No matter how much reading / research you do before your little bundle of joy arrives, nothing can quite prepare you for the arrival of a baby. There’s plenty of advice out there and it can be overwhelming, so I just wanted to share a brief rundown of my favourite tips / new mum hacks to make life a little easier. Chances are no matter what your birth experience you’ll be absolutely shattered for the first few weeks / months so anything which can take away some of the stress / save you some time (thus freeing up time to nap) is worth a try I reckon!!
Firstly there’s a few things you can do pre-baby’s arrival:
- Set up wish lists at every site you like – I was very superstitious with my first pregnancy and didn’t want to buy anything we didn’t really need until baby was safely here, so I set up a huge Amazon wish list with all the other things I knew we’d need pretty soon after he’d arrived. Then it was just a one click and a day or so’s wait and you’re good to go. It was a lifesaver. Most websites nowadays have a wish list function so if there’s nursery gear you’d like as well then you can have this waiting for you when you’re ready for final touches. You can also share these wish lists with family and friends if you have a very particular view on interiors or gifts, so they know what to buy.
- Sign up for Amazon Prime. It is a godsend when you realise you’re down to your last few nappies and need to get an order in fast (usually discovered after the 3am feed/nappy change). You can even subscribe for regular deliveries on nappies / wipes etc which gets you an added discount.
- Stock up – chances are you’ll have neither the time nor the inclination to pop out for something once baby is here so bulk buy the things you don’t want to run out of. My top items:
- Loo roll!! We often seem to be drowning in the stuff but it’s well worth it to not have the fear of running out at an inopportune moment
- Non-bio washing tablets – babies go through A LOT of clothes in the early days
- Dishwasher tablets – again just because it’s a pain to run out, and you don’t want to be drowning in washing up
- Squash – between breastfeeding and the post birth sweats chances are you’ll be very very thirsty
- Maternity / breast pads – you won’t ever have enough no matter how many you buy
- Snacks – sleep deprivation / hormones / breastfeeding will leave you very hungry, having stuff to snack on is a godsend
- Fill your freezer. I could not understand when people said you don’t have time to cook with a newborn (well they nap constantly don’t they?! ha ha ha!). It is so true though, by the time the evening comes, chances are you and your partner will be knackered and hungry but with a baby who possibly won’t be put down, and a house which looks like a tornado hit, you won’t be wanting to cook from scratch. If you have a load of stuff you can simply reheat in the freezer it means you can still eat well, with minimal effort (you’ll learn to eat quicker than you have in your life with a newborn).
- If you don’t have time to fill your freezer pre baby stock up on ready made, healthy options – there are food services for new mums like Nourish Mama which provide heathy nutritious meals on a weekly basis for the whole family OR you could stock up on meals from Cook. We lived on these frozen ready meals for the first few months of our son’s life, and they’re a million times better than anything you’ll buy in the supermarket!
- Have a clear out – chances are you’ll be short of space once baby arrives, so the more storage space you can free up before the arrival the better. Plus it’s a good time because you’ll be feeling way more sentimental about the baby stuff which needs a home than those old outfits / bits and bobs which will benefit the charity shop.
- Fix things in the house which are annoying you – nearly everyone I know who’s had babies has attempted to take on some sort of renovation project in the months pre-baby. Kind of extreme nesting I guess! That’s not what I’m talking about, its more the getting the niggly things sorted – that dripping tap, or light that flickers might mildly irritate you now, but you can guarantee with no sleep they’ll be the final rage inducing straw so get them sorted asap.
- Get the details for post birth support – I didn’t end up needing a lactation consultant but I had researched details when I was pregnant, and saved them on my phone, so if I had needed them I would have been able to sort it easily. This gave me such peace of mind, knowing I had a back up plan. You might want to look in to a kind of post birth doula, who helps with the baby / the house, or maybe even a sleep consultant or night nurse in case you get desperate.
Once baby has arrived:
- Download a supermarket online shopping app and fill your basket as you think of things – even if you normally do a big shop in store, give yourself a break for a few weeks and have it delivered. Having the app means you can add as you go, and you won’t forget things when you’re distracted and tired, and won’t end up crying because you forgot the marmite (been there, done it).
- Use a sling – some babies just don’t like to be put down, and using a sling will allow you to have your hands free, allowing you to do your make up / rustle up some food or clean the house, whatever you would like to do with the time. People say they’re worried about “spoiling” the baby with this, but really with a newborn is that possible? There’s plenty of time for routines and getting them to sleep on their own in their cot later on, the early days are all about self (and baby) preservation.
- Get a cleaner. You might not have one now, and might not want one forever, but having someone come in and make sure the house isn’t a complete tip will preserve your sanity and be worth the money, and you could just do it for a couple of hours once a fortnight if you don’t want to spend a fortune.
- Get some low level automatic lighting – you’ll want to keep baby as sleepy as possible for midnight feeds/ nappy changes, and not having to put the main lights on in rooms where you’re dealing with the baby helps this massively. We use Mr Beams which are motion activated, and work perfectly.
- Sign up for Netflix – cos those long old days are made better by a good series binge watch!
- Accept help – if you’re a self-sufficient woman, I’d imagine you’re going in to having a baby thinking “I won’t need much help/ I want to figure this out on my own”. Even when you’re in the thick of newbornville you might think the same, but at a point you’ll hit a wall and if you’ve been turning down help you’ll regret it. I’m not talking getting family and friends to do a deep clean, but get them to do something to help if they’ve come to visit – unload the dishwasher or washing machine, make tea for everyone, change the sheets on the bed. If everyone does one thing it’ll help so much, and no one will resent having to do it, they’ll be glad to help in a practical way!
If there’s things which have helped you out / saved your sanity share them by commenting here to help out other new mums working their way through the new born fog!