Hi friends! Wow - long time no blog. Hashtag newborn life! We are slooooowly getting into a groove, so I'm hoping to start blogging more again. Fingers crossed!! This post has been on my mind for a couple weeks, so tonight I just wanted to share really quickly five things that have helped keep us a little more sane + organized now that we have a teeny baby in the house! These are by no means original I'm sure, but just a handful of things that have helped us and that might help you as well if you're currently in a season with a new baby or preparing to welcome a wee one into your family!
1. Keep a bin in the baby's room for too-small items // One thing I didn't realize before becoming a mama is how fast babies grow! For the first several weeks it seemed like Xavier wore something one time, and the next time I went to put him in it, it was too small. I keep a bin in the armoire in the nursery for items that he no longer fits into, because nothing is more frustrating than getting him into a onesie, realizing as I'm trying to snap it that it doesn't fit, then remembering that I meant to toss that onesie out because I realized it didn't fit the last time I tried to put it on him. Okay actually stepping on a lego is probably more frustrating than this situation, but you get the idea. The minute I realize he's outgrown something, I toss it into the too-small bin. Once the bin is full, I carry it up to the attic and put in a Rubbermaid container to save for the next babe!
2. Store items where you actually use them // I figured this out pretty quickly as I was constantly needing something and realizing it wasn't where I wanted. For instance, at first I was storing all my nursing/pumping supplies in the nursery armoire. But I always pump in the living room (so I can watch Netflix at the same time, haha), put the pumped milk into freezer bags in the kitchen, and wanted my nursing pads in my bedroom since that's where I get dressed and inevitably I always forgot to put some in when they were stored in the nursery. So now I keep everything where I actually use it - the pump is in our living room cabinet, the freezer bags are in the kitchen, the nursing pads are in my dresser drawer with my bras, etc. Luckily our house is all one floor and the nursery is just three steps from the living room, so I don't need to keep a basket of burp cloths or blankets anywhere other than the nursery, we just run in and grab whatever we need as far as that goes. But if you have two stories or your nursery is far from where you actually hang out, keeping a stash of pacifiers / burp cloths / blankets / diapers in the main hangout room is super helpful!
3. Pour your morning coffee directly into a travel mug // I have a stainless steel travel mug that keeps my coffee hot for hours, and it's the best thing ever. I don't think I've drank a cup of coffee from a regular mug without microwaving it since Xavier was born! I either get distracted, leave it in a room and forget about it or need to set it down to pick Xavier up and it gets cold. Now I usually pour it straight from the pot into my travel mug so even if it takes me three hours to drink it, it never gets cold!
4. Keep ready-to-go meals and easy snacks handy // I don't know if it's lack of sleep or breastfeeding or what, but I am hungry ALL the time. I'm learning to stash easy snacks in my bedroom for middle of the night nursing (I love these!) and to keep some in the diaper bag and my car as well. I also love those applesauce squeeze packets they make for toddlers (so handy!) and Justin's brand almond butter packets as well for quick protein on the go! As for meals, having something I can pull right out of the fridge and eat or heat up makes life so much easier. I've been doing fairly well at meal prepping things in advance, like making a batch of shredded chicken for taco bowls or tuna salad, but I think I'm going to take it a step further and actually make up meal-size portions and store them in tupperware so I can just pull it right out and eat and save myself a step. Anything to make life easier!
5. Do something every day for yourself // This advice is widely shared amongst moms, and for good reason. It really, truly makes a difference. Having a newborn can feel all-consuming. Some days are harder than others, if Xavier doesn't feel like sleeping or is extra fussy, but even on the hardest days, having done a few things for myself makes a big difference in how I feel mentally. Some things I do: get dressed in something other than my pajamas, put on earrings and do my makeup even if we're not leaving the house. If I have a bit more time (like if Matt is home to watch Xavier or as soon as he falls asleep for a solid nap) I'll take a super hot shower, paint my nails (the Sally Hansen InstaDry brand is amazing - it literally dries in seconds in case you have to pick up a baby right after painting!), curl my hair or catch up on a few favorite blogs. There will always be laundry, dishes, emails, etc. etc. You just gotta let that stuff go for a little while and be proactive about caring for yourself!
And bonus - do one load of laundry every day, even if it's a tiny one! I think I picked this up from Emily Ley's post awhile ago after she had her twins, and it's been a lifesaver! Laundry can quickly pile up with a baby, what with all the swaddle blankets and burp cloths and spit uppy onesies, not to mention the cloth diapers if you use those, which we do. We do at least one load of laundry every single day. Usually it's Xavier's stuff, sometimes it's a combination of Xavier + our laundry, and sometimes we do two full loads if there's a lot! It never feels like we've had a laundry mountain because we stay on top of it, and it takes no time at all to toss stuff in the washer when Xavier is otherwise occupied.
Okay mamas, any other tips? Let me know in the comments! I'm all about life hacks to make this transition and season a little easier, so if you have some great wisdom please share! xoxo!