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It is difficult to juggle between doing household chores and caring for a newborn.
What more if your little one wants to nurse all the time or simply wants to be held constantly.
Even taking care of a newborn alone already drain your physical and emotional energy. Well, at least that’s what happened with me. Anybody feeling the same? Raise your hand!
But at the same time, your housework is haunting you wherever you go.
Those piling dirty dishes..
That huge amount of laundry…
Your head is spinning with question:
How on earth can I deal with the household chores with a newborn?
I feel you.. I know it’s not easy…
And since I’ve been gone through this newborn phase twice, today I’d like to share some tips to manage household chores with a newborn, while still keeping your sanity intact. Read on..
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Knowing your priority
Your newborn baby needs a lot of attention. You are her source of food and source of comfort.
She needs you right now.
You can delegate the chores to somebody else, but no one can replace your needed presence for your baby.
Attending to her needs would be your main priority right now.
Don’t worry though. Daddy can always chip in to help and bond with the baby. Who says only moms should change the diaper?
When it comes to breastfeeding, please know that a newborn nurses a LOT. No, don’t expect to nurse only every 3 hours. From my experience, newborns can nurse as often as once every hour, and even go non-stop in the evening.
So if your newborn has a very frequent feeding sessions right now, don’t try to space the feeding too long. Your baby is telling your breast to make more milk for her so that you can relax later.
Attend to her now. The household chores can wait.
2. Lower down your expectations
Don’t expect your house to be spotlessly clean and tidy all the time.
It’s okay to have some clutter here and there. Later on. you will have more time to tackle that.
It’s okay to buy food outside when you don’t have more energy to cook your usual full of love homemade food
And it’s perfectly fine to have wrinkles on your hubby’s clothes. No one will notice that. So don’t spend a lot of time ironing every single clothes that you have washed. That’s not necessary.
I know you always aim for perfection.. maybe not in all aspects of housework. Some of you maybe cleaning-freak. Some may be a healthy food ambassador. Some may be miss tidy.
And me? Let me admit it. I am an ironing freak. I ironed every single piece of clothing, even socks, ha!
But when my daughter was born, I changed. I don’t have a lot of time to tackle all the piling laundry. So, I began prioritizing. Hubby’s work clothes first. School uniform. If still have time, baby clothes. Then, the rest follows.
3. Delegate chores and let others help
You don’t need to handle everything by yourself. Enlist help from other family members.
Identify how others can help you.
If you prefer cooking, let your husband handle the cleaning and groceries.
Don’t underestimate your toddlers and preschoolers. They can help you to tidy up their toys. Invest in several toy boxes and label them so that they can easily sort their toys to the designated bin.
Are there some teenagers in your neighborhood? You may be surprised that some of them are willing to come to your house to do house cleaning for a fee. I know some of my friends’ children do that.
Some more ideas for delegating/minimizing chores:
- Use disposable plates and cutleries for the first few weeks with your newborn (you’ll save tons of time from washing dirty dishes. Oh yes, this is a real tip from a mom of twin).
- Invest in a robot vacuum to clean the floor. If you are not comfortable asking people’s help to come over and clean, perhaps a robot vacuum fits your need. Although this won’t guarantee your house free of clutter, it may help as it can be programmed to vacuum your floor daily.
- Rather than cooking every single day, make a big batch of meals and freeze some of them for later use. If you are wondering what kind of meals can be frozen, check out some frozen meal plan sample here.
- Buy groceries online. I love buying things from Redmart / Honestbee (Singapore), you can do it anytime (say, in the middle of the night when you are wide awake after changing diapers). Even now, Amazon is releasing AmazonFresh for select locations, so that you no longer need to step out from your house to get your groceries delivered.
4. Identify your newborn’s longest nap schedule
I understand that your newborn may have short naps during the day. But do you see a trend when she would nap longer than usual?
If you do, you can use that long nap to do chores that you cannot do while your baby is awake. For example, cooking on the stove (which is dangerous to be done while carrying a baby).
Or, you can use this to tackle your housework that takes a lot of time.
By doing this, you will feel a sense of accomplishment once that part is done.
5. Have elder children who are not in school yet? Engage them in easy activities
A lot of children enjoy helping moms getting diapers or reading books while you nurse the baby.
But if you need some quiet time to put your newborn to nap, let the elder kids get some quiet activity time, too.
The option is endless. I personally love building toys (talk about Lego, building blocks, or train tracks here). But if you want more exciting activities for them (which must be super simple to do, else, forget about it), I suggest you checking simple activity ideas here.
6. Tackle it bit by bit
Now that you have done your major chores during the baby’s long nap, you can tackle other chores bit by bit during her awake times.
Perhaps, dump the dirty cloth to the washer first, then attend to the baby.
Next free slot, you can fold the laundry.
Then, wash the dishes, and so on.
Or, as one mother suggested to me, do one thing per day.
Today, you may change your master bedroom bedsheet, tomorrow, another room’s bedsheet.
The next day, clean one bathroom.
The next day, cleaning the kitchen.
And so on.
The key is to be patient with yourself for not being able to accomplish all tasks at one time.
7. Use a breastfeeding-friendly baby carrier for hands-free or semi-hands- free nursing on the move
When the baby wants to nurse all day long, or simply wants to be held all the time, wear your baby with a breastfeeding-friendly baby carrier while doing other things.
Wearing a baby in a carrier may take some practice, but it’s definitely worth it.
For me personally, this is such a life saver. I wear my baby as I had my meals, while attending to my elder child’s need, and do simple chores like sweeping the floor or washing the dishes.
For newborn phase, I strongly recommend a ring sling because it is easily adjustable ( keep your baby snuggled close to you), easy to nurse in it (and easy to switch nurse), and very compact to bring anywhere. There are a lot of ring sling models available, but I strongly suggest you to check on Maya Wrap for its great fabric quality, easy learning curve, and gorgeous pattern.
I myself use a traditional Indonesian batik selendang (very similar with Maya Wrap but without a ring, hence higher learning curve needed. Did I say it has a beautiful print? Check out the picture on the right).
Then if you feel more adventurous and want to wear your baby in various positions, including back carry, you are always welcome to try a stretchy wrap (great for newborn only) or a woven wrap. Do mind the long fabric though.
PS: Click here to learn 10+tips for breastfeeding in a baby carrier.
So there you have it, my tips on managing household chores with your newborn.
There are a few things that I want you to keep in mind .
Newborn phase is such a critical phase for breastfeeding. I don’t want you to neglect it simply because you have a lot of chores to do. I learn it the hard way when I gave supplementation to my first baby so that he could go longer in between feedings. My milk supply suffered because of that.
Your newborn should be your priority. Then, you have your body. You got to get enough rest and enough foods to keep you strong day by day. So don’t forget to take a nap if you think your body needs it. It is fine to nap with your baby and forget about the chores once in a while.
After all, the newborn phase is very short and you will get over it before you realize it.
Cherish every little moment you have with your baby and I hope you have fulfilling breastfeeding journey.
I hope you found these tips useful to help you dealing with housework while attending to your newborn.
Just like you, I am learning something new every time with my babies and I love to help you out by sharing these tips. If you have other tips to share, do let me know. I’ll happily add them in this list.
And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to help you.