Mindful with a newborn. Is it even possible? What if I shared a methodology that would enable you to get into a rhythm at home with your newborn that creates consistency, a little time for self-care, and a flow that calms you and your baby.
Babies, like all of us, love to know what comes next. That is why following a rhythm at home with your baby creates that consistency and predictability while also giving your baby what they crave most – your presence and your attention. I know what you’re thinking, how do you follow a pattern when everything feels so unpredictable? Bear with me.
Even early on, your baby is communicating with you. The more you can observe your babies cues and patterns, the more easily you can begin to anticipate their needs and get into a rhythm.
That is what mindfulness is all about. Being able to pause, observe, and respond in an intentional way. Like you’re in flow – riding the waves that take you up and down with ease so you can return to center – where you have greater clarity of the next best step to take.
By simply observing and responding in a nourishing, consistent way you are creating an atmosphere at home that your baby will thrive in. The following NEST method will help you do just that.
Science backs it up
Creating this positive and predictable environment has overwhelming benefits beyond just having your baby be more content and less overstimulated. New research shows that by simply responding to your baby in a nourishing, consistent, and predictable way contributes to their healthy brain development and bonding because they learn early on that their needs will be met.
NEST Method – Creating a Rhythm at Home with your New Baby
NEST is a practical methodology and set of techniques to help families create a rhythm and a positive and predictable atmosphere at home that helps babies and children thrive.
NEST is an acronym for the components of the method: Nurture, Energize, Sleep, and Tend to.
By NESTing, you prepare yourself and your environment in a way that creates that consistency and predictability while also giving your baby what they crave most – your presence!
NEST Method Explained
NEST is a rhythm that you can follow throughout the day. Different than a routine that is more rigid, a rhythm allows you to create a positive flow that works well with babies:
- Nurture. To nurture is to care for the growth and development of your baby and it’s integral. The time feeding your baby is doing more than providing sustenance, it is comfort, consistency and has benefits for you and baby. It’s also a reminder to nurture yourself as much as you nurture your baby..
- Energize. There will be certain activities throughout your day that give you energy and other ones that take that energy away. The Energize element reminds you to weave in some activity, movement, or anything energy-giving, especially after eating/nurturing. As we mentioned earlier, being observant of what is working goes along way. Begin to observe and watch for cues of what types of activities energize you and your baby and bring it into your day. A walk, soms stretching, dancing. Whatever feels good… weave it in while listening to your body. This is a sensitive time and remember to have grace for yourself as you are healing and just do the amount that feels good to you.
- Sleep. A positive sleep routine is good for your baby’s development and temperament. Contrary to some widely held beliefs, sleep begets sleep. Good naps during the day make for longer stretches at night, because one needs to be relaxed to sleep well. When your baby sleeps, so can you. It’s never too early to begin a routine around sleep – lower lights, soften sounds, create a dedicated sleep space, swaddle that baby up and be consistent. Baby will have their stages and developments that challenge it, but even through leaps, stay consistent and baby will move through regressions and transitions with more ease.
- Tend. Last is tend – or give attention to. We’ve talked about what it is that your baby needs more than anything – it’s your attention. Tending to your baby is the most loving thing you can do. It’s just as important to tend to yourself. Notice what you need to feel good and tend to it to make it happen. If baby is asleep, use this time to do something that fills you up. Maybe it’s sleep, maybe it’s a shower or walk or sitting down to a meal. Carving time for you into your routine helps ensure you aren’t overlooked.
Getting into Your Own NEST Rhythm
Allow NEST to evolve and grow as your baby does. Following this NEST pattern throughout your day will lead to a rhythm and positive and predictable environment that babies thrive in.
Remember that before around three months, your baby is not able to soothe themselves and need you to do it for them. That means you can’t over-hold, soothe, and comfort them. However, around three months, with some teaching, they learn to self-soothe, show even more cues, and are able to sleep longer stretches. It’s the optimal time to get even more structured with NEST.
Follow the NEST rhythm through out the day and see how your presence, attention, and consistency has you and your baby feeling better and more mindful.
Learn more at the Nourish Method.
Lindsay has an M.A. in writing, is a certified postpartum doula and group facilitator, and trained as a mindfulness and spiritual guide. Through her writing, classes, and meditations, she leads people, especially families in transition, to experience wholeness and harmony in their personal and family life. Lindsay is co-author of Peaceful Mama, the Mind, Body, and Baby Connection and co-creator of the Nourish Method for incorporating mindfulness at home. Learn more and subscribe to her Life Meditations Podcast at LindsayAmbrose.com.