A Day In the Life of a Stay-At-Home Mom of a 9-Month-Old

Morning

Most mornings, I wake up around 7:15, usually to the first (I assume) sounds of Louise stirring over the monitor.  For better or worse, so far our baby girl is a lot like her dad and enjoys waking up very slowly in the mornings.  While this currently has its pros (that I’ll share here), I can imagine the downsides this will have when she’s running late for school in just a few short years.  My morning routine counts on Louise’s 10 minutes to open her eyes and adjust to a new day before she expects anyone to come get her and help from my husband, James.

7:15 – Wake up and get myself ready for the day.  Since I shower at night, this means brushing my teeth and hair, putting in my contacts, putting on deodorant, checking the weather, and getting dressed for the day.

7:25 – James gets up and gets himself ready for the day while I go greet Louise and change her diaper.  Sometimes she gets dressed for the day now; other days we wait until after her morning nap.

7:30 – Quickly feed the dog breakfast, let her outside, and put my breast pump together while Louise fusses from her jumper.  Note: do not leave Louise’s sight, in order to avoid a meltdown!  

7:40 – Breastfeed the baby.  We’re lucky that Louise has always been a fairly efficient eater (for breastmilk at least), so she’s usually done within 10-15 minutes.  James usually finishes getting ready and joins us downstairs while Louise is eating.  He turns on the coffee pot (which we prepped the night before!) and usually empties the dishwasher while he waits for it to brew. You might wonder why I don’t turn the coffeemaker on when I first come downstairs…  Two reasons: 1) I don’t want the coffee to cool off while James is still getting ready (of course, this is the main reason…), and 2) the brewing time a convenient 5-10 minute wait during which a quick task can be done by James, with a great reward at the finish line.

7:55 – Pump for 10-15 minutes.  I don’t do this every day, but my milk supply ebbs and flows.  Part of our evening routine is that James gets to feed Louise her bedtime milk, and I don’t always get enough when I pump in the evening to fill her bottle.  So I often will pump for a few minutes right after she eats in the morning to finish filling her bottle for later that night.  During this time, Louise is either playing in my lap and I’m trying to keep her from chewing on the breast pump hoses, or she’s playing in a play yard in our living room, where she can safely have independent play.  James is often making my latte for me and prepping a quick breakfast for us.

8:10 – Breakfast for me and James, with Louise playing in her play yard.

8:30 – Clean up our breakfast and prep Louise’s 2nd breakfast, her morning solid food.  She doesn’t eat much most mornings, so this usually is something like: half of a diced avocado, baby oatmeal with berry puree, half a diced banana, or a scrambled egg with cheese.

8:40 – Feed the baby.  This takes forever!  Well, 20-30 minutes may not be forever, but it can feel tedious when I’m trying to engage her and ignore my phone or any other entertainment devices.  Sometimes James will read the news out loud to both of us, unless he’s already starting his workday.

9:05 – More play time.  After Louise finishes eating breakfast, we usually play together for about 15 minutes, maybe letting her crawl throughout the first floor of the house to work out some energy before her nap, or practicing walking.

9:20 – Pre-nap routine.  Louise usually starts to slow down after just a short play period and begins sending signals for her morning nap.  We go up to her room, change her diaper, read a story, hum/sing a lullaby, put her in her crib, turn on the white noise machine, blow her a kiss from the doorway, and close the door.

9:30 – Louise naps!  Freedom!  Also the perfect time to carry a load of dirty laundry downstairs to the washer, clean up Louise’s breakfast dishes (a surprisingly high number), and then settle in to finish my coffee (than goodness for my zojirushi travel mug to keep it piping hot) and write a blog post or take care of other chores.

A lot of mom blogs write about starting their days much earlier than the kids in order to maximize time to accomplish tasks without interruption.  I admire those moms’ commitment to waking up so early.  Luckily for us, with just one baby (so far!), waking up with Louise works for us, and lets me get a little more much needed sleep before we start the day.

Mid-Day

With a nine month old, we spend most of the day rotating: eating (milk), playing, eating (solids), playing, napping… with a lot of diapers and laundry in between.  In the afternoon, we get some great play time and it usually passes in a blur, until about 4:30, when we look at the clock and realize we’re still half an hour from James being done with work to join us.  

11:00 – Louise wakes up from her morning nap around 11.  After changing her diaper, she breastfeeds what we’ve deemed ‘first lunch.’  

11:15 – Now that Louise is crawling, this playtime period is great for doing little chores on one floor of the house while Louise follows me around.  We put up baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs once she started getting mobile to keep her safe.  There are still some hazards throughout the house, but at the very least, she’s protected from the stairs.  Upstairs, I might take care of changing her linens (crib sheet, changing mat cover, boppy cover) once a week, gathering our used towels to wash, or straightening different areas that collect ‘stuff.’  Once downstairs, Louise is free to crawl-run up and down the long hall runner while I move laundry, pay bills, or straighten other ‘stuff’ areas.

12:00 – Louise eats her second lunch of solids: maybe a piece of turkey, some cheese, mashed lentils and carrots, raspberries, puffs, whatever she can get her hands on.  She loves feeding herself now, so we consider ourselves lucky if she eats 1-2 ounces of something off a spoon and then she’ll feed herself bite size pieces of anything else.

12:30 – Louise plays in her play yard independently while I make lunch for myself (and James if he’s working from home, like during quarantine).  This is also a short respite, where even though tv isn’t recommended for young children, we might turn it on for a half hour to a show we like while eating our lunch.  Like any child, she sometimes gets captured by the flashing lights, but more often nowadays, she checks it out for a few seconds and then continues playing with her toys in her play yard.  

1:30 – Louise goes for her second nap around 1:30, so we do our usual naptime routine a few minutes before that, or when she starts to give some tired signals, like rubbing her eyes, fussing, tugging an ear, quieting from her play.  Her afternoon nap time routine is that same as morning: diaper, story, lullaby, crib, white noise machine on, blow a kiss at the door, and again, freedom!  I try to take care of things like: weekly planning, making those phone calls I’ve been putting off, and projects that require two hands and most of my attention to accomplish.  

3:00 – She’s awake again!  We change her diaper and breastfeed.  Sometimes Louise wakes up early from this nap crying, particularly now, while she’s learning how to stand and wanting to move around more.  If that happens, we keep the lights off and white noise machine on while I check her diaper and then feed her.  Sometimes she is willing to go back to sleep for a little longer, but I’m afraid she’s quickly outgrowing this and more often wants to be awake and moving after a quick energy boost!

3:30 – Play time! This is also a good time to let Louise follow me around the kitchen while I do some prep for dinner.  She’s curious about everything, and we haven’t fully baby proofed this part of the house yet, so sometimes this dinner prep just includes opening the fridge and figuring out what’s in it for that night, but hey!  It’s good to at least have a plan!

4:00 – Louise eats solids again.  I try to vary what she gets throughout the day so that it’s not the same meal she had for lunch, though each meal is often just a little bit of several different things.  This time, it could be sweet potato fries, cauliflower tots, peanut butter toast, some cooked salmon, yellow squash bites (her favorite!), and some baby cheese puffs.

4:30 – More play time!  Towards the end of the day, Louise starts to need a little more attention.  When she’s well rested, she’ll play independently for 10-20 minutes with limited support, but when she’s more tired, at the end of the day, playing together is often my best chance at avoiding a meltdown.  

Evening

Evening is all about connection and relaxation for our family.  We spend much of this time all together sharing the details of our day.

5:15 – Family walk!  Weather permitting (read: not 90 degrees or heavily raining), once James finishes work for the day, we’ll go for a 2-3 mile walk around the neighborhood.  This is our chance to reconnect as a family, talk about our days, talk about our aspirations, and unwind.  She hasn’t told me this in so many words yet, but Louise sees this as the start of her bedtime relaxation process.  She loves to be in the stroller or baby carrier to see the sights and feel the breeze on her skin.

6:00 – Bottle goes in the warmer and Louise goes for a bath.  We give her a ‘real bath’ (with soap and hair washing) every other night (unless she has sunscreen on, in which case we always wash it off), and we do a ‘fake bath’ on the other nights.  Fake baths consist of filling her baby tub with warm water, letting her relax or plan in it for 5-10 minutes, and gently washing her face, hands, armpits, and diaper area with a wet washcloth.  She doesn’t need a soapy bath every night, but we think the routine of the bath helps her get into the bedtime mindset.  It also helps us delay her while the bottle warms up.  James and I used to both bathe Louise together, especially when we were brand new parents and terrified of a horrific accident, but as she got bigger, sitting up on her own, James often does the bath himself, while I take care of a few little chores.  During this time, I’ll move a load of laundry, pick up any toys in Louise’s room, and begin pumping for tomorrow night’s bottle.  I use the Ameda Mya breast pump, which is very small and battery powered, to allow me to move through the house and take care of simple things

6:15 – After the bath, James will dress Louise with a fresh diaper, often some A&D cream for a protective barrier overnight, and a footed sleeper.  We give her a vitamin D drop and some probiotic drops (discuss with your pediatrician before beginning a regimen like this), while I bring her warmed bottle upstairs.

6:20 – James feeds Louise her bottle, while I pump.  Sometimes I wait to pump until after she goes to bed.  If that’s the case, this is a good time that I can fold and put away a load of Louise’s laundry while James and I talk softly and Louise drinks her bottle.

6:45 – After Louise finishes her bottle, I usually kiss her good night and leave the room.  James reads a story to her, turns on her white noise machine, and gets her to bed, humming his own lullaby to her before lowering her into her crib and leaving the room.  

7:00 – We finish making dinner for ourselves and relax with some television or work on personal projects we couldn’t get to during the day.

9:00 – Usually a little after 9, we’ll finish up a tv show and then do some prep for the next day.  You can find those details in my Routines post, but notably, it includes washing all the dishes to give us a clean kitchen for the next day, including sterilizing my pump parts and bottles and moving to a drying rack, pulling food for Louise from the freezer for the next day, and prepping the coffeemake to get that caffeine boost in the morning as easily as possible.  I could imagine a lot of young women thinking “They go to bed at 9 o’clock?  Really?”  And the answer is, yes!  While we don’t actually go to sleep at 9pm, having that as a trigger to start shutting everything down for the night helps us ensure we are able to consistently get to sleep between 10 and 11, so I can get my 8 hours and enjoy waking up with my little one in the morning. 

I hope this gives you a little glimpse into a day in the life of our household.  Some of the rituals of the day get a bit monotonous, but I know just as soon as I’m really comfortable, Louise will keep on growing, and we’ll be doing something differently tomorrow.  Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed she holds onto that second nap for several more months, and continues to happily eat, play, and grow!

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