From pumping for the first time to giving a newborn a bath, life with a newborn can be overwhelming, especially when it’s your first. We asked a bunch of experienced parents for their best hacks and tricks around making those first few weeks and months a bit easier—ideas that go beyond the more obvious stuff. Here’s what they said.
1. If your home has multiple storeys, set up a change pad and diaper station on each one.
2. Before baby is born, ask friends for referrals for a lactation consultant and have that contact info handy either on your smartphone or stuck to your fridge, so you won’t have to be scrambling for referrals when all you want to be doing is focussing on your baby.
Your baby: 1 week old3. If you delivered vaginally, get extra squirt bottles. There should be one in every bathroom for those first few weeks.
4. Set a goal of leaving the house once a day, even in winter. Even if it feels insurmountable, remind yourself that fresh air will make you feel more human.
5. Attempting to pump for the first time? Do it in the morning, after the first feed of the day. Most women have more milk then.
6. Put the Netflix app on your phone so you can watch during those 2 a.m. feeds.
7. Two words: Dry shampoo. Some days, a shower just isn’t gonna happen and that’s OK. But dry shampoo really helps the hair situation.
8. Stock up on sweatpants and hoodies that have pockets so you always have a spot for supplies (pacifiers, phone, breast pads, etc.) when your hands will usually be occupied by your baby.
9. Fill your diaper bag with more changes of clothes than seems reasonable, including a spare set for you.
10. The days with a newborn can feel long, especially if you have a particularly fussy one. Give your baby a bath during the day—it kills time and is usually a guaranteed 20 minutes of happy baby with little or no fussing.
11. Wear your baby in a carrier while doing laundry, sweeping and tidying up. You’ll get stuff done while also giving your baby what they need.
12.Make a list of shows you want to binge on and keep it on your phone—you can even feel accomplished for checking those off!
13. If you’re breastfeeding and lanolin isn’t cutting it for your sore or bleeding nipples, look into APNO (All-Purpose Nipple Ointment). You’ll need a prescription, but it’s worth the trouble.
14. Force yourself to make mom friends, even if you’re an introvert or new to the neighbourhood.
15. Find local drop-in centres. They’re free, there’s no pressure to attend (compared to a baby class you paid for), and they’re a great place to keep an older kid busy while you feed your baby and socialize.
16. If a nurse or midwife offers you a stool softener after your baby is born, don’t be a hero. Take the damn stool softener. Trust us.