by Sarah ▪ 27 May, 2021

Navigating your new normal

As a new parent your focus is suddenly narrowed to the single most important thing in life – your new baby. Yet, most unfairly, all the chores from before still need to be done, and all while you’re sleep deprived and at a small dictator’s beck and call!

It’s easy to feel that you’re dropping balls left, right and centre, and emotions can run high. So it’s important to find ways to creatively cut corners to keep on top of things, and take back some time for you. By taking off the pressure, you’re giving yourself space to really enjoy this precious time with your new baby.

1. Give slings a shot

Slings offer many advantages when you have a newborn. They can be very soothing to babies, because they experience the lulling motion as you move, and are always comforted by the warmth of being next to you. It’s also lovely for parents to be able to have constant communication with their little one – and the wonderful smell of their baby’s head just beneath their nose (when fitting a sling, you should always be able to kiss the top of their head).

With none of the bulky paraphernalia of buggies and car seats to lug with you, you’ll miraculously find yourself with two free hands. This means you can get odd jobs done or get out for a relaxing walk while still interacting with your baby – a win-win. It also stops them from having too much time lying on their backs, especially if they’re resistant to tummy time!
If you do choose to try a sling or carrier, there are three main types to choose from: wrap, ring and buckle, although some brands blend aspects of different styles. Look for local meet-up groups where you can experiment with different sling styles and try before you buy. These are also useful for ensuring you know how to fit the sling carefully using the T.I.C.K.S guidelines  – for the sake of both baby and your back!
Our favourite is the Ergobaby 360, a buckle-style sling which is easy to put on by yourself and which can become a back carrier as your baby becomes a toddler. With great support for your back, great wearing flexibility, handy pockets and a variety of stylish designs, what’s not to love?

2. Let tech do the talking

One of the big ticket time stealers is lulling your little one to sleep. They just know when you’re not there! To help with this, try pNeo’s Baby Shusher which uses a real human voice to make shushing noises for up to 30 minutes, giving you some precious time to read, cook, eat, exercise or just wash your hair.

3. Take out a toy subscription

This is a really fantastic way to save time, not only on shopping but on the inevitable recycling of toys as your little one grows and their needs change. With a Whirli toy subscription you can choose toys from many top brands all in one place, and return them when your baby’s interest is no longer piqued (or you can’t bear that particular tune any longer!). You’ll get tokens to the same value and can select new ones. If you can’t bear to part with a particular toy, you also have the option to buy.

An added bonus is the space you save in your home by avoiding the build-up of baby paraphernalia – and that in turn means less tidying up, and less stress.

4. Fit in some fitness

Exercise may feel the last thing you want to do, or you may be frustrated that you can’t find the time to fit in more, but either way, it’s important for your physical and mental health. So why not incorporate some simple strength work into your normal newborn routines?

Walking itself is great exercise, and the fresh air is beneficial too, but you can up the ante when out with the buggy by adding lunges as you go. When you’re singing songs to your baby, try lifting her up and down while squatting – it’s fun for her and great for your glutes! Babies adore music, so pop on the radio and have a boogie, either holding baby or while they’re enjoying tummy time or in a bouncer – you’re winning at parenting by being an entertainer (try waving some sensory scarves while you do it for extra kudos), whilst working up a sweat.

5. When busy, get whizzy!

A lot of these tips centre around food – and that’s because food matters, especially when you’re running on empty, sleep-wise. Let’s start with food for baby (once they’re on solids). For a simple, quick and mess-free (or as mess-free as you get with a weaning baby!) solution, why not try Ella’s Kitchen for sweet and savoury purées and finger food snacks that you can take on the go, while still being assured of top quality, organic ingredients.

If you’re making purées yourself, a great investment would be a Nutribullet Baby Food Blender. Or just get a standard blender, and then you can use it for your own smoothies and meals, too. We love this Nutribullet for its Smart Technology which will sense when to speed up and slow down, with no need for hands – perfect if you’re also baby wrangling at the time.

6. Cubism, baby style

Even though blitzing baby food saves time, you don’t need the fuss of washing up every time. So do a batch whatever you’re making – from fruit purée to creamed potatoes – and put the leftovers into ice cube trays. These make a perfect portion size for tiny ones so you always have a healthy option on hand.

7. Slow cooking …

Now for your needs! Mealtimes can be fraught when you have a new baby – and beyond. It’s often hard for both parents to sit and enjoy a meal at the same time, so it’s easy to end up just grabbing snacks which are neither nutritious nor satisfying – or even to missing meals altogether. At a time of increased stress and reduced sleep, regular, nourishing meals are crucial to maintain your energy levels and mental health.

A slow cooker is a great way to save time and hassle – just add ingredients in the morning, and have a warming meal come evening. What’s more, if you can’t eat at the same time, it won’t affect the quality of the food. We love the Daewoo SDA1364 Stainless Slow Cooker (3.5L), which is easy to use and large enough to batch cook too, if you want some portions set aside for no-fuss lunches and dinners at a later date.

8. … and quick fixes

There’s no shame in picking up some microwavable rice and pre-chopped veggies to make side dishes easier. In fact, for healthier options like brown rice, this saves even more cooking time while delivering more goodness. There are many different – and exciting – options (try Tilda’s Super Grains flavoured with sweet potato and coconut, Whitworths Brazilian Smoky Beans or Jamie Oliver’s Curried Chickpeas for starters!), so you may even get inspo for next time you have time to devote to cooking something special yourself.

If you want something a bit more special, treat yourself to one of Gourmade’s delicious sides (the Potato Dauphinoise is a real indulgence, and new parents are unlikely to find the time to make it).

9. Gourmade Bundle of Joy hamper

While we’re on the subject of food, you are certain to have days when even the simplest cooking feels too much. Why not treat yourself to a freezer full of ready meals for those nights? Gourmade’s new parent hamper contains eight main meals (two single portions of four different favourite comfort meals), two sides and two desserts (each with two portions!). The single portions mean that both parents can be assured of a hot meal if baby is fractious and you can’t eat together (yes, we’ve been there!), while the desserts are just a well deserved – and scrummy! – treat.

Team Beef Bourguignon with Potato Dauphinoise for a sophisticated date night meal, or chow down on a chilli for a simple yet satisfying supper. The box will be delivered straight to your door, and the meals can be oven-cooked or microwaved for quick and easy dinners with a touch of class, even when you’re up to your eyes in nappies. There’s a veggie box too – and even if you are a meat-eater, trying this box for variety won’t disappoint, with customer favourites like Butternut Squash Lasagne and Veggie Mac & Cheese included.
Gourmade also have plenty of other delicious mains, sides and desserts with which to stock your freezer. If you always have a few on standby, you can always be assured at least of a fuss-free comforting meal, even if you’re beset by teething troubles, croup or other baby woes.
Tell us your favourite meals on Insta, Twitter or Facebook – and of course we’d love to see a picture of baby, too!