This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission for recommending products. Read my disclosure policy for more info.
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: 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.
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.