If there's one thing I can share about motherhood, it is how tricky it can be to get back into your life routine after having a baby. We never expect how much of a loop having a kid can throw us on, but we do recover.... and then we do it again!
Some days we get a little taste of how easy things were with only two kids, but when we were in it, it seemed so hard + chaotic.
The biggest piece of advice that I can give to all of you sleep deprived mamas out there is to plan at least 30 extra minutes to make it any where. Nope, I am not joking! We don't realize how much time this little ones need until we have them.... trust me. You might even be thinking, "eh, I think I'll figure this out pretty quick," right now!
We really don't realize how much work a new baby can be and when we are in the middle of it all. When you are only getting a few hours of sleep at night, it is sooo hard to will yourself out of bed a little earlier than you want, but I promise, it will pay off!
One thing I figured out early on + maybe it's just my personality, but plan ahead and pack the night before. If you know you have somewhere to be the next day (and you need to be out of the house by 9am), decide what you need and put it all in the diaper bag so it's ready to go. I'm talking snacks for older kids, sippy cups with water or water bottles, extra outfit, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, check the wipes (you always seem to be out of these at the worst times), and make sure if you have pumped milk you want to take that it is grab-and-go ready in its cooler in the fridge.
Now when you wake up later than planned and baby has a blowout as you are walking out the door (happens every time), you can remedy the situation knowing you won't have to pack in a hurry after cleanup. You can gather up your pre-packed items and run!
If you have a child that is old enough to dress his/herself, lay their clothing out the night before where they can reach them so when you are trying to feed your new bundle, they can get their clothes and dress themselves.
Also, if they already have it in their head the night before what they are wearing, there won't be a fight when they try to persuade you into believing a swimsuit is a perfectly acceptable outfit for a day in town ;)
Something else I always have in my car is protein bars for me and the kids. That way if we get running and someone gets hungry or the kids didn't have time to eat breakfast, I have options without having to stop at a gas station and spend $10. We all know that adds up real quick after a few days.
If you can keep these things in mind anytime you need to leave the house for something with your new baby, it will be so much easier to stay on track. Of course there will be feedings while you are out and about, but if you've packed bottles with water in them already it will save you from searching for a fountain.
If you are planning to eat lunch somewhere, think about feeding baby while the others are eating as well. If you are nursing and it feels like climbing Mt Everest to feed in public or you aren't quite comfortable with it yet, grab the kids something to go + feed baby in the car. I spent many hours feeding my baby in the car while the others ate their lunch. You spend the same amount of time as you would just eating lunch except you kill two birds with one stone.
It's a tricky balance getting back in the game with a newborn, but you've got this mama!