The Bump and Cetaphil Baby present Celebrate Everyday, a sponsored series featuring expert tips and advice for making time with baby special and enjoyable. Visit Cetaphil.com to learn more about its baby skin care products.
Every parent wants their kid to have an idyllic childhood, bursting with candy-coated, Insta-filtered experiences. But too often, the daily grind of parenting prevents us from seeing specialness in the every day. While baby’s first birthday or visit with Santa is certainly album-worthy, so are the mundane moments that happen in between—and you definitely shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to celebrate. After all, infusing the routine of parenthood with fun traditions and poignant rituals is what makes a family your family. It’s what builds bonds. Here, six ways to make your day-to-day more meaningful for you and baby.
The Routine: Morning Wake-Up
The Make-It-Special Strategy: Sing a Song
A cheery “good morning” is nice, but a customized predawn song is so much better. And you don’t have to be a songwriting pro to bust out a good tune—or at least one baby will love. Case in point: My husband would greet our infant son with a sweet and silly head-scratcher of a song each morning. It was a mashup of an old Debbie Reynolds/Gene Kelly ditty and his oddball sense of humor, and went something like this: “Good morning, good morning! You’re my kitty, the butts, and the boos! Good morning, good morning to you!” No matter how many times my son woke up throughout the night—or how exhausted we were in the morning—this ridiculous song never failed to start everyone’s day with a smile.
The Routine: Bath Time
The Make-It-Special Strategy: A Skin-to-Skin Wash
I stopped using the overpowering baby washes and teeny washcloths I got at my baby shower pretty quickly because I wanted to smell my son’s natural, fresh scent—not some flowery fragrance. And I wanted to touch his soft, plump skin during bath time, not a duck-covered cloth. Even more, I just loved having an excuse to slick up my hands with a gentle, baby-smell-preserving wash. Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo is a good one: The dermatologist-recommended formula is made with organic calendula extract and soothes baby’s sensitive skin, while the soft, fresh scent isn’t overwhelming. Plus, skin-to-skin touch is a proven bond-builder.
The Routine: Mealtime
The Make-It-Special Strategy: Share a Plate
Sometimes it’s just easier to feed baby first and deal with your own hunger later. We’ve all done it. This approach, however, always made feedings more of a chore than a joy, so I changed it up. Instead of forking food into my son’s mouth, I started to truly dine with him. We’d start with a good ol’ “Cheers” (because fun!) before enjoying one plate of food together: One piece of avocado for you, one piece of avocado for me. Not only did he begin mirroring good eating habits, but he got his first glimpse of sharing and we set the tone that mealtime was not just about food, but family.
The Routine: Tummy Time
The Make-It-Special Strategy: Get Down on the Floor Too
I’ve heard rumors that some babies love tummy time. Mine did not. That is, until I started treating belly-down time as actual downtime‚ for both of us. Translation: I stopped multitasking and got on my tummy too. We’d lay face-to-face, both on our bellies, while I’d give him goofy looks or magically make stuffed animals dance and talk. I got to take a break from go-go-going and clock in some serious bonding time. Win-win!
The Routine: Daily Chores
The Make-It-Special Strategy: Offer Sensory Stimulation
Taking baby on errands can be beyond stressful at first: What if he cries the whole time? What if there’s a diaper blowout? What if someone dares to shame me for breastfeeding?! Gaining experience and confidence helped mellow my fears (somewhat), but thinking of my daily must-dos as opportunities to teach my son new things helped as well. Buying frozen peas? Gently pass the bag over baby’s hand. Cold! Picking out bananas? Yellow! This type of sensory engagement not only encouraged him to learn, it made him feel involved with what we were doing.
The Routine: Saying Goodbye
The Make-It-Special Strategy: A Signature Smooch
Whether leaving for the office or a well-deserved mani, bidding baby farewell can be hard on everyone. But creating your own special see-you-soon routine can make goodbyes easier. Butterfly kisses, knocking on the window for a last look, a funny little wave—putting your own stamp on saying so long will become something baby looks forward to, and the tight bond that results will stay with him even when you can’t.