything else done. Sometimes, you need to leave them to their own devices so they can explore the world and you can tidy up, get some work done, cook dinner, or have a shower. If you need to entertain or soothe your baby for a while, but you want both hands free, you can use a range of techniques to keep them busy.
Toys and Entertainment on the Floor
Put your baby down on the floor is one of the easiest things you can do, especially if they haven’t started moving yet. If they haven’t learned to roll over yet, they will mostly stay put, apart from a bit of wriggling. A baby activity mat is ideal, giving your baby somewhere comfortable to lie and lots of fun things to look at and touch. Even if your baby has started moving, they can still have lots of fun sitting on the floor or traveling around, as long as you’re watching them. The right toys can keep them entertained while you’re busy with other things, and you can keep them in the same room as you so that you can check on them.
Soothing Your Baby Hands-free
Sometimes you baby needs soothing or entertaining, but you have things to do. Maybe it’s time for a nap, but the baby is taking a long time to fall asleep. One of the options you might choose is to use a rocker, bouncer or infant seat. These seats will rock or bounce your baby (or can just hold them), so they can have fun or feel soothed without you having to hold them. If you want something that combines these options, check out the review of the mamaRoo at http://theburpcloth.com/mamaroo-reviews. The product has a range of settings, including one that simulates going on a car ride, which is ideal for babies who sleep best in the car. You can even connect it to a Bluetooth device so that you can control it from anywhere.
Wear Your Baby
Some babies just don’t want to be put down. It’s hard to deny your baby when they want some comfort, and sometimes you need to walk around the house and don’t want to leave them alone. If you want to have both hands free and carry your baby at the same time, baby wearing is the best option. A carrier, sling or wrap allows you to have your baby with you, while you get on with other things. There are different types that offer various benefits, and some might feel more comfortable than others. Before buying one, see if you can try some out to find which one’s right for you.
Kitchen Fun While You’re Cooking
If you’re making a meal while you’re entertaining the baby, there are lots of things slightly older babies, in particular, can have fun with. If they are already eating solid foods or you’re in the process of weaning them, they can sit in their high chair and explore some different foods. Baby-led weaning encourages babies to pick up food for themselves and experiment with textures and tastes. If it’s not time to eat, pots and pans are fun to bang on with spoons or other utensils. A few toys on the tray is a good idea too, especially if you don’t want the noise of your baby getting musical.
Get a Walker
If your baby is starting to travel around, a walker is a great way for him or her to move safely. They can get around without bumping into anything (or, at least, with a barrier to protect them) and they won’t fall over. You could set your baby up in their walker while you’re busy doing something in one room or let them follow you around if you’re going from room to room. Instead of a walker, you might also consider a doorway bouncer, which can be a lot of fun if you stay in the room with your baby. They can use these from around four months, when they can hold their head up on their own.
Set Up a Playpen
If you want to put your baby down on the floor but you don’t want them to get far, a playpen could be a good idea. It keeps your baby within a defined area that you can make sure is safe, so that they can have fun and you don’t have to worry too much about them suddenly climbing something or finding an object to put in their mouth. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can leave them entirely alone. If you’re worried about confining your infant too much, you can use baby gates instead, which you can put in doorways and at the top and bottom of staircases.
Time in front of a screen might be a controversial way to entertain your baby, but many parents agree that it’s one of the best ways to capture their attention. Moving shapes and sounds from a TV can be endlessly fascinating. If you’re worried about too much passive television time, you might also consider an infant tablet, which gives them an interactive toy to play with instead. You don’t have to ban screens completely. Instead, you can limit the amount of time you put your baby in front of one. For some advice on baby screen time check out https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/.
Get Baby to Join In
Your toddler can even help you do things if you want to keep them entertained. If you have chores around the house to do, you can get little ones to join in. Give them a cloth to dust a table or ask them to help you pick things up. It doesn’t matter if they do a good job. Just let them copy you and feel like they’re helping.
There’s no need to sit and entertain your baby all day. With the right techniques, you can still get on with other things around the house.
This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.