Clawing back a few minutes here and there can make a massive difference. Here are our tips and tricks – tried, tested and suggested by other mums.
These practical tips have been tried, tested and suggested by mums in their early days of parenthood and compiled by NCT postnatal groups facilitator, Dianne White.
1. Set up various ‘stations’ around the house with all your baby’s changing essentials and spare muslins at the ready. Find some nice boxes to put them in and people won’t even realise that’s what you’re hiding.
2. Take half an hour in the evening to get your bag, bottles and outfits for you and the baby ready for the next day. That way you’ll wake up feeling ahead of the game.
3. Think about using a sling. It’ll allow you to do some housework or emails with the baby happily attached to you as your hands are free. Multitask central.
4. Set up shopping apps on your phone so you can order essentials quickly while your baby sleeps on you.
5. Keep all baby information, paperwork and appointment cards in one place next to the door. Otherwise, you’ll be running around looking for them when you’re already half an hour late and your baby needs a change.
6. Learn to look at a menu and think ‘What can I eat with one hand and/or a baby on me?’ The answer is never, ever soup.
7. When you have a newborn and people say ‘Can I bring something?’ just say ‘yes please’. You could even list a few things that you really need. They’ll be happy to have helped and you’ll save yourself a trip to the shops.
8. Measure out extra portions of formula and make extra bottles up when you have the chance. Later on, when you’re really tired, you’ll be so glad that something is already done. Read up on safe preparation and storage first though.
9. Have one ‘dumping’ area in the house for things that still need to be sorted rather than just everywhere. Then when you do get five minutes, the task of sorting things is far simpler.
10. Batch cook so there’s always something for you to eat in the freezer. Now’s not the time for cooking complicated things every day.
11. Make a list of help that you would like or could do with. That way when someone asks, you’re ready to go.
12. Before the baby comes, get yourself stocked up on household basics like kitchen foil, toilet roll and cleaning products. This means you don’t have to do emergency dashes to the shops when you already have a lot to do.
13. Write yourself a ‘nap list’ so that when your baby sleeps, you don’t waste time and forget what you wanted to do. Instead, you can get straight on with ticking things off.
14. Always finish one chore before starting another. That way you don’t have the dissatisfaction of feeling like you’ve not achieved anything at the same time as knowing you have lots to do.
15. Buy a cot mobile that runs for a long time (say 20 minutes). Then you don’t need to go in all the time to switch it back on and can actually get on with stuff.
16. Get a rocking chair or swing with a vibrate button for the baby and your baby will be amused in it for longer. This will buy you more time to do the things you need to do.
17. Ask others if they could help with the housework and even think about getting a cleaner if you can afford it. You might not have considered it before but times have changed. You’ve got a lot fewer hours in the day and if you can free some up, do it.
18. Use the end of nap times to do your own stuff. When the baby sleeps in the car or the pram, transfer them inside and leave them there for a little while. This gives you time to get on with a few admin bits you need to do.
19. Shower in the evening when you’re baby’s sleeping. It’s another thing that will get you ahead of the game. You can have a leisurely time showering in the evening rather than dashing out dripping wet when your baby cries for their mid-morning feed.
20. Invest in a slow-cooker. These things mean you can put food in to cook while your baby’s having breakfast and you’ll have that evening’s dinner sorted.
Last updated November 2017
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
You might find attending one of our Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.