Here are my 29 tips on how to get things down with a baby – newborn or older.
Taking care of a newborn and keeping it alive is a difficult job. But when you still need to do chores, eat meals, take a bath, etc., – it will make you wonder “how the hell can I get things done with my baby?!”
Don’t worry, we all felt that way. All parents, whether you maybe a new or an experienced one, have questioned their ability on getting things done with a newborn or a baby. So I’ve researched tips and hacks on how get things done with a clingy baby at home, to make you more productive and less frustrated.
(I wished I knew these before when I was a new mom but, I digress.)
HOW TO GET THINGS DONE WITH A BABY
Create a to-do list
I already had a bad memory even before getting pregnant, and that became worse when I gave birth (and 3 years and counting!), with my one and only. The only thing that kept me from being a complete mess is having a to-do list and using an app for it.
I’ve used a few before – wunderlist, any.do, todoist, etc. But the thing that works best for me is either Trello for work and personal projects (like my blog) and my trusty, old notepad on my Android phone.
Use voice memos
Sometimes our hands can be quite full (literally) so the best way to have a to-do list is to use voice memos. I’ve heard you can turn to Alexa or Google Home, quickly set it up so you’ll have a sort of personal assistant to remind you of what needs to be done for the day.
Or you can just use your phone, whatever suits you.
You can finish a dozen tasks in your list and still feel unfulfilled by the end of the day, wondering if you were really productive or did you just waste your time arranging the things inside your cabinet again?
I used to feel that way before. I felt like I did a lot of things, I was busy the whole day but then again, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. And that’s when I learned that I needed to prioritize.
Being able to tick off and finish the 3 top most urgent, most important things on my to-do list instantly makes me so productive. No matter how endless, repetitive and tiresome the chores can be during the newborn phase, you’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment if you prioritize your chores.
Stick to a routine
A few days can go by without you even realizing that you haven’t gotten out of the house, much more taken a shower, when you have a newborn!
Avoid that by having some structure to your day. Create a routine or a schedule for you and your little one.
Not only will a routine help your baby feel safe and secure, you’ll also be able to manage your time, feel in control and improve your productivity.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the major tips above, doing the next ones will be so much easier.
HOW TO GET HOUSEWORK DONE WITH A BABY
Wear your baby
It takes some time getting used to it but this is the quickest and easiest way to get any housework done with your newborn.
I’ve personally used an Ergo Baby Carrier and a Kinderpack. But I kinda wished I used a baby wrap instead, because they look so much more cozier and comfortable, especially for a baby.
Take advantage of naptime and bedtime
If you have already prioritized what needs to be done for the day, then do the most urgent, most important, most time-consuming thing once your little one is taking a nap or is sleeping at night.
Put your baby in a safe place
If you can’t baby wear and you need just a few minutes, to probably pee or answer a phone call, then just put your baby where you know they’ll be safe.
Safe means, no matter how much they move, roll or attempt to crawl, you know they won’t get hurt and they won’t fall out of that safe space.
Get a baby monitor
I’m not really comfortable leaving my newborn then on her own and not seeing what she was doing, even if I know she’s in a safe space and I’d only be gone for a minute.
So having a baby monitor really helped make me feel less anxious about not seeing my baby while I do chores.
It’s also quite convenient to use when she’s napping or sleeping at night and I need to do some work or tasks outside her room.
I feel more secure when I see her on the baby monitor. I don’t always have to rush in and check if she’s crying for a few seconds. I can always wait to see if she can settle herself first or if she stirred for a while and can go back to sleep, on her own.
Put your baby where they can see you
I remember how clingy mine was before, to the point that she will be wailing until she’s red in the face if I just go and pee for like a minute.
So what I did was, I placed her in the stroller, opened the door and let her see me doing number one. Sometimes I’d place her in her baby bouncer as it can also keep her entertained and occupied.
If your baby is already crawling, you can try a baby activity centre or a baby playpen (if your room size permits!) and place it where they can easily see you.
Set up activities to keep them occupied
You can find a lot of simple and easy to prep activities online for older babies, but always remember to monitor them or check up on them often. Especially if the activities involve some toys or things that can potentially choke or hurt them.
Do easy chores while they’re awake
Start with tasks that are easy to do and which you can immediately stop if your newborn needs you.
Those chores can be sorting and folding the laundry, organizing the cabinet, wiping the table, etc.
Get some tools to make cleaning easier
Instead of using a vacuum, get a roomba. Instead of scrubbing the bathroom tiles, get a cleaning solution that you can easily spray on the tiles and just wash off a few minutes later. Get some genius cleaning tools and products that will make your life easier.
HOW TO COOK WITH A NEWBORN
Where to put my baby when cooking?
Some moms wear their babies while cooking and that’s fine. As long as you know your little one is safe and snug and you’re comfortable and confident in baby-wearing them while cooking, that should be perfectly okay.
But if you’re just getting used to wearing your baby, you can either place them in their baby swing, baby bouncer or baby gym.
If they can already sit up right, place them in their baby chair with some safe toys. You can also get a playpen and place it near the kitchen.
As long as your baby can see you and you can take quick, easy glances at them, it should be fine to leave them in another room.
If you don’t have a clingy baby (yet!), just place them in their crib and watch them from the baby monitor.
How to entertain a baby while cooking?
Most baby bouncers and baby swings have some toys in them and that should be enough to keep your newborn occupied.
You can also prepare some simple and safe activities for them to do, if they’re already starting to crawl in their playmat.
Just remember to frequently check up on them as much as possible.
What if I can’t cook and wear/ entertain my baby while cooking?
Cook at night
If you’ve already managed making your baby sleep longer at night, then you’ll have more time to cook a meal at night.
Cook easy meals
Now is not the time to be a domestic goddess. The newborn phase is the survival mode phase so don’t cook anything fancy that will take hours to do. Anything that can be cooked in less than 30 minutes should be fine.
You can download my one month meal plan here for some easy yet healthy meal ideas.
Or you can opt for slow cooker meals. Just chop stuff, put it in and turn on the cooker.
Do bulk/ batch cooking when someone can take of your baby
When you have this opportunity, take advantage of it. Cook large batches of food that you can keep in the freezer and just reheat when needed.
You don’t always have to cook. You can just take it easy and order online.
HOW TO SHOWER WITH A BABY
Can I shower while my newborn sleeps?
Yes you can! That’s actually the best time to hit the shower. Once they hit the sack, bring the baby monitor and have a quick shower. And don’t worry about hearing your baby crying.
New moms always go through this phase of hearing phantom baby cries. Check the baby monitor to see if they’re really crying.
Can I leave my newborn while I shower?
If they’re sleeping and you know they’re in a safe place, like their crib for example, sure you can. Just remember to take the baby monitor with you.
Can I take my baby in the shower with me?
I had a clingy baby before and what I do sometimes is, I put her in her baby bouncer or stroller and just open the door so she can see me while I take a shower.
You can also try to put them in the baby gym, outside of the bathroom, and just open the door so you can always see what they’re doing.
But I have to be quick about it as well as I don’t know when my baby would start getting fussy. I don’t want to have shampoo on my hair while I try to settle my newborn so as much as possible, I try to have a quick shower.
How can I shower with an older, mobile baby?
If they can’t stand up yet, I would suggest just leaving them in their crib or in a baby activity centre.
Don’t put them in their baby bouncer or stroller as they might easily move around and fall from it.
Give them some safe toys to play with to keep them occupied. And always have the baby monitor with you to easily check up on them.
HOW TO EAT WITH A NEWBORN
Eat easy to prepare yet healthy meals
Fruits, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, sandwich, etc., think of meals that you can easily prepare in minutes. You can also try cooking at night, when the baby is having a longer sleep (hopefully) to prepare your meals for the next day.
Time your eating
Once your baby naps or sleeps, go and eat. Don’t do any chores yet and prioritize eating.
Or, you can also eat while your baby is awake and playing.
Babies can already start doing some tummy time. You can also give some age-appropriate toys and activities to keep them busy. Sneak in some quick bites while your little ones are doing their thing.
Eat when your partner is around
You can have a big breakfast while your spouse is playing with the baby before going out for work. Have some snacks in between the day. Then have a quick dinner when they’re back at home, looking after the baby.
HOW TO FIND THE TIME TIME TO WORKOUT WITH A NEWBORN
Plan your work out
Best time to do it is when your baby is sleeping. If you have more or less, have a routine in place, you’ll be able to schedule in a little workout in the day.
Do it early in the morning
Newborns need some sunlight, especially if they have a little bit of a jaundice. You can expose them to a little sunlight early in the day while exercising outside.
But remember to keep them away from direct sunlight so don’t stay out too late.
Get a jog stroller
I’ve been hearing this from other moms and it seems like a god-given gift for parents who love working out. You can have a quick run or fast walk while your baby is napping.
Exercise with your baby
Let your baby do some tummy time while you also do some yoga on your mat.
HOW TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING WITH A BABY
Can you leave the house with a newborn?
You absolutely can. You don’t need to wait until your baby is a month old to go outside your house.
However, given the current circumstances, you need to think twice if you really need to bring your newborn with you.
If possible, just leave your baby at home with your spouse, other family members or trusted relative or caregiver.
Can I take my newborn to the grocery store?
Before the pandemic, I would say YES to this instantly.
But now it’s much safer to just stay inside and only go out when it’s really necessary, like having a check-up and going to the hospital.
In a nutshell, here are some tips for going grocery shopping with your baby during a pandemic:
Time it right
Avoid the rush hour if you can. You’d want to go when there’s less people around. If possible, go during off-peak hours.
Also, if it’s possible, do grocery shopping when it’s your baby’s naptime.
Feed your baby and change their diaper before leaving
You don’t want your newborn crying and fussing on the way or while you’re grocery shopping.
Given the circumstances right now, it’s a must to wear your baby. Pre-pandemic times would have given you the option of using a shopping cart hammock but it’s just so much safer to use a baby carrier.
Prepare a light diaper bag
You don’t really need a lot of things in the diaper bag if you’re just going to be out for 30 minutes or an hour, tops. Just pack a few essentials and you’re good to go.
Make a list
This is a must. You don’t want to waste your time trying to remember what you need for the house. So before you go, make that grocery list first.
Keep it short
Make it quick. Especially if it’s your first time. Your baby might start crying 10 minutes into shopping. So grab first the most important things in your list.
Find a parking space near the shopping cart return stall
The parking next to the entrance isn’t the best parking when you have a baby. It’s the one next to the shopping cart return stall.
If it’s possible to find a space, then do it. You’d find it much easier to unload your groceries and return the shopping cart and just walk a few steps back to your car where your baby is.
Take it easy
Your baby might poop, your baby might start wailing just when you just stepped inside the grocery store, you might have to leave without finishing your grocery list and that’s okay. You’ll eventually get the hang of it.
If you have the time and you want to have a laugh like right now, check out this mom’s hilarious story about grocery shopping. I’m laughing my ass off here, so true and relatable!!!
What if I can’t baby wear my newborn while grocery shopping at the same time?
Do contactless pickup
Call your local grocery store and ask if they do one. Ask for details on how the pickup process works.
Order your groceries online
The most convenient, if not the best decision you’ll ever make in your life, is just to order things online.
Go easy on yourself
All parents struggle with how to get things done with a baby. You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed and panicky when trying to get things done with a newborn – and failing at it, most of the time or sometimes.
It’s like every phase in parenting – you go through it, make mistakes, test out stuff, learn a lot then you’ll eventually get used to it.
Ask for help
If it’s possible, ask your spouse or a family member to look after your baby while you do your chores or errands. Now is not the time to be embarrassed about asking for help.
Some days, you’ll be able to finish a shitload of chores and tasks. Most of the time, just getting a shower is already a win. Life is like that with a newborn. You’re trying to adjust to this phase so the most important thing to do is manage your expectations about how much you can do within the day.
Do you have any other hacks or tips that’s not listed here? Please do share it below!
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