Ottilie’s now just over one year old and has been on the move for a good four or five months, though I honestly can’t remember a time before she could crawl at 100 miles per hour!
Gone are the days when I could park her on a playmat in the middle of the living room and then dash into the kitchen to wash and sterilise bottles (whilst checking in on her every minute or so, of course!)- now she can get from the living room to halfway up the stairs in the blink of an eye, and is never happier than when bombing around pushing her walker and leaving a trail of mess and destruction in her wake! Books come flying off the bookshelf, shoes get picked up and redistributed around the house, and she’s drawn to my sock drawer like a bear to honey…the mess is like nothing I’ve ever experienced!
As part of my ongoing collaboration with Graco this year, I was recently sent over a little factsheet all about how non-stop and physically strenuous the life of a new parent is, and it totally blew my mind. Did you know that according to Graco’s research, new parents typically spend an average of 8 hours a day on their feet and carry around up to 17.5kg in weight (SEVENTEEN KILOS!), all whilst functioning on less than 6 hours sleep a night?!
So, as a kind of of two-parter to this post here, all about the tips and tricks I’ve learnt for life with a new baby, I thought today I’d share a few things I’ve learnt about juggling life with a baby on the move!
01 :: Go lightweight…
As any parent with a mobile baby knows, as soon as they can crawl or walk, it’s basically all they want to do!
The pram used to be the place Ottilie took her longest and most peaceful naps- some days we’d go out for lunch and she’d snooze in her bassinet for two solid hours! Bliss! Now however, when she’s done with being in the pushchair, she is DONE!
Which is why the new Graco new Featherweight pushchair that we’re currently road testing is a total dream- it’s only 3.7kilos, so light that you can fold it down and throw it over your shoulder when little one wants to get out and be carried or to walk along holding your hands. As much as we’ve loved having a larger travel system pushchair over the past year, being able to fold up and carry the Featherweight when Ottilie wants out and so avoid the ‘baby on one hip whilst awkwardly manoeuvring pushchair with the other hand’ scenario is completely amazing.
02 :: Plan, plan, and plan some more…
With an older baby comes a wider variety of demands. Up until six months the cries are usually pretty simple to decipher, with milk, a good burping, a nappy change, and sleep often being the cure for all evils!
But now…you’re hungry? You’d like a snack? Not that kind of snack, no? You’d like to walk, or crawl around on the floor of this busy restaurant? You’re tired but can’t go to sleep without Jeffie the giraffe and we left him in the car?…Things are more complex!!
I find it helps to plan my day in chunks, with the morning spent at home so that Ottilie can have plenty of time to crawl around and burn off a load of energy before a decent late morning nap, and then we’ll head out to meet friends or go to a class or activity of some sort before getting home for a later afternoon nap and another play before bed.
And having your changebag (top tip- go for a rucksack for hands-free carrying!) packed and organised is more important than ever, when it comes to getting out and about with an older and more active baby. Keeping a tupperware pot filled with a selection of snacks is essential (you know, for all the food based bribery you said you’d never do but totally will ;), and a little toy bag filled with a couple of fun pop up books, puppets, and musical instruments is great for keeping baby busy when you’re on the go.
03 :: Hide cleaning supplies in every room!
Graco’s research says that 53% new parents number one stated their number one challenge is keeping on top of household chores. Well, I can fully believe that let me tell you!
In fact, I’m undecided if it was harder to keep the house tidy with a tiny baby who you can’t put down or with an older baby who makes a mess of whatever you’re attempting to clean and organise…I mean, it’s basically a never ending task either way!
The best way I’ve learnt for keeping on top of things is to have cleaning supplies to hand at all times! Stash away a bottle of polish and a duster cloth in the bedrooms so you can whizz round whilst baby plays on the floor by themselves for thirty seconds, and when little one is at the stage where they’re sitting completely steadily in the bath, bath time can be a great opportunity to clean the sink/put bleach down the loo and polish the toothpaste marks off the mirror. And hey, you’re a parent now! You get to clean AND sing Dingle Dangle Scarecrow all at the same time! ;)
But seriously, it might feel like one level of multitasking too much at the time, but anything that means you can actually sit down once you’ve put your baby to bed for the night and not have to then get cracking on the cleaning is a winner in my book.
04 :: Streamline the food shopping process…
Tanith Carey, author of Parent Hacks, suggests snapping a quick photo of the inside of the fridge before heading to the shops, so that when you’re in the middle of Sainsbury’s wondering whether or not you finished the mango chutney last Tuesday or how many bottles of soy milk are left in the fridge, you can glance at the picture and have your answer!
Attempting a food shop in person can often be difficult in itself, and so online shopping is king if you ask me! It means you don’t have to attempt to juggle taking your baby round the supermarket with you, and most importantly allows you time to actually concentrate on what you’re buying so that you don’t end up overspending and wasting food.
I’ve also found it a godsend to have one or two basic food shops saved on Ocado, so that when you’re having one of those parenting weeks where it feels like you’re stretched to your absolute limit, getting in your groceries is just a case of logging onto your favourite supermarket delivery site and clicking ‘Order!’!
05 :: Make time for yourself.
Okay, here’s my number one tip as learnt many, many times over this last year- when you put your baby down for a nap, the absolute first thing you should do is make yourself a cup of tea and something to eat, and then sit down and enjoy it! Because by the time you’ve thought ‘I’ll just stick a load of laundry on, and actually the dishwasher needs filling and maybe I’ll just sort out the baby’s lunch whilst I’m in the kitchen’, nap time will be over and you’ll not have had a single second of downtime!
So whether it’s by napping when baby naps, heading upstairs for a relaxing bath at the end of the day, or running out to a Pilates class once baby is in bed, it’s important that you take time to relax and unwind after expending so much energy all day long. And remember, happy Mum equals happy baby!
~ This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Graco. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~