No Time to Eat with Newborn!

Updated on April 24, 2011
J.O. asks from Novi, MI
27 answers

OK, so any tips for getting time to eat or shower? I am having trouble getting enough calories (and I won't down a donut or anything totally bad for you). I eat standing and chewing like mad, whenever I can a few times a day. I do this with 1 hand (as I am nursing or holding newborn, who is often fussy) so I cannot prepare even a PB&J. For my kids, I basically throw stuff to them to eat, running around the kitchen trying to get everyone milk or bread, fruit, etc. Totally crazy but there is no time to cook, ha! I can't even get to the store to buy food, and husbands do a poor job at shopping. So the choices are not huge.

I get a few showers a week with baby on floor, and other kids pounding on door. They get a bath a week. I also don't have time to go to the bathroom or take care of the post-birth hygiene to the extent I want. So this makes my stomach upset, and eating too fast causes air in my stomach. One thing after another!

Kids are newborn, older baby, and 2 toddlers. I am up all day of course and much of the night so there is NO "after the kids are in bed" time to eat or shower.

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answers from Detroit on

Ask for help!!! With a newborn, family and friends usually ask, "do you need anything", say yes, a home cooked meal. As a mother of twins, and was very over whelmed with trying to care for them after having a c-section. I had friends make a meal with a meat, a veggie a starch and if I was lucky a homemade dessert. I would freeze them. It was very easy to put bags of frozen meat/veggies in a microwave or pot of boiling water and have a "real meal" in about 10 minutes. Plus you get to sample recipes you may not have thought of.



answers from New York on

I LIVED on Carnation Instant Breakfast (chocolate, yum) for months! It was fast to make, filled me up and gave me energy.

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answers from Portland on

Schedule, schedule, schedule! If you get them all on a schedule, you will have more time than you know what to do with. I am a foster mom and I currently have 3 kids, 2 of which are babies. I sometimes have 4 kids, and we only take the young ones so things can get a little crazy at my house.. I always get them on a schedule the minute they come into my home and they adapt very quickly and are a lot more calm because they know what to expect. I also have a 4 year old biological son and I put him to work helping out which he loves because it makes him feel important. He can put waffles in the toaster and pour milk for himself and the 12mo old, he can bring me diapers, put laundry in the hampers, sort clean silverware, etc. If he is busy helping, he can't get into trouble. :)

For Infants 0-4mo old, I always put them on a 3 hour feeding schedule. They wake up, eat, play, sleep, repeat. I wake them to feed every 3 hours during the day and then let them sleep away at night. My son slept through the night at 6wks old on this schedule, my foster babies that are older than 2mo old when placed in my care are usually sleeping through the night within 3wks of being on this schedule at my house. With this schedule, they eat 6-7 times per day which is exactly what they need. It also helps any tummy problems because they are up after feeding which helps move the air out. If they are sleeping right after feeding, it can cause all sorts of tummy issues. I also always lay them down awake and let them fall asleep on their own which helps them learn to self soothe, no I don't do CIO - on the schedule they know what to expect and they sometimes get fussy if I keep them up past their nap time - they like their naps!

For ages 4mo - 6mo, I stretch their feeding times to every 4 hours (since they are eating more) and give them 3 naps per day. For ages 6mo - 12mo, I keep their feedings to 4 times a day, breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and they nap in the morning and afternoon. Ages 12mo and up stay of the same feeding schedule but go down to 1 nap in the afternoon. My 4yr old isn't required to nap but he does have quiet time so I usually get at least 1.5 hours of quiet time in the afternoon to do something for myself.

All kids are in bed by 8:30pm, and because they have learned to put themselves to sleep I don't usually have to deal with fussiness. Bedtime routines are short and sweet and happy.

If your kids aren't used to a schedule it will take time to get everyone on it but stick to it and enforce the rules and soon you will have some time on your hands.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Okay you are doing your kids no favors continuing this pattern. You must take care of yourself. It doesn't matter if the newborn is fussy, it may be loud but it doesn't hurt them to cry a bit.

You need to take care of yourself!!!

Look at it this way, exactly who will take care of your kids if you end up in the hospital? It is far easier to take the time you need to care for yourself here and there than it will be to deal with long term illness.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

I'd get a friend to come over so you have another set of eyes so you can do some things.
You sound like the tasmanian devil from looney tunes!
Dont be afraid to put the newborn down for a bit, even if it's fussing. You cant let everything completely fall apart, and you dont have to hold the baby constantly.... I'm sure you already know that since you have other kids, or is this always the aftermath? Haha. Usually newborns sleep a lot, are you just afraid to put the baby down because of the toddlers?
Try to trust DADDY more, let him carry some of the burden. I'm sure he can watch his kids and keep them alive while you soak in a tub for awhile. You dont need to do this all by yourself and you shouldnt have to while there's a dad living with you. Pull out a rolling pin and shake it at him, he'll get the message :) If you get too tired you will be crazy and not able to make sound judgments, dont let that happen.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

At first when I read the subject line, I was thinking this was a new mom. You are not a new mom so I'm wondering why in the world are you so frazzled? Most moms I know create a routine for themselves. I'm about to have my 4th baby any day now and my routine will change and I know I will adapt but I know I will create one because I have to. Does the newborn never sleep during the day? Do you never put the baby down in the crib, swing, bassinett, bouncy chair even when the baby is awake? At some point, I'm sure you put the baby why are you not taking advantage of doing something for yourself like eating like a normal person and tending to your family? Your other kids only get a shower once a week? Where is your husband in this picture? I understand that sitting down to nurse a baby takes time but does the baby nurse all day long, never taking a break in between? Something is missing from this picture you have painted for us. Or maybe I'm just the one missing something. Even when I only had one baby, I put her down after nursing her, even if she wasn't asleep just so I could do something either for myself or for the house and by golly, when we ran out of food, I took the baby with me to the grocery store knowing I had a two hour window to complete my grocery shopping before having to nurse her again. I guess I'm a bit concerned that your post pregnancy hormones are coming into play here making you feel more overwhelmed than you should be. Do you have trusted friends and family who can offer to help? What time do you put your children to bed? Take a shower when they go to bed at night.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Where is you man? Did you have a schedule before baby 4? Who does your grocery shopping? What or do you have any type of schedule in your home?


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would try Peapod or similar. Low fee, delivery when you are home. You can order it at your convenience and re-use the list over and over.

I used to put my daughter in her bouncer seat for potty breaks and showers. When she was older, I trusted her for just a few minutes while I had the door open and her favorite TV show on. Tonight I lingered because DH was home and kept an eye on her....what a lovely thing to take a long shower! Do the kids nap?

Ask your husband to take the kids for you when he gets home, and take your showers then.

I would look for things you can make easily and then sit down to enjoy with your kids. Even if you're just eating mac and cheese that day. Take a few minutes because one day they'll be 14 and that may be the only time you see them.

Do you use a sling or other carrier? If not, get one and consider one you can also try to nurse in. That will help free your hands for food prep, wiping noses, handing out crayons, etc.

It may not be the healthiest thing all the time, but things like frozen waffles, breakfast bars or good old boxed cereal are easy, quick and can satisfy several children. My DD likes her waffles straight from the freezer. I put her cereal dry in a snack cup with a lid. There's breakfast.

Consider packing leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. Pop in microwave. Heat. Serve. Have your husband help you prep quick food (fruit, sandwiches, pasta) so that you can breathe the next day. Get a crock pot. Your husband can either mind the kids or help you chop veg and dump in meat for the next day's dinner. Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight if you have to (ours has an inner part that can be taken out and brought to the table).

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids.

Hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

wow. maybe you need to set some rules for the toddlers so you can bathe without being interrupted. can you bathe while they are napping? I am not sure how mnay kids you have, sounds like 4 and all under that age of 4 maybe?? I would put my newborn in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with me while I showered. As he/she got older I would put them in an exersaucer. either in the bathroom with me or in front of the tv watching baby Einstein, kids are mesmerized in front of those movies. I would eat while I nursed as well or while he/she slept. I would have my food next to me while I fed them, as they got older, you could give the baby a bite, take a bite. You can try to make extra food at night while they are in bed. Make pb&j and put in fridge for you to grab. OR, make your husband make some food for you. can your husband bathe the children? can you put your baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with you while you bathe the toddlers? can the toddlers get in the shower with you and play while you bathe? can you get in the tub with them? Find easy foods to get together. Make extra meals, freeze the extra to grab when you need it. let the baby fuss for a minute or two while go make something to eat. Get them on a better napping schedule so you have more time. have your husband help you more. Good luck, it does get easier.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I second the response to where is your husband? Also I would have a friend come over and help you plan meals for the week and freeze them. All you have to do is pop them in the microwave and you are done. I would keep some healthy shakes on hand that you can grab when you are on the go. Make up some bagies with nuts and cheese, tell husband after a certain time you are off duty for a shower and me time every night. You can't do it all alone and no one expects you to, except maybe your husband, and once you tell him you are off duty, maybe he will get the hint. Have some friends come over to help with laundry time or chore time. I am sure if you reciprocate then you all will be happy moms. Slim fast shakes are good for on the go if you need a meal in a jiffy and the more you drink the more it will help you gain some weight if you need to. Mom you are the one that needs to be taken care of cause when you fall down and are not able to help out chaos ensues and there is no coming back easy from that. Your husband needs to know what you go through and he needs to step up and help out more!! Start making a schedule of all the kids needs through out the day, I know time is precious but once you and your husband see that you are drowning, then maybe he will help out or you need to hire a nanny. Either way, you are not giving 100% of yourself if you are running yourself ragged.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow! It sure sounds like my routine! See how much super powers us, mother have!

Well, I was having problems eating and keeping up with all the kids(4 of them) and everything else. Since my 2 older boys ages 13 and 10 are much older..I put them to work and I put my husband to work. We're supposed to be a me being the leader in the house...I had to coach my team players. Since you have little ones....put your husband to work. I know that you may have to train him..( I know added duty on your end)..but put a list together when you can..and have him take care of it. Sit down and talk to him about your game plan. If you have other family members and/or close friends that could help..take it. Put your troopers to work.

Congrats and good luck. Our jobs are never done. I feel for you. My house is a mad house as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with the other posters who say you need a schedule. With your other kids being "an older baby and two toddlers", they should all be taking a nap at some point in the afternoon? Get them on the same schedule. While the older three are napping, put the baby in the bouncer and take a shower. It won't hurt the baby to fuss in the bouncer for a few minutes. If your baby wants to be held all the time, a carrier is the way to go. It will fee you up so that you can grab and sandwich and feed your other kids. The sooner you can get everyone on a schedule, the smoother things will run. Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Hugs. It sounds like you're right in the middle of a huge transition.

There were times I would live on:
Carnation Instant Breakfast
Zone Bars (or another type of granola bar) stocked in purse and car
Yogurt w/ wheat germ
I would also leave baby carrots, steamed broccoli, cherry tomatoes and the like on the kitchen counter to snatch and grab as I run past.

I also would do Door to Door Organics to give us a quick infusion of food right on our doorstep. And pathetic as it is, I have on occasion hit the samples at Costco with the kids for lunch or even bought the veggie party platter from there ($10) and put it down between the kids to let them graze and that would be their meal.

Ask other moms for casserole and slow cooker recipes or see if anyone would stop by for 1/2 hour to watch your kids while you grab a shower and a sandwich. I remember this stage too well and I would not have a problem doing this for anyone who simply asked me. Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

I agree with everyone else, but strategy for the moment could be....
1. get carrier/sling - life saver
2. more expensive but worth it for a short while...pbj uncrustables, cut apples and other fresh fruits/veges individually packaged at target, etc, power bars/TLC granola bars, instant breakfast drink, naked juice/vege drinks, lunch meat and string cheese make a quick "roll up", trail mix or ind. packages of almonds/walnuts, etc.
3. Keep mommy food stashes in one place where you nurse/feed the baby - this was a life saver for me (and the only time I sat all day) :)
4. Easy baby into a bouncy seat/pack n play or other "play" area where he can play safely for a few minutes (start with trying for 5 minutes)...or a swing? Mine was very unhappy his first few months and I really suffered. If a friend can take the older ones once in a while - this happened for me and it was such an amazing blessing....
5. It's ok to ask for help....and you don't have to do it all. :) I had to learn this the hard way! Maybe it's not your issue...but maybe it is??



answers from Detroit on

Oh my! Where is hubby in all this commotion? You have ALOT on your plate and you need his help. That said...what about having an after-school sitter come for a couple of hours in the afternoon just to play with the other 3 while newborn naps and you have some time for you? Do you have a front carrier? Frees up both hands so you CAN make a pb&j or go to the store. My first daughter didn't EVER want to be put down...she actually lived in the front carrier til she was about 4 or 5 months old. It was the only place she was happy. You say husbands aren't good for grocery shopping...agreed, but he could play or bathe or read or SOMETHING with the other 3. This WILL pass. Try to slow down and relax! I had 3 under 4 1/ does get better, hang in there!



answers from Grand Rapids on

I wouldn't be surprised if baby is fussy because mommy is stressed!



answers from Detroit on

Wow, you have a whole lot going on - I can't imagine! As far as eating goes, you can keep a protein bar, banana, etc. (things you can eat one handed) on a table near the spot where you nurse the baby. That way, while the baby is nursing you can down some nutrients too.

As far as showers, is it possible to wrangle your toddlers into their high chairs and flip on a cartoon? Then put the older baby in the crib with some toys and books while the newborn is in a bouncer or swing in the bathroom?

As for grocery shopping, you can do it online and have it delivered to your house or some grocery stores will let you select everything online and pay online and then you pick it up at the specified time from the store. You just drive up, open the trunk, and they load the bags in for you. Of course, you'd still have to carry the bags in and unload them yourself.

Lastly, ask for any help you can get from friends, family and hubby - and then take it! Now is not the time to be picky about how anything is done, as long as it gets done.

Good luck mama!



answers from Santa Fe on

You need to take care of you. Especially when it comes to eating. (Showers while nice are less important, but not by much!)
You could (or have your husband) make a PB&J in the morning, and then put it close to where you are going to be nursing. I have found that it works well for mom to eat/drink while the newborn is nursing. Even if that means that the newborn has to cry for a few more minutes, so I can grab something to eat before sitting down - I need to take care of me too!
As for showers.... I second the idea of 'plugging' the older kids into a video - and trying to time the shower with the baby sleeping. It only takes ~10 minutes to take a shower (and then feel like a new person!) so even if the baby starts to cry the instant you hop in, it is not that long.
What I do is to get the baby asleep, 'plug' the other kids in - and then RUN to the bathroom for a shower. I turn on the fan, as the big kids can come and get me if needed, and I know the baby is in a safe place - so if he starts to cry, he is OK. Then I cannot hear the potential crying, and I actually get a break for 10 minutes. Most times the baby is NOT crying when I get out. The few times that he is, I feel like such a new person that I can deal with him better than if I had heard him start, while covered in shampoo!
For short term, I also support the idea of simple quick food - not always the healthiest, but I do so much better having eaten SOMETHING that it is worth the hit on less healthy.... That said, if you can have your husband prep some food for you (make single serving baggies of stuff in the fridge, that you can just grab) that is a way to make it work. (Or have him watch the kids for a little, and get yourself set up for a few days at a time.)
The good news is that the littlest one will get bigger and easier - but don't make yourself a basket case until that happens. Take care of you - then you can take care of the others!



answers from Chicago on

Do you have an infant swing? This was a lifesaver for us when our twins were newborns. We would put them in the swings to be able to eat dinner. Otherwise, we would both have a baby in our arms. Also, I would snack when I would nurse. Keep snacks for you handy so when you are sitting down and feeding the baby, you can eat. Easy snacks like granola bars or cereal bars are easy to eat while breastfeeding.



answers from Seattle on

You need to take it easy! You are not going to be able to do anything if you run yourself ragged. Sit all the kids down at the same time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You need to get your kids and yourself on a schedule! If you make one thing for all of you for meals then it will be easier to cope. Doesnt have to be fancy but just make it easy on yourself. Shower when the baby is napping, and put in a video for the kids. They need to learn that mommy needs a few minutes and that they have to be good and quiet for a little while. If you start getting into the habbit of routine and schedule they will catch on and then peace will find its way into your house. Then when your husband gets home then have him watch the children while you do what you need to do. Whether it be cook dinner, clean, go to the grocery store or just sit and take a few minutes for yourself, just do it!

Also, make a list of all the major chores in your house. Laundry, vaccuming, dusting etc. And then everyday, take one thing off of that list and do it that day. Then the next day do something different. It will ease your load and give you some rest.

Just try and take it easy and not stress too much! Everything will be okay, just give it time and adjust what you do til you find something that works. Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

So I don't have 4 kids, but I had a VERY fussy newborn and could never find time to eat or shower either. I eventually had to get a wrap and wrapped him up all day long. He would fall asleep being snuggled next to me while I walked around. I would be able to make food and eat while he was being soothed from my walking and moving. I was constantly jiggling the wrap too to calm him down. After about 6 weeks, I got a swing. He has learned to put himself to sleep in the swing. I really resisted getting one and even wearing him because I kept reading that baby "needed to learn to self-soothe", but they were the only things that calmed him down. I could nurse him in it too. Now at 10 weeks, he is finally starting to be comfortable and happy with the outside world and is totally different. I thought he might've had colic, but really he just needed a little bit of time to feel confidence. He doesn't need me to hold him while he sleeps, he is sleeping longer stretches, and just this week has gotten to sleep in his crib successfully. So ya, wear your baby and put them in a swing to nap. I agree too with the schedule thing and scheduling yourself into their routine (i.e. from this time to this time is "mommy time" and you guys will need to play with each other or watch a movie, etc.). Also, your husband should be able to watch the baby and take care of the younger kids when he gets home so you can shower. I know he's probably tired from work (I work full time too), but you need a break time too and he doesn't have to be up all night with the baby. Those first 5 weeks the only time I showered was when daddy got home to take my son. He would hold him, play with him, feed him, while I made dinner and showered. Also, you could recruit your toddlers to help you (I know it sounds crazy and they will never do as good of a job, but toddlers love to help make meals, clean, etc. Basically anything your doing, they want to do). Get easy meals and snacks that require little to no prep time and/or cooking. My favorite lunch used to be salad with popcorn shrimp (I just dumped the shrimp out on the pan, put it in the oven, and got packages of pre made salad). I made it for my son's 5 year old sister one day too and she loved it also. Casseroles or anything in the crock pot could work too. If worse comes to worse, let your baby cry for a little bit while get something made. It won't hurt the baby to cry, but it will hurt them and the other kids to have a mommy who is run ragged and not taking good care of her health. That was probably the hardest thing for me to learn and I think even if I have more kids, I'll still probably have difficulty just putting them down while they are upsetting and doing what I need to before going back. I can only do it now cause I can differentiate his cries better.

I don't know if that helped and I know I rambled but good luck and get some food!


answers from Tampa on

If you are able to afford to... I'd have the toddlers in a daycare 3 days a week. Then I'd get a moby wrap for the newborn, and have one baby safe room in which you can allow older baby to explore and play while you are nursing hands free (moby's are great!) and eating.

Goodness, with so many babies so close together... WOW.



answers from Detroit on

Is there a neighbor girl, age 9-12, who could be hired to help you with the kids a couple of hours after school? You could manage the newborn if you had help with the others.

This too shall pass. I know it's tough. I had 4 close together. How about protein shakes, instant breakfast, protein-hi fiber bars etc. for yourself? Can hubby manage the kiddies when he's there if you do some things for yourself? Can you sit down with him & calmly try to problem-solve this difficult situation?

Bless you for breastfeeding! One day you'll look back and be amazed at how you got through this!



answers from Sacramento on

Have you heard of a mothers helper they are great!! You poor thing you have got to take care of yourself in order to care for your little ones. I have been where you are and I ended up getting a bad UTI, sinus infection, etc. because I wasn't sleeping or eating etc. So check out your area to see if they have mothers helpers they come and go when you need them. Pretty much your slave they clean shop etc and my husband is terrible with groceries but mothers helpers are fantastic. Hope this helps



answers from Detroit on

u r pushing yourself to distruction. for one you need hubbie on bored it took two to create these kids not one. So what if he works and your home screw thaty thought. He still needs to help. Yes you can let the baby cry. Yes you can have a toddle bring you a diaper or the wipes or maybe go into the cupboard and help themselves. Yes you need better structure. 1st thing mom comes first if mom isn't well nor there there is no family. So mom you need to get up 30 mins before kids have your breakfast or maybe take na hr before they get up shower and eat breakfast than when they get up each one do food and clothes and change. When baby gets up feed change diaper while feeding the baby have a snack for you to why can't you eat while feeding n make sure your sitting to eat while baby eats. Let baby swing in swing or lay on floor or in play pen have toddlers take turn watching baby for you. While you go make lunch they usually love to help anywhere between 2 and 5 years old. Also when baby take naps you have that time to make lunch. than there has to be 2 hrs down time either toddlers lay down and take a nap after lunch or they play qiet in the bedrooms. You lay down with baby and also have a snack while feeding again. always have one glass of icewater with a bottle of water and snack by a chair designated for you to sit relax and breastfeed. The other children either need to play by themselves or have quiet time. Don't be afraid to put baby down and you go take a shower. why can the baby play on a blanket or sit in car seat while you shower or put the baby in the swing or jumper so you have eye view of it while your showering. also hubbie comes home up your time. ok hers the baby i will get her or him when time to feed meanwhile you play with it. You clean make dinner do womething with one of the other children and get dinner cooked along with maybe get your snack and feed baby. If you can't cook well hey dad you can cook tonight. Its easy you just need to be creative don't forget mom comes first than children and than hubbie. don't worry take that nap if you need it. So what if the baby cries you keep holding the baby non stop its going to always want you to hold it. thats why they make swings and jumpy things and strolers. take them all for a walk around the block after lunch before nap. Good luck but it will all work out!


answers from Norfolk on

My sister just had baby #7, and her oldest is only 4.5! She carries the baby around in a Moby Wrap and he looks like just another piece of her clothing ha

If you need to put your baby down to take care of yourself, please do it. Your baby will not be damaged from laying on the bathroom floor while you take care of your own personal hygiene, or laying in a bouncy seat while you fix yourself some food. He will fuss, but he will be just fine. You sound so incredibly busy and worn out--I hope it all starts to level out soon! Good luck, and congratulations on your new baby!



answers from Los Angeles on

So sorry to hear your lack of personal time. I remember nursing and holding baby up with on arm and holding fork on the other hand, asking my husband to cut my meat for me. Any possibility that you can have a family or friend over to help look after the kids while you eat, shower, make meals? you can store in small portions in fridge to just grab and eat later. I made pastas to eat cold (lots of calories there) and yes, I did indulge in the sweets I would buy Trader Joes ginger cookies and chocolate too. Good luck

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