I really wish I knew more veteran moms when I had my first born because I would have been so much more prepared.
For most, including me, it seems you get to learn a lot through mistakes simply because you don’t know what life with a newborn is actually like.
What you really need to prepare for is how to do every day tasks with a baby who needs to be fed, changed, and of course held and cuddled a lot. Before my newborn, I couldn’t imagine how hard or exhausting this could be.
Easy tasks like taking a shower became a challenge because I needed to find some way to watch baby while taking shower.
Any mom with more than one kid will tell you the second time around was so much easier. Now that I have had my second child, I understand why. They knew what they needed and prepared well.
Here are the absolute musts for accomplishing every day tasks with a newborn along with why they make such a difference.
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Getting dinner on the table
Prepping food will become hard. Dinner will be the hardest because babies gear up for night by wanting to nurse constantly all evening. Save yourself the trouble of having to juggle the fussy baby while preparing food by making freezer meals ahead of time. You can make dinners for up to 3 months in just a weekend.
Then, all you have to do each day is take it out of the freezer in the morning and throw it into the crock pot or oven. Not only will this save you so much time and so many headaches, but it’ll allow you to focus on nursing your baby in the evening. Following baby’s cues and feeding on demand will ensure a happy, well-fed baby.
Shopping will also be tricky in those first few weeks, so before baby’s arrival make sure to stock up on toilet paper, soap, paper towels or any other household items. Make sure to also buy healthy snacks such as trail mix and granola bars so you have quick, easy-to-grab options. If you don’t already have one, make a standard grocery list. This way when you have someone else go grocery shopping you can easily give them a list. Just print it and edit depending on what you need.
Making diaper changes easy
Babies go through a LOT of diapers. While you might have never changed one before, once your little one arrives you will soon be a pro. The first piece of advice I got was to make sure you have a way to change baby on every floor of the house. The last thing you want while recovering from birth is to be running up and down the stairs every hour to complete diaper changes.
I actually think you should take this one step further and be able to change baby in any room. Diaper changing tables are expensive so I only bought one for the room where my baby sleeps. I then fill it up with supplies and pair it with a dimmable night light. If you have to turn on a lot of light, it will really wake baby up.
I also have a basket on each floor filled with all of the diaper supplies. You can easily move this from room to room. I then just use the DockATot as a changing pad. The DockATot is so light and easy to move throughout the house. It has a handle and the raised sides on the DockATot ensure baby won’t roll out and keep baby cocooned. It also gives me a safe place to put baby in every room.
Learning how to breastfeed
Breastfeeding my babies is something that is near and dear to my heart. It wasn’t easy the first time around because I didn’t know what I was doing. Throughout the course of the first three months, I navigated the learning curve and absolutely loved nursing my baby.
Without the correct support and knowledge, I wouldn’t have succeeded. I got lucky because during my hospital stay, I had a fantastic lactation consultant who worked with me continuously while I was there. I learned that crying was a late hunger cue. I should have been nursing baby the minute baby was turning their head side to side with a mouth open.
Start learning about breastfeeding today because the first few days and week are critical to having a good supply and a baby who is gaining weight well. A painful latch must be fixed ASAP or else you won’t be able to nurse well and you will be in a lot of pain. You can’t overfeed a breastfeed baby so seriously nurse as often and as much as you can. It will only help your supply and your baby. To make this easier, keep a basket on each floor filled with your nursing gear. This includes burp cloths, nursing pads, nipple cream, water, snacks and a receiving blanket.
Learn about all of the free breastfeeding support groups in your area. Ask your midwife or OB about breastfeeding support postpartum. Lastly on your hospital tour, ask about lactation services.
Finding a safe place to put baby no matter where you are
I completely missed the boat on this one the first time around. When making my registry, it never occurred to me that I needed to have a strategy on where I would place baby if I needed to do something. While I had a swing and a crib, I couldn’t have one in every room.
If I needed to quickly do something like get a drink of water, wash my hands, or clean up spit up, then I was always at a loss as to where to set baby. I needed some place to set the baby right outside the shower so I could watch her while I grabbed that 5 min shower. With my second, I use the DockATot. It literally travels all over the house with me. I want to keep baby close even if it’s to fold laundry.
I find this product even more of a must with a toddler because sometimes I need to set baby down fast to attend to my her. It is also a great way for me to have baby close while playing with my toddler. The DockATot is always right there.
You got this Mama to be!
Having a baby is an adjustment no matter how much you prepare. However, preparing can make it easier instead of having to learn everything yourself.
Reach out to other moms while you are expecting and get their advice and tips. Spend a weekend together and chat while you all make freezer meals.
Remember to prepare on how to handle everyday tasks like doing chores while caring for a baby. Above all else, ensure you have a safe place to put baby no matter where you are and utilize baskets to be able to have diaper and nursing supplies with you at all times.
We received a free DockATot to review for this post and one to give away to our readers.
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Trina Fitzgerald is a wife, mom, and blogger. She is the co-author of the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook. She attributes her success at breastfeeding her own children with working with lactation consultants in the hospital in the early stages and on a weekly basis afterwards. By writing at MomSmartNotHard, she educates mamas-to-be on all things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read more about Trina.