This post is all about how to get things done with a baby. At the end I also share with you my newborn routine, so you can have an idea of how I get things done with my newborn.
Life with a newborn is oh-so-special, with lots of cuddles and kisses and getting to know your little munchkin. The MOST important thing to do with your newborn is to enjoy their company and give them all the snuggles and lovin’.
That being said, some people may find it hard to enjoy things as much when their life is turned 180 degrees after a human comes out of their body.
Do you feel overwhelmed?
I enjoy a tidy, put-together home where I can feel safe and cozy, and enjoy my space. Wiped-down counters, a warm cup of coffee, and a quiet morning are things I look forward to each day.
Even the most basic of tasks can be hard to accomplish when you have a little cuddly, squishy goober that is in need of your undying attention. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the unwavering love that comes with having a newborn. I love having a human I’m totally connected with and in love with from day one.
But part of me has this feeling… this need to get everything done. Or at least the need to stay on top of my household and basic tasks to function well.
You are NOT failing!
I am NOT trying to say you’re failing if you’re not getting things done with a newborn. I never ever want to imply that you have to be constantly getting things done to be worthy, or a good mother! It’s important to take time to relax and snuggle your baby, of course.
I simply want to provide some tools and tips to help those moms who might be feeling overwhelmed, or have a desire to do more each day. My anxiety shoots through the roof when I fall behind on daily chores and tasks. I feel overwhelmed easily with clutter and undone projects!
Feel like yourself again…
Here are some of my favorite ways to get things done with a baby, so I can feel closer to “myself” again.
This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Tips for how to get things done with a baby
1. Use a swing or bouncer
This one may be obvious, but I must include it here because for me, it is essential.
It’s always great for your sanity (and your back) when you can set your infant down and they can have some independent time where they can wiggle their arms and legs and stretch out and you can walk around the house without a baby attached. It is healthy (in my opinion) for moms and babies to have some independence.
Babies like the rocking motion of a swing. It stimulates the vestibular system which helps them with motor development.
2. Use A Baby Monitor
When I set my babe down, I always make sure I’m using the baby monitor so I can watch her and make sure she is safe if I’m not in the same room. This gives me peace of mind while I have a few minutes to focus on other tasks (or for me, focus on my other child).
3. Use A Baby Wrap
This really levels up your quality of life in a number of ways!
Babies sleep so well when they’re being held. They like the motion of your walking, they can feel the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe, and with ear tucked in against you, they can hear your heartbeat. Just like in the womb.
If you only took ONE thing away from this article, I would say, wear your baby.
If you want to read more about baby-wearing, check out my essential guide to baby-wearing.
4. Use a Noise-Maker/ White Noise Machine
When you’re not carrying your baby and you do set them down, this one can help immensely. Especially if you have other children around, a small house, or need to do things that are noisy.
The white noise is soothing to babies and can help them stay asleep longer. It makes outside sounds less startling and less likely to wake them up.
I use an app on my phone or tablet called Calm–it’s completely free and you can pick between different scenes (rainfall/waterfall/ocean.. .etc.) and they also have the capability to play the noise OUTSIDE the app. This is a game-changer if you want to use the device while the noise is playing.
There are also white noise machines that you can buy. We have one that my toddler loves… she picks out what noise she wants it to play before bed and it’s part of her bedtime routine. I’ll link the one we use here.
5. Breastfeed On The Go
This is something I did only once I was comfortable and confident in my breastfeeding relationship with my baby.
If you do it correctly (and safely), you can actually breastfeed your baby while you are wearing them in a carrier or wrap. Obviously, safety is a concern, as you want to make sure their face isn’t covered and they’re in a neutral and comfortable position.
But once I figured out how to do this effectively, I was no longer stuck to a couch, chair, or bed when I was breastfeeding! I could even go to the park with my toddler and still breastfeed while not worrying about it being winter and cold outside since she was safe in the wrap.
6. Utilize Friends & Family Help
Right now, during the pandemic, there is not much help. But for those who have it, ABSOLUTELY use it! It is 100% okay to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean you are incapable.
Asking for help is a healthy way to create balance in your life and give yourself some mental space and freedom.
7. Make Sure You Get Enough Rest & Maximize Sleep
This one is self-explanatory, but I had to mention it here…because who functions well on little-to-no sleep? I know I don’t. Some ways to do this may be sleeping when your baby sleeps, going to bed when they do, or handing them off to someone else so you can nap.
If you are tired, you will become more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated, even just doing daily tasks.
8. Get to Know Their Schedule
Once your baby is at least a few weeks old, you may notice that they are starting to be a little more consistent with their sleep, and you might also know when their fussy times are.
For my baby, (she is now 8 weeks old) I KNOW right around 7 pm, if we haven’t gotten her to sleep, she will start fussing for HOURS. So obviously my goal is to get her to sleep before 7 pm.
My first child did not do this, and your child may or may not either… however I’m almost certain your child has some sort of pattern or some type of predictable behavior.
If they don’t have any type of predictability, they will eventually… in the meantime read on and try to implement some other tips.
9. Automate What You Can
This one is a technique that you can apply to other areas of your life to reduce decision fatigue!
Have a routine with clothes + makeup
For example, I wear almost the same thing every day. (at least when I have a newborn!) Obviously, this is a personal preference and is not for everyone, but I have a variation of colors of nursing camis, cardigans, and either leggings or joggers that are comfy enough to wear inside but not too casual to wear out.
I also have a simple makeup routine that takes about 5 minutes and I do it the same way almost every day (unless I choose not to wear any, which is even easier)
Order the recurring items
Another example is Subscribe and Save on Amazon. Items that you need on a regular basis (toilet paper, soap, etc.) you can choose to get delivered at a set time period. For example, I have my Dr. Bronner’s soap delivered to us every 3 months.
Make mealtime easy
And I also have a master list of go-to meals that I know my family likes! This makes meal planning easy.
Another thing I like to implement is CURBSIDE PICKUP. Holy cow, is this great. This will depend on your area and what grocery stores you have around you. I use the Amazon App, which you can create a Whole Foods order on, and choose a time slot where you can go park in a spot and they will bring your ENTIRE GROCERY ORDER out to you.
Here are some more examples:
- Aldi does delivery service and grocery pickup
- Kroger does curbside pickup orders
- Walmart offers free delivery
- Meijer does online delivery and pickup
- Instacart is an app you can get where someone will grocery shop for you at any grocery store (even at Costco!) and deliver your order right to your doorstep.
10. Eliminate Unecessary Tasks (And Clutter)
There’s just things you don’t need to be doing when you have a newborn. Say no to events and extra commitments.
Also, I found myself always picking up what feels like hundreds of toys from my 2-year-old. I cut this daily effort in half (kinda) by putting half of her toys downstairs, on rotation. Pare down and simplify things, if possible.
Visual clutter for me is extremely draining–Put away toys, put things in baskets, drawers, and bins, and donate what you don’t need.
If you are feeling motivated, but don’t know what to do, tidy up! A clean environment can help clear your mind and improves your attention and cognition.
Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book 🙂
11. Use a To-Do List App
I don’t know about you, but my mind flutters about with ideas and tasks that are quickly forgotten!
This is how this looks for me:
Oh! I just remembered I need to email that person back… wait… I’m breastfeeding on the couch, so I’ll do it later.
Later: what did I need to do again?
Next time you’re breastfeeding on the couch, I will remember it again! (I hope I’m not the only one that does this)
Because you may not be able to write things down while holding your baby, breastfeeding, etc, you may need to find an organization system that is convenient for you. Since I always have my phone on me or somewhere nearby, and I can use it while lying down, in the dark (when I seem to remember lots of things), I use a to-do app.
I use Todoist (not sponsored! I just like it a lot) because it can be used across multiple platforms: Apple, Android, and Windows. So when I’m at my computer I can add to the list and when I’m on my phone I can too.
They have features like recurring tasks, location-based reminders, etc. If you have an iPhone you can just use the Reminders app on it, but I don’t have a Macbook, so I can’t sync it easily across those platforms.
Anyway, you get the picture.
12. Use Google Keep
This one is similar to using a To-Do app, however there are some key takeaways for using google keep.
- Not all ideas in your head are to-do items (so you’ll need to have another place to write down ideas you can reference later)
- Google keep is extremely simple and powerful (basic idea is that it is a digital sticky note board )
- It is completely free and you can share any note with anyone who has a gmail account. Which, who doesn’t have one of these? I share grocery lists with my spouse so we can both edit and view the same list.
- It is seamless across multiple platforms. I use this on my phone, computer, tablet and the reminders automatically integrate into your google calendar.
You can download the app, and it has great syncing across devices.
13. Use A Smart Watch
I use an Apple Watch so it can sync up with my iPhone. What I use it for is reminders and timers because I don’t always have my phone on me in the house.
For example, I put the laundry in the washer, but I usually forget to go back until hours later. Instead, I’ll put a timer on my watch for an hour so I’ll be reminded to go change over the laundry.
I also use this for cooking, and I like that the timer just buzzes on my wrist instead of having an audible alarm.
14. Use Headphones/ Audio Subscriptions/ Podcasts
In the morning I like to listen to Podcasts that are motivational to get me excited for the day.
In the evening I to listen to books instead of reading because I usually have my hands full with a snuggly, breastfeeding baby, and I like to have the lights very dim at night.
15. Set Things Up So THey Are Convenient
This might look like putting a diaper basket in the living room so you can conveniently change diapers instead of going back and forth upstairs or to another room.
Or putting the baby swing next to your desk so you can watch them while you work.
This also might mean putting your computer on a high surface or a standing desk so you can sway back and forth while working on the computer and holding your baby in a wrap.
Or putting a diaper bin or trash can right next to where you do diaper changes. And putting a water bottle next to the place where you breastfeed the most.
This will look a little different for everyone! Use a little mix of creativity and common sense to make your life easier.
This one I learned quickly. The crib in the nursery? For me, it made no sense.
This meant at night, waiting until my baby was fussing and crying loudly before I responded.
Then I would have to stand up, walk into the other room, and nurse her. Once she was asleep, I returned to the master bedroom to go back to sleep. (by that time I was almost wide awake…)
If this makes sense for you, eliminate those steps of walking into another room, and waiting till your baby is almost fully awake and angry and hungry to feed them.
Use a bassinet
Instead, use a bassinet and put it close to where you’re sleeping at night. There are a few different beside-the-bed bassinets you can find on Amazon, and there are ones that you can place on the bed. At first, I used a bassinet on the bed, but then I found out that co-sleeping (which is not recommended by any pediatricians) works best for me.
It works for me because I follow some safety guidelines, but I did do a lot of research to find out what was actually safe and what is not safe.
If you bed-share, DO YOUR RESEARCH
It really does bother me because I know lots of moms who co-sleep with their babies, yet it is not recommended by pediatricians, so they don’t get ANY type of guidelines to follow if they do choose to co-sleep.
If you do decide to co-sleep with your baby, please do some research to find out what is safe!
(For example: Blankets and lots of pillows are not safe to have on the bed if your baby is going to be sleeping there, going to sleep intoxicated, extremely tired, or under the influence of drugs is not safe either. You are supposed to have an empty bed, no blankets or a very light blanket, and have a rail on the side of the bed so baby can not roll off.)
The point is, when you’re sleeping in the same room as your baby, you will more quickly respond to their hunger cues and fusses throughout the night. This helps your baby stay in a deeper sleep and get more rest. It also helps you to fall back asleep more quickly because you’re not moving from room to room.
17. Optimize Baby’s Sleep
If you’re optimizing your baby’s sleep, you’re optimizing your own sleep too!
Make sure the room is dark and quiet!
Use white noise (see above)
Use a humidifier to make sure the air isn’t too dry (we don’t want stuffy noses at night!.. makes for poor sleep)
18. Go For Walks…Calms Everyone Down
If you’re finding you tried everything to calm your baby down and they’re still fussing, go outside! Unless you live somewhere where the weather isn’t baby-friendly, this works wonders to have a change of scenery. Better yet, if you can afford it, get a jogging stroller and you can jog them to sleep!
19. Compromise With Yourself!
Compromise with yourself, and lower your standards.
Don’t set unrealistic goals, like “working out 5x a week”.
Another example is, you don’t have time to cook and meal plan consistently, so you buy some freezer meals, or get a subscription to a meal-delivery service like HelloFresh.
Or just eat simpler, less preparation meals like a buffet of healthy snacks.
Or go to the deli section and slap together some sandwiches.
It doesn’t have to be hard! There are shortcuts and workarounds for busy times like this.
Those are all my tips for now… and here’s a look at my newborn routine for your reading pleasure!
My Newborn Routine
(it sometimes happens around 7-8am, but it is whenever she wakes up)
7am- wake up, feed, put baby back down for last bit of sleep
7:30- wake up, diaper change, awake time
8:30- feed, nap
10:00- feed, diaper change, awake time, tummy time, play time
1:00-feed, change diaper, play
4:00pm- feed, change diaper, play
6:00pm feed, awake time
6:30- bath, nap
7:30 cluster feeding
8:30pm- down for bed
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Wiener-Vacher, Sylvette R et al. “Vestibular activity and cognitive development in children: perspectives.” Frontiers in integrative neuroscience vol. 7 92. 11 Dec. 2013, doi:10.3389/fnint.2013.00092