Here are some shortcuts and other tricks we have found that make our lives as parents a bit easier
Prep bottles, for the night and the next morning, before bed
Every night before bed I sterilise all the bottles, fill them with cooled boiled water and measure the formula into the dispensers so that when I get up bleary eyed at bitch o’clock in the morning, I can make bottles without burning my fingers off, spilling formula all over everything or having to boil a kettle and have my child get into a screaming huger frenzy waiting for it to cool. It also helps my husband to make bottles because unless something is in plain sight with a neon sign pointing to it, I have “hidden” it and it is lost to him forever.
Don’t call the mum police on me but I put the bottles in the microwave for 30s before I add the formula. As long as you make sure to shake the water to distribute any hot spots and test it before you feed it, you’ll be fine.
Have a separate laundry basket for baby things
Keep it within throwing distance of the baby changing area. That way you separate baby vomit, wee and pooh from your clothes which are (possibly) not covered in these things. If you’re like me, most of your clothes will go on a dark wash but for some reason people get offended when I dress my child in black. I was battered into submission by all the pink clothes I received as gifts so I am now a raging gender stereotyper and most of my baby’s clothes are pink. Stick the whole lot, sheets, sleeping bags and your pink t shirts on a 1 load non-bio wash when the bag gets full. Easy laundry life.
Use fairy lights
1. Babies are mesmerised by them, allowing you to place the baby into their cot at sleep time, ensure they are transfixed and then slink out of the room (you may need to do the “drop and crawl” at first. I tried emplyoing the “bed commando roll” once but the bed creaked and blew my cover).
2. Unlike a lamp, they only illuminate the baby, so in the night you can easily execute the “one eyed baby breathing check” without having to dazzle yourself or risk waking your bedmate/s.
3. If you use pink or red, the glow is meant to soothe the baby as it reminds them of the womb (if I was saying this to you in person I would be doing a lot of air quotes and a bit of eye rolling but Ewan the dream sheep works on the same principle so I guess I’m a believer)
4. It feels a bit like Christmas
Keep wipes in every room
(Other brands are available….).
Your life as a new parent is/will be pretty skanky. Sick, poo, other fluids etc. will find their way on to every item of your clothing and furniture and dusting will take a necessary back seat. While I am not and never have been houseproud I can not bear limescale, water stains, and I realised that I needed a clever plan for dealing with stains and dirt when I told one of my friends that I was excited about my parents coming to visit because I could clean. I was actually looking forward to cleaning the bog. My little solution – which fits in quite neatly with my love of buying cleaning products – is to buy wipes for every room and leave them in there. Loo cleaning wipes for the loo, multipurpose wipes for the kitchen, cheap baby wipes to clean vomit etc. off the sette etc. So when I do get a quick moment to nip for a wee (and I mean the deliberate sort – not the sort where you get a bit post-baby leaky) I can wipe round the loo afterwards and feel a bit more relaxed about people coming over to visit. Honestly, you’d think I was best friends with Kim and Aggie the way I’m talking. My mum will tell you I’m not. Or you could just pay a cleaner to do it – which you should seriously consider if you can afford it.
Engage in some role play
Sorry, I couldn’t find a properly illustrative picture. Anyway what I mean is that if you are co-parenting your child, or if you can regularly rope in a mate or parent, try to assign a regular task to them. For example, it could be Daddy’s job to give the baby a bath every day. That way he bonds with her, and you have 15 minutes to disappear and do something you want/need to do. Or you could agree that your partner will do the morning/night feeds on a particular day. That way you share in responsibility and both have time to bond with the baby in a way that limits how resentful you might feel, and which gives you some precious time to yourself.
If you live in a house or large flat you might want to consider setting up 2 changing stations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pretend I’m not lazy (I am), but running up and down the stairs every time my baby needs a change is neither practical nor fun. I therefore have the following in both her room and the living room – changing mat, wipes, nappies, tissues, sangenic changing bin, toys, change of clothes, blanket, bottles, feed, muslins, dummies. So far it has saved my knees, back, and several hours of my baby crying.
Buy some medicine and a syringe
What I mean is Calpol, though other brands are available. I think.
Anyway if your baby can take it, buy some before his/her first jabs. S/he might not need it but it will save a dash to the chemists by a confused partner and precious time while your little one is crying. You’ll also have it in your arsenal of supplies should s/he need something to help him/her along. I’ve found having a syringe to give medicine invaluable. There’s a syringe in most packs of Calpol. Firstly, it measures the dose more accurately than a spoon and if you are as paranoid as me it helps to reassure you that you aren’t poisoning your baby by accident. Secondly, it’s a darn sight easier than using a spoon. Giving a baby medicine is, however, still like trying to nail jelly to a wall so either invest in some kind of baby medicine giving device (they do exist) or try squirting some of the stuff in their mouth, giving them a dummy or finger to suck immediately, then continuing until it’s all gone.