Here are my tips on how to get things done with a baby – whether newborn or older. These are tips on how to do housework/ cook/ run errands/ exercise and more, with a baby.
How to actually get stuff done with a baby is quite a challenge, especially if you’re a new mom.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone in feeling that way. All parents, whether you may be a new or an experienced one, have questioned their ability on how to be productive when you have to take care of a clingy baby.
So I’ve researched and compiled tons of tips and hacks on how to get things done with a baby at home, to make you more productive and less frustrated.
(I wished I knew some of these before when I was a new mom but, I digress.)
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General Tips on How To Get Things Done With a Baby
I think this is the one thing that all new parents, especially new moms, have to learn – how to manage expectations when it comes to everything that concerns the baby.
I wished I knew about this tip when I was a new mom myself but I digress.
I know the feeling of wanting to do it all and doing it thoroughly. Especially if you’re the A-type or you’re a little OC about cleaning.
But the newborn stage is usually a survival phase for most moms and dads, especially new parents. So to survive this phase, you have to manage your expectations about, well almost everything.
Your house doesn’t need to be clean 24/7. Sometimes you’ll forget to take a bath for a few days. There will be times where takeaways and deliveries will be your lifesaver. At times, you won’t be able to do anything at all except attend to your baby and that’s okay.
Managing your expectations about these things will give you a healthier mindset about your new life as a mom, so you’ll feel less overwhelmed, less guilty, and whatnot.
So practice that mindset of managing your expectations and the rest of getting done with a baby would be much easier.
Create 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!
You can 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.
You’ll also be able to anticipate your baby’s actions, for eg., if you know they usually nap for an hour in the morning and afternoon, you can use those times to be productive.
It will also help you plan out the days ahead. For example, you can make Friday nights into laundry nights, you can do take-out instead of cooking on weekends, you can meal plan every Sunday, and so on.
Wear your baby
Babywearing was a timesaver on how to get things done with a clingy baby.
They’re sturdy, comfortable, and easy to use baby carriers.
Put your baby in a safe place
If you can’t babywear 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.
If they are in another room, just remember to check up on them regularly.
Get a baby monitor
I’m not really comfortable leaving my newborn then in another room, 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 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.
Create a to-do list
I already had a bad memory even before getting pregnant, and that became worse when I gave birth (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 – Any.do, Todoist, etc. But the thing that works best for me is either Trello for work and personal projects (like my blog), Notion app and my trusty, old notepad on my Android phone. (Check out my guide on must have apps for stay at home moms here)
Dump all your to-do’s whenever you have the time then prioritize.
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 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 topmost urgent, most important things on my to-do list instantly makes me so productive.
Schedule your “me-time”
It’s easy to forget ourselves when we’re taking care of our baby. We don’t usually put that in our to-do list nor do we prioritize self-care.
But it’s a must, especially because it’s really physically and sometimes emotionally draining, to take care of a newborn.
Mom burnout is real so put off some of your to-do lists and choose a time when your baby is napping and sleep with them.
Or instead of doing some chores/ work, do something fun and relaxing, like watching Netflix, chatting with friends, etc.
Take advantage of sleeping times
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.
Check out some tips here on how to get your baby to sleep longer, so you can do more chores or work at night.
Don’t try to do it all
You don’t need to finish all your to-do lists, especially when you have a newborn or a baby for that matter.
Cut yourself some slack and just try to do what you can in a given free time.
Remember that you’re in survival mode and the most important thing when you’re in the newborn phase is to take care of both your and your baby’s needs first.
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.
Just be clear and straightforward about what kind of help you need.
Extra Tips On How To Get Things Done With a Baby
Here are a few more tips on how to be a hands-free parent while doing chores.
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.
If your baby is already crawling, you can try a baby activity center or 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 for older babies online 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 “5 minute or less” chores like wiping the table, clearing the dishes, feeding the cats (if you have pets, I wrote a parenting guide on how to choose and teach your kid how to take care of pets), etc.
Get some time-saving cleaning tools
Instead of using a vacuum, get a Roomba.
Instead of scrubbing the bathroom tiles, get a bathroom cleaning spray that you can easily use on the tiles and just wash off a few minutes later. Get also a toilet bowl cleaner, to make cleaning the bathroom more convenient.
Instead of wearing or buying clothes that get visibly wrinkled, get something that you don’t need to iron.
Managing to cook meals with an infant can be stressful so try out the few tips and tricks below.
Wear them on your back
If you want to babywear them while cooking, choose a baby carrier with a back position and place your baby there when doing stuff in the kitchen.
I think back carrying your baby is safer than wearing them in front, but 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.
Place them near you, at a safe distance
You wouldn’t want oil splattering on them while frying so if they can already sit upright, place them in their baby chair with some safe toys, at a safe distance.
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 their activity and entertainment area.
Watch them from afar
If you don’t feel comfortable having your baby around while moving and cooking around in the kitchen, just place them in their crib and use a baby monitor to check up on them.
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.
If you’re not really in the mood to prepare anything, there are always pre-packaged meals that you keep in the fridge and easily heat up in the microwave. Just take note of their expiration dates.
If you’re doing baby led weaning, you can also use store-bought baby foods for your little ones. Just remember to do your due diligence, research about their ingredients, and how to properly prepare them.
Use other cooking equipment
Opt for a slow cooker or crockpot meal. Just chop stuff, put it in and turn it on
Air fryers are also a time-saver for cooking meals plus it’s a healthier option too! I love air-fryers, makes cooking so quick and easy!
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.
Use popular food delivery apps such as DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, Instacart, etc.
It seems laughable but showering while caring for a clingy baby is a sport you have to master. So try out some strategies below.
Do it quickly
If you have a clingy baby with an unpredictable sleeping schedule, showering for 20 minutes or so would get more stressful than relaxing so just shower as properly and as quickly as possible.
Make it 10 minutes tops, if you can.
Shower while they’re sleeping
This can be tricky if you haven’t quite established a routine yet but if you know they are in a safe place and you have a baby monitor with you, then it’s doable.
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.
Take them with you to the bathroom
Some moms have used baby loungers with a towel on the floor to place their babies on, while some have used baby rockers or swings.
I’ve personally used a baby rocker or if she doesn’t like it, I use the stroller, then shower with the door open.
So I can see my baby right outside the bathroom, safe and snug in her stroller and she can also see me, all in my wet, naked glory.
Shower when someone’s around
For clingy yet older, more mobile babies, it’s best to just wait until your spouse or another person to look after them is around, so you can shower in peace.
Leave them in a safe space
It should be okay to leave your baby in a safe place like a crib or other crib alternatives as long as you don’t take too much time showering.
Ah eating. You’d think you’ll have some time for it but nope, you just down to grab a bite then your baby starts wailing almost immediately. It’s as if they won’t want you to eat! Don’t worry, here are some suggestions to help you take your meals.
Eat easy to prepare yet healthy meals
Fruits, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, sandwiches, 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.
Eat at the most opportune time
Once your baby naps or sleep, go and eat. Don’t do any chores yet and prioritize eating.
Or, you can also eat while your baby is awake and playing peacefully.
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.
Find the time to work out even with a clingy baby with these helpful hacks.
Plan your workout
The best time to do it is when your baby is sleeping.
If you more or less have a routine in place, you’ll be able to schedule a little workout every day.
Do an easy yet effective workout
Do a 10-minute workout. It can be cardio, HIIT, etc., as long as you’re moving and sweating, then it should suffice.
Do it early in the morning
Newborns need some sunlight, especially if they have a little bit of 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 jogging stroller
I’ve been hearing this from other moms and it seems like a god-given gift for parents who love jogging.
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 run errands with your baby can get tricky but prepping with the right mindset and scheduling can make it easy. Here are some more tricks on how to grocery shop with a newborn or an older baby.
I also wrote an ultimate guide on grocery shopping with a baby during a pandemic here, but you can also just scan some quick tips below.
Time it right
Avoid the rush hour if you can. You’d want to go when there are fewer people around. If possible, go during off-peak hours.
Also, if you already have a nice routine going on, do grocery shopping when it’s your baby’s naptime.
Feed them and change their diaper
You don’t want your newborn crying and fussing on the way or while you’re grocery shopping. So give them their milk and change their diapers before leaving the house.
Prepare some car seat distractions
It’s a little bit stressful to have a wailing baby right behind you, while you’re driving. So prepare beforehand any toys or a pacifier that can soothe your baby while they are in their car seats.
Wear your baby
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 and more convenient 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. Especially, if you’ve already fed them and changed their diapers.
But just in case, just pack a few essentials and you’re good to go.
If your baby’s formula-fed, prepare their milk bottle and place it in your bag. So you can easily whip it out when they’re hungry. Prepared formula milk can be used within 2 hours, according to the CDC.
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 on your list.
Park near the shopping cart return stall
The one next to the entrance isn’t the best parking spot when you have a baby. The best parking space is the one next to the shopping cart return stall.
If it’s possible, choose that parking space.
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.
Ask for help
I remember having my husband with me every time I went grocery shopping for at least a few months.
If you have someone that can accompany you, then ask them directly for their help.
Do contactless pickup
Call your local grocery store and ask if they do one. Ask for details on how the pickup process works.
This is the most convenient, if not the best decision you’ll ever make in your newborn parenting life. You can order your groceries from Amazon Fresh, you can get deals from Amazon Family and there’s always Amazon Prime, for faster delivery service.
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, etc., you might feel flustered and frustrated and all of that’s okay.
You’ll eventually get the hang of it.
If you have the time and you want to have a laugh right now, check out this mom’s hilarious story about grocery shopping. I’m laughing my ass off here, so true and relatable!!!
How To Get Things Done with a Baby: FAQ
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.
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.
What if I can’t babywear 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.
Or just order your groceries online, like from Amazon Fresh.
How To Get Things Done with a Baby: Takeaway
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.
All parents struggle on how to get things done with a high needs 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.
So go easy on yourself.
The most important thing at this stage is your baby and your mental and physical health.
So do what you can, keep challenging yourself with getting more done, and before you know it, you’ll see that you can actually get things done with your baby.
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