New moms are rarely prepared for the reality of life with a newborn baby. It’s pretty much common knowledge that babies don’t sleep through the night, so you expect to lose some sleep, but beyond that you might not be sure what to expect. Taking care of a newborn can be very time consuming. The new mother may be surprised to find just how little time she has for herself.
Just making sure the baby is well-fed takes up a good chunk of the day. If you are breastfeeding, your baby will need to eat 8-10 times per day. If the baby nurses for half an hour each time, that’s four or five hours out of your day just to feed the baby. Now you are beginning to see why new moms have such a hard time finding time to keep up with the house like they did before the baby was born. Formula-fed babies usually take less time to eat, but feeding a baby formula still takes a good chunk out of your day.
Of course, your new baby will need more than just feeding. You’ll need to change the baby’s diaper about 10-12 times per day. You’ll also need to give him/her a sponge bath every other day or so and keep his/her fingernails and toenails clipped as needed. Just keep an eye on them and trim them if they get too long or start breaking.
As a new mother, you will also find yourself spending a lot of time rocking and comforting your baby. When your baby is tired, he or she may need some help falling asleep at first. Many babies find it easier to fall asleep when they are being held, rocked or bounced. This can take up several more hours from the new mom’s day.
It can take several months before the baby is sleeping through the night, so you’ll need to learn to sleep when you can. If your baby falls asleep for awhile in the afternoon, that could be an excellent opportunity for you to get a nap and catch up a little on your sleep.
New mothers should take advantage of the times when their new baby is sleeping because you never know how long it will be before the next time. While baby naps, you get your meals and try to get some things done around the house. Maybe you’ll have time to advance the laundry or wash a load of dishes before the baby wakes up again.
Keep in mind that it is normal for a new baby to take up most of mom’s time. Don’t expect to keep your house as clean as you did before the baby was born. Unless you are supermom or your baby is an incredible sleeper, you just won’t have time. You’ll have to learn to take care of the most important things when the baby is sleeping and relax your standards a bit on the rest.