We have tips and tricks you need for staying organized at home and on the go with Baby.
Life was different when all you needed were your purse and car keys, then out the door you went. Add an extra little human to the equation, and everything changes. Where’s the diaper bag? Did I pack extra clothes? How many bottles should I bring? There is so much to think about. Worry no more, we have your organizational advice right here, plus helpful tips for home or heading back to work
Best Organizational Hacks …
KEEP IT TOGETHER
Simple errands suddenly aren’t that simple anymore, so get ahead of the game! Separate Baby’s items into little baggies or containers and place in your diaper bag or car. Doing this gives you quick access to the items you use most. Refill items often so your bag’s always ready to go. Pack several diapers; baby wipes; petroleum jelly; pre-measured formula if you’re bottle feeding; bottled water for mixing formula and quick pacifier rinses, etc.; a burp cloth or two; a bib for spit ups; a bulb syringe; a first aid kit, extra outfits and a plastic bag for disposables. You may want to toss in a healthy snack for you, if you’re nursing.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Many of us don’t take the time to write down a to-do list. Keeping a calendar makes life easier, whether it’s a pad or a handy app.
“Having a shared calendar with the adults in the household is really helpful,” says Leanne Olshavsky, M.D., at The Christ Hospital Health Network Women’s Health Service line. “Everybody can see what is there. Make the grocery list, make the family schedule. Include doctor’s appointments, and then if everybody has access to that on their phone, that makes life so, so much easier,” Olshavsky suggests.
Plan a moment when Baby is resting, and map out your week. Download free apps to help you organize your life, grocery lists and more; the Wunderlist app, for example, is free and allows you to create various lists from shopping, to-do, grocery and even create-your-own. The Google Express app helps you create shopping lists quickly through voice command. Share your grocery list with others plus shop at other retailers and order items in advance.
GET OTHERS INVOLVED
Moms can’t do it all. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other family members and friends. If you have older kids, enlist their help, too. Olshavsky says big kids can help out with tasks to ease the household workload. Let them know they are being great helpers so they know they are deeply valued at home.
Online grocery shopping (older kids can help) and grocery delivery services have eased a lot of new mom’s minds, so take advantage of them. Explore Instacart (instacart.com), The Grocery Runners (thegroceryrunners.com), Shipt (shipt.com) and Best Friend Errand Service (bestfrienderrand.com). Life just got so much easier!
SWITCH OFF DUTIES
It’s important to set aside Mommy and Daddy time with older kids, but also difficult when you’re spending countless hours attending to your new baby.
“It’s a family task to take care of Baby, it’s not just mom’s task,” says Olshavsky. “Scheduling a little special time with the older kids is important so that they feel a part of it. Just having that little bit of special Mommy time always help, too. That way, older kids feel like their getting attention too — it’s not all of a sudden only baby.”
Play with your 3 year old while Daddy takes care of the baby. Or Dad can take the kids to the park while Mom focuses on Baby or gets rest. It takes a team effort to make that new life with Baby easier.
PLAN, PREPARE, REPEAT!
Planning and preparing can make a mountain look more like a foothill. Lay out outfits the night before, meal prep on Sundays and plan errands and activities for the week ahead.
Olshavsky says planning is the key.
“If you’re at the grocery store and you don’t have a clue at what the heck you’re having for dinner that week, you’re going to be there for five hours,” she says. “If you’re braving Kroger with little ones, you probably will want to have a list so you can make sure you get in and get out,” she adds.
Back at Work, or Stay at Home …
Maternity leave is coming to an end, and the big decision looms: do I stay home or do I go to work? Either way, it’s hard.
“Giving yourself time to adjust is important,” says Olshavsky. “It’s a big life change; it’s hard. Know that and own that,” she adds.
ORGANIZE THE NURSERY
Less mess, less stress! Keep it all in one spot and accessible. Drawer organizers and plastic bins give quick access to tiny baby essentials. Storage containers such as the Delta Children’s MySize 9 Bin Plastic Toy Organizer (deltachildren.com) are perfect for tidying up.
ASK FOR HELP
Get everyone on the same page. If mornings are hectic, have a plan for your spouse to take the older kids to school or drop Baby off at daycare. Assign tasks to make the workflow a breeze. Stay-at-home parents need relief after a long day; you may wish to hire a mommy’s helper for busy afternoons. Ask friends for available local teen girls who may enjoy an afternoon gig.
Be ready for those tiny curveballs! Baby can be unpredictable, so communicate with your employer and switch your hours as needed.
HIRE A SITTER OR NANNY
Having a sitter or grandparent on-hand helps when you need to catch up on life in general. Find a sitter you trust; take your time searching, and don’t be afraid to keep searching if you’re not satisfied.
“Whether you’re going back to work or working at home and having someone in your house, you need to feel like your little one is in good hands. Otherwise, it won’t work,” says Olshavsky.
MAKE A SCHEDULE
Your calendar is your best friend, but know that life doesn’t always go as planned. Interruptions happen! Write down tasks, errands and get-togethers with friends whether you stay at home or work. Olshavsky says you’re more likely to complete tasks if they’re written down. You can also enjoy the act of crossing items off of your to-do list once they are completed.
BALANCE & EMBRACE
Take breaks as you need them from your daily workload to just breathe and focus on your family. Know what can wait until tomorrow, embrace the changes and know that you will eventually find your balance! It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen over time.