How to Adjust to Life with a Newborn
Getting things done with a newborn in the home is possible!
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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I have a new little man in my life. Baby River was born about six weeks ago and is our first child. We had been told that life would change immediately, but didn’t know exactly what to expect. While we have been lucky with the fact that River sleeps in four-hour chunks each night, likes to sleep in each morning, and is generally in a good mood most days, it’s still been an adjustment trying to figure out how to get stuff done each day.
My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years, so to say that we had some routines established in our home is a bit of an understatement. Now that we have a newborn, we’ve had to throw out many of our old habits and come up with new ways to get things done. From working in our businesses to getting the housework done, it’s amazing how this little baby can make us change how we accomplish our daily tasks. Here are a few of the ways that we have figured out how to get stuff done with a new baby in the house.
Adjust Your Expectations
First and foremost, if you have a new baby in your home, it’s time to cut yourself some slack. For the first few weeks we felt like we were literally just trying to keep our heads above water. We were adjusting our sleep schedules, entertaining visiting family members, and dealing with all the physical changes my body was going through, all while keeping a tiny human alive. If you have a newborn, you are probably dealing with all of these, and possibly more, changes in your home.
Even the most organized and tidy person will find it difficult to keep up with everything in the first weeks (or months!) of having a new baby. Just remember: tasks like dishes, vacuuming, and laundry are pretty small in the grand scheme of things. If you get behind on things, you can catch up later. If you have people coming to visit you and the baby, they will understand if your sink is full of dishes. Recognize that your primary role right now is being with your baby, so be easy on yourself if you let the other things slip.
Think in 5 Minute Blocks
One of the biggest things that is helping me get things done around the house with a new baby is to think in 5 minute blocks. Before baby, I would focus on making sure I finished a task when I started it. Now with baby, I focus on spending just 5 minutes on a task. Instead of thinking I am going to empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, and wipe down the counters, I often head in to the kitchen intending to only unload one rack of the dishwasher. If I can get more done, it’s a bonus, but at least I accomplish something. I feel like I never know how long the baby is going to stay happy or asleep, so when I have the chance to do something, I set the bar low and get as much done in a few minutes as I can. Taking this approach has helped me to break up the household and work tasks over the course of the day.
Ask for Help
Like many women, I’ve always prided myself on not needing help, especially around the house. When our son was born, that all had to change quickly. During labor I had femoral nerve damage which means that I left the hospital with a leg that was “dead.” Overnight I went from being a healthy, active pregnant woman to being a woman who couldn’t even get out of bed without help from my husband. It was an incredibly humbling experience, but it made me learn how to ask for help because I couldn’t do a lot of basic things for weeks.
If you were someone who came to my house in the first month after the birth of my son, you probably heard something along the lines of, “I can’t wait to see you! Can you stop and pick up a couple things at the store?” or “Here’s the baby. Do you mind watching him while I take a nap?” or even, “Thanks for coming over! Could you cut up a watermelon while you’re here?” No joke, I asked my friends and family to do so many things when they came to visit and not a single person told me no. Even if you don’t have an injury, recovering from giving birth is a process. Give your body a break and ask for help.