In your previous life, you could get dressed and out the door in 30 minutes or less. You were the picture of organizational efficiency - immaculately dressed and always on time. Now, getting ready in the morning is a monumental task, and you've been known to arrive at the office wearing two unmatched shoes.
Why is getting out the door with a baby so hard? For one thing, babies don't understand schedules and the morning routine you need to follow. Your baby must be fed when she's hungry and changed when she's wet. Unfortunately, these events seldom occur at convenient times.
If your baby is young, you're probably still learning to read his cues. Perhaps you're still mastering breastfeeding. You may also be operating under the fog of baby sleep deprivation, which makes it harder to stay organized. You can barely remember your name, let alone where you left the car keys.
Try to keep your sense of humor, along with your perspective. The first year of parenting is demanding simply because babies have so many needs. Babyhood is fleeting, though, and you'll eventually figure out how to get ready in the morning with your baby and develop a rhythm that works. After the initial adjustment, many parents are more organized and productive than they were before becoming parents. Parenting brings your priorities and values into sharp focus, so you put your time and energy where it matters most.
Parenting Tips: How to Get Ready in the Morning with a Baby
There's no magic formula for streamlining the morning routine as new parents. Time and experience are the best remedies; but we've gathered a few of our favorite ideas for taming the morning crazies to improve and make the most of your morning routine with your child.
- Make a simple master checklist of everything you need to do or gather in the morning. This doesn't need to be complicated. Just take 5 minutes to jot down a few items. Refer to this checklist until the morning routine becomes second nature. A checklist helps you remember important details, even when you're stressed or sleep deprived. No more leaving the cell phone on the kitchen counter.
- Think about each task in your morning routine and how long it typically takes. Add up the time in your head so you know when you have to wake up to get everything done. Give yourself at least 15 to 20 minutes of extra time for the inevitable diaper blowout or last minute feeding.
- Pack your bags the night before, suggests Leigh Anne O'Connor, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant based in New York. Keep the diaper bag stocked with everything you need - clean outfits, diapers, wipes, toys, and snacks. While you're at it, put an emergency stash of supplies in the car in case you forget something. Keep a few things for yourself in the emergency stash. Think toiletries, a granola bar, and maybe a clean shirt.
- Go to bed early. Getting enough sleep should be high on your list of priorities. At the same time, get up early enough that you can have a few minutes to yourself in the morning to exercise and get ready. Spending an hour at the gym may not be realistic, but try to squeeze in even 15 to 20 minutes on the treadmill or using an exercise app. Exercising for working parents may seem impossible, but by adding a little bit of physical activity into your morning routine, it will help you have more energy for the morning ahead.
- Build time into your morning schedule to feed, cuddle, play or read to your baby. This special time relieves anxiety for both of you and can make the morning run more smoothly.
- As your baby hits toddlerhood, she may balk at the morning routine. Tell her what to expect next and warn her before it's time to leave. Your toddler understands much more than she can say. Bring along a favorite item, such as a stuffed animal or a snuggly blanket, suggests Dr. Ronald Crouch, a clinical psychologist specializing in child and family therapy in Hawaii.
- Getting out of the house at any time can be especially challenging with an infant. Get some tips for getting out with a baby from Bright Horizons parents:
In spite of your best efforts, you may have mornings when you feel like crying right along with your baby. Set aside any goals for perfection and cut yourself - and your little one - some slack. In a few months, you'll be an old pro and getting ready with your infant will no longer feel like a challenge.
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