Taking Baby to Therapy Tips
In the months after you become a parent, it’s easy to let therapy slide. After you grow accustomed to life with a little one, it’s time to think about taking baby to therapy. After all, you’ve just gone through a major life change — your therapist can help you work through the process. If you’re dealing with postpartum depression, it’s even more important to keep up regular sessions.
For many parents, therapy is a place to work through issues and emotions; with that in mind, you might be nervous to take your little one along. While this is certainly worth discussing with your therapist, there’s usually no need to worry. In fact, it can be informative for your therapist to see how you’re interacting with your little one. Plus, when you can’t find a babysitter — or you aren’t comfortable leaving your child alone with someone else quite yet — taking baby to therapy can ensure that you’re taking care of yourself. When you’re feeling whole and healthy, you’re better able to care for your child.
How to Take Your Baby to Therapy
1. Decide When You Feel Ready
Becoming a parent can be an emotional and stressful time in your life. It’s normal to feel fragile, both mentally and physically. To ensure that you’re comfortable and calm, do an honest self-evaluation before taking baby to therapy. You might prefer to go alone for a few sessions, or you might feel better taking your newborn along right away. By getting clear on your priorities, you’ll be able to express your desires clearly when scheduling appointments.
2. Talk to Your Therapist
Before you lug your little one to a session, it’s a good idea to call and chat with your therapist. Based on your individual situation, they may have opinions about taking baby to therapy. If you both agree that you’re ready to move ahead, ask for recommendations. The therapist may want to observe you interacting with your little one; in that case, you might schedule an appointment for when the baby is likely to be awake. If it’s more important to focus on you, it might be better to plan around nap time. Either way, getting on the same page is a good way to make you feel comfortable about the appointment.
Is your therapist resistant to having a baby in the room? It’s important to talk through the reasons. If the therapist is persistent, but you don’t have any options for childcare, it might be time to look for another doctor. After all, you can’t focus on your own mental health if you’re struggling to pay for a babysitter or feeling resentful about the situation. Another alternative would be to do phone or video chat sessions from home during baby’s naps.
3.Stock Your Diaper Bag
The key to taking baby to therapy successfully is to make sure you have every possible need covered. That way, if your little one needs a diaper change or spits up all over, you can take care of it and get back to work.
First, consider the time. Between leaving the house, driving to the office, parking, waiting for your session, and driving home, you’re probably looking at at least two hours. If something goes wrong, you could be delayed for longer. That’s why it’s crucial to overpack. Load your diaper bag or a backpack with the following supplies:
- Diapers and wipes
- Ointments and medications
- A change of clothing
- Jacket and blanket
- A bottle and formula or nursing cover
- A rattle or toys
- Foldable changing pad
As you’re packing, remember to take more than you’ll need. When you have extra supplies on hand, you can relax knowing that everything’s covered — then, you can focus on therapy. Plus, you won’t need to worry about looking around for another diaper.
4. Allow Extra Time
Therapy sessions can be emotionally draining — it doesn’t help to arrive feeling flustered or rushed. That’s why it’s important to leave plenty of time when taking baby to therapy. By leaving earlier than you need to, you’ll have time to do one last diaper change or feeding before you go into your session.
Visiting a new therapist? Allow even more time. Even better, do a quick dry run of the route without your child before the appointment. Look at the parking situation, see how far it is from the car to the office, and check out potential traffic issues. If you notice that it’s a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the therapist’s area, you might decide to bring a stroller instead of carrying the baby.
5. Keep Baby Comfortable
The easiest way to get the most from your therapy session is to keep your baby comfortable. How are you planning on taking baby to therapy? Keep in mind that if you carry the baby or use a sling, you’ll need to hold on the entire session. Instead, consider taking along a car seat or a stroller; simply pick the one that your child is most comfortable in. During therapy, you can rock the car seat or roll the stroller gently to soothe your baby.
Clothing is another important factor in keeping baby comfortable. Make sure that you choose an outfit that’s warm without being too hot for the car ride and the walk into the office. If your therapist’s office is often cool, add a sweater for extra warmth. It’s also a good idea to clip your little one’s favorite pacifier to the car seat for self-soothing.
Once you’re set up in the therapist’s office, choose a spot that’s easy on your child. Avoid air vents and brightly lit places. You might set the baby near the sofa, or tuck the car seat into a warm, dim corner of the office. As long as you can see clearly, it’s easy to keep an eye on your little one.
6. Go With the Flow
When you’re taking baby to therapy for the first time, it’s safe to expect a few hiccups. Your child might cry, or you may need to deal with a diaper change mid-session. This is normal — instead of getting anxious, do your best to go with the flow. After all, your therapist knows that babies are human.
Feeling worried about taking baby to therapy? It can be helpful to think through all of the things that could go wrong in advance. Then, figure out how you’ll handle them. If you’re worried that your child will get sick, save the address of the nearest hospital in your phone. Concerned about crying? Call your therapist in advance and ask how they’d like you to handle this situation. Not sure if you’ll be able to find parking in the main lot? Check out the nearby parking lots so you have an alternative in mind. By anticipating and solving potential problems in advance, you can worry less about the unknown.
When you’re a new parent, maintaining your therapy schedule is an essential part of self-care and mental health. After all, when you’re feeling strong, you’re better prepared to take care of your tiny child. With a plan and the right doctor, taking baby to therapy can be a soothing, healthy experience for everyone.