Brand-new mom or seasoned pro, days with newborns are tough. Try a little pre-planning to help simplify things — before long you’ll be coming up with great tips of your own!
Let The Freezer Do The Cooking
Take time to stock up on frozen meals at your favorite grocery store and fill up the freezer. Do plenty of this before your baby comes. With a little planning in the final month of pregnancy you can save a lot of running around time.
Use Your Smartphone & Apps, too
Your iPhone has a calendar with a reminder feature for a reason. Set alarms on your Smartphone’s calendar so you’ll be alerted about your baby doctor visits and other things going on in your life you won’t want to forget.
Prescriptions by Mail
Mail order prescription services are great for making sure your other kids and spouse are covered when they need to be, whether it’s an inhaler or Aciphex. Many insurance plans offer cheaper rates for mail-order refills.
While an errand to the grocery store may be a welcomed change of pace in the early days with your baby, by the time you’ve settled into life around 4 months of age, you may be looking for something easier. Set up an online account and list of staples with a grocery delivery service so you can get the basics delivered with only one click. Green BEAN Delivery (greenbeandelivery.com) offers home delivery of organic, local produce that you can arrange to have brought to your doorstep every week or every other week.
Both Amazon and Diapers.com have subscription services for sending you diapers on your schedule. Set up brand, size, and frequency preferences and you’ll have diapers at your door when you need them. Or, if you’re a cloth-diapering mom, make a call to Good Natured Baby for details on their home diaper service (513-348-2727; goodnaturedbaby.com).
As Baby Grows … Clothes!
Your child will be growing quickly in his first year … and if you have other children you’re already well aware of the constant organizing that goes on with shirts, pants, dresses and such. If you have no system, it’s time! Organize your children’s clothes by size and season, and make sure they are easy to access. Keep current clothes in your child’s dresser drawers, and keep out-of-season and off-size clothes in clearly labeled clear plastic bins in your child’s closet. In Baby’s closet, label bins by size and season: 0 – 3 Months Summer, 0 – 3 Months Winter, 4 – 6 Months Summer, etc. Once you have a packing and storage system in place, it’s easy to accept presents and store them for future use. Keep an open mind toward hand-me-downs from family members, too. You can save a bundle just for accepting clothes from dear friends and relatives.
Wear Your Baby
Baby wearing is the main thing that makes the newborn stage easier for lots of new moms — it gives you freedom and the peace of mind that Baby is close and secure. Wearing your baby allows you to go along with everyday normal life, whether that’s doing chores around the house, running errands, or doing fun stuff with your family, all with your baby in tow, easy, happy and safe. Learn more about finding the right sling or carrier for you at The Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center (513-591-2332; theplaceforfamilies.com), Blue Cocoon (513-791-1089; bluecocoonbaby.com); Park + Vine (513-721-7275; parkandvine.com); or Lollibean’s (800-510-9547; lollibeans.com).
Up, down, up, down. All of that sleep deprivation can certainly be minimized by co-sleeping. While there are certain benefits — breastfeeding at night is more convenient, babies fall asleep more easily, and for parents who work during the day, it’s a good opportunity to bond — there are also some warnings from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), namely that putting Baby in an adult bed runs the risk of suffocation or strangulation. Instead, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents share a room with their baby, which is also a great way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Sydrome (SIDS).
Breast is Best
Admittedly, breastfeeding can be tricky for new moms, making it feel decidedly not-easy. But if you can stick with it for six to eight weeks, says Wendy McHale, IBCLC and owner of Nurturing Lactation, LLC, there are so many benefits to breastfeeding, it’s almost hard to know where to begin. Of course, it’s cost-saving (no formula to buy!), and efficient (fewer bottles to wash!), but breastfeeding is also very convenient.
“You never run out!” says McHale, adding that breastfeeding means you have less to pack when out and about with Baby, and you can feed him quickly, when he’s ready to eat. “You don’t have to prepare a bottle, breast milk is always the right temperature, and it’s always available.”
Health benefits to both mother and baby are numerous. While Mom’s risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis are all reduced with breastfeeding, Baby is getting an intense immunity boost every time he breastfeeds, according to McHale. “Research has shown that babies who breastfeed get sick less often,” she says, adding that if your baby does get sick, you can continue to breastfeed because breast milk is considered a clear fluid, all while knowing that you’re doing your best to reduce his risk of allergies, ear infections and obesity.
“But breastfeeding is so much more than just food,” says McHale. She explains that suckling is neurologically soothing for babies, so the act of breastfeeding not only fulfills their nutritional need, it can also fulfill their need to be comforted. At the same time, breastfeeding moms experience a surge in oxytocin when breastfeeding, which makes them feel warm and loving toward their infants, enhancing the mother-child bond. In fact, research is being done to study the effects of breastfeeding on post-partum depression.
Visit Nurturing Lactation, LLC at nurturinglactation.com, or find a local lactation consultant at La Leche League of Ohio (lllohio.org/groups/cincinnati.html).