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Create a newborn schedule

You spend days, weeks, and months planning for your big day. You read blog posts, listen to podcasts, and might even pick up a few books. Which big day am I talking about? The day you go into labor of course! You have your bags packed, birth affirmations are written down, and several routes to the hospital mapped out.

You spent so much time planning for this event. When in reality the process of giving birth is relatively short! Women don’t spend as much time thinking through what the first few weeks and months with their newborn will be like.

Don’t worry girl, I got you.

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I have for you the easiest routine for life with a newborn! It’s a very loose schedule that will get you through each day feelings productive, restful, and less stressful! I will get you feeling less like a zombie and more like the blissful mama that I know you are on the inside!

Helpful products:

You are going to need a few different ways to hold, carry, and set down your baby. I recommend these products because I used them a lot! They were critical in the newborn stage!

DockATot: The DockATot is my #1 recommendation for new moms, and actually any mom expecting a baby! The great thing about the DockATot during the newborn days is that you are able to safely and easily put the baby down just about anywhere. It will feel so cozy to your baby. It was my favorite for night time or anytime I wanted to relax and have her nearby. I think the DockATot was one of the biggest reasons my daughter was such a good sleeper in the early days and this really came in handy when sleep training! Yes, it is a bit pricey when it comes to baby products, but I am sure you won’t regret the investment! Grab one with my affiliate link here!

Ring sling or Soft Carrier: Having a soft carrier was the literal best thing during the first 3 months. (Actually, I still wear my daughter at almost a year as well) I loved this ring sling and this baby wrap. By placing your newborn in a wrap you can do most things that you need to do around the house. You can even relax with wearing them.

The final things I recommend having are a few places that you can set baby down during the day. Having a few different options is helpful when Baby is fussy and you need to mix things up! Here are a few of my favorites!

I had all three items. The nice thing about these items is that you can move them from room to room when you are getting things done. I bought the Rock and Play and the swing both used. But I bought a new bouncy chair that came with my Pack and Play.  

Do you want to know what my biggest piece of advice for a newborn schedule?

The biggest rule to follow when starting a newborn schedule? Treat nighttime like NIGHTIME! If and when your baby wakes up at night keep the room dim, calm, and quiet. Change her diaper, feed her, and then put back to sleep in co-sleeper or crib. When your baby wakes up between 4-6 am treat that time as night time as well!

My daughter regularly sleeps until 7 or 8 on weekends. I attribute this to the fact that I never treated extremely early mornings as an appropriate wake-up time. Friends and family members that treated anytime before 7 am as an appropriate wake-up time have babies, toddlers, and kids who still wake up with the sun each morning. Could be a fluke, but why risk it?

Note: If you have older kids or have to go back to work right away then this might not work as flawlessly for you. But try your hardest not to let a newborn “wake up” for the day before 7 am.

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Newborn Schedule Part 1: First Thing EVERY MORNING

Wake Up and Nurse: 15-45 min.

When it’s time to get up for the day, nurse baby first, and then either wear her or put her somewhere safe so that you can do some self-care.

Morning Self Care: 15 minutes

Take some time to brush your teeth, comb your hair, clean yourself up and do some postpartum care. This is also a great time to take a quick shower. Bonus points if you want to put on a little makeup. This won’t take you long and you will feel so much better.

Quick note: I am not one of those women who say they never had time to shower with a baby. I made showering a PRIORITY. It was a self-care must for me. I preferred to shower twice a day for the first few weeks postpartum. I had a really strong letdown and so I usually would get really covered in milk while nursing. Pair that with postpartum bleeding and I really needed to shower twice a day to feel normal.

If you want to get dressed during this time go ahead and do that. If you want to stay in jammies until longer than do that. You do you.

Breakfast, Have that coffee girl! 15-30 minutes

Scramble up some eggs, make some greek yogurt and fruit, or whole wheat toast with nut butter. Get some good healthy nutrients in your body. You need that food for breastfeeding and to aid in postpartum healing. (Clean up the kitchen after you are finished so that you don’t have dishes piling up)

Newborn Schedule: Late Morning

Light Housekeeping

Sometime between breakfast and lunch, I liked to get some light chores done around the house. The chores that I did during this time was dictated by where I was in my recovery process. The first week I was home from the hospital I stuck to folding laundry and doing some dishes. (I left most other chores to my husband).

During this morning time, I did what I could between nursing, snuggling, and playing with my snuggly little baby. If she needed me I didn’t worry about doing chores. I usually had about a 3-hour window between breakfast and lunch that allowed me to get most things completed for the day.

Examples of tasks: Quick bathroom clean up, change sheets, clean kitchen floors, and counters, put away baby gifts, vacuum one or two rooms, clean out the refrigerator, take out the garbage, make a shopping list.

Don’t weigh yourself down with tasks. Just take on a few things here and there to keep your house running somewhat smoothly. I’ve noticed that the bigger the mess I let accumulate the more time and energy it took to clean it up. I try my hardest to not let things get to that point. Try using 10-Minute Tasks to help you.

What should Baby be doing during this time?

That depends on you, and how she is doing. You can wear her in your ring sling, put her in her DockATot nearby, place her in a bouncy chair, or in the Rock and Play. The important thing is to just keep her nearby. If she gets fussy change it up.

Newborn Schedule: Early Afternoon

Lunchtime 30-45 minutes

Make lunch, eat it, and clean up the kitchen afterward. Remember you are trying to stay ahead of the mess.

Afternoon Rest Time

This was my favorite time of the whole day. I would slow down and really use the afternoon to rest. I knew I had gotten enough stuff done for the day in the morning while I had energy. Now is the time I would just rest and enjoy my daughter. We would usually go back to my bedroom and I would climb back into bed and either hold her or put her in the DockATot and I would watch some Netflix. Sometimes I took a nap during this time as well.

Newborn Schedule: Late Afternoon

4pm go for a walk  

Usually, after my afternoon rest time, I would want to get out of the house for a little while. Most often we would go for a really short walk outside. (This was dependent on how far I was postpartum) This was just a really nice time to get outside and get some fresh air.

Do a load of laundry

Do a load of laundry every day. Get it done. You will be so much more appreciative that you aren’t spending days on end folding laundry. It will stay much more manageable this way.

Newborn Schedule: Evening

5-6 pm dinner

Make and eat dinner. Try to sit down with your whole family even if its only for a few minutes. Have your husband clean up after dinner while you nurse the baby so that when you go take a shower you can have some uninterrupted time.

7 pm take a shower and get ready for bed

Pass the baby over to your partner and take an uninterrupted shower. Don’t rush if you can. This is your time to unwind!

Put laundry away

With your jammies on and a baby nearby fold and put away your clean laundry.

Newborn Schedule: Bedtime

Before you officially get in bed make sure you have everything you will need for nighttime nursing and diaper changes.

Get into bed with baby by 9 pm  

A note on co-sleeping: I am a huge proponent of co-sleeping, using a co-sleeper until Baby can roll around. Co-sleeping will make your nighttime feedings so much easier and you will feel so much more rested having Baby next to you in the evening hours. I stopped sleeping at almost exactly 4 months. We simply transitioned her by placing the DockATot into her crib for one week. Then we removed the DockATot and we never looked back!

Once in bed, you can read, watch TV, or stare at your sweet sleepy baby but make sure you are chilling out for the evening. A calm mama will make for a calm baby.

Over the night: nurse as much as baby needs

To summarize, because the demands of a newborn are challenging just try to follow a loose schedule. Fit in the following 5 things each day to be a less stressed mama.  

  • Make sure you are nursing on demand.
  • Make self care a priority! Take a shower, brush your teeth! Your baby can be without you for 15 minutes!
  • Do small tasks around the house each day so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Do a load of laundry a day!
  • Take time to rest and enjoy your baby!
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