Balancing a new baby, and the new budget that comes along with parenting, isn't easy. And with a bank statement full of new baby-related expenses, the last thing you probably want to do right now is spend more money—on yourself. But sometimes, a temporary dent in your wallet is a solid investment to give your state of mind a boost.
"Moms today have so much pressure put on them to do it all, it's tough," says Julie McCaffrey, chief baby planner at BabyNav, a baby planning and maternity concierge service in Westchester, New York. "Allowing yourself to splurge on certain things can help you feel a little less chaotic so you can naturally ease into motherhood."
If you're still feeling guilty, look at the below ideas as one-offs, or something you'll only spend on for a limited time. So go ahead—pick one (or, ahem, a few).
A personal chef? Maybe not. But signing up for a meal delivery service is a solid move. It may sound like an unnecessary expense, but when the cabinets are empty, it's likely you'll end up spending money on greasy takeout anyway, McCaffrey says. The best part is that the growing popularity of these services means there are a variety of offerings, with different pricing options and types of food, so you'll likely find one that fits your budget and dietary preferences. Organic kale and salmon on the table in 30 minutes with a new babe at home? Now that's a parenting win.
Let's be real: The first few weeks with a new baby are exhausting. Consider hiring a night nurse who specializes in newborn care, McCaffrey says. It sounds like something only a Kardashian can afford, but there are ways to make the price more manageable. See if you can schedule someone to come weekly just for a month. It will make those 3 a.m. feedings so much easier when you know a break is on the horizon. (Did we mention you're going to be exhausted?) Another idea is to add it to your registry so loved ones can pitch in.
You'll never look back and think, I wish I'd scrubbed more toilets. But you will wish you soaked up all of that new-baby bonding, cuddling, and snuggling a little more. To lighten the load of your responsibilities, pass off the stuff that's a time suck, like cleaning, McCaffrey advises. Maid services often have new-client specials that can help chip away at the price.
In many cultures, it's tradition for a new mom to be doted on after delivery just as much as the baby. Not the vision of motherhood you've been sold? It can be! A postpartum doula's job is to specifically take care of you. She'll make sure you're resting, eating right, and getting plenty of bonding time with your baby. (You can find a certified doula at DONA International.) If you love the idea but hate the cost, consider a doula share with another new mama.
While you're registering for baby monitors, add one of these techy gadgets to the list if you don't already have one. "Things like these can help you order necessities, like diapers, on demand, keep track of your to-do list, and even turn the lights on and off—and it's all hands free," McCaffrey says. "They can also play white noise or nature sounds on demand." It's like the extra set of hands you've been asking for.
Speaking of fancy gizmos, if you're bottle feeding, meet your new best friend: A bottle prepping system. (Think of it as the baby-friendly equivalent of your Keurig.) There are a variety of options, from brands like BabyNes and Baby Brezza, and while it may sound like a total bells-and-whistles item, you'll be feeding your hungry kiddo every day, multiple times a day, so this is a real lifesaver.
Nope, we're not talking about forcing yourself into a post-baby weight loss regimen. A calming, gentle way to sweat out some stress not only gets you out of the house, but lets you truly focus on yourself, so a monthly pass to your local studio is worth it to help namaste all the worries away. And let us fill you in on a little secret: At the end of each class is shavasana, where you cozy up under blankets and basically fall asleep. Magic!
Have you ever heard a new parent say, I'm getting tons of sleep! Yeah, exactly. No matter how many books you read pre-baby, when you've got a baby who is revolting against any form of shuteye, it can be a tough task to figure out the best sleep routine for your family. That's where the steady, trusty expertise of a sleep trainer can do wonders in lulling your house to a better night's rest.
The one thing you need more of as a new mom: time. A fancy swing can help with that. A beefed-up model lets you switch up speed settings, vibrations, and start your playlist so you can queue up soothing sounds. Translation: It really will give you those extra 10 minutes you need to finish up the laundry—or just put your feet up.
How can a little human make you feel so—not human? When you're at home for most of the day with a little person who isn't exactly the best conversationalist, it's easy to feel like a emotional mess. Treat yourself to one thing—big or small—that makes you feel instantly happy, like a new set of sheets, a massage, or a new lip gloss.