Healthy living

Balancing housework and baby

It is often recommended that new parents pretty much forget about housework for the first few weeks after their baby is born. After all, it is important you are well rested and able to spend time with your baby, adjusting to a new way of life.

But eventually housework needs to become part of daily life again. The difficulty is in working out how.

Try asking yourself these questions:

  • What jobs do you find easier to do when baby is asleep? These might be quiet jobs (like folding laundry) or jobs that take a long time or more concentration (preparing dinner).
  • Are there any jobs that need to be done while baby is awake – for example, things that might wake baby up (like vacuuming)?
  • When you need two hands, where can you put the baby when he is awake? Do you have a baby sling? Is baby happy in the cot or pram for a few minutes? Can someone else look after him?
  • What jobs would you feel comfortable asking someone else to do? Who would you feel comfortable asking for help? Perhaps mum-in-law could wash dishes rather than scrub the toilet?
  • What can you do if things get out of control? This might mean asking for help, taking time out, writing a list of priority tasks or calling someone to talk.

You might like to use a timer – set it for 20 minutes and when the timer stops, so can you. Giving yourself a clear end-point might help motivate you to get as much done as possible in a short period of time!

Using the worksheet below write down possible ways to find a balance between caring for your baby and housework. You can review the worksheet as your baby gets older. When her sleep patterns change, you will need to change your strategies for household management.

Download the balancing housework and baby worksheet (Word 47KB) or (PDF 36KB).

Most importantly, remember to find time to rest. Just because your baby is asleep, it doesn’t mean that housework needs to be done. Allow yourself a little ‘me time’ too.

Women and Newborns Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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