Here are some practical tips to help make life with a newborn a little easier. Yes they’re simple but surprisingly effective. Got your own top tip? Comment below.
1. Buy some drinking straws
At some point you’ll, (usually when feeding or when bub is asleep on your chest) you’ll see your drink agonisingly out of reach. Staying hydrated is really important, especially if you’re breastfeeding and I found straws to be really useful. If I couldn’t quite reach to pick my drink up I could usually manoeuvre close enough to be able to sip from a straw.
2. Invest a thermos cup
As in an insulated drinking cup. If you get the chance to actually make a cup of tea the chances of you drinking it while hot are extremely small! This keeps your drink hot for hours and the lid also reduces the chances of accidentally scalding yourself or your little one.
3. Move the kettle and/or toaster into the living room
This one came from my Health Visitor. It sounds preposterous to think that you’ll be so tied to your bub that you won’t be able to make it a few steps to the kitchen but I did find that to be the case. If you’re really struggling moving these essential items to within easy reach can make the difference between eating or not!
Just be sure that you place them well out of the way of your little one and any other small people you may have knocking around the place.
4. Tumble dry everything
If you don’t already have a tumble dryer get one.
Seriously, go and do it.
When I was pregnant I washed all of the, (many, many) clothes we’d already been given and hung them on the line. They looked so cute and small that I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.
One of my friends who already has a child commented; ‘You’ll be doing that amount of washing every day soon. Lol.’
Ha ha I thought, these mums don’t half over exaggerate. There’s no way a tiny person could create that much washing in a day!
Fast forward a month; our son has arrived early so we haven’t got round to ordering the tumble dryer and on top of that he has an as yet undiagnosed milk allergy so pukes pretty much all of the time.
It’s no longer cute hanging tiny little items of clothing on the line, it’s a pain in the, (already aching thank you very much) tit. I don’t have enough pegs and by the time I’ve finished hanging the clothes out it’s starting to rain, we don’t have any clean sheets for the moses basket and I want to cry.
For the sake of your sanity….get a tumble dryer.
5. Cold water steriliser
When we were pregnant, (or as I like to call it; blissfully ignorant) we bought a job lot of baby stuff from my cousin. In amongst it was a very fancy Tommee Tippee steam steriliser and set of bottles. Only the Tommee Tippee bottles would fit in the Tommee Tippee steriliser, (I’m surprised I didn’t see that one coming).
So when we had to change bottles because we were told the constant puking and crying, (due to the as yet undiagnosed milk allergy) was colic and reflux, the insanely expensive bottles that would fix the colic and reflux didn’t fit in the Tomme Tippee steriliser. Nor would the bits of my breast pump that needed to be sterilised.
We brought a cold water steriliser, (the same one we’d had in hospital) and I breathed a sigh of relief. I like it because you just fill it up, pop in a tablet and it’s ready for use. Items sterilise within 15 minutes and you only have to remember to change the water every 24 hours.
Even if you’re exclusively breastfeeding you’re likely to come across items you need to sterilise such as breast pump parts, breast milk storage containers, syringes for Calpol etc and if you’re combination or bottle feeding you may go through a variety of bottles before you find one that suits your little one.
My friend Trish, (who exclusively breastfed twins and probably deserves a blog post all of her own) used a microwave steam steriliser and swore by it. You’ll find what suits you, I’d say just stay away from branded items, (such as the TT steam steriliser) where you’re restricted in its use.
6. Hire a cleaner
Preferably before you give birth so that you can meet with them, go through the requirements of the job, how you like things done, where items ‘belong’ and so on.
If you can’t afford a cleaner and you have willing friends or family members ask if they’d be prepared to help out for the first month or so. People are often desperate to help but don’t know practically what to do. As with the cleaner it’s worth having this conversation before your little one arrives. I had lots of offers of help but by the time you’ve shouted, ‘no the plates go in the cupboard by the door, no the kitchen door not the fridge door, no! The one to left of that one, the one with the handle that’s half hanging off’ you may as well get up and do it yourself.
Which brings me to another point.
7. Chores for cuddles
Write a list of things that need to be done, hang it on the fridge and before any visitor gets to cuddle your bundle of joy they do a chore. There’s no such thing as a free lunch people!
Click here for a shopping list of healthy convenience foods to keep in the cupboard – say ‘YES!’ when people ask if you need anything
8. Speaking of lunch….
Ask your significant other, family member or friend to make up a packed lunch for you to keep in the fridge for the next day. A wholemeal bread sandwich packed with your favourite fillings will keep you going and is easy to eat one handed. Lean protein like chicken or ham will keep you fuller for longer and a few veggies such as lettuce and tomato will up the vitamin content. A yoghurt and piece of fruit complete the picnic will tide you over until dinner.
9. Instant porridge
Before my son was born I made porridge every morning with a drizzle of honey and a selection of seasonal berries. For some stupid reason I thought I’d have the time to do this once I’d had the baby – I didn’t and usually ended up going hungry because I couldn’t make my usual breakfast. Buy pots of instant porridge (unsweetened is best) and when you boil the kettle to make a cuppa or bottle pour in and within two minutes you’ll have a nutritional breakfast with no washing up to do! Add in a banana to keep you feeling full and for some slow release sugars and tackle that morning! (or you know, stay in your pyjamas till noon).