First Time Mom Reflections: In Your Face!

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When Brayden was a baby, I really had no idea what I should be doing so far as face time with him. If he was awake, I literally felt guilty–pure guilt–if I was not in front of him and interacting.

I would sing songs, make faces, read books, talk, try to get him to smile, take pictures…I wouldn’t do anything but focus all attention on him when he was awake. 

It is no wonder I was so tired and found it hard to get things done…

And the poor kid! He never had a moment of peace! When I think of how overly stimulated he must have been….oh boy. 

As he got older, I came around. I started to implement independent play around 6-7 months. He was not happy to suddenly not be entertained by me at all moments of the day, but he worked up to 30 minutes of playing happily (until he started standing at 8 or 9 months…that story is told in the independent play posts). 

With my girls, I was a lot more balanced. I allowed them to play while I watched and without me being in their faces or even talking to them. I let them have some peace. I knew they would not feel completely neglected if they had only the pleasure of their own company sometimes. They were always very content babies, and I am sure it is largely in part because I didn’t spend all of their waking hours in their faces. 

Was anyone else an “in your facer”? 

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valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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13 Comments

  1. Jessica
    November 23, 2010 / 6:07 PM

    I don't have previous experience; I'm a first time mom and my son is only 7 weeks old. However, my sister-in-law told me about your blog while I was pregnant (she has two boys, 2 years and 10 mos; she has found you invaluable!) and I read your posts about independent play when he was only two weeks old. Since then, I try to give him 5 minutes of independent play per wake-time. I put him in his infant seat while I do the dishes or in his crib if I'm putting laundry away in his nursery, that sort of thing. Sometimes he spends the whole wake-time in his infant seat, after he's done eating – what a neglectful mom! ; ) Just kidding. He loves it! I believe he'll appreciate the times that we're playing and cuddling more because there he has contrast. It definitely makes those times more special to me; I don't feel burdened by having to entertain him 24/7. It's just like the pay off from him taking regular naps in his crib as opposed to needing me as some sort of sleep prop – I'm excited to see him when he wakes up and he me. :)I love your blog – I've found it to be invaluable as well these last 7 weeks. I know it will help me out for weeks to come! Blessings and thanks for all your work here! 🙂

  2. Laura Stiller
    November 23, 2010 / 6:26 PM

    I have a 4 month old and find it hard to find a balance between face time and independent time! I too feel guilty if I let him play on his activity mat too long by himself. Haha – the woes of being a first-time mom! So glad to read I'm not the only one!

  3. Aubrey Jane
    November 23, 2010 / 8:47 PM

    I have a 6.5 month old who LOVES his independent play time. In fact, he often wakes up from naps and spends 30-45 minutes just talking to himself in the crib and playing with his blanket. I am a very bubbly, social person and a Human Development major so you can imagine how "in your face" I am by nature. Have you seen "The Incredibles?" You know the babysitter who brings all the toys and says, "Who's ready for some intellectual stimulation?" Yah, my parents and husband always laugh and say that's me. I think my future children will be grateful that their oldest sibling is so naturally independent, because it has caused me to really work to respect his space and interact with him in small bits throughout the day – taking cues from him. The thing that has helped me find a balance is watching my baby closely to understand his temperament and interests. I really believe that babies are born with their own personalities already in tact and it is our job as parents to understand and support those personalities as they blossom. Thanks for sharing your experience because I am certain that there are a many new mothers in this same boat.

  4. Kristin
    November 23, 2010 / 9:03 PM

    I've had to work on this too, but the other way: I'm not naturally an "in your face" type and I tend to leave my DD be and let her be on her own more. Not in a neglectful way, of course, but I'm not the talker/entertainer. That's my husband! We actually balance each other out as I see how he is with her and I step it up a bit at times, while he has to tone it down.

  5. Kevin and Bekah
    November 24, 2010 / 5:26 PM

    At 8 weeks I backed off and made sure our little Bug had full feedings, and wasn't overstimulated with bells, whistles, and me in her faces, and she started napping longer. We talk and giggle right after her feeding and then she often plays by herself talk to herself in the mirror. It also allows me to be more productive around the house.

  6. Plowmanators
    December 7, 2010 / 6:04 PM

    Jessica, you are welcome and thanks for your comment!

  7. Plowmanators
    December 7, 2010 / 6:06 PM

    Thanks everyone for your comments and you are all welcome!

  8. Plowmanators
    December 7, 2010 / 6:06 PM

    Very interesting Kristin. Thanks for sharing that!

  9. Plowmanators
    December 7, 2010 / 6:07 PM

    Excellent point Bekah. They get over stimulated so easily.

  10. Kelly S
    January 15, 2012 / 3:20 PM

    I am so thankful for your blog! I'm a first-time mom of a 9-week old. I've been having the exact same guilt feeling if I'm not trying to entertain my little guy during his whole wake time. This is refreshing to read.

  11. Plowmanators
    January 30, 2012 / 11:45 PM

    Glad to help 🙂

  12. Carito
    September 28, 2012 / 9:07 AM

    Hello, I am new in this site, and I am really excited to read your advices. I hope to find answers to some of my questions about my DD schedule and wake up times at night. Thanks

  13. Christy Bateman Mathatas
    February 7, 2013 / 10:27 PM

    Ohmygosh, I am glad to find I am not the only one who feels guilty if she's not putting on a three-ring circus every wake time! Totally. If I leave him alone a little bit his wake time extends sometimes by 30 minutes! Whoops!

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