No matter how prepared you think you are for when baby arrives, you’re really never actually prepared for the baby life. It’s definitely the biggest, most life-altering, sudden change that you’ve ever experienced in your life. (Don’t worry, I’ve got some new mom hacks for you.)
And it’s HARD. Likely harder than anything you’ve ever done before as well. That amazing little baby that came from your DNA is now depending 100% on you in order to survive and thrive.
I was ready. I was so excited to meet my little baby, and then she came and after only 2 days, the nurses handed her over to me and she was all mine.
It’s a lot of pressure.
And all of that pressure is EXHAUSTING.
I felt like a wanted to stay in the hospital for eternity so that someone could hold my hand through the process. But there we were, baby in arms, my husband and myself, with no freaking clue what we were doing.
No user manual, and with a baby who can’t say, “hey mama, I don’t like when you bounce me like that, cut it out!”.
You, new mama, need all of the help that you can get. You know, help from someone who has been there recently. Ahem, not help from your grandmother who only remembers that “raising kids was easy”.
Luckily, I’ve got some awesome baby life mom hacks to make your new mom life easier.
Get baby on a good sleep schedule/”train” baby to sleep more than 2 hours
Newborns are supposed to wake frequently through the night for milk, but that doesn’t make it any easier. When you’re used to logging a solid 8 hours it can be extremely difficult to adjust to being up all night with a baby.
I am a strong believer, however, that there are many things that you can do to help your newborn sleep better and longer through the night.
Some of my favorite tips for getting your baby to sleep longer are swaddling, cluster feeding and avoiding overtiredness.
Read all 13 of my tips on getting your newborn to sleep longer than 2 hours at night (and how both of my kids were sleeping 10+ hours straight at 8 weeks old).
If you really need help in the sleep department, my friend Jilly at Baby Sleep Made Simple has a free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit. What you need most in baby’s first year is SLEEP, and Jilly (a mom, neonatal nurse and lactation consultant) will teach you the most common baby sleep mistakes and how to get your baby sleeping WITHOUT crying it out (which is perfect if you’re still in the newborn stage).
Get your free Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit here!
This is not the time to be wonder woman. Or to want everything done your way. If someone comes over to your house and offers to do something, accept their offer before they change their mind.
Whatever you do, do not hand the baby over to a visitor and proceed to clean up or cook.
Give guests a job
It’s very possible that you will have guests who don’t offer to do anything for you. The truth is that they probably want to help you in some way, but just don’t know how.
Politely let your guest know that you would really appreciate if they completed a certain task.
Amazon Prime it
I can’t even tell you how many times I have used Amazon Prime since becoming a mom (okay, so I checked and I have placed an average of 10 orders each month.
If you are not an Amazon Prime member, then you NEED to be. A free month should be given to every mom upon leaving the hospital.
There will be so many times when you need something, but you just don’t have the time (or simply don’t WANT) to go to the store to pick it up. Simply order on Amazon and you will receive free 2 day delivery.
Amazon diaper deals are pretty amazing too (20% off!), and you can set up recurring deliveries.
Make meals ahead to freeze
If you are still pregnant, now is the best time to get some freezer meals prepared. However, if baby has already arrived, you can still batch make a whole bunch of freezer meals.
I love these fantastic freezer meal ideas.
Allow for easy access to the baby so that you don’t have to get out of bed in the middle of the night
If you don’t actually have to physically touch your feet to the floor in the middle of the night, it makes getting up with the baby so much more bearable.
There are so many options out there that allow baby to be safely within arms reach while you both sleep.
One word: Coffee
Did you know that you can drink 3-5 cups a day, even when breastfeeding?
Two words: DRY SHAMPOO
If you’ve never used dry shampoo, now is the time to get a lesson on the wonderfulness that is dry shampoo. Didn’t think that a little bottle could save your new mom sanity? Think again! This dry shampoo is by far the BEST.
Although you may enjoy helping others out or being involved in various activities, take a break and don’t commit yourself to anything extra until you’ve made it through the most trying months of baby life.
Right now, your baby needs you to be as rested and unstressed as possible.
“Steal” anything and everything possible from the hospital
Whatever the hospital offers you, take it. This is not the time to worry about how ugly the huge mesh underwear that they give you are because they will become your most coveted postpartum item.
Take the sprays, take the pads, take it all and sneak whatever they don’t give you. Your insurance is paying for it anyway.
Avoid button sleepers
I kind of don’t understand why a clothing manufacturer would make baby pajamas with buttons. Get rid of them ASAP. It’s hard enough to button those things correctly during daytime hours, but try to do it in the middle of the night when you are trying to disturb the baby as little as possible and you’ll be cursing Carters.
I love these sleeper gowns, because you don’t have to button or zip or anything, you just pull it up and quickly change.
Take a shower everyday
Although adding “take a shower” to your daily to-do list sounds like it’s making your life harder, believe me when I say that shower will make you feel better, which will make your life easier.
Take a shower when baby is napping or bring baby in to the bathroom with you. I always had a bouncy seat in the bathroom for this purpose.
A lot of moms shower with their baby also, so that’s always an option.
Read more about how you can take care of yourself, even when you have no time to do so.
Get the Nose Frida
A congested baby is the absolute worst, because if they can’t breathe they are not going to sleep. The Nose Frida sounds downright disgusting, but it’s actually downright amazing.
The traditional nose bulb is really gross, because I feel like it never gets completely clean inside. The Nose Frida uses your suction (don’t worry, there’s no way that your mouth is going to come in contact with anything) to suck out those boogies and give your baby some relief.
If baby is gassy, get some Colic Calm
If I had to pick one baby item that I could NOT have lived without (and there were lots of items), this would be the one.
Colic Calm is all natural, and I am telling you, when my baby was gassy, within minutes of giving her Colic Calm she would pass it and be her happy self. It’s messy because it’s charcoal, it’s a little expensive, but I would have gladly paid 5 times the amount for it. I tried lots of different gas drops and gripe waters, but nothing else even came close to being as effective as Colic Calm.
Wear your baby
After your baby is born, it is natural that she is going to love being held and close to you. She just spent 9 months in the womb, so it only makes sense that she will love to be snug and warm and moving.
The other benefit to wearing your baby is that you are hands-free. You can prep dinner, help older children, clean, etc. And if your baby is struggling to fall asleep, wearing her just might help her to relax and drift off.
Get a baby monitor
I’m sure you already have a baby monitor of some kind, but if you don’t, I highly suggest it. It means that you can take a shower, go outside, or vacuum and not have to worry that your baby has woken up and you don’t know it.
Discuss with your partner ahead of time to figure out a game plan
Having an open discussion with your partner is a must in order to prepare for baby’s arrival. When you are not the primary caregiver, it can be difficult to know just how much time and energy a newborn can require.
Figure out who is going to do the cooking and the cleaning so that there isn’t any resentment later on.
Believe me, I wrote a whole post on how to keep your marriage strong after baby. Because to be truthful, bringing a baby into a relationship (even a strong one) can quickly turn your relationship upside down. I talk about how I HATED my husband. I don’t anymore, but that season in our relationship was extremely difficult.
Keep diaper changing supplies in all main rooms of your house
You never know where you’ll be when your baby desperately needs a change. Ever heard of a poop blowout? You will.
Keep diaper changing supplies on all floors of your house and in multiple rooms also. That way you will always be prepared.
Get some books or a Netflix subscription and have some down time
There will be times when your baby wants to sleep on you, and you are stuck for what can seem like forever.
Get some books to read or find a new, awesome Netflix series for moments just like this. And enjoy it, because watching whatever you want whenever you want no longer exists as baby gets older.
Eat and snack well and stay hydrated
Keeping easy-to-grab snacks close by along with a large water bottle is going to give your tired body the fuel you need to make it through the day.
This post has some awesome snack ideas for the breastfeeding mom (but they of course work for the formula feeding mom too).
Getting a little fresh air each and everyday will break up your day and help you to relax and rejuvenate. It will be helpful for your baby too, especially during the evening witching hours.
Try to get baby used to an early bedtime
While many newborns prefer a later bedtime, before too long they will be more likely to go to sleep early (around 7).
Take advantage of this! Getting your baby down early means more time for you, and more time for you to connect with your husband, because it’s probably not happening too much during the day.
Take advantage of grocery pick up
If your local grocer has grocery pick-up, then you are in luck.
Having the ability to create your order online, have someone else shop for you and pick it up without ever stepping foot out of your car sounds pretty amazing for anyone, but for a new mom it sounds like the pinnacle of luxury.
Keep extra clothes (for you and baby) and diapers and wipes in the car
No matter how prepared you are (and let’s face it, you’re probably not that prepared because baby brain!), there will be times when your diaper bag doesn’t have what you need.
Always keep a bunch of diapers and wipes in the car and clothes for you and baby there too.
And while you’re at it, a change of clothes for your husband too. We once went to the carnival and my daughter peed through her diaper while my husband was holding her. Unfortunately I had a change of clothes for myself and for the baby, but not for him.
Hire a house cleaner
If you can afford to have someone come to clean your house, this is the time to do it.
It doesn’t have to be frequent. You could have the person come once a week or once every two weeks just to help you feel a little more normal.
Use paper plates
While I try to use paper plates sparingly, life with a newborn is one of those times when using paper plates makes so much sense.
Have you ever gone to get something only to realize that you’re out? If you have done this before, it’s going to happen much more frequently now that you have a baby. You kind of lose your mind.
Amazon Dash is amazing. You keep it near the item (let’s say laundry detergent) and when you’re almost out you push the button. And it’s ordered for you and delivered in 2 days.
It’s a mom’s dream!
Consider getting a teething necklace
Teething babies can be miserable. And I don’t care what your Pediatrician tells you, teething hurts!
Though there is a lot of controversy around the effectiveness of teething necklaces, I can 100% tell you that they helped my first child tremendously.
She wore it around her ankle at night, and when I forgot to put it on her, she woke up numerous times. Without fail. She was also so much happier during the day with it on.
How to make your life easier when breastfeeding
Get baby used to the bottle
There are lots of reasons why you might want to get your breastfed baby to take a bottle. Whether you’re going back to work, your husband is going to do a nighttime feed or you simply want to leave the house baby-free without having to be back in 2 hours, finding the right bottle is going to help you.
However, some babies can be difficult to please. The act of nursing is super comfy and comforting, and the bottle just can’t give that same level of comfort.
Finding the right bottle that is specially made for breastfeeding babies is a must, so that you can leave your baby without stressing over the possibility that your baby is hungry.
Read more about the perfect bottles for breastfed babies.
Nurse on demand
Trying to get your breastfed baby on any type of schedule can be extremely stressful. Breastfed baby habits are different from formula fed baby habits.
If you just accept the fact that your baby will sometimes want to nurse every hour and other times every 3 hours, you will realize how much easier it actually is.
Set up a breastfeeding station
Have a nursing space in your home, and stock it with a bottle of water, healthy snacks, a book, the remote, etc. This way you will never feel “stuck” nursing baby because you will have plenty to do.
What new mom hacks do you have to make baby life easier?