When my Henry arrived last January we were in the thick of wintertime in Milwaukee. While I’d experienced winter in the Midwest before, I had never done it with a newborn. As much as I love my house, after a few weeks at home with my son I started to get cabin fever. I needed to get out. Unfortunately, the temperatures outside didn’t make it super conducive. That’s why I set out to find a few ways to help make it through the brutal winter. So, if you’re a new or expecting parent who is getting a bit stir crazy, have no fear! I am here to share some of the ways I survived the chilly temps and kept my sanity with a teeny, tiny human by my side.
Disclaimer – Keep in mind that while this list may feel ambitious for a blurry eyed, sleep deprived, new parent, I was no wonder woman gallivanting around MKE last winter. In fact, most days I set my sights on getting out of the house for one little adventure but many days I barely made it out of my pajamas.
Fill Your Calendar
Milwaukee is fortunate to have lots of resources for parents. Just because your baby is small doesn’t mean you should feel like you can’t attend many of these events. Often when H was little, we would attend story time at the East Library just so I could be around other parents (aka, adults). There are so many wonderful playgroups, music classes and free events throughout the city. These activities are not only great for baby but also a wonderful way for moms and parents to connect.
Go Somewhere Warm
Newborns may be tough at times but the beauty of a newborn is that they are easily transported from place to place. Most newborns sleep a ton, and as long as you’re cool with feeding in public, I highly recommend getting out of the house and going somewhere warm. When H was little I would place him in his infant car seat and take him all over Milwaukee with me. Whether it’s heading to your favorite coffee shop, to the free day at the Milwaukee Art Museum or perhaps to the Public Market for lunch with a friend. Bundle up the babe and take yourself window shopping at Mayfair Mall or hit up the Tropical Dome at the Mitchell Park Conservatory. As hard as it may be, even getting out of the house for a few hours every few days can be incredibly helpful to lift your spirits and (somewhat) enjoy these chilly months.
Those dark winter months in Milwaukee can take a real toll on the psyche. Adding a newborn to the mix can make things even more challenging. One of the best ways I found to fight the winter blues was to get up and be active. While I did wait for clearance from my doctor to do anything more than a walk, I found that getting my heart rate up consistently made me feel better about taking on the day ahead.
Once you’re in the clear to get real sweaty, remember that many gyms in Milwaukee offer excellent childcare. If you can handle it at that age, leaving your baby with professionals can be a good way to make sure you’re getting a little break and doing something nice for yourself.
If gym memberships are out of your budget, I’m a big advocate for bundling up (and yes, I did this with my newborn) and taking your babe for a walk. I know the temperatures can be a bit frightening but you’d be surprised what a few good layers can do. If you’re looking for something more indoors, try free online workout classes like Bikini Body Mommy. Or, join up with one of the great parent workout groups like MommyFit Milwaukee and Brookfield/Tosa Fit 4 Mom.
Find Support and a Kindred Spirit
Milwaukee is very lucky; both major women’s hospital systems – Aurora (West Allis & Grafton) and Columbia St. Mary’s – offer weekly support/play groups for parents. These groups are filled with veteran and first time parents of children under fifteen months of age. The newborn stage was especially hard for me, so finding a safe place where I could confide in and connect with other parents was truly my saving grace in those cold winter months. What’s more, these groups are run by experienced health care professionals (nurses and lactation consultants), so if you have concerns or worries regarding parenthood or your babe, they are there to support and answer your questions!