By Your Parenting of www.yourparenting.co.za
Life with a new baby or a young toddler (or two) can be very overwhelming and just about any mother can be heard saying: “I just don’t have enough time”. So, we searched mommy blogs, spoke to mothers and picked up tips to find 25 suggestions that will help you save time and make your life just that little bit easier.
- Create a breastfeeding station: with a comfortable chair, a light, a glass of water, something to read, burp cloths and a portable phone.
- Invest in a co-sleeper: This way you don’t have to get out of bed for night feedings; you just reach over and pull your baby to you. After the feed ease your baby back into bed when she is one. Neither of you has to fully wake up, which makes getting back to sleep much easier.
- Buy a plastic jug: and mix up a half a day’s worth of formula at once. It will last, refrigerated, for 24 hours once mixed, and it saves you from having to mix the powdered formula with water for each feeding.
- Prepare a week’s worth of baby cereal at a time: measuring out the right amount of dry cereal in individual bowls or cups with lids. Then all you need to do is add milk or formula.
- Make batches of baby food: like steamed and mashed veggies and fruits, at one time and freeze them in mealsize quantities in small zip-seal sandwich bags. Defrost the bags in the fridge the night before you want to use them.
- Keep finger foods in snack-size zip-seal sandwich bags: so that you can grab a few whenever you leave the house.
Feeding the family
- Make extra portions with each meal and freeze them: ready to be heated up when you don’t have time to cook. Many foods are great for freezing such as soups, stews, pasta sauces and bean and rice dishes. Or you can prepare enough food for three days at a time – make vegetables, steamed chicken, and other meats, cut up pieces of fruit, and put everything in zip-seal sandwich bags in the fridge.
- Make meals that require only one or two pots: such as pasta and sauces or a stir-fry – they’re faster to make and easier to clean up afterwards.
- Do as much online grocery shopping as possible: It’s a great timesaver and it also saves money as you don’t make any impulse buys in the aisle.
- Draw up a cooking schedule: so that during the week you and your partner each cook twice and on a Friday you can eat takeaways or leftovers
Nappy bags sorted
- Keep two nappy bags packed and ready to go with all the basics: so you always have one ready to go. Refill each one after you use it. Leave one in a ‘go-to’ area near your door, so all you have to do is grab it on your way out.
- Make mini-changing stationsaround the house: in additionto the main one in the nursery.They can consist of a basket filled withnappies, wipes, a towelling nappy for achange mat and a few toys. They can bestored under a table or bed.
- Keep an extra bag in your car packed in case of emergencies: six to eight nappies, a supply of bum creams and wipes, a change mat, one or two outfits, bottled water, formula if you use it, a jar or two of baby food with a spoon, juice boxes and snacks. You’ll be prepared for nearly everything, from getting stuck in traffic to an extra night of holiday.
- To save time in the morning, try having your toddler in the shower with you: This way you can get almost as much time as you would like in the shower, you can keep a close eye on him and he gets clean splashing around at your feet.
- Keep a basket in the bathroom filled with all you need for your child’s bath: towels, facecloths, shampoo, soap, cream, nappies and wipes. Refill it each week so you don’t have to run around gathering supplies before bath time.
- String an old yoghurt container to the side of your toddler’s cot: where she can reach it and add all her extra dummies to it. Everytime she wakes up for a dummy, show her where to find one. Pretty soon she won’t be calling out for you, she will just get the dummy herself.
Less mess, less fuss
- Have current toy bins and ‘dormant’ bins: Only keep out a limited number of toys at any one time. Every three months or so rotate some of the toys. The dormant toys will seem like new and your house will be less cluttered.
- Put a cloth or duster in each of the main rooms that need cleaning: As you walk through each one, grab them and clean your way through. It saves a lot of time and keeps things dust free.
- Get your children to help too: by getting them to do a quick tidy up 15-30 minutes before bedtime Psychologist Derek Jackson suggests starting from as early as 17 months old, with your help, of course. This would include picking up toys, laying out tomorrow’s clothes, and placing anything they’ll need by the door.
- Keep a bucket on the counter or in the sink: Each time you’ve finished feeding your baby, rinse the spoons and bowls to remove food and put them in the bucket. Add some dish soap and hot tap water, do the rest of the cleaning when you have time. Because everything’s soaked, it will be much easier and go much faster.
- When your baby wakes up in the morning or from a nap: do things like pick up toys, fold washing or pack away clothes while she’s still in her cot. She will love watching you and she’s in a safe place, not underfoot.
- Write a ‘to do’ list for the week: Have everything written down, and cross things out as they’re done. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. It also gives your partner a chance to help without having to ask you what to do.
- Choose a spot to put your car keys, wallet and cell phone each night: and make it a habit. There is nothing more frustrating in the morning than looking for the things that you need. Stick to it and it becomes habit.
Share the load
- Delegate the morning tasks: while you are feeding your baby, get your partner or helper to pack the school bags, snack boxes or nappy bag. You could also pack all the bags and set out your toddler’s clothes the night before – this is a great time and stress saver.
- At night, ask your partner to bath your children: Your children will love it and it is great for father-and-child bonding, and it will give you some time to yourself.