From new mothers, I often hear comments like: “I can’t even have a shower because I don’t know how long she will sleep for.” Or: “It takes so long to get him to sleep that we start cooking dinner at 9 p.m.”
Managing your day around a newborn can be a challenge – a new baby creates almost as much washing as a football team; you still have to eat (which means shopping as well as preparing food); and even the most easy going baby will need at least nine hours of ‘hands-on’ care in a day (I’ve said this before but, just in case you need a reminder –you are doing an awesome job!).
Conserving your energy and learning to multi-task are keys to survival in the early days. Here are some tips to help you get through the day without neglecting your baby or yourself – and you may find you can get some rest when your baby sleeps.
- Include your baby in your daily tasks. For instance, don’t wait until she is asleep to have your shower. Instead, pop her in a rocker in the bathroom so that you can see each other. She will probably enjoy listening to the water running and the sound of your voice if you sing or chat while you shower.
- Multi task when your baby is awake, so you can rest when she sleeps: carry baby in a wrap or baby carrier as you prepare food or hang out washing, or let her play on the floor next to you as you fold washing or order groceries online.
- Plan your day around your baby’s calm times. For example, if she tends to be more content in the mornings, pop her in a pram or carrier and do your shopping then. Prepare dinner early so that later, if (or when) she ‘cluster feeds’ in the evening, you won’t feel so stressed – make a slow cooker your new best friend and cook double batches of food so you can freeze the extra meal for days when things go really ‘pear shaped’.
- Create a comfortable ‘headquarters’ for feeding and cuddling. You will be sitting around an awful lot in the first few weeks, so make feed times ‘me time’ for you – set up a feeding basket with healthy snacks (try some Boobie Bikkies all natural and organic cookies for breastfeeding mamas), a water bottle and your phone. Either grab a book or download some audiobooks so you can listen as you sit and feed your baby.
- Be kind to yourself -on days when it feels as though you have absolutely nothing to show for your efforts because your baby has been on a feeding marathon or is extra clingy, remember the mummy mantra for when the going gets tough – ‘this too shall pass’. It will, I promise, all too soon. So please, be kind to yourself, look deeply into those navy blue eyes, breathe in that sweet baby smell and enjoy every delicious cuddle.