Days couldn’t feel any shorter than during your first few weeks as a new mom. Between long feedings every few hours, sleeping, fussy fits and everything in between, getting back to a normal routine feels impossible, but is completely achievable, even with a newborn who doesn’t run on a schedule. As I hit the four weeks point as a new mom, I’m finally getting in a routine that works for our family, even though I know it will change in a few weeks once I go back to work full time, but I’m sharing some time management tips I use to help make the chaos of motherhood feel a little easier and more productive every day.
Understanding our newborn’s needs and habits is the first step in helping me to feel normal every day. Once I began to recognize when she was hungry, sleepy, or just needed a diaper change, I also became able to solve her problems faster instead of spending tons of time trying to calm her. If you are a more routine person, keep a list of what they do and when in the first few weeks to see how often they feed, nap, and play. This will help you to easily understand when they may wake up or need food to schedule your day around it.
Over scheduling is your worst enemy with a newborn. What you used to be able to achieve in a day before baby is not going to happen in these early weeks with your newborn needing you every step of the way, so don’t schedule something during every estimated nap time because there are times where they won’t sleep. In the first week, our daughter ate every two hours and slept after each feeding, but you’re so exhausted and are still healing, so you just need to focus on self care over tasks. After that, her schedule became a little less regular and now I only complete about two major tasks a day.
If you’re not a multi-tasker, nows the time to start practicing. Between feedings, pumping, naps, tasks and work, your day is packed, but getting a few things done at once will help you free up some of your time. Empty the dishwasher while cooking dinner and load the dishes right there after, do computer work while pumping during the baby’s nap, or straighten up the room you’re in while the baby plays. Try to maximize your time as much as possible to give yourself more down time to relax, because you’ll need it! Don’t forget to make a task list so you know what to achieve when you have a free minute rather than getting sucked into your phone or TV.
Setting up your space for accessibility and ease is important. I hate having clutter around the house since I am partially a minimalist, but having things like small bottle drying racks and bottle warmers added to your kitchen decor is just something you have to accept because there’s nothing worse than balancing a crying baby while trying to pull everything out you need to make a bottle. Integrate products you need regularly into your space you use them, like changing pads, but put things away that are not used regularly to clear the clutter, like dishwasher bottle sanitizers. This will help you quickly access what you need and not dig through the ones you don’t to find them. During the first few weeks, convenience over design is so much more important.