There is no doubt: newborn babies are adorable, sweet, lovely little creatures that beg us to hold them, snuggle them and give them all our love. They are totally helpless and completely reliant upon us to take care of them. And the intense bond between a parent and child is remarkable – and something that only a parent can really understand.
But that sweet sense that your baby is relying on you translates into a lot of work in the practical world. Every bottle, nappy change, lullaby and clothing change is down to you (and your supportive partner). With newborns feeding 8 – 12 times a day and waking every 2 hours on average, it’s no wonder that new parents feel completely exhausted.
There is so much to do and it’s never-ending. On top of that, in those first few weeks, mothers will generally be recovering, both physically and emotionally, from the pregnancy and birth.
Newborn baby schedules vary and it can be very difficult – sometimes impossible! – to get your baby into a regular routine during those first few weeks. But we’ve outlined what a typical newborn schedule might look like for parents:
7am – Nappy change: The day starts with a nappy change. Generally, babies will need changing each time they wake up – before each feed.
7:10am – Feed: You’ll feed the baby, which takes about 20 to 40 minutes. You’ll then need to wind your baby which usually takes another 20 minutes or so.
If you’re breast-feeding, newborns can feed for up to 20 minutes on each breast.
If you’re bottle-feeding, you will likely have a bottle already prepared. It’s a good idea to prepare several bottles in advance, so you’re not rushing about trying to get the bottle ready while your hungry baby is crying (more on this later).
8am – Play & Snuggle Time: Your baby will probably be awake for another fifteen minutes to half an hour, so you’ll play with them and snuggle for a few minutes.
8:30am – Send Baby to Sleep: You’ll need to get your baby to sleep again. It’s difficult for babies to fall asleep themselves, so you’ll need to use gentle rhythmic rocking, patting or stroking, or softly sing to your baby before they fall asleep.
This process can take up to 45 minutes.
9:15am – Chores: People say to sleep when your baby sleeps, but that only works if you’ve got someone else to do the laundry, the household cleaning, the meal prep and baby bottle washing. So, it’s much more likely that you’ll make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and grab some breakfast as you go about your chores.
10am – Wake and feed. Repeat the earlier cycle again. Newborns are at least somewhat predictable. They wake up, want to eat and have a nappy change (or the other way around) and then want to be settled and cuddled before going back to sleep.
11:15am – Send baby to sleep: Time to soothe your baby to sleep again.
12pm – Chores: Time to squeeze in a few more chores and more bottle washing.
1pm – Wait, it’s lunch time? Constantly on the go, you’ll probably be ravenous. And the chances are, you’ll only have half an hour to yourself before Baby wakes again.
1:30pm – Wake and feed.
2:45pm – 7am: The above cycle repeats itself – again and again.
And in this time, you’ll also need to squeeze in time for grocery shopping, cooking, receiving visitors and, of course, sleep.
A Never-Ending Cycle
Caring for a baby is a never-ending cycle. The above schedule is typically how the day continues throughout the newborn phase.
If you have a particularly settled newborn, you’ll probably get a four-hour chunk of sleep at night, but some babies simply don’t sleep for more than two or three hours at a time until they’re between 6 and 8 weeks old.
Studies suggest that new parents get just four hours and 44 minutes’ sleep per night. So, sleep deprivation is the norm for new parents – even when you and your partner are sharing all duties.
Be mindful that a lack of sleep can take an emotional toll on both you and your partner – and your relationship. It can make you irritable, more emotionally reactive and can also impact your mental clarity. This is totally normal for new parents, so don’t be alarmed! There are plenty of tools and tips available online to help you cope with sleep deprivation and manage the impact of a new baby.
Babies are likely to wear two or three outfits a day, between nappy leaks and spit-up. Parents tend to go through a few shirts too, so be prepared for a lot more laundry. And if you’re using cloth nappies, that’s even more dirty washing piling up every day.
Even caring for bottles can be hard work. Bottles, nipples and pacifiers / dummies must be cleaned, sterilised, and dried after every use. And with newborns feeding more than 8 t0 12 times a day, that’s a lot of bottle washing!
This can leave you with drying bottles spread all over your kitchen benchtops, struggling to find a clean, dry bottle when you need one.
One way to save yourself some time and energy is to prepare several bottles in advance and store them in the fridge. You’ll thank yourself for it – especially in the middle of the night. You’ll then just need to gently heat the bottle in a bowl of warm water before each feed.
Also, instead of trying to wash bottles by hand when you’re exhausted, or running a half-empty dishwasher every night, a 3-in-1 baby bottle cleaner, sterilizer and dryer can do the hard work for you. You simply load it up with bottles, nipples / teats and pacifiers / dummies throughout the day and then just run the cycle when it’s full. This gives you more time during the day – and it’s time that new parents sorely need.
Those first few weeks are incredibly hard, no matter how prepared you are for a newborn and how much help you might have around you. But taking advantage of the time-saving tools available to you and being organized can help make your life as a new parent easier. You’ll feel more energized and will have more time to enjoy with your baby, crack on with chores, or catch up on sleep. Even if it’s just a quick nap to get you through the evening, you’ll be thankful for it.
Although looking after your newborn is an endless task, it’s important, for both your physical and mental health, to rest, re-energize and just take some time out, where possible.
Altelle have developed Bottle Bath with the aim of delivering the best bottle sterilizer available. Designed by parents, for parents, Bottle Bath™ is designed to save time. It thoroughly cleans bottles, leaving them perfectly sterilized and completely dry their next use, at the press of a button.
If you’d like more information on Bottle Bath and want to be the first to know when it launches, sign up to our mailing list today.