As you spend more time at home caring for your newborn, you realize that there is a lot of housework that needs to get done. But how to manage housework with a baby is the question! Can I vacuum around my newborn? Will I be able to get it all done on my own? When is the best time to do housework with a baby? Below, our experts answer these questions and more.
Expert: Dr. Gina Lamb – Amato
It’s really overwhelming when you bring a newborn home and thinking about keeping your home clean and orderly can be even more overwhelming. There are several suggestions for doing chores with a new infant:
- Place your baby in a baby carrier or baby sling and do light housekeeping wearing your infant. However do not use spray cleaners with chemicals when wearing your baby. Also be careful not do make any movements that would harm your infant.
- Place your baby in a musical swing, which can often soothe her to sleep. While your baby’s in the swing you can do some chores.
- Do chores while your baby is sleeping. However this often means giving up your own naptime, which you really need especially at the beginning when you are feeding every few hours.
- Most babies find the sound of the vacuum soothing so you can place your infant in an infant seat or crib and vacuum but not near the baby (vacuuming brings up dust which isn’t good for infants.)
- Accept help from family and friends. You can’t do it all yourself and if your husband, family and friends will help accept the help.
- Hire household help. You want to be able to spend time with your baby and not have to worry and think about cleaning the house. It can be very helpful to have someone come and help you clean even once a week so you just have to do some light housekeeping. Remember you need your rest! Also this is your bonding time with your baby.
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Mom: Sara Pinto
With a three month old, especially one nicknamed ‘Damn Well Please’ because she’ll only do it if/when she damn well pleases it can be challenging but not impossible. In the mornings after she’s had her first feeding we play/sing/read for an hour or so which eventually tires her out so she will then nap in her crib up to an hour. Use that time wisely and do the things around the house you need to do. If you need to run errands outside it’s usually pretty easy as you pop them in the stroller and hey presto, they’re asleep and you can go/do what you need to. Of course it’s never that simple as they’ll wake up when you’re in the middle of something…but don’t stress you can always finish it later.
If you can get your chores started in the morning you can finish it during the afternoon or evening nap/sleep. Just try and plan what you need to get done and you can generally find the time to do it. But if not, just roll with the punches and try again tomorrow. The biggest thing is just to stay calm; if you stress the baby will stress and that’s the last thing you want. I have heard that a Moby or wrap can be great for doing chores around the house as you’re basically just carrying the baby with you and as they like being close to you they’re generally calm but I haven’t tried it.
Mommybites’ team: Laura Deutsch
Well, first thing is first, if you are fortunate enough to have some help, (partner, family member, friend) chores should be first thing on their list of to do’s. Explain to them that the BEST present would be for them to help out with household duties. I remember when my daughter was born (my first child) any ‘free’ time I had was devoted to crawling into bed and trying to get some zzzz’s. The thought of doing chores was painful. So I enlisted the help of my friends and family to come over a few times per week for the first few months just to help me with that stuff – laundry, dishes, garbage, tidying, etc. Luckily my husband really stepped up and helped out too.
Now, what if you are not in the fortunate position of having people around to help out? I would say not to set your expectations too high. You (nor your newborn for that matter) do not need a meticulous house in order to survive, so don’t go nuts cleaning like you used to. But at some point you will need laundry done and you will need clean dishes to eat on and you will need to take out the garbage, so my advice is to set a very reasonable goal for yourself – one chore per day: one load of laundry, or one dishwasher load, or straightening up your room, etc. And if you miss a day (or two or four), it’s OK – I promise that the cleaning police will not arrest you! Remember, when you have a newborn, you are in survival mode, and don’t forget that. Be good to yourself. Your house will get clean and your chores will get done…..eventually.
About our team
Dr. Gina Lamb – Amato MD
Gina is a general pediatrician and developmental pediatrician who works at Village Pediatrics and Agho Medical practices both in Manhattan, NY. She has a masters in child therapy and works with a child psychologist Rosa Vasquez PhD performing office and home consultation for newborns and parents, office and home developmental assessments, school consultations and parent child playgroups where play and art along with baby massage and other techniques are used to help parents bond and support their child’s development. Formerly, Gina was the Director of Pediatric Special Medical Needs before she went into private practice where she cared for medically fragile infants and children. She is also a Early Intervention Pediatrician for Early Intervention which assesses and treats infants from age zero to 3 years. She has extensive experience in Early Head Start programs which work with infants from prenatal to 3 years of age. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter who is 3 years old and the joy of my life. Her husband is an artist, producer and owns Synchronicity Space, a non-profit arts organization that supports emerging artist in fine art and theatre. Finally, she is also an artist who paints mainly babies and children.
Sara is a mother. In her professional life, she is the Director of the Professional & Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division at the Association of American Publishers.