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“Baby stations are a fun and engaging way for your baby to explore their world, stay entertained, and allow you to get work done.”
The Star of this blog post is Little Miss A. She’s six months old now and I love her to pieces! If you’ve read My Story, you know having a third baby hasn’t been so completely wonderful or easy for me. I LOVE our new little Miss A. with all my heart and being…but adjusting to life with a baby this time around has been so much more difficult than with my previous two children.
It could because I’m so focused now on creating a new business, or the lasting postpartum depression, or the 7-year gap between her and my last child, or just a combination of all the above. In any case, I’m constantly looking for ways to keep my stress low and my sanity high.
Part of the reason babies are so stressful to care for is that they need constant attention and entertainment. Little Miss A. can do absolutely nothing for herself, of course. She needs me to clean her, feed her, warm her, love her, and entertain her!
But her little attention span is so damn short! One activity is only good for so long and then I better find something else to grab her attention before her little stork bite explodes from her forehead.
I want to share a little trick I use in my home, with those of you who struggle as well, especially new moms. I like to call it Baby Stations. What I do is set up a little station in different rooms of the house that give something different for little Miss A. to do. It’s similar to the way classrooms set up different learning stations in class for students to rotate. But in this case, you follow baby around to each station and interact with her or be close by if the toys just aren’t fun enough by themselves.
When Miss A. is tired of station 1, we move to station 2 and so on. Soon after feeding she is pretty happy so she will sit and play on her own for a bit while I do a task nearby. Then, when she gets a little moody I sit down and keep her company at the next station until she’s too moody to function. Finally, it’s nap or swing time, feeding time when she wakes, and the routine starts over.
Man, babies are exhausting!
Baby stations are a fun and engaging way for your baby to explore their world, stay entertained, and allow you to get work done.
Station 1. It’s Piano Playtime
This thing is a life-saver, I swear! I like to use it for the first station because it gives her tummy time to settle after eating when she’s happiest and it lets her have a good time without going too crazy and bending over. We started putting her in here when she was strong enough to hold her head up and started grabbing things with her fingers. But she’s nearly running out of it now and I know I’ll be so sad to see it go soon. She also has one of those bouncer/jumper sitters but she doesn’t really like it and I think it’s because it doesn’t give her the freedom to move like the Fisher-Price Piano. This thing lets her play music with her hands and feet, allows her to move back and forth, and it comes with detachable toys she can shake and rattle. Plus, the seat detaches, so when she starts standing…she can still play!
I use it in the living room while I run around the house picking up toys, doing dishes, or folding laundry. I know she’s safe enough to not be right next to me and I have an open living space so I can keep an eye on her. Since I put her here at her happiest, she doesn’t mind if I’m not within arms reach for a bit.
*I was going to provide a link to Target, which is which is where it was sold, but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Any kind of sit and play toy will work for this station. Don’t forget to use this Target link for free shipping if you want to buy something baby related. And get your REDcard first! There’s an ad in the sidebar and/or footer (at the time this post was published).
Station 2. Ready to Explore on the Floor
In this station, I set a blanket on the floor with some of her favorite toys. At 6 months old she’s really into smacking toys to make noise and putting them in her mouth to make sure they taste okay. Then, she might let herself lie back and play with a smaller toy in her hands. I don’t do this as the first station because sitting like this after she eats will often make her spit up. My older kids will sit and play with her too, and I’ll often sit right behind her on the couch while I watch a little TV and update my social media pages.
Station 3. Crazy Baby in a Walker
I can’t quite remember what my other two children were like in a walker, but Little Miss A. is a crazy woman! She runs like she’s going to take off flying! She’s really starting to grab cabinet doors, open drawers, put her mouth on chairs and push over the trash can…so it’s definitely important to keep a close eye on her. I have her walker set up in the kitchen so she can roll around while I’m fixing a meal, typing on my laptop, or getting a snack. But I have to watch my toes. She has no concept yet of the word No! Or, Ouch!
Station 4. Bedroom Music and Balls
When Miss A. gets tired of running into the trash bin, we head into her bedroom to relax and play a little. She got this fun new ball pit for babies on Christmas and she likes to listen to a toy piano I put on the floor. I sit behind her and rock in the chair and talk to her while she plays, drools all over, and smacks all the balls.
Station 5. And the Little One Said, Roll Over, Roll Over
The last station comes when Little Miss A. is starting to get pretty restless. At 6 months now, she’s frustrated because she really wants to move but hasn’t quite figured out how. I feel it’s important for her to have time where she lies on her own and practices rolling over, lifting her knees, and trying to crawl. Sometimes we will do this in her crib. The mobile makes her happy and she rolls side to side, pushing off the bars with her little feet. Other times, while I’m putting away clothes in my bedroom, I’ll lay a big blanket on the floor, put her in the middle and let her try to explore. She’s still getting frustrated after trying and not moving as far as she would like, but I feel letting her fuss a little is a good way to motivate her. Sometimes I’ll put a toy she really likes not too far from her so she can try to reach it. She gets pretty cranky, but she pushes those little knees and finally grabs it! I’m so proud of how far she’s come!
Okay, I gotta know. What do you do in your house to entertain the baby and still get stuff done?!