As a new mom, I know not all tips work for all people. But I was always itching for tips from other moms that I could try out when I became a mom – anything to help make the days (and nights) easier, right? I wanted to put them into a blog post for other moms, but also for me to look back on!
THINK REALISTICALLY ABOUT THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
So we had our nursery finished weeks before Penny was born, and we had this ideal vision in our heads – she’d sleep in our room in her bassinet, but we’d be changing her diapers and clothes and I’d be pumping in the nursery right away. And then we realized that probably wouldn’t happen – her nursery is upstairs (a full flight of stairs), and we didn’t think I’d be up for walking up those stairs 100 times a day to change her and feed her post labour and delivery. Also, since I’m pumping full time, that would mean I would pump upstairs then have to come down and clean the parts, just to bring them back upstairs – and I’m pumping 8+ times a day!!
After seeing my sister-in-law’s set up, we decided to move some key items into our living room to make the beginning easier on us – our living room is where I always hung out the most before Penny arrived, so it just made sense. The glider moved into the sitting area, her bassinet moved next to the glider for easy transfers back and forth when she was napping, and her change pad, diapers and wipes moved onto our never used dining room table, which is right behind the glider. We also have a full bathroom on the main floor as well as a spare bedroom with a bed, so it just made sense to have a temporary set up with her being so little.
It was SO handy to have everything so close, and on one floor. It also helped for when people came to visit – we didn’t have to leave the room and change her diaper or pump – we could stay in the room and visit. If it’s possible, I would absolutely recommend having a temporary set up for the first month or so.
At about 2 weeks postpartum, we moved her bassinet up into our bedroom where she sleeps at night now.
Now, at 6 weeks postpartum, we’ve moved everything back into its rightful spot. The glider is back in the nursery, same with the change pad and diapers. I still pump in the living room but once my supply is more established (and I can cut out some pumps), I’ll move that upstairs too.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
Being pregnant, labour and delivery and motherhood are a rollercoaster – an ever-changing rollercoaster. Something that a coworker told me was to keep an open mind about EVERYTHING. Sure, you might hope to have a nausea free pregnancy, or plan for a fast delivery with minimal recovery, or expect to breastfeed and it be a super simple thing that baby will take to on day one, but most things are so out of your hands. You might have nausea, you might have a long delivery with rough recovery, or breastfeeding might not work out for you and baby – and that’s okay. Just try to roll with the punches. A lot of things haven’t panned out for us, or went a lot differently than we had pre-planned in our heads, but we just learned to accept it! As long as babe is happy & healthy, then things are going according to plan.
SMOOTHIES FOR QUICK MEALS/SNACKS
One of the best tips I got from my friend Kelly at The Healthier Self was make smoothies! It’s the best way to get fruits and veggies into your diet (in a quick and easy way). You can pack whatever flavours in to it you want, and sneak in extra nutritious ingredients to make sure you’re getting all you need in a day. My go to is fruit, a green powder, greek yogurt, water and pineapple juice (recipe is below). I also add a scoop of protein powder from time to time if I want it to be more of a meal replacement as opposed to a healthy snack.
My Smoothie Recipe (the measurements are just a guess, I just add enough fruit to fill half a Magic Bullet container, and enough juice to make it a thicker consistency):
- 1 cup fruit (I mix it up, but my current go to is a frozen blend of strawberry, kiwi and banana)
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Superfood Powder
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup water
I have definitely been guilty of doing things for myself, even though people have offered to help me. I don’t know if it’s been a control thing, or if I just want to do it on my own terms, but one thing I learned – FAST – when I became a mom: accept help!! Whether its dishes, prepping food, helping clean, or even if they just offer to come over and hold the baby so you can get stuff done – take the help! We are super lucky to have an incredible family on both sides that were so helpful when Penny was born.
TAKE CARE OF YOU
Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I’m not my own person anymore. I always make sure I take a little bit of time each day to take care of myself – whether that means enjoying my coffee while Penny takes a nap & writing blog posts or catching up on a show (anyone watching Working Moms on Netflix? HILARIOUS!!), having Pete keep an eye on Penny while I take a shower or taking 15 minutes to do my hair and put on some makeup while she naps – it helps me remember that I’m still me, just with a cutie little babe now!
One thing we tried to ensure was that Pete had his own routines with Penny. Because I’m home with her all day, it’s easy to continue to do everything I’m doing the day while Pete is home at night (or in the morning if he’s on afternoons) – feedings, diaper changes, playing/talking/dancing, etc. To ensure he had his own time with Penny, Pete takes care of the overnight feedings, we both do bath time and tag team everything else while he’s home – it’s so important he has his own time with her! Even little things like after feeding her, he just lays her on his lap and holds her hands and tickles her belly – dad needs his own time with the babe!
If you can swing it, I would 100% recommend Amazon Prime. We’d had the membership the year before Penelope was born, and we barely used it. We mostly used it for the movie streaming. And then, in the few months before she was born and the almost 2 months she’s been here, we have used the 2-day shipping a LOT – in the past 6 months we’ve made almost 30 orders off Amazon!! Diapers, wipes, extra pumping parts, formula, diaper rash cream, the Rockaroo… the list goes on and on. There were so many times when we didn’t realize we were on our last pack of diapers or wipes and it was like QUICK ORDER IT!! We ordered a lot off Amazon because the prices were cheaper than going out to our grocery store. The membership is expensive if you’re not utilizing the fast shipping/movie streaming (I think it’s like $100 a year) but it has now become SO worth it for us!!
If you’re like me and plan on pumping full time as opposed to breastfeeding (OR if breastfeeding doesn’t work out), invest in a good pump if you can. That was one piece of advice I got from a good friend (thanks Joce!!) – you’re going to be using it 8+ times a day, so why not get a really good one? We purchased the Medela Sonata Double Electric pump from Amazon (and darn right we used Prime shipping lol!) – it’s incredible. It has Bluetooth so it keeps track of my pumping sessions via the app (I just input the amount I pumped), holds a charge so you can take it where ever you go without needing to bring the charger and is really quiet! I can pump right next to Penelope and she doesn’t wake up from her nap. The app is cool too, you can keep track of feedings, diaper changes, weight and height! Another thing – get more than one set of pump parts and nipple flanges. We ended up with 3 whole sets because you need to wash them a lot (TIP – I use each set twice and just put them in the fridge in between uses so the leftover milk doesn’t expire in the bottle) and you’d be doing dishes like all the time. Another TIP – check with your healthcare provider about coverage – my plan from work actually gave me $320 towards a breast pump!
MOM & DAD TIME
The days fill up fast with all things baby – especially when Pete went back to work, it seemed like our time together in the day went by even faster! Even though we’re new parents and our life revolves around Penny now, we still try and make time for us. Right now, that means sometimes taking 15 minutes in bed at night to talk while Penny is sleeping, or being able to watch a movie while she naps next to us. Just like you need time for yourself, make sure you’re making some time as a couple!
BABY SLEEP ROUTINE
I am a VERY routine oriented person. Before I gave birth, I had my own morning routine I loved doing, same with an evening one – I’ve always been like that. So when Penny came along, all my routines went out the window and I was really bummed that newborns can’t really be put on any schedules until they’re about 2-4 months old (from what I’ve read). The most important routine I wanted to implement was one that would help both of sleep better and longer at night. So when Penny was just a couple weeks old, I started a bedtime routine that consisted of changing her diaper, making sure she was full and using a bedtime lotion. I’d read an article (click here for it) that basically said babies around 6 weeks (until 6 months-ish) need to eat a certain amount of food during the day (24-25oz a day). If you fill up her day with a lot of feedings, she’ll need to eat less overnight since she got most of her food during the day! We worked that into our daily routine, and she started to sleep a LOT longer at night. We started at 4 hour chunks, and Pete and I thought we’d hit the lottery. Then a week or so later, we’d gone up to 6 hour chunks. Now (at just over 6 weeks old), we can average 7 hour chunks of sleep at night – INCREDIBLE!!
Of course, these are things that worked for me but hopefully any tips you take away from this help you! I’m sure I’ll do another post like this as she gets older and we learn more things about being new parents. I’d love to hear your tips you have, OR if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message or leave me a comment/DM on Instagram!!