New babies require a lot of attention and can be overwhelming. Besides learning how to care for a new baby, you are trying to heal after giving birth, and adjust to your new life on a little amount of sleep. It becomes critical to your health and sanity to manage your time well with a baby. Relieve some stress and frustration with these newborn time management strategies.
Let’s be honest, a newborn typically runs your schedule. They are time consuming and their needs come first. So when you do have 5 free minutes or you get them to sleep in the bassinet and not hold them, what are you going to do with your “free” time? What are the most important things to get done? What kinds of things can you not do while holding your baby?
Read on for tips and techniques for how to best plan out your time with a newborn.
Make a List
First, the best way to get things done with a baby is to make a list of all the big and small tasks you need to complete. Include the non-negotiables, the things you need to do, and that you would like to do if there is extra time. Keeping a list ensures you do not forget anything. Furthermore a list provides urgency and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can cross something off.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritize your tasks by putting the most important tasks at the top of the list or a due date behind them. Then put the less important tasks or ones that are not urgent in the middle of the list and tasks that do not matter all that much at the bottom.
In my mind (like while I was holding my baby while they were eating or sleeping), I was going over what I need to do when I have a couple of free minutes.
For me this list consisted of the following:
- Go to the bathroom
- Fill up my water cup
- Switch the laundry
- Put supper in the oven, start the crock pot, or take something out of the fridge or freezer for dinner
- Help out my older child: remind or help them to use bathroom, get them a healthy snack, fill up their drink, clean up a previous activity and get out/set up another activity
- Get a healthy snack for myself
So be sure when you have a few free minutes, to do the tasks that are most important.
Let Go of Unimportant Tasks
The best way to manage your time with a baby, is to simply have less to do. After making your list and prioritizing your tasks – drop any unimportant or tasks that do not matter. With a baby, you are going to have to let go of some things. There just won’t be enough time in the day to do it all (especially the first year). Your baby will take up so much of your time because they need your immediate attention and rely on you for everything.
If you are not sure if a task is important or not – ask yourself these questions:
- Will not doing this task negatively affect my baby?
- Will not doing this task negatively affect me?
- Will not doing this task matter in 3 days?
If you can answer no to all 3 questions – then disregard that task. It is not worth your time.
For example: Is it really that important to have a clean house right now? The three answers to the questions would be no, no, and no.
Another example: Should I take out the trash? The answers would be no, yes, yes as you need a place to put garbage. Your garbage will be overflowing, or worse all over the place in 3 days.
Make Things Easier On Yourself
Although it may be a little more expensive or not what you normally would do, make things that you can control easier on yourself at first with a baby.
Here are some examples:
- Use paper plates, paper cups, and plastic silverware, for a few weeks
- Use and eat freezer meals
- Have take out delivered a little more often
- Get your groceries and toiletry items shipped to your house
- Have a cleaning service come every couple weeks, lawn mowing, snow shoveling or any service that would save you time and overwhelm.
- Buy pre-cut or prepared fruits, vegetables, and meats instead of having to prepare them yourself.
- For Christmas or birthdays, give gift cards instead of shopping and wrapping presents.
Ask For Help
It is difficult to handle everything in life and manage your time with a baby, especially with crazy work schedules, limited or no partner availability, and if you have other children that need your attention as well. So there will be times you need help – so ask for it.
- Set up babysitters or playdates for older siblings
- Ask family or friends to watch your baby and/or older kids so you can do a few things at home or ask if they could help with a few chores around the house
- Ask for someone to run your errands or make you a meal
Prepare in Advance
If you can, prepare as much as possible before your baby arrives. Stockpile baby and household items so you can avoid the hassle of having to get them later. Make freezer meals so you have dinner prepared when there isn’t time to prep and cook. Prepare your home for a baby and have all home projects and improvements complete before the baby arrives. Get yourself ready to have a baby and take care of all individual or personal items before the baby comes. Run errands and complete any shopping you can in advance. Doing all you can beforehand, to make your life easier once the baby arrives, will help your time with the baby to go smoother.
Learn How to Say No
If you have difficulty saying “no” to others, now is the time to start doing so. It is too hard to manage your time with a baby and keep doing all the things you were before baby. You won’t have time to do those extra things for others. Your baby is priority #1 and yourself & immediate family are priority #2. There won’t be time or energy to care for others too. Now is the time to put yourself and your immediate family first – and use your baby to say no to others. The good news is most people understand that new moms or moms with babies have enough on their plate.
Take Advantage of Nap Time
If you have a task or project that requires more time, concentration, or that you can’t be interrupted every minute or two on, nap time is the best time to complete that task. This is usually when I was most productive and got my task list done. Now there may be days or times where you need to rest while your baby is sleeping, so do what is best for you during that time.
Final Thoughts on Time Management With a Newborn
Time goes fast with a baby, they are only small for a short period of time. As they say – the days go slow, but the years go fast. It really is true! You only have 24 hours in a day, so manage your time well with a baby and enjoy these moments to the fullest.
Let me know what you think of the list in the comments below. Is there anything you would swap in or out on the list?
For more on how to prepare for your baby check out my Ultimate Baby Planning Guide. Grab your free 30 item checklist below.
Other Baby Related Posts:
- 30 Things to Do to Prepare For a Baby
- What Clothes Does a New Baby Actually Need
- 10 Items to Stockpile Before Baby Comes
- Best Newborn Gifts That Parents Will Love
- 25 Baby things you don’t need – what not to register for
- What Paperwork to Prepare and Expect When Giving Birth
- 10 Things to Know to Prepare Yourself For Life With a Baby
- How to Prepare Your Home For a Baby
- 12 Household Items to Use as Baby Toys