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New Mom Advice: How to Make Life With a Newborn Easier

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Adjusting to life with a newborn is a huge change.

It’s super hard to put another’s needs first. Always.

Want to sleep a full four hours, but your baby is hungry? Plan on coffee and a catnap later.

Bad smells make you want to heave, but your kiddo just had a major poopsplosion? Hold your breath and clean it up.

Don’t worry, it’ll be totally worth it. Newborn smiles and hearty baby chuckles, not to mention all the snuggles, are so sweet they’ll melt your heart.

While there’s no doubt that the newborn months are tiring and kind of a roller coaster (hello, hormones!), there are things you can do to make life more enjoyable those first few months.

Related: 5 Doable ways to prioritize yourself as a brand new mom

Related: 12 Postpartum essentials you need

Tips for life with a newborn (how to make it much easier)

1. Assign a few tasks

Everybody will be dying to see your newborn cutie, especially if you didn’t find out the gender ahead of time. They’ll be more than happy to help in any way they can!

Here’s one really special task you can ask someone (who will be at the hospital with you) to help you out with:

See if they wouldn’t mind taking pictures of you and your baby. It’s so nice to have a few pictures of those first special moments (that aren’t just selfies you’ve taken yourself) to send to family and friends later or to just keep for yourself.

2. Prep for down time

Make a list of Netflix shows to binge, purchase a few parenting books (or audiobooks), make a list of podcasts that sound interesting or helpful, etc.

This way, when you’re feeding your baby, you won’t be stuck in one spot scrolling Facebook for the millionth time that day.

3. Learn how to get your baby to sleep

Things that make life easier with a baby? Here’s a big one– Knowing when your baby is tired.

Sleep becomes the central concern of every new parent (life with a newborn is utterly exhausting at first– not going to sugarcoat it).

Be sure to read this post. It has all my top tips for getting baby to sleep.

One thing that was a key for me during those first weeks of no sleep was the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

Believe me, you want this.

It’s best to read it before your baby arrives. But, if you’re like me and desperate to not be walking around like the undead day after day, you can still pick up this book after the baby is born and quickly skim the sections you need.

While there’s loads of conflicting parental advice out there, this book is written by a pediatrician who researches sleep patterns in children and his advice works.

4. Stock the freezer

The last thing you’ll be in the mood for at the end of the day is hassling with dinner.

And yet, you need to stay nourished (your body needs to replenish its store of vitamins and minerals, especially if you’re nursing) and I’m betting your spouse wants to eat something, too.

Imagine not having to deal with getting dinner on the table for the entire first month of your baby’s life.

That’s what I was able to do, but it took a little planning.

The last few weeks before my due date– Every time I cooked dinner, I froze the leftovers.

I put strips of masking tape with the names of meals on storage containers so we could quickly reheat them later.

By the time my baby came, the freezer was full. This is a lifesaver for a new (very exhausted) mom.

5. Learn from the nurses (most of them have had newborns of their own)

While in the hospital take full advantage of the help that nurses can provide (many of them understand life with a newborn better than anyone).

I asked every single nurse I saw for breastfeeding advice.

But I found that each nurse had different tips and ways of doing things. It helped me figure out what worked best for me.

Put modesty aside and let your nurses demonstrate what might work for you. And ask to see the lactation consultant to make sure that you’re doing everything correctly.

They really are full of helpful tips when it comes to breastfeeding.

6. Don’t get discouraged with breastfeeding

Although it seems like it should, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy– especially during those first few days.

When I struggled to get my baby to feed, the hospital lactation consultant reassured me that babies don’t need much to eat the first three days or so. Your little one is recovering from the birthing process and will naturally lose a little weight during that time.

So, if your baby doesn’t seem interested in breastfeeding, don’t freak out. The nurses can be a little overzealous and cause new moms to be anxious about breastfeeding. But, the first few days are more of a practice session.

What’s most important is that the latch and positioning are good so that when your baby does get hungry, it’s a go.

👉 This breastfeeding course will teach you everything you need to know!

7. Make nursing easier

Get the tools you need to make nursing easier whether it’s a footstool, a cushy chair, a pump or a nursing pillow.

I recommend having these breastfeeding essentials on hand to deal with everything from nipple leakage and soreness to spit-up and middle-of-the-night breastfeeding sessions.

8. Think convenience

Are you in a two story house?

If so, set up a second changing station on your main floor so you don’t have to trek upstairs for every diaper change (and there are a lot!).

We used our playard (also referred to as a “pack-and-play”) downstairs as a changing station and a nap area during the newborn months.

This is especially helpful if you have a c-section, which means no walking up and down stairs for a few weeks.

9. Take care of yourself daily (your newborn depends on it)

Self-care with a newborn is hard.

Especially when you feel like you’re in the land of the living, you haven’t had much sleep, and your body is still recovering from creating a new person (and making food for it!).

For me, taking a shower every day, getting dressed, and putting on makeup made me feel like life was still in order.

To do this, I put my baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom while I showered.

I could peek at her and talk to her while I was getting washed up. And even if she started crying, at least I could check and see that she was safe.

10. Keep the changing table clean with this easy hack

Poopsplosions are the worst. Especially when you’re already exhausted.

Those outfit ruiners require some serious HAZMAT-level cleanup.

That potent poopy can get everywhere if you’re not careful, like all over your changing table.

Instead of having to swap out the changing table cover and pad (and do more laundry!) every other day, try this quick solution:

  • Keep a stack of cloth diapers next to the changing table.
  • Lay one cloth diaper out on top of the changing table cover.
  • Position your baby’s booty over the cloth diaper during changes.
  • If anything rubs off on the cloth diaper, toss it in the hamper.
  • Lay a fresh cloth diaper on the changing table so it’s ready for next time.

Voila! You have a simple way to keep your diaper station clean without having to struggle with getting the changing pad cover on and off. Not to mention anxiously waiting for it to wash and dry.

And anything, anything, that makes poopy diapers easier to handle is a major win for a first-time mom.


Many folks say that the newborn months are “the best,” and while I’m not certain that’s entirely true (every stage has its wonders). I do know that it’s a super special time.

With a little preparation, you can make the adjustment to parenthood easier and really savor all those sweet newborn moments.

Save for later? Share these tips for making life with a newborn easier with other new moms by pinning!

Brooke

Thursday 17th of January 2013

How did you "take care of you" after baby #2 was born? I am 9 mos pregnant with my second, and my first will be 18 months old when he becomes a big brother. I am freaking out about how I will possibly find time to shower between caring for a newborn and a toddler all by myself during maternity leave!

Jenn

Friday 18th of January 2013

My kiddos are 15 months apart, and I don't work outside the home, so I've spent the last 11 months figuring out how to survive my days outnumbered! I've found that it easiest to create routines and have them do the same things at the same time: big brother eats snack? little sister sits at the table with him. Big brother takes a nap? Little sister goes through the whole routine and gets plopped in her bed for a few minutes (whether or not she sleeps) while big brother gets a cuddle before he sleeps. And I don't go anywhere without my Moby - even big brother takes a ride in it occasionally! I found I don't use my double stroller unless I'm taking a walk from my house - we bought a collapsible wagon that is so much easier to use and so much smaller than a double stroller. Just know that you CAN figure it out, and even if it's a little tougher with 2, it definitely isn't twice as hard.

Oh, and we also taught big brother how to use "nice hands" on his little sister by introducing a baby doll to him the last month of the pregnancy. It worked so great!

Kiralyn

Thursday 17th of January 2013

Hi Brooke, I totally understand your fear because my two kids are 18 months apart too. While the second time around is easier because you know how to care for a newborn and what to expect, I'm not going to lie - the first three months are difficult figuring out how to do everything with two little ones. Here are some tips: 1. For a shower, set your older child in front of some cartoons and put a travel-type baby bouncy seat or swing in the bathroom with you for the baby. Or, if you have another person around to help during a certain part of the day (say, your husband works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but then can help in the evening) shower during the part of the day that someone else can watch the kids. 2. Grocery shopping - put the baby in a chest carrier like a Bjorn or Ergo and your 18-month-old goes in the cart seat. 3. Mall & other places - buy a double stroller that is front to back (not side to side). I love the Graco one! Then, you can put have the baby sleep in there but still have a seat where your 18-month-old can be strapped into (very important for when they decide to act up and not listen or to use a threat - if you don't stay by mommy, you'll have to go in your seat). Also, you can buy a cheapie umbrella stroller for the older child and just use the Bjorn or other chest carrier for the baby. Half the time, the baby wanted to be held anyway and I would struggle to hold the baby while pushing a huge stroller through the mall. 4. Something I wish I would have done more - make special time for the older child as they will struggle with the adjustment. Either read books or do something together when the baby naps or goes to sleep for the night, or have someone watch the baby while you go out and do something with your toddler. 5. Things to do with a toddler & baby - I am one of those people that needs to get out of the house every day. The places I could go that would entertain my toddler and be easy to have a baby with me were the kids programs at the local libraries (I went to two different ones on different days - they have toddler programs where they read a book, sing songs and then let kids play with toys) and the malls where my toddler could play on the playscape. We also went to the park in good weather and I would strap the baby to my chest so my hands were free to help my toddler on the playground. Good luck Brooke! It'll take some time to find your two-kid groove, but it will all work out! Definitely take up any offers to help. And congrats!

Nicole

Monday 14th of January 2013

1) Nipple cream helps immensely with soreness 2) if you still have problems nursing after talking with your lactation consultant and nurses keep looking. Whether it is la leche league or another lactation expert/moms group, keep looking for help! I know several friends who got bad advice from nurses and lactation consultants 3) give yourself a very simple goal each day (today I will do the dishes). After that anything else is a bonus. Don't stress about how much you should have gotten done. 4) camisole tank tops are great under any shirt so your belly doesn't hang out while nursing. Just pull your shirt up & cami down. Lastly, & most importantly... 5) TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS vs what any expert says is right/how you should do something!! You know your situation & baby better than anyone!

Kiralyn

Monday 14th of January 2013

All great tips Nicole! I especially love #3. Thank you!

Lucinda

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Excellent summarised advice, thanks so much Kristi! I'm due beginning of January 2013 and seem to not know a thing after reading tons of articles :D

Kiralyn

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Congratulations Lucinda! (By the way, what a beautiful name.) You have no idea how much comments like yours mean to me. Thanks so much for your kind words!

KMo679

Tuesday 18th of September 2012

Great advice! I'm 21 weeks now and have been wondering how I will even SHOWER once the baby is here!

Kiralyn

Wednesday 19th of September 2012

Well, you need one of those bouncy seats with the arch over it with toys hanging down. I had one that could also vibrate and/or play music if I wanted it too. You just put that in the bathroom, strap the baby into it and take a quick shower. This way the baby is right there for you to peak your head out and see. Even if he/she starts crying, at least you know your baby is safe. If you don't have a bouncy seat, you could also use a removable car seat. Congratulations and keep coming back to Mommy Crib Notes. I have lots of baby posts coming up!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip

Thursday 5th of August 2010

Great tips!! I agree with everything you said. Esp. the advice on nursing. Nursing is so much harder than the books make it seem. And I have a good friend who is a doula. I was amazed to see how much smoother labor can go when you have a real advocate at your side.