When a new baby arrives in the home, it is the focal point for everyone. The whole world seems to revolve around the tiny human. Other priorities slide as the baby demands time and attention. One way to ensure that as many things are accomplished as possible is to use time-saving measures. Mothers find that they learn to achieve in five minutes what they used to enjoy taking half an hour over.
As the constant demands of feeding and changing and burping and bathing overwhelm, it can be impossible to imagine how any mother gets anything done.
This problem is exacerbated if there are older siblings in the mix. They still need time and attention and have to go to school or nursery. There are things that moms will recommend that save time and energy. A sleep-deprived new mom wants to rest when there is a chance, rather than dashing around the house with a duster. So any time-saving tips can make all the difference.
Getting organized with a list or a calendar can help that distracted mind to remember important appointments or tasks. Multi-tasking becomes second nature as a free hand is never idle. While the baby is going to take up the majority of the time, it’s also important for new moms to give themselves a break. The world won’t end from a messy home.
20 Ask for Help
It shows no weakness to admit that another pair of hands would be invaluable. If a well-meaning friend or family member offers, take them up on it. People may want to come and see the baby and bring flowers and chocolates, but they would be far more useful if they ran a vacuum round or did some ironing, says MyKidsTime.
Asking partners for help is important too. They want to be involved and may not know how. Make a list of what needs doing and pass the tasks around. Ask your midwife for any local charities that offer help if all else fails.
Not every woman wants to or is able to, breastfeed, but breastfeeding does seem to be nature’s answer to time-saving. The baby is hungry, put the baby on the girl and the job is done. None of the buying, preparing and warming formula milk or measuring the powder, or remembering how many scoops have gone in at 3 am.
There are so many other benefits of breastfeeding from cost to health. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Expressing milk means that someone else can feed while the mother gets on with other jobs, has a rest or a bit of well needed ‘me’ time.
18 Don’t Buy Too Much Stuff
It’s so tempting to buy everything in the baby store. When pregnant, moms are easily convinced that the latest kit is vital to the health and progress of the baby. Things look so tempting and cuddly and excitement takes over. When the baby arrives, it becomes clear how little a baby actually needs. All those boxes of Mozart music and baby coats and bootees gather dust and get in the way.
Try and avoid the temptation to buy anything more than the basics. Everything can be delivered afterward. Keep a simple approach and reap the benefits from a clutter free home.
17 Keep All Your Changing Gear In One Place
There’s nothing as frustrating as getting the screaming baby to the changing table only to discover that the diaper cream is still in the supermarket bag downstairs. Try and keep everything in one place, wherever it’s most convenient to have it. While a changing station in the nursery is brilliant, most changing might be done downstairs so work round what suits the situation best.
Keep well stocked and buy in bulk, it will save a lot of heartaches and rushing out in the evening to buy essentials. Ask friends or family to pick things up if you are running low, people feel more involved if they can be useful.
16 Keep Your Diaper Bag Stocked
The vital changing bag replaces the handbag as the ‘must have’ item in a mother’s life. The world seems to be contained in its deep pockets. After a trip, try and make sure that the bag is restocked. Give the task to someone else if they are offering help. Keeping the bag well-stocked means there will be less scrabbling around for wipes while trying to get out of the door.
The bag can be kept by the door or on the stroller so it is always ready for action. There is no need to go overboard, but a cereal bar, a bottle of water and a bit of change can be a lifesaver.
15 Buy In Bulk (And Fill Up The Freezer!)
Before the baby arrives, filling the freezer with homemade meals will reap dividends after the baby is born, when the time is so limited, recommends Baby Center. It’s a great job to give to a relative who might be staying or visiting and is at a loose end. Give them guidelines about what would be helpful and keep meals nutritious and easy to eat with one hand!
When the baby comes and there is minimal time for cooking, prayers will be sent out to that special person, even if it was the mother-in-law! Moms need plenty of energy when they have a new baby, especially if they are breastfeeding. A few meals that can be heated quickly will save time on cooking and shopping.
14 Bathe With The Baby
Bathing might not seem like a long or arduous chore, but the time in preparation and drying all adds up. What better way for the mom to relax in a bath and have some bonding time with the baby, than by putting the bath seat at one end of the bath while mom is at the other! It’s important to keep the water at the correct temperature for the baby, so not too hot.
What a lovely way to bond with baby and encourage them to enjoy bath time while giving the mom a chance to clean up and relax at the same time.
13 Do Chores With The Baby In A Carrier
Sometimes it can be hard to get baby to settle. They are used to being with their mum 24-hours a day in the womb and the separation from human contact can be hard. They may be fed, changed, burped and rested, but still grumpy. If there are jobs to do around the house it can be hard to leave the baby crying and the temptation is to stay with them and settle them.
Putting the baby carrier on and walking around the house with the baby may settle them quickly. That way jobs are done and baby stays happy. It’s a win, win situation.
12 Use A Slow Cooker For Meals
Evening meals can go by the wayside when coping with an ever-demanding youngster. One way to get around this is to use a nap time in the morning to fill a slow cooker with ingredients and let them cook all day so there is an evening meal ready on time. If there is any left over, freeze it for another day.
There is a wide variety of meals that can be made in a slow cooker, from soups and casseroles to chili and curry. Puddings like rice pudding are easily made in a slow cooker too. Perfect for dipping into when running around with minimal time to eat.
11 Don’t Bother Warming Up Bottles
Breast milk is produced at the optimum temperature for a baby, but the formula needs to be heated up. So, when formula bottles are prepared, cooled and refrigerated, they need to be warmed to a similar temperature. Some mothers recommend getting the baby used to the odd bottle that is room temperature rather than heating the bottle up.
So, if time is of the essence, remember that baby won’t suffer from the odd cool bottle. Otherwise, if there are a precious few moments before feeding, warm the bottle in hot water before the baby becomes desperate, then there is a perfectly warmed bottle ready to plug in immediately.
10 Get A One Hand Dispenser For Wipes
There is a myriad of choice when it comes to wipe dispensers, explains Best Products. Pretty ones, practical ones, travel dispensers, they are all out there. Find a dispenser that can be opened and closed with one hand. This means there is a spare hand to secure baby while it’s being changed.
Keeping a hand free will make the process smoother and faster, so find a wipe dispenser that suits your needs and keep it close at hand on the changing station. There are some lovely diaper, wipe and cream holders that make the changing area tidy and attractive, if you want to go the extra mile.
9 Use The Internet For Shopping
There is so little free time with a new baby, that supermarket shopping can get put off until the last minute. Couple that with the fact that it is virtually impossible to find time to get dressed, never mind get out of the house with a baby when everyone in the home is sleep deprived.
If there is no willing helper to offer to do the supermarket shopping, make it easy. Get the shopping delivered at a time to suit. Delivery times are often cheaper to book early in the morning or late at night. Parents are bound to be up early, so take advantage!
8 Get A Calendar
Buy a calendar or a daily planner and stick it somewhere prominent, like the kitchen. Invest in a calendar that has plenty of room to write in, keep a pen next to it and write anything down when it springs to mind. Having a quick glance at the calendar can prompt parents to remember things that need to be done that day. Get the whole family involved in adding to the calendar and checking it.
Family management expert, Kathy Peel, recommends having three Ds each day, so there are things to ‘do’, things that can be ‘delegated’ and others that can be ‘deleted’, as she describes in Parentmap.
7 Make Lists
A notebook can be a new mom’s best friend. Keep it handy. When the baby is feeding is a perfect time to jot down anything that needs to be remembered for later in the day.
Keep a list of anything that needs to be done by someone else, hand over the list and save more time to focus on what needs to be done. There are plenty of tasks that can be delegated to other people. Lists can be prioritized into ‘today’ ‘this week,’ etc., so if something springs to mind that needs to be remembered, it’s written down at least.
6 Get A Housekeeper If You Can Afford It
The last thing moms want to do with a new baby is clean. Any ‘spare’ time is devoted to rest and sleep, for the sensible moms. A bath or half an hour of TV can refresh a flagging mother, says Today's Parent. If the sight of a messy home is distressing, and the idea of attacking the bathroom with bleach is unappealing, see if the budget will stretch to a housekeeper.
An hour or two a week can make all the difference. If money is tight, see if a family member or friend would be willing to come in and do some chores. Most people are happy to help out.
5 Give The Older Children Chores To Do
Older siblings can feel a bit left out when the new baby arrives. Giving them jobs to do not only helps you out but gives them a feeling of being involved, according to Baby Center.
They can fetch diapers or wipes when baby needs changing or pass towels at bath time. A bit of tidying always helps, so encourage them to clear up after themselves, it will be a good life skill to learn! The older child can be involved in decision making, too. Which outfit should the baby wear? What do you think he needs? These are questions that the older sibling will respond to and feel more affectionate towards the baby.
4 Make Calls While Breastfeeding
Catching up on phone calls can be a challenge with a new baby. If it’s a few thank you calls for presents or a bill that needs paying, time slips away and the calls remain unmade. While the baby is feeding is a great time to call and a useful way of multi-tasking.
Get the phone and a notebook and pen ready where baby usually has his feed. Then when baby needs a feed, everything is set to go. Having the baby there is a perfect way to keep calls short, so more can be achieved in a shorter time.
3 Keep Spares In Each Room
There’s nothing more irritating than finding that the baby needs something that is upstairs when the baby is downstairs. A pacifier, some wipes or a diaper can seem like holy grails when trying to pacify a fussy baby.
To solve this problem, dedicate a basket in each room full of essentials. Keep the baskets topped up. This could be a job to give to an older sibling to get them more involved. Knowing that a diaper is only an arm’s length away in each main room saves a bit of time in running around the house at the last minute.
2 Cook Extra Food
If there is any free time in the day to cook, cook twice as much as you need. Freeze separate portions for another night. It will be a wonderful surprise to open the freezer and find home-cooked meals ready to go. Pasta dishes with vegetables are great for energy and nutrition.
This is a job for a family member if there is no time to get creative in the kitchen. Mothers are often delighted to be involved and let loose in the kitchen. Get them to make plenty and portion out any spare food in the freezer. They will feel involved and as if they are contributing.
1 Lay Out Everyone’s Clothes The Night Before
If there are older siblings around, they will need clothes for the next day. Laying them out as they go to bed can save time in the morning. This is a job they can help with as long as the outfits aren’t going to be too outrageous. Get as much preparation done for the next day as possible. Mornings can be hectic with a newborn, so anything that is done the day before will save precious minutes.
The responsibility for collecting anything else that might be needed, like sports gear or homework can be passed over to siblings. It will give them more independence, and mom saves time.