Welcome to new parenthood. Why don’t you stay awhile.
You always hear the standard adages when you first have a baby. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” “Don’t worry about doing anything around the house.” “Just survive.” This advice is all well and good, but it’s also not entirely practical. It’s hard to sleep when the baby sleeps because life simply does not stop (as much as we might like it to). Groceries still need to be purchased. Meals need to be bought or made. And laundry needs to be done – well, at a bare minimum, the baby’s laundry needs to be done. You can feel free to rock the same dirty clothes for the first couple of weeks. We won’t tell. Since I recently underwent the newborn phase, here are some tips that I thought helped make our life a little easier. And keep in mind, these aren’t age-old adages, rather practical tips for making your life just a little bit easier during one of the most stressful times of your life.
Sign up for Amazon Prime right now. Yes, right now. Did you do it yet?
The reality is once your little one is here, the amount of time you’ll have in the day to run out for quick purchases is going to be slim. And if you’re anything like my wife, the first time you venture out post-baby, you might even hit a parked car (yes, this is a true story). As much as you’ll likely be well-stocked prior to the arrival of your baby, there will be those unexpected products you’ll want to try out on a whim to help make your life easier.
When our son was born, he REFUSED to be put down. We tried everything and anything to get him to sleep alone even for a few minutes. He wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet (we tried 2 different ones – one from Fisher-Price and the HALO from a friend), a doc-a-tot, or a swing, the bassinet that attaches to his Pack-and-Play. Literally everything. This child refused to sleep anywhere. Fortunately, we never had to leave the house thanks to Amazon. They are quick to deliver, and returns are easy if certain products just don’t work out. We tried this hammock attachment for the Halo bassinet hoping it would help our son sleep. It didn’t work for us and we returned it the next day no questions asked. Even if you’re not a typical Amazon Prime user, bite the bullet and invest in Prime for at least the first year of your child’s life. It’s a convenient alternative to leaving your house every single time you need a new baby product.
Amazon’s membership program offers special benefits including:
- Instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes
- Get unlimited FREE two-day shipping (no minimum order size)
- Prime members save up to 20% on diapers and baby food subscription
- As an Amazon Prime member, you have convenient access to Prime Now and you can get Whole Foods groceries delivered straight to your door
- And much more!
Never say “No” to help.
This piece of advice was huge for us. We approached newborn life feeling like we had to be heroes and try to do everything ourselves. This mindset took a huge toll on our mental health. We would turn down offers of help left and right because we didn’t want to feel like a burden to anyone. One day a friend of mine told me I should never turn down the offer of help, especially when it’s someone you trust. After we shifted our mindset regarding receiving help, our own mental health improved drastically. You wouldn’t believe the wonders a single hour of uninterrupted sleep can do for a new parent. Be honest about your mental state, especially to yourself, your partner, and your support network. If you’re struggling, the best thing you can do is talk to people about it. And those that have been there and understand the struggle will be more than willing to step up in your time of need and help out. It’s important to remember that newborn life doesn’t last forever, but it’s extremely challenging. Accept all the help you can get.
Meal delivery kits or grocery delivery services are your friend.
No one is going to judge you if those first few weeks of new parenthood include eating takeout every single night. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll eventually get sick of takeout and crave a home-cooked meal. However, preparing and shopping for a home-cooked meal might be a little more labor intensive than you’re looking for. I have some very vivid memories of just wanting to cook a meal but getting constantly interrupted by a screaming newborn (shocking, I know). Enter: meal delivery kits. You know the ones: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Sun Basket to name a few. These are wonderful options for new parents looking for healthy alternatives to traditional takeout. Most of the meals can be prepped and cooked within 30 minutes or so, which make them a great option for new parents. You’ll likely pay more per meal than you would if you did everything yourself, but skipping planning, grocery shopping, and prep will help save you a lot of time and headache. You’ll have enough on your plate trying to tend to a newborn, so investing in a meal delivery kit service for the first couple of weeks might be a blessing.
Use technology to ease mental burdens where you can.
As a millennial parent your own parents will probably laugh at you like mine did when I whipped out our diaper tracking app. But it’s a small thing you can do to ease the burden on your tired brain. Apps will help you track important information in one convenient location like feedings, dirty diapers, naps/overnight sleep, etc. Also, a lot of these apps have community features that allow you to interact with other new parents/moms for tips and advice (this is a feature my wife especially loves and still uses today).
These apps contain information about milestones your child should be hitting at certain ages and they’re great for remember to ask questions for newborn and infant visits with your pediatrician. Other apps provide information about important leaps in your child’s development, and a lot of the time, the information is ridiculously accurate. It can help you prepare for turbulent events on certain days/weeks during those early months. The app we recommend for tracking is Glow Baby (iOS and Android). For childhood development tracking, The Wonder Weeks (iOS and Android) provides a plethora of information about your child’s physical and mental development.
Maintain some sense of normalcy.
Easier said than done, I know. But even the most mundane tasks can help you maintain some sense of normalcy in your life and also make you feel like you have a better handle on things. A prime example of this might be making your bed. It’s a quick and easy way to start your day but can bring you a sense of calm and peace of mind. Most importantly, take a shower. Don’t have time? Yes, you do. A 15-minute hot shower will literally breathe life into you and you’ll feel like a brand new person. Don’t know what to do with your newborn while you shower? This is what bouncer seats were invented for. Move it into the bathroom next to your shower and you can keep your newborn in eyesight the entire time.
We hope these five quick and easy tips help relieve some of your stress during one of the most stressful times of your life. Taking care of a newborn is no small feat, but the hardest parts are often temporary. So indulge in small conveniences to help make your life a little bit easier – even for just the first few months.
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