Fellow mamas, I know how hard it is to feel like you can’t get anything done anymore after bringing a new baby home. While there are understandable (and beautiful!) reasons for that, it can still be a source of stress and frustration. So here are my tried-and-true productivity tips to get more done with an infant, while still meeting your baby’s needs. I hope these tips will help my fellow new moms maintain a sense of productivity and normalcy, even after adding a new baby into the mix.
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1. Prioritize prayer over everything.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, especially when you have so many things you need to do, like laundry, washing pump parts, or gosh, even taking a five-minute shower. But cliche as it may sound, it truly makes a massive difference in your day – and in your life in general – when you put God and prayer first.
Now, in this season, prioritizing prayer make look different than it did when you were a childless college student, or a twenty-something single gal, or even a newlywed. And that’s okay! The important thing is to still make prayer a priority in whatever way you can. Find time in the nooks and crannies of your day to pray. Even if it’s in the middle of the night with a nursing baby. Even if it’s only one decade instead of a full rosary.
When you prioritize prayer, in whatever way you’re able, you will be better equipped with the graces you need, not only to get your tasks done, but also to keep your head above water.
2. Make checklists.
Get your to-do list out of your head and make it into an actual, physical list! “Mom brain” is a real thing, especially when you add sleep deprivation into the mix. So don’t rely on keeping track of a list in your head – you simply will not remember everything (believe me, I speak from near daily experience).
Write down everything you want or need to do and physically check items off as you complete them. Not only will this help you remember your tasks, you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment and productivity every time you check something off, which is satisfying, motivating, and might help you get more done.
3. Prioritize 1-2 tasks for the day.
When you make your checklist, be sure to note your top one or two priorities for the day. It can be easy to think, even as sleep-deprived new moms, “I need to do the dishes, run two loads of laundry, call the pediatrician, vacuum the floors, tidy the living room…” and on and on. But realistically, with an infant to care for, it’s unlikely you’ll accomplish everything in a day. So pick your top 1-2 must-do’s for the day and tackle those first. Then even if you don’t get more done beyond that, you can rest knowing you at least completed your non-negotiables.
Babywearing is a lifesaver! If you have things to do but also have a clingy baby, throw on a wrap or carrier and problem solved. Wearing your baby will free up your hands while also allowing baby to be held. You can fold laundry, go on a walk, bake or cook, or any number of tasks, all while baby stays close and cozy on your chest – probably sleeping! Plus, there are so many added benefits of babywearing, like skin-to-skin contact, the womb-like experience that a wrap mimics, hearing mom’s heartbeat, etc.
There are so many different types of baby carriers out there, so be sure to do some research and pick out which one(s) will suit your preferences. My personal favorite is my Boba wrap. I also have a KeaBabies wrap, a Lillebaby carrier, an Infantino carrier (which my husband uses), and a ring sling.
5. Take advantage of short windows of opportunity.
If your checklist has been waiting for you and you’ve finally got a moment of freedom, go for it! If baby magically falls asleep somewhere other than your arms, or he/she is happy in a bouncer or swing, take advantage of that time. Even if it doesn’t last long, you’ll be amazed how much you can get done in even just 5-10 minutes. Embrace that opportunity for productivity!
6. Accept help.
If people offer to help you in this season – and they likely will – please take advantage of that! I know, it’s hard to accept help. Whether out of pride, embarrassment, or feeling guilty, it can be easier to just politely say no. But when you’ve got a baby, especially a newborn, give yourself permission to say yes. If someone asks if they can bring you a meal, hold the baby while you shower, or help you with housework, graciously accept the offer, especially if it’s coming from someone you trust.
I promise it will be worth it – and I have a feeling that deep down inside, you know you need the help.
7. Practice teamwork with your spouse.
You can’t bear the burden of caring for yourself, the house, and an infant by yourself. So be sure to tag-team with your husband wherever possible, and be sure to clearly communicate about it too, to avoid building up resentment. While hubby obviously can’t nurse the baby, maybe he could take on the job of washing your pump parts. Maybe you mutually decide that every evening, he’ll hold the baby while you do some self-care. Or maybe he can do dinner cleanup every night so you don’t have to worry about it.
Whatever you come up with, make sure the arrangement is one that will ease some of your load, physically and mentally, and that it’s clearly communicated. And always remember, you two are on the same team!
8. Go easy on yourself.
Okay, I’ve saved this one for last – and consider it a caveat to all my productivity tips. Please give yourself some grace! Remember that this truly is just a season – one day, you will sleep through the night again and you will get to your entire checklist again. Right now, you have a tiny human being who is entirely dependent on you, and that, understandably, takes up most of your time and energy.
Sometimes, for us new moms, feeding, changing, and holding your baby is being productive! Dishes and laundry will always be there, but your baby won’t always be a baby. So go easy on yourself and cut yourself some well-earned slack. You are doing a great job!
Fellow mamas, I hope some of these tips to get more done with an infant are helpful to you. And just remember, God chose you to be this baby’s mom – there is no greater mother on earth for your baby than you!
Do you have any productivity tips for new moms? Let me know in the comments!