Life with a newborn around is undoubtedly exhausting. “Newborns tend to sleep in fits and starts for 16 to 20 hours over a 24-hour period, so it's virtually impossible for a parent to get more than a couple hours of rest at a time. According to Dr. William C. Dement, a physician and sleep specialist, parents of newborns often lose about two hours of sleep per night until the baby is 5 months old. From then until their child hits 2 years old, parents usually lose an hour of sleep each night,” writes Consumer Health Day.
Despite the lack of sleep, the precious first days with a newborn baby are some of the sweetest days of any parents lives. Many parents will look back on those days with bittersweet feelings. And yet, when a new parent is in the midst of those groggy first weeks, it’s hard to appreciate the joyous moments happening in front of their eyes. Luckily, there are some shortcuts that can be taken for both parents and babies. The first shortcut to be aware of is to take it easy and drop any pressure. “...New parenthood is not the time to try to live up to the unrealistic ideal of the 'perfect parent.' Some new moms feel intense pressure to meet their baby's every need, maintain a spotless house, and cook three meals a day -- all while dealing with postpartum physical discomfort and hormone-related mood changes. Letting go of these impossible ideals and asking for help can let new parents relax, rest, and focus on those precious early moments with their baby,” shares ConsumerHealth Day.
Listed below are 20 shortcuts for life with the newborn. For first time parents, or seasoned veterans to parenting, this list is sure to have something for everyone. Luckily there are ways to cut corners when it comes to those first few weeks, so parents can try and appreciate the joyous parts of new parenthood, and maybe even get a little extra sleep.
20 Buy One Size Up Diapers For Nighttime
This one took me a while to learn, so hopefully it will save you some time! Buying diapers that are one size larger than what your baby wears is essential for nighttime. If your baby is in size one diapers, then buy size two diapers to put your baby in at night. The larger diaper will hold more pee and prevent any nighttime leakage. “ If your little one is waking regularly because of a leaky diaper, consider moving up a size (at least at night). Some parents find that this solves the problem completely,” suggests BabySleepSite.com. It is also helpful to be sure and change baby’s diaper right before they fall asleep.
19 Stock Up On Essentials Ahead Of Time
Stocking up on household essentials ahead of time will save you time and stress in the long run. You might want to consider stocking up on the following products; diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, postpartum pads, soap, etc...As far as how much you should stock up on. SleepingShouldBeEasy.com suggests stocking up a one month’s supply. “How much should you stock up for? Aim for at least one month’s worth of supplies. Those first few weeks at home are some of the toughest. Should you need more beyond that, you’ll be in a better place to get them in month two and three, but not so much that first one,” writes SleepingShouldBeEasy.com.
18 Find A Tribe
There’s no tribe like a mom tribe. Finding a crew of ladies you can count on to be in your circle can be such a lifesaver. Everyone needs a bestie to text those awkward motherhood questions and thoughts to. Try a play group or library group to meet other moms. “Moms are everywhere and almost 99% of the time they are eagerly searching for a mom friend just like you. Being in the same stages of life means you get to have friends for your children but the bonus is that you also get to have a friend for yourself. You will text each other for advice, want updates on each other’s kiddos, attend dance parties at the library together (it’s a thing!), and always keep each other close at heart even when your motherly duties keep you busy at home. Those friends will become part of your mom tribe and honey, let me tell you, you need that mom tribe,” writes Today.com.
17 Use The Shop Ahead & Pick-Up Feature At Grocery Stores
No matter how much planning ahead you do, there will inevitably be a need for last minute grocery store runs. And well, you are obviously going to need to be doing some grocery shopping! Luckily grocery shopping is easier than ever. Many department stores are offering order and pick-up services including Wal-Mart and Target. This allows you to shop online and simply go to the store and pick up your products instead of having to stroll through the aisles. It might not seem like a big deal but this service will inevitably save you time and save you from having to stroll the grocery aisles with a possibly cranky baby.
16 Buy A Car Seat (Or Base) For Each Vehicle
Having a car seat in each vehicle is one easy way to save a lot of time daily. If you choose a bucket seat for your newborn to use up until they reach the weight limit, then simply buying an additional base for any other vehicles will do the trick. If you plan to start with a convertible cars eat from the get-go, then you will want to buy one for each vehicle that baby will ride in regularly. Installing said carseats can be intimidating at first, but many certified car seat technicians can help you get everything figured out.
“Attend a safety event sponsored by a Safe Kids Coalition in your area. Safe Kids coalitions lead their communities in reducing child injury and host more than 8,000 free car seat inspection events across the country. Our trained technicians will teach you everything you need to know to make sure your car seat is installed and used correctly. Even if your coalition isn’t sponsoring a car seat event soon, we still might have a technician who can help,” shares Cert.SafeKids.org.
15 Teach Baby The Difference Between Day & Night Right Away
Many babies are born with night and day mixed up. While baby is in the womb, Mom’s daytime movements of being up and moving about tends to lull baby to sleep, which is why many women notice their baby is more active at night while they are pregnant. Once baby is born, the sooner you can teach them the difference, the better for everyone in the household. Baby will obviously still need to get up and be fed and changed in the middle of the night, but you can teach them right away that nighttime is for resting. You’ll quickly notice longer sleeping sessions at night. “Try using different types of interaction for night and day to create clear distinctions between the two for your baby. At night time, you can use blackout blinds to make sure the room remains dark and keep noise to a minimum, so you have a calming, quiet atmosphere,” suggests MotherAndBaby.co.uk.
14 Buy Sleepers with Zippers
You might think that this won’t save you a whole lot of time, but honestly, zippers are a life-saver. No matter your babies age, messing around with the darn snap buttons is never fun and is always a giant pain. Save yourself the trouble and start buying onesies and sleepers with zippers from the get-go. “When it's the middle of the night and I am exhausted and my brain is foggy, I can never get the snaps lined up correctly! I like to be able to just quickly unzip and pull their legs out - that way I can make sure I can wipe well and everything and if there is a blow-out or leakage, it's easier for taking the whole thing off and putting a fresh one on. Just my take, but everyone finds what's easiest for them,” writs one use on TheBump.com.
13 Use Mommy Apps
Luckily we live in a technological world where it is easier than ever to manage things at your fingertips! When you leave the hospital with baby, you will likely be given a check sheet to record baby’s feedings, changings, etc. There are apps available that you can track these things on that will make your life so much easier. I love the Baby Tracker app, it even has options to record naps in addition to pumping sessions. There are a lot of options out there, though, so look around and see what works best for you. There are also apps available to help you track your baby’s development, like the Wonder Weeks app. This will help you understand what is going on with your baby developmentally, making it easier to soothe them and meet their needs.
12 Use Baskets Everywhere
Everyone has a weakness for certain things, and baskets happen to be one of mine! Seriously though, they are so handy for organizing just about everything. Having Diaper changing baskets in each room where you might need to change baby is a great way to save yourself from running up and down the stairs all day. ”Don’t feel like trekking up and down the stairs with a screaming baby with every dirty diaper? Yeah, me neither. Changing tables are great, but the reality is you won’t always be in baby’s room. That’s when diaper caddies come in handy. Caddies make diaper changes mobile and keep everything you need all in one place,” writes MomLovesBest.com. Baskets can also be used for storing baby toys, nursing and feeding supplies, and so much more!
11 Lay Your Outfits Out At Night
Laying out your outfit isn’t just for the first day of school! This chore was something that was an absolute necessity for me to get myself and my baby out the door in the mornings when I needed to go to work.”All members of the family should practice laying out their clothes the night before so that all they have to do in the morning is get dressed,” suggests PopSugar.com. Pick out your outfit and hang it up somewhere it will be easy for you to grab in the mornings, and hang baby’s outfit up near the changing table. It might seem like a small step, but it will save you big time.
10 Clean As You Go
“One thing I’ve learned over the years of trying to keep up with several kids and pets in our home is that if you really want to have a “clean enough house” like I do, you need to find ways to be very efficient and make it a habit to clean as you go. It really isn’t any extra work to clean more often, in fact, it’s actually less work to clean as you go than it is to save up all the work until your house is a giant mess,” writes TheInspiredRoom.net.
I love the clean as you go method, it really does save so much time! For me, cleaning on the go looks like putting away things in the kitchen immediately after they’re used, doing dishes after each meal, and picking up the toys during naptime and after bedtime. Give it a try and see how much time you end up saving at the end of the week.
9 Stay Organized
My entire life my mom insisted that organization is the key to success, and this ethic has been really valuable to me. I am an organization enthusiast, and honestly believe that organizing things can make so many aspects of your life more simple. There’s no better time to get organized than before baby comes! Besides, you will likely have lots of nesting energy pent up and ready to get to work!
“Get organized before the baby comes, since you'll appreciate having a sensible organization solution when your hands are full with your new little one. Choose a closet organization system that has room for tiny clothes and shoes. Make sure there are shelves that can accommodate baskets for small, loose items,” suggests Lowes.com. They add, “Free up space in your kitchen to accommodate bottles, baby food and other kitchen essentials for your little one. Getting organized now with a sensible kitchen scheme will save you time later, when you’ll have to navigate your kitchen with only one free arm.”
8 All The Coffee
Ah, coffee! The glorious nectar that can boost productivity from zero to a hundred in minutes. There is nothing quite like sleepless nights with a newborn, and coffee and caffeine in general is any new parent’s best friend when it comes to the sleep deprivation. Trying to watch your caffeine intake? No worries, just give the coffee beans in the pantry a sniff, science says even that will boost your productivity! “A group of scientists reported that simply inhaling the aroma of coffee can alter the activity of some genes in the brain, reducing the effects of sleep deprivation. And when you do drink that cup of coffee, caffeine reaches your blood fast, like 10 minutes fast,” reports GoodHousekeeping.com.
7 Microwave Sterilizers
“The first and easiest way to sterilize baby bottles in the microwave is to use a microwave steam sterilizer. A steam sterilizer is essentially a large container designed to fit your baby bottles. A steam sterilizer works by, you guessed it, steaming your bottles, nipples, and caps until they are sanitized. Simply add water to the steam sterilizer, toss in the microwave and walk away. When the microwave beeps at you, collect your now sterile baby bottles,” suggests Parent.Guide.com. Aside from the plastic microwave sterilizers you can buy, you can also buy reusable sterilizer bags that come in handy, especially if you need to sanitize on the go!
6 Outsource Housework
Outsourcing housework where you can afford to is another way to save yourself stress and time. Whether you choose to have your laundry dry-cleaned, have the house professionally cleaned, have your lawn professionally serviced, or all of the above, the amount of time you can save is a good argument for spending the money on such services.
“For me, I enjoy meal prep and cooking and laundry is manageable (even if not necessarily enjoyable), but I do have friends that outsource those items instead. It’s all about figuring out what best suits your particular situation. Maybe it’s a couple of tasks and maybe it’s none of them, but outsourcing household chores can be a real game changer for families looking to more efficiently use their time. I know it’s made a big difference for us,” suggests AHealthySliceOfLife.com.
5 Shop Online & Schedule Shipments
“Tens of thousands of items on Amazon are Subscribe & Save eligible. Basically, when you buy these items you can either buy them normally to ship with your next manual Amazon order, or you can add them to your Subscribe & Save list. This list sets up regular delivery dates — from monthly to every six months — whatever fits your needs,” states FoxBusiness.com. Subscribe & Save is a great way to streamline your shopping needs. As you run out of household items, start ordering them through the Amazon Subscribe & Save feature. This is a great way to gradually start getting your household necessities sent right to your door just when you need them! This is so, so handy for things like diapers and wipes for baby!
Sometimes you just need a good pizza delivered to your doorstep, and there is no better excuse for this than when you have a newborn baby. Whether you choose to order-in food one night a month, one night a week, or maybe even more, this is one quick and super easy way to save some time. And let’s be honest, no one in the family is going to complain about pizza for dinner. In fact it’s one of the most popular foods in the United States. “On average, Americans down about 3 billion pizzas each and every year. Overall, the U.S. accounts for about one-third of global pizza consumption,” reports CreditDonkey.com.
3 Accept Help
“It is hard for some moms to accept help from others because they are so used to doing things themselves or they really like their own methods best. For the first time mother, it is hard to realize you really can’t do it all. Whether it is your own mother, mother in law, sister or family friend, be willing to ‘bend’ on your standards for a little while. It is okay if the older kids don’t make it to bed until 7:45 and their bedtime is 7:30 sharp. And life will go on if the dishes aren’t stacked in the dish drain in the method you usually use,” writes LifeAsAMom.com.
As hard as it can be to accept help, you will really need to rely on family and/or friends when you have a newborn baby. From doing the laundry or dishes to walking your dog for you, there’s a ton of ways that you can and should accept help.
2 Wear The Baby
This is literally the only way I was able to get anything done with a newborn baby. Buying a nice carrier, wrap or sling, is one of the best investments you will make as a new parent. “Babywearing is a preferred method of many moms seeking ways to incorporate newborns into their busy lives. A major benefit of babywearing is that newborn baby carriers allow mom and baby to bond, leaving baby feeling nurtured while mom carries out her many other calls of duty and can be an essential part of life for a mom with a high needs baby,” states WhatsUpFagans.com.
1 Freezer Meals
Newborn baby or not, freezer meals are a great shortcut for the hustle and bustle of daily life. Spending a day making a bunch of freezer meals ahead of your baby’s arrival is a great idea that will make your life with a newborn much less stressful. There are a ton of resources on Pinterest that have detailed shopping lists and recipes for making freezer meals in bulk. My husband and I survived off of freezer breakfast burritos that I had made ahead before our little girl arrived. They were intended to be for breakfast but we ended up eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other great breakfast foods to make ahead and freezer our freezers and waffles.
References: www.consumer.healthday.com, www.babysleepsite.com, www.sleepingshouldbeeasy.com, www.today.com, www.cert.safekids.org , www.motherandbaby.co.uk, www.thebump.com, www.momlovesbest.com, www.popsugar.com, www.theinspiredroom.net, www.lowes.com, www.goodhousekeeping.com, www.ahealthysliceoflife.com, www.foxbusiness.com, www.creditdonkey.com, www.lifeasamom.com, www.whatsupfagans.com