This post is dedicated to all my friends with new babies — Mazal Tov, and those who are expecting them — B’shaa Tova! Here’s my top ten ways to make your life easier with a new baby. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own!
No, it’s not environmentally friendly, but this has to be my number 1 tip for making life easier with a new baby. This tip applies for first time parents, and possibly even more so for those who’ve forgotten the first time round and are willing to do it again. No, you will not have time to wash up. You won’t even have time to load the dishwasher, and it’s unfair to leave than mountain of dirty dishes in the sink for Mr BTWDN (Mr Baby Things We Don’t Need) to do when he gets home from work.
More environmentally friendly than tip number 1, but unfortunately also more expensive, a cleaner, or your mum if she lives nearby and is able and willing, will change your lives in those first few sleep deprived weeks from living in a hovel to living in a place suitable for all the new baby visitors to sit down in.
It is unbelievable how one tiny being wreaks such havoc on the lives around it, and yet once you’ve borne your own tiny creature you will come to believe it: it is not possible to get anything done once you have a new baby. To this end, your freezer should be filled with delicious food in your pre-new baby days, so that you don’t starve and the pizza guy doesn’t recognise your home phone number. Also get a list of take-away fliers for when the freezer is empty but you are still too tired to cook.
Or make your own! It can be very lonely and potentially brain numbing to be stuck in the house all day with a sweet smelling little thing who doesn’t laugh at your jokes or add to the conversation. Alleviate the boredom by joining up with other maternity leave mates to discuss your lack of weight loss and your baby’s bowel movements. If you don’t know any other new mums go ahead and create one, spreading the word through Facebook or local lists like Janglo (for Jerusalemites).
Whether you choose a hippy chick wrap or a Baby Bjorn
(I’ve owned both) finding something that allows you to go hands free will really simplify the early days. Baby carriers are often only used for those first few months so it is worth asking friends if you can borrow theirs, or buy second hand.
Sometimes we need baby books to tell us what to do when we are so crushingly tired we can’t think straight, and sometimes we need them to back up what we are already doing so we feel like better parents. Whether you are a Dr Sears fan or a Gina Ford groupie, I recommend reading the books pre-baby to figure out what fits into your sleeping style, because you won’t have the energy to read them once new kid is on the scene. Personally we found some good tips in The Happiest Baby on the Block, and some life changing techniques in Healthy sleep habits, happy child.
I also liked the What to Expect books for those-Oh, Thank God that’s normal, moments.
|See my review of these!|
It is so much easier not having to worry about baby being too hot or cold, transitioning into the crib, trying to climb out of the crib and the myriad of other sleep issues you may face in the first year. It also makes it easier to let them cry it out, if you decide this is the sleep training method for you, as you don’t need to worry about legs getting stuck in cot bars or blankets over heads.
8. Stock up on basic medical supplies.
At some point in the first six months of your baby’s life you will need Acamoli, (Baby paracetamol), Baby Neurofen, hard core nappy rash cream, plasters, Vicks rub and a steam vaporiser. It is not fun when you don’t have the necessary items at 11pm and have to knock on a neighbour’s door or run to the late night pharmacy.
Yes, your little man will look adorable in those dungarees, and you have a whole drawer full of pink dresses now child number six is finally that girl you’ve been waiting for, but my advice is swap the cute clothing for a bigger size. Newborns produce noxious stains from both ends, and will be changed every hour or two, so whether you call them onesies, sleepsuits or all in ones, the simpler and the easier to get on and off, the better.
10. Rest when you can.
For some people sleeping when the baby sleeps works, for me it just left me groggy after a couple of too-short naps and not enough night time sleep. We found the system of Daddy giving a bottle around 11pm allowed Mummy to get enough sleep to successfully give the other feeds. Work out what works best for you. Having a newborn will leave you sleep deprived, but at least this way you can minimise the damage.