One of the biggest surprises for new parents is how much longer everything takes when you have a baby. Juggling the demands of caring for a newborn is tough. Combine all those new responsibilities with a complete and utter lack of sleep, and bleary-eyed parents can start to feel overwhelmed.
So, how do you balance new parenthood while still making sure that everyone’s needs are met? Here are ten time management tips that can help.
Top 10 Time-Saving Tips
- Accept that everything is going to take longer than usual.
- Take advantage of nap time.
- Plan your meals in advance.
- Get organized with baby’s meals too.
- Make cleanup after feeding easier.
- Shower with your baby.
- Set up more than one diaper changing station.
- Establish designated visiting hours.
- Keep it simple.
- Ask for help.
Unexpected clean-ups, a fussy baby, packing the diaper bag and gear, and any number of baby-related things will add time to every activity you try to do. If you acknowledge that fact and plan accordingly, it will save a lot of frustration and tears.
You’ve probably heard the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps, and those are wise words. But if you aren’t sleepy at that moment, you can also use that quiet time to check your email, catch up on household tasks, indulge in some self-care, or just put your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Streamline your grocery shopping by thinking through the week’s meals ahead of time. Take a few minutes to create shopping lists for dishes that can easily be reheated throughout the week or that can be frozen and saved for later.
Mealtimes are the perfect opportunity for a bonding session, but scrambling around trying to get baby’s bottle together when they’re hungry and crying is no fun. If you do what you can in advance, then when baby is ready to eat, you’ll both be able to enjoy a fuss-free feeding experience. Things like prepping baby’s formula in advance and using a bottle warmer to quickly heat up milk means less time waiting with a fussy baby, and more time for bonding. Plus, getting a routine in place now will set you up for success when it’s time to prep solid foods.
Forget the endless hassle of cleaning, organizing, and storing all of baby’s feeding gear. Convenience is a lifesaver for a new parent, and baby essentials like dishwasher-safe bottles, breast pump parts, pacifiers, and teethers make your life a little easier and ensure that baby’s feeding items are safely cleaned without having to hand wash every piece. A foldable drying rack can save time and space, so you don’t have to spend time drying and putting everything away. Leave the rack out to grab clean feeding items when you need them, then fold it up and put it away when you need the extra counter space. For even more peace of mind, a baby bottle sterilizer and dryer ensures your little one’s bottles are properly sterilized and ready for the next feeding.
Bath time can be a wonderful bonding experience between you and your baby. It can also save time! Bring baby into the bath or shower with you and get both of you cleaned up at once.
In addition to the nursery, add a mini-changing station in other areas where you spend a lot of time. Keep a basket stocked with an absorbent lap pad, diapers, and wipes for convenient and easy access.
As nice as it is for new parents to feel the love and support of friends and family, unannounced visits can disrupt the new routine you’re trying to create. Let everyone know the best day and time to visit you and baby. Setting these boundaries may be difficult, especially when you know the visitors are well-meaning, but remember that it’s important to do what’s best for you and your family. Most people will likely understand if you explain your reasoning and be happy to support you in this way.
Think through your routine and cut out any steps that aren’t necessary. Focus on making the most important tasks work better for you. For example, something as simple as placing online orders for necessities instead of running out to the store can save a ton of time. And don’t be afraid to say no. You only have so much time and energy. Prioritizing your family and simplifying your life will go a long way in preserving your sanity.
During the first month especially, you’re likely to have a lot of offers from family and friends to volunteer. Take them up on it! It’s important to know when to ask for help and how to ask for it. Pay attention to your emotional and physical state. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, tap into your support system. Create a list of specific tasks you need help with – like cooking, meal delivery, cleaning, or running errands. To make things easier, use an online calendar to schedule your needs and share it with your loved ones who have offered to help. That way they know exactly what you need and when you need it and can sign up accordingly. Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help, and taking care of yourself is vital to being the best parent you can be.
The bottom line:
Go easy on yourself and be patient. All you really need to do is enjoy each moment with your little one. You’ll have this new parenthood thing down in no time.