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The Art of Sitting Still

Once the adrenaline from birth has faded and the buzz surrounding baby’s arrival has quieted, you ?may find yourself facing an unforeseen, and often undiscussed, challenge of brand-new parenthood: boredom. The baby books usually skip this topic?who wants to read a chapter called “The Monotony of Motherhood”??but it’s a key part of these first weeks with baby. You’re on what seems like an endless loop of nurse-burp-rock-repeat, and the sameness may initially be quite challenging, tedious, even.

In fact, when your partner goes back to work and the stream of visitors slows to a trickle, you may find that your role as primary caretaker for a helpless, miniature human being requires a level of stamina that surpasses bouncing your wailing wee one for more than an hour on a rubbery exercise ball or making it through five days with no more than two consecutive hours of sleep. As the only food source for your baby and his numero-uno path to comfort and security, your job is endless. But?surprise!?your job description neglected to mention that you will spend much of that time sitting.?whether you’re sitting in bed propped up by pillows, sitting on the couch, or sitting in a comfy chair, you will dedicate the bulk of your time during the first forty days with your new baby to feeding him (this goes for bottle-fed babies, too)?which is most easily accomplished in a seated position. If this is your first baby, especially, you may find all this sitting still disconcerting. This is another example of the paradox of the Gateway. These early weeks with baby are inherently stimulating as you activate your mind and intuition in an effort to shape his various cries and movements into some type of decipherable baby language. And they’re emotionally fulfilling as you ride the waves of oxytocin released when you nurse your babe and when you cuddle or kiss her. Yet your time with baby can feel like a marathon of near-nothingness.

As you settle in for yet another nursing session, sitting in the same chair facing the same tree framed by the same window, you may find yourself wondering how the most special time of your life can?also be so boring. Though he’s growing and changing fast, your baby is not the most engaging company. You may feel lonely or antsy or blue.

This is good news! These feelings are signs that you are at an exciting crossroads. You can choose to drown out the simplicity of this time with TV, your smart phone?which should also be kept far?away from baby’s head to prevent exposure to dangerous EMFs?or other distractions, or you?can?use it as an opportunity to be present and give your full attention to the here and now?without?judging it or attaching any kind of story to it. Begin to notice, really notice, as much as you can about each moment with baby in your arms. It may seem like not much is happening?you’re just sitting in a?chair nursing your baby?but every moment contains an entire world of experience. Notice the satisfied little grunts baby makes while nursing. Notice the sound of the wind ruffling the leaves of the tree outside your window. Notice the dull ache in your lower back. Notice the sweetness you feel in your heart when baby plays with your hair or grasps onto your finger. These individual moments add?up to a richer experience than you may have realized. Suddenly what seemed like a whole lot of nothing is actually quite something.

Text copyright ? 2016 by Heng Ou. Amely Greeven, and Marisa Belger

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