How many of you new moms have heard “don’t worry about the dishes, they’ll still be there” or “just ignore the house and sleep when the baby sleeps”? Most those are said by well-meaning people…but it’s kind of annoying. Life doesn’t just stop because you had a baby. You still need clean dishes and clean clothes. I mean, you can only go buy underwear to avoid laundry so many times. Cleaning with a newborn doesn’t have to be impossible. It’s even possible to do it without losing a bunch sleep! Check out these tips to create a plan that works for you and your newborn.
Wear the baby
Some babies really, really, really like to be held. That can make the rest of life feel impossible. Do things like vacuuming or swapping laundry while wearing the baby in a carrier or wrap. (I was a huge fan of the Ergo as it went from 7lbs all the way up to 45lbs. No need for more than one baby wearing device that way.) It’s amazing how much can be done while wearing a baby once you get used to it. I would not suggest cooking while wearing the baby because of the hot stove, possibility of splattering grease, etc.
Clean during one nap
Newborns generally take lots of naps. Choose one nap to tackle a larger project, like doing the dishes or folding the laundry. Something that very much takes both hands and is harder to do while holding or wearing a baby. The trick here is to only do it during one nap. Remember you’re supposed to be cleaning with a newborn…without losing sleep. Use only one (maybe two) baby naps to clean and use another nap to take a nap yourself.
Assign tasks to days
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of cleaning schedules. However, with a newborn, they can be necessary. Choose one day that you will clean the bathroom, two days that you will vacuum, one day you will do the bigger kitchen tasks like baking, etc. Don’t just choose which days in your head. Write them down and post them where you and the family can see them. With it right there in your face, even when you are sleep deprived and put the socks away in the pantry, you’ll be able to see what you need to do that day. Try not to assign more than one task per day.Cleaning with a newborn (without losing sleeping) is possible! Click To Tweet
Do laundry every day
No, I did not just contradict myself. Do one load of laundry every day. Or every other day if it is easier for you/you don’t have a ton of laundry. This is not a time to be meticulous about sorting the laundry either. Obviously, don’t wash something red with whites or heavy duty work pants with dedicates. But for the most part, gather all dirty laundry every morning and start a load of laundry. No one wants to fold massive piles of laundry with a newborn who has a weird sleep pattern. It’s so much easier to tackle smaller loads every day/every other day than it is a few massive loads a week.
Ask for help
I know this one gets put out there often. If you’re like me, you really don’t like to ask for help, especially for cleaning type stuff. However, I have also had an anti-nursing, colic-y baby who hated to sleep while I already had a four year old. To say I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived is putting it mildly. I needed the extra help. If you have children that can help, use them. Even if you think they might be too young to be a big help, even three and four year olds can pick up toys, wash the table, and feed the pets. Older kids can be more helpful with things like loading the dishwasher and vacuuming.
Also be sure to ask your spouse to help out. We women often try to do it all and don’t want to put more on our husbands, especially when they work all day outside the home. It’s even harder when we have a newborn. We have this weird thing where we feel like we have to prove we can still function as normal while taking care of a new baby.
Well, guess what? We can’t. Life changes for awhile after a new baby. Now is the perfect time to break out of your normal roles and ask your husband to sweep the floor or fold the laundry. It’s okay! So many husbands want to help their wives but don’t know how or even how to ask. If you’re trying to act like everything is normal, they may not even realize you need the help. Just go ahead and ask! If you both tend towards more traditional household roles, that’s fine. You can get back to that…after life settles into a new normal.
Cleaning with a newborn without stressing out or giving up sleep is very possible. Just do it in small chunks and ask for help when needed. If you’ve “been there, done that,” be sure to leave a tip in the comments for the new mamas!