Your baby demands your undivided attention.
Some even need it when they’re asleep, because the only place they want to snooze is in your arms.
This is all fine if you have a small army of helpers around to help you get all of the things done that you need to get done. Such as washing your own hair.
But realistically, after your partner has gone back to work, you don’t have the luxury of having an extra pair of hands.
And while people may advise you take it easy and just focus on the baby, there are always some things that you need to get done apart from caring for your little one.
It’s made even harder if your baby is particularly clingy. Both my babies were clingy for the first year, and demanded to be held all of the time. My youngest daughter still is clingy, at nearly three.
A big thing that I struggled with after having kids was the mess. I like a clean house. It makes me feel so much more relaxed when things are tidy and smell amazing.
And yet when I tried to quickly run the vacuum round or tidy up the kitchen, I had a baby screaming for attention.
It felt like I was just rushing from one job to another then back again.
Another big question mark for me was what to do with the baby when I had to shower.
Some days I just didn’t bother, because I was too tired or there was no time.
But other days you just need to have clean hair! So what do you do with your baby when you need to shower? Where do you put them? Or do you have to have backup for when you take your showers?
The answer to these questions, and more, will be answered in this post!
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So when you need to get stuff done, whether it’s work or chores, here’s some things you can do to distract your baby and ideas for how to get some temporary space:
The number one trick to getting stuff done when you have a baby
The key to getting things done with a baby to care for is to pick your moments! Timing is everything when it comes to a baby.
Make sure your baby is fed and content when you try to distract them so that you can get on with things.
A hungry baby is most likely to cry and become extremely worked up.
If you do manage the holy grail of getting your baby to sleep in an actual cot rather than on you, then of course this is the ideal moment to get things done on your to do list.
Many babies nap a whole lot easier in their buggy. But being out for a walk doesn’t help you get stuff done! So what you can try is bringing the buggy indoors and popping baby in there in the hallway.
If the wheels are muddy you can cover them with those plastic shoe covers you get in hospitals and at swimming pools! Or you can try covering them with shower caps (honestly, it works!).
If your baby requires motion to get to sleep, you can buy this amazing gadget that does all of the rocking for you so you can get on with what you need to do and it soothes your baby!
Do remember to keep your baby close if you do leave them to nap in the buggy and check on them regularly.
What to do with your baby when you need to shower or get dressed
This was a big question for me. All of the advice says that the baby should nap in the same room as you and be in a room supervised at all times.
Then there’s the fact that some babies scream whenever you put them down. They crave the comfort and closeness. This type of behaviour is known as the fourth trimester and sees your baby suffering from major separation anxiety.
The answer is to grab a baby bouncy chair (hopefully you have one) or your Moses basket if you have one of those.
Bring it into the bathroom, or if the bathroom is too small put it right by the doorway and leave the door open.
Now get in the shower and wash away. Your baby may cry. Try to delay this by giving them a toy they love, putting on some music or turning on the vibrations of the bouncy chair if it has this function.
You’ll want to go as quickly as possible, so this won’t be a relaxing, pleasant shower. But you will get it done, plus your baby will be within your line of sight at all times, so you will know they are safe.
How to entertain your baby when you’re cleaning
Deep cleaning is pretty difficult when you have a baby. However If you’re anything like me you will still want the kitchen to be clear of dirty dishes, the carpet to not be covered in bits and the bathroom to not have a layer of limescale and soap scum all over it.
So how do you go about entertaining your baby when you need to run the vacuum round.
You need to get really good at doing 10-minute bursts of cleaning.
In general you can buy yourself 10 minutes of time here and there. 10-minute activities may include clearing away the dishes, running the vacuum cleaner and wiping down the bathroom sink.
Have a running list of chores you want to get done and just tick them off as and when you manage to get round to it.
In the meantime, keep your baby busy with a play mat covered in different toys within arm’s reach so they can grab them.
A baby bouncy chair is also brilliant for buying a few minutes of time.
You could also try tying a balloon filled with helium to their leg. You’ll be amazed at home excited they get by this as they watch the balloon bounce around whenever they kick. When doing any activities like this, make sure your baby is in the same room as you so that you can keep an eye on them and make sure they are safe.
How to get work done when you have a baby
Do you work from home? It’s tough to be a working mama with a little one.
The trick is to get really good at typing with one hand!
Another option is to prop your baby up on a cushion in your lap and reach around them so you can type on your computer or use your hands.
You can also try to get an old keyboard and let your baby either play with it during tummy time while you work, or pop them up in a highchair with it next to you.
Babies love to copy what you are doing!
There are more tips for working from home with kids on this post.
What to do with your baby when cooking
Lots of people advise a carrier for getting cleaning and cooking done when you have a baby who is especially clingy.
It’s not really safe to be leaning over a hot stove with sizzling oil though!
You could try a backpack carrier, so that your baby is shielded from the heat of the cooking.
If your baby is old enough, a jumparoo chair in the corner of the kitchen is a good way to keep your baby happy for half an hour while you get the cooking done.
I often used to pop my baby on her play mat in the living room, which is adjacent to the kitchen, and let her have a kick about there.
It would often involve dashing from the kitchen to the baby and back again to keep her happy, but I just about managed to get a meal done.
If your baby is able to sit up, they will love having a pan and a wooden spoon to bash together. Anything that belongs to you is especially fascinating to your baby for play!
Part of the trick is not to select complicated meals to cook! Buy vegetables that have been prepared for you and choose one pot dishes so there isn’t as much washing up to do at the end.
What to do with your baby when you need time out
Some days you just need to have a little bit of time for you. If your baby only naps on you, this can feel impossible!
And some days it will be totally impossible. But if you catch your baby in the right mood, then you may be able to grab half an hour of sitting and reading a book, or watching your favourite TV show.
The trick is to find your baby’s “thing”. What keeps them distracted for the longest possible amount of time.
For some babies in will be their bouncy chair, others love their play mat and a mirror to stare at.
My friend had a play nest and absolutely swore by it. She said it gave her loads of extra time where she didn’t have to carry her baby around all the time.
Experiment with different things and find what works for you.
I hope this post helps you find ways to distract your baby so you can get things done hands-free!
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