Can't remember what you did in the last hour? You're not alone, Mommy. "Most of the time, we're on autopilot," says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. As a new mom, you're likely to be overtired, overwhelmed, over-everythinged. "But by bringing our attention to whatever it is we're doing with our children, instead of being lost in thought, life gets more alive -- we have more of an ability to remember what is happening," says Winston, coauthor of Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness. Discover these easy ways to tune in to your tot, no matter how insane your day is.During nursing sessions, take mindful breaths.
Be aware of your inhalations and exhalations, and the sensations you're feeling while you nurse. Observe Baby's breaths too. "It's natural for your mind to drift," Winston says. "Just return it to the experience of being with her."When rocking your sweetie, focus on your movement.
Consider the feeling of his snuggly body nestled against your chest, says Larissa Duncan, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco. Warning: may cause you to repeatedly kiss the top of his head.Zen out as you stroll.
Notice the sensation of your feet against the sidewalk, the wind against your skin. Take in the sounds and sights and watch Baby noticing them too. When random thoughts pop up (what you're making for lunch, the latest Real Housewives dust-up), acknowledge and then dismiss them. If you spend even part of your walk trying to be mindful, you're doing it right. The point isn't to remember every detail but to train your brain to live in the present so that important moments become more memorable.Follow her lead.
"Babies have an incredible sense of being fully present, so when I felt disconnected as a new mom, I would tune in to whatever my daughter was doing," Winston says. "It would quickly take me away from my concerns and bring me right into the moment." Whether she's gurgling at the cat or shaking a rattle, get down on her level and share the wonder (and don't let the tumbleweed-like dust bunnies under the sofa distract you).Embrace your excitement.
During really big events -- like your munchkin's first steps -- tap into the joy and pride you're feeling. Then call a friend to share and keep the bliss train going.Just after she dozes off, linger by the crib.
Study her relaxed face. "Reflect on how hard your child is working to learn the ways of the world and how hard you're working to be the best parent you can be," Dr. Duncan says. "When things get tough, call on the memory of those peaceful moments."