Motherhood is tough.
From the point I brought my newborn baby home, I can't remember the number of times I had been overwhelmed to the point of tears. Or sleep-deprived enough to choose napping over meals.
Eventually I managed to save my sanity with these incredible life hacks that saved me precious time (to catch forty winks of sleep).
Use a zip swaddle for your newborn
In baby's first week, I practised hard until I could swaddle her in the traditional muslin cloth like a pro. Within two weeks, she started struggling out of it. With her hands out, she jolted awake easily with her strong startle reflex.
I switched to SwaddleMe as reviews said it could firmly hold baby's arms in place. But the loud velcro noises were simply too much, in fact they startled my baby. Insert angry face.
Finally, I gave the Love to Dream swaddle a try. Like its name, it worked like a dream. Turns out my baby enjoyed having her little hands stretched out beside her head instead of being bound to her sides.
Now she awakens less easily and her overall sleep duration has increased. I swear by this life-changing swaddle, like countless grateful mums out there.
Create motion using a gym ball
If your little one is like mine, she needs consistent, rhythmic movement to drift into dreamland. I have carpal tunnel syndrome which makes rocking baby to sleep painful as that exerts my wrists.
I was inspired by one of the dads in the Return of Superman korean variety who bounced on a gym ball to lull his baby to sleep. I gave it a go and true enough within just a few minutes, my baby fell asleep!
Bouncing on a gym ball also helps tone my mumbod!
Co-sleep and side-latch for night feedings
My wrists started to hurt so much that one day I strained to lift baby out of her cot. Having a nursing pillow (I used My Brest Friend) helped, but I still had to maintain a firm grip on my baby and feeding took so long - 20-25 minutes per side during those newborn days.
Nursing my baby is one of the most incredible, bonding activities ever, but it was draining until a mum friend told me to master side-latching.
I changed my bedroom arrangement to include a twin-sized bed beside the queen-sized one which my husband and I sleep on. We removed the bed frame so the beds are on the floor and we retired the cot. Baby gets her own bed to sleep on, and she is in close proximity yet an arm's length away from us. That minimises any risk of us crushing her on accident when we sleep.
The brilliant thing is - I could move over to her bed with ease whenever she wakes for milk in the middle of the night, plant myself next to her and side-latch. When baby is done, I gently nudge her onto her back and she continues snoozing. I get to rest (even doze off) while feeding and none of my hands were harmed in the process. This arrangement is perfect for dreamfeeding too!
Babywear a clingy baby
My baby is a sticky one. No complaints because I love having her close. But when naptime comes, that poses a headache. She is unable to nap independently without us holding her or her sleeping on our chests.
But one has to work or do household chores for a living!
My solution is to babywear her. It works like a charm and she naps away contentedly listening to my heartbeat while I hustle around the house or work on Miraculove.
The bonus is - baby's neck muscles strengthen as a result of being upright in the baby carrier! It is more effective than tummy time (which my baby hates).
Do bicycle exercises to expel gas
Newborns tend to be gassy because their intestines are maturing. My baby suffered from gas pains all the time - she grunts noisily, flails her arms about, lifts her legs into the air and turns a beetroot red - all unmistakable signs.
I started bicycle exercises during every diaper change by gently holding her legs to her tummy and moving them in a circular motion as though getting baby to ride a bicycle. Gradually, I noticed a decrease in gas attacks!
Sometimes during the exercise, she would let out gas... audibly. I found this a natural and comforting way to help baby relieve gas without resorting to gripe water.
Place clean diaper under dirty one
I definitely had my share of baby peeing or pooping onto the changing table (and me!) in the brief seconds as I clear the soiled diaper and prepare a clean one. Talk about timing!
I was so tickled the first few times.
Then it became less funny when I had to clean up the mess for the Xth time.
A fellow mum shared that an effective way to prevent these stealth pee and poop attacks was to position a clean diaper under the dirty one. After wiping baby's bum, place the wet tissue into the soiled diaper and take it off. A new one would be awaiting just beneath.
This simple yet seamless method helped to prevent lots of bathroom accidents!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.