3 Mindfulness Tips for Going Out with Your Baby (or Toddler, or Middle Schooler ;)
By Josephine Atluri
So you’re finally ready to head out the door with your Kibou packed and your baby in tow? Amazing! That’s definitely worth celebrating considering the challenges that often come with getting a baby ready to go out. The lead up to this moment can be a flurry of activity involving many last minute tasks and perhaps some tears from baby and/or parent. So anytime you’ve actually made it out of your home, you deserve a high five!
Once you are out in the world, however, it might feel hard to shake off the stress that crept up on you while you were getting ready. It’s important to release any tension so you have the capacity to enjoy the moment. Yet, how do you go from being totally worked up to feeling calm and present in a matter of minutes? A strategy that has worked for me as a mom of 7 and for my mindfulness clients is the Pause - Pivot - Presence technique.
Following these three steps will help you move past the stress of the past and into the beauty of the present moment with your baby. No longer have a baby? These steps still apply, promise.
STEP 1: PAUSE
Getting out of the house is a huge step when you have a baby. So once you’ve made it out the door, take a moment of silence to create a bit of separation between getting ready and being outside. During this pause, take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale let out a huge sigh of relief via your mouth. Repeat this same exaggerated breath as many times as you need to decompress. You can even accentuate this breath by dropping your shoulders as you sigh.
Whenever you feel ready, allow your breath to return to a slow inhale and exhale. Every breath you take during this quick pause brings you closer to an inner calm that we all have within us. Every slow, deep breath sends a signal to your brain that you are no longer in a fight or flight situation. Your natural defenses can come down as you are now safe and can relax. The beauty of this transition is that you made the choice to do this. It’s empowering to know that you have the ability to soothe your mind and body.
STEP 2: PIVOT
Now that you’ve moved yourself into a calmer state through the manipulation of your breath, you can pivot physically and mentally to the next part of your day. The physical part of this step is something you’ve already done. You’ve moved yourself from one environment to another. Physically removing yourself from a triggering experience is actually a strategy that can be useful in many situations like addiction recovery. Sometimes a change in scenery can do wonders for our state of being.
In many instances (outside of addiction recovery), a physical pivot can be a lot easier than a mental pivot. Changing one’s mindset can be pretty tough, especially if you’re dead set on feeling upset. To steer your mind into a more positive direction, try employing an intention, an affirmation or a mantra. When you’re going out with your child, an apt mantra or grounding phrase that you can repeat in your mind is, “I am moving past earlier events with my head held up high. I am releasing the weight of that experience so I can make room for the possibilities of the present moment with my baby.” This beautiful reminder gives you permission to let go of the past and enjoy your time with your child.
STEP 3: PRESENCE
Now that you’ve used your breath to move into a calmer state and pivoted your physical body and mindset, you are now able to experience the present moment with your child. To fully experience your time together, here are some mindfulness tips worth trying:
- Establish a conscious connection with your child by looking directly into their eyes, especially if they are talking or babbling. Physical cues like eye contact inform our children of our intentions and mood. It sets the tone for your little one.
- Put your phone on vibrate or silent mode so you can fully experience the moment with your child without the distractions that come with carrying a device. If you want to avoid being distracted about time constraints, set an alarm for your uninterrupted quality time with your child.
- When you find yourself getting distracted, give yourself grace. Then reel yourself back into the moment by repeating the mantra, “Be here now. Let’s enjoy this time together.”
So when you’re packing up all the essentials and have a fussy baby in your arms, remember that you now have a strategy in your arsenal to get you calm and present quickly. A Kibou bag + the 3 P’s will make you one prepared parent on the go!
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Josephine is a certified meditation coach and corporate mindfulness teacher. Further informing her work, Josephine’s experience creating her modern day family of seven children via In Vitro fertilization, international adoption and surrogacy inspires her work as a highly sought-after fertility and parenting mindfulness coach.
Josephine has been featured in the L.A. Times, MindBodyGreen, Motherly, Prevention, The Bump, Well+Good, and Woman’s Day as an expert on parenting mindfulness and fertility advocacy. She is the author of the book, “Mindfulness Journal for Parents.” Her new book, “5 Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy” was just released on May 3, 2022. Josephine also hosts a popular podcast, “Responding to Life: Talking Health, Fertility, & Parenthood,” where she interviews guests on their inspiring responses to life’s challenges.