If anyone needs the trend of life hacks, it’s new moms. Becoming a mother is an extremely challenging experience. It’s incredibly rewarding—don’t get me wrong—but it’s a tough transition that’s usually stressful and at times, scary.
The good news?
So many women have done it before and are thrilled to help out new moms with tips and tricks they picked up along the way. Here are 4 essential parenting hacks that can make being a first time mom a little bit easier.
1. Develop a Schedule to Stay Organized – You’ll Thank Me Later
You might be thinking “I barely have time to shower, let alone to make a schedule.”
While that might be true right now, taking a bit of time while the baby is napping to create a schedule will make things so much easier.
You’ll be able to schedule time for a shower, instead of just grabbing time for yourself whenever you can. Scheduling helps to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Let me be clear: your schedule shouldn’t be too ambitious. Your main priorities should revolve around caring for yourself and your baby: ensuring that you both get enough sleep, enough to eat, and are able to feel clean and relaxed.
Schedule in items like eating, sleeping, walking, and playing.
If you have a partner helping, bring them in on the schedule so that you can both contribute.
As your child gets older, the schedule will change with their growing independence, activities, etc. but having that foundation of a schedule will make those transitions easier.
2. Take Health Check-Ups Seriously
Setting your baby up for a lifetime of good health is key, and that starts with early health checkups. Make sure to schedule appointments well in advance and ask for advice when you need it.
Many moms struggle with breastfeeding issues or other health issues, and it’s important to reach out whenever necessary to get reliable answers and help.
There’s a lot of information available on the internet—but there’s also a lot of misinformation, particularly about vaccines.
“One of the problems with myths about vaccines is that they change and adapt so quickly as scientific evidence refutes them,” says Kacey C. Ernst, PhD, MPH, associate professor and program director of epidemiology at the University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. “This is pretty easy to do since they aren’t grounded in science.”
Sticking to a regular checkup schedule and turning to your pediatrician when you need answers will help ensure your baby grows up healthy.
Don’t avoid any aspects of the recommendations during development. Controversies, misinformation, and myths around issues like vaccines shouldn’t sway you in doing what’s best for your child and protecting them against potentially fatal diseases later on.
Take the risks seriously and do whatever you can to keep them healthy and safe by getting regular checkups and recommended vaccinations.
3. Monitor Tech Use
Children are fascinated by technology from a very early age, but there are some very real concerns associated with kids getting too much screen time.
It’s key to balance kids’ tech use with other activities, like reading together with physical books, spending time outside, and playing in person with other kids so that they can build social skills and learn to have fun without the internet.
When your kids are using tech, try to make most of it educational. It will help prepare them for school and their future lives, when they’ll need to be proficient in using different tech tools.
Many schools are shifting away from paper-based curriculums, with 75% of teachers predicting that by 2026, printed textbooks will not be in use in schools.
Realistically, it’s not possible to make sure all of your child’s exposure to technology will be educational, but it’s a good goal to have.
4. Don’t Forget Your Sleep
Ah, sleep. It’s the most elusive pastime of new parents, and we’re trained to believe that we can’t get adequate sleep as new parents.
Don’t believe it—although it’s more challenging to get enough sleep with a newborn in the house, there are ways to make sure you’re not yawning through the day.
The golden rule? Sleep when the baby is asleep.
Many moms feel guilty for neglecting household tasks, but unless it’s truly urgent, your sleep is more important than the dirty dishes in the sink. Napping with your baby will give you more opportunities to bond and build trust with your little one.
You’ll feel better and be happier if you’re not constantly sleep-deprived. Listen to your body, and if you need a nap, take one. You deserve it.