Taking care of a newborn is a difficult task for anyone. But having to take care of a newborn alone, as a single mom, can be a challenge just by itself.
Taking care of a newborn alone
Taking care of a newborn alone can be exhausting and overwhelming
If you are about to have a baby all on your own or find yourself a single mom shortly after you give birth, you’ve come to the right place.
You are dealing with all the emotions of postpartum life and your changing body. And now you have to very quickly learn how to take care of a baby… all on your own.
As if being single wasn’t hard enough?
My life as a single mom to a newborn
Let me describe my life as the mom to a single newborn.
My daughter was born while I was married to her father, but we had a bad relationship and it became very apparent in the first few weeks of her life that it wasn’t safe for either of us to stay.
So when she was just 6 weeks old, I left. With nothing but a suitcase, my baby, and my dog.
Oh, and did I mention I just moved from Illinois out to Arizona during my pregnancy? So here I am in a new state as a newly single mom. With no family, no friends, and a job I just barely started (so basically no vacation days accumulated either).
I was completely on my own with my 6-week old baby, before I even finished maternity leave.
I returned to work when she was only 7 weeks old because I needed the income.
Nothing about my situation was easy. And I was scared to death. But the reality was, I didn’t have a choice. Her father left the state and I found myself with no support, financially or emotionally.
So most days all I could think about was making it to the next day.
And one thing I do know for sure is if I could do it… ANYONE can.
What I want the single mom of a newborn to know
My daughter is ten years old now and I’m still a single mom. For all that time I thought I wouldn’t survive when she was a newborn, I learned not only how to make it through but how to THRIVE.
And 10 years later, my daughter and I have a happy and healthy relationship.
When people find out I became a single mom when my daughter was just 6 weeks old, they look stunned. And I often get asked, “How did you do it!”
And my answer to them is always the same:
“It’s not something I ever really thought about. It’s something I just HAD to do. I didn’t have a choice. I just made it through one day at a time the best I could, like every other parent.”
It didn’t become long before I actually began to enjoy my time as a single mom, and really embrace the life I created for my daughter and me.
Whether you are a single mom, a young mom, a mom whose husband works or travels a lot, or a mom who works a lot herself… we all have our difficulties.
And we all do the very best we can, day by day.
There are no hard rules on how to be a great single mom to a newborn. Just as there are no rules on parenting in general (oh don’t we wish there was!)
How to survive as a single mom to a newborn baby
When it comes to taking care of a newborn alone, I’ve assembled the very best tips that really helped me get through that first year as a single mom with a newborn.
*If you find yourself needing more tips and advice on being a single parent, please sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get monthly emails from one single mom to another.
You also might find helpful: For the Mother Struggling to Bond with Her Newborn
Getting ready for your newborn as a single mom
Stock up on Supplies for yourself
Running errands as a new mom will not be an easy task. When most moms get to leave the baby with Dad, you will need to take your infant with you everywhere you go.
And those first few weeks of postpartum will be hard enough on your body alone. So take it easy the first month or two after the baby is born by trying to do as little errands as possible.
One of the best ways to do this is to stock up on as many supplies as you can.
Money tip: I always recommend starting this the day you find out you are pregnant. So stocking up on things like toilet paper and paper towels as a lot more affordable if you spread it out over a nine-month period.
Take a look at your daily life and think about the things YOU might need. And stock up on those so you have at least a good 2-3 month supply of everything. That includes:
- Hair products
- Cleaning Supplies
- Laundry detergent
- Packaged food
And don’t forget about all the supplies you’ll need for your first few weeks postpartum.
Stock Up on supplies for your newborn
Just like you did for yourself, stock up on enough supplies to get you through AT LEAST your first 3 months with your newborn.
If you are having a baby shower, this is a great time to let people know you would love to receive things you NEED not a hundred different baby blankets.
Don’t feel embarrassed to register for diapers over burp clothes.
Stock up on supplies such as:
- breastfeeding supplies or formula
- diapers and wipes
- Diaper cream
- Baby bath supplies
- baby laundry detergent
Develop a cleaning schedule
I would actually recommend you learn how to just let go of the perfectly clean house and just embrace the mess. But I had a hard time doing that as well.
The messier my house, the more anxiety I got and the more I felt like my to-do list was a million miles long. I couldn’t just let it go.
So instead, I came up with a plan that I still use to this day. It’s an effective way to make sure the house stays clean without overwhelming me and losing my entire weekend to cleaning.
I break down all the tasks I have to keep the house clean and divide them over the 7 days of the week.
So every Monday is the living room. I pick it up, dust and vacuum the living room. Tuesdays are the bathrooms. I clean both my bathrooms every Tuesday. And so on.
If you spread out the cleaning tasks, it’s so much easier to keep a clean house and get all your tasks done. If you leave it all for the weekend, you’ll be overwhelmed trying to do it all in one day while still taking care of your newborn alone.
Grab a copy of my fun printable cleaning calendar to make planning out your cleaning schedule a whole lot easier!
Get your life organized!
Before the baby comes is the best time to get everything in your life organized as much as possible so you don’t have to worry about a single thing other than your newborn.
Balance your finances, get a hold on your debt, refinance your students loans, etc. Basically anything you can do financially to put yourself in the best position you can raise your newborn on your own.
I also have a great set of budgeting printables that can help you keep track of bills and organize your debt and savings. Because that pregnancy brain is real and the last thing you need is to forget to pay a simple bill on time.
Taking care of a newborn alone as a single mom
Once the baby is here and you are officially taking care of a newborn alone, these tips are crucial to getting through the days as best you can without losing your mind.
Learn the Best baby hacks to save time
These 21 incredibly helpful newborn hacks are essential to making the most of being a parent to a newborn. If you can utilize these tips, you can become a lot more efficient in taking care of your newborn alone.
By learning the best tricks and tips for caring for your newborn, you will save TONS of time. And for any parent that is a lifesaver. But for a single mom who is doing everything on her own… its CRITICAL!
Get a baby swing
A good baby swing just might become your new best friend. When you are taking care of a newborn alone, you need to be able to do SOME things without your baby attached to your hip.
Getting them a good swing that rocks and vibrates will keep them happy and peaceful while you can do simple things like take a shower, or do the laundry, or actually cook and meal and eat it.
Eat simple meals
Speaking of meals, one tip I can definitely give you as a single mom of a newborn is to learn how to eat simpler meals.
Don’t try to cook up any gourmet meals. You won’t have the time. And you don’t want to be stuck eating fast food all the time.
So try to find a middle ground and find meals the are simple and easy to make. Dig out the crock pot and find some good dump recipes.
Stick to a schedule
Trying to keep track of everything going on in your life can be really difficult during this time.
YOU are solely responsible for all the bills, for all the groceries, the doctors appointments, finding day care, going back to work… the list will never end.
Figure out a good schedule and learn to stick with it. Even if it’s as simple as grocery shopping on Monday. Filling the car with gas on Tuesday. Laundry on Wednesday.
The more you have scheduled out, the less you have to think about.
sleep when baby sleeps
Every single new mom is exhausted. But most new moms also have a partner who will take the baby for awhile so mom can get a little rest.
As a single mom, you don’t have this option. It’s just you, all the time. So you need to make sleep a priority by getting as much as you can, when you can.
That’s why it’s really important for single moms to sleep when the baby sleeps. I didn’t care if my daughter went to bed at 7pm. You better believe I was fast asleep by 7:30 pm, right behind her.
take your baby everywhere
When you are the only person taking care of a newborn, you can not work around the baby’s schedule 100%. That will leave you getting nothing done and being unproductive with your time.
Babies learn to adapt really well. I never cared what time it was or when she needed a nap. If I had to go somewhere, she came with me. My daughter learned to sleep in her car carrier when it was nap time.
The more I continued my life as normal, the more adaptable she became. Which continued through her toddler years and school. Which made my life 100 times easier.
Learn to take a break
Even without a support system, there are always little ways to find time to take breaks.
You most likely have a job and your infant is going to need daycare or a babysitter. Instead of rushing to pick them up after work, take a few minutes for yourself.
Don’t feel guilty. You deserve it and you’ve earned it.
Sometimes I would go grocery shopping (soooo much easier alone!) or even get my nails done.
These small increments of time will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed enough to tackle taking care of a newborn alone like a boss.
don’t give up the things you love
How easy it is to lose yourself when you become a parent. Become a SINGLE parent.. of a newborn? And all thoughts of a previous life are gone in a flash.
Even if it’s for a few minutes at a time, try to make time for things you love.
Reading was always my favorite past time and helped relax me. So I made an effort to read for at least 15-20 minutes every night before I went to bed.
If it’s lunch with a friend, a favorite TV show, or a hobby, don’t give it up. Try to still be the person you were before you became a single mom.
Here are some great Self Care Ideas for Moms for you to look over. There has to be something on this list that sounds appealing to you!
rely on your friends
I had the hardest time with this because I was really embarrassed that I was going through a divorce with a 6 week old baby.
I didn’t think I deserved anyones help because I got myself into this mess.
Don’t make the same mistake I made. Moms should learn to bond together and help each other out, not do everything in silence.
If a friend offers to babysit, LET THEM! Or if you really need some help, don’t be afraid to ask for it!
have a support system
Even if you don’t have a lot of friends and family in the area, it is possible to find a support system. This is an area I really don’t want you to overlook.
Check out local church groups or other mom groups. Even those fun groups that do workouts in the park with their infants. You don’t need to work out too much, you just need to meet other moms.
Or try getting on social media and find a moms group where you can at least talk to other single moms. Facebook has a lot of single mom groups where you can get advice or just vent to other moms.
take one day at a time
The biggest key to success when taking care of a newborn alone is to just take each day as it comes.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just do what you need to do to get through today.
Worry about your tasks for the day, and concentrate on those. And then the next day, do that again. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking too far into the future. That will come naturally without you even thinking about it.
But for the first few weeks to months you have a newborn on your own, just take it one day at a time.
You might also be interested in reading:
- Shocking Truths You Can Expect Your First Week Home with a Newborn
- How to Bond with Your Newborn
- Get a Good Nights Sleep by Dream Feeding Your Infant
- How NOT to Lose Your Mind Over a Crying Baby
- Postpartum Essentials That MOM Needs!
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