For parents, regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or on baby number two, a minute saved is a minute earned – or one that could be spent getting some well-deserved shuteye or having some me time. As a parent, you’ll soon figure out that it’s incredibly easy to forget what having a spare moment even feels like anymore. When was the last time the washing machine wasn’t constantly being used? Or when was the last time you weren’t cleaning food up from the floor?
As of 2022, almost three-quarters of families have both parents in employment, whilst there are approximately 1.8 million single parents raising children on their own. Whilst there’s nothing sweeter than having little ones, factor in the long working hours, and at times financial worries, it can sometimes become a cocktail of stress and worry. That’s why at Kiddies Kingdom, we love time-saving tips, which mean we can spend more of our day with our pride and joy, instead of stressing over them.
We’ve brought together the very best time-saving tips and tricks to make life as a parent easy breezy.
1. Express Breast Milk and Freeze
If you’re about to be a first-time mum, and you keep hearing the phrase “expressing milk” and have no clue what it means, don’t worry because we’re here to help! It means extracting milk from your breasts so that you can store it and feed it to your baby later on. So, if your job is demanding, you need to get your daily steps in, or your partner is looking after the little one whilst you have some me time, freezing breast milk is going to be the ultimate time saver. Plus, according to the NHS, breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months, providing it’s -18°C or below.
Using a pump that can express milk from both breasts at the same time will save the most time. For example, ingenious products like the Elvie Double Breast Pump mean you can double the action but in the same amount of time, regardless of whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go. Express milk on your own terms? We’re here for it!
If you want to learn more, our guide covers everything you need to know about storing breast milk and more.
2. Think Ahead with Formula and Bottles
We recommend buying a 30-to-60-ounce plastic pitcher and mixing 30 or more ounces of formula in one go. Once mixed, it’ll stay safe to drink for 24 hours (refrigerated). It saves busy mums and dads heaps of time, so say goodbye to having to mix powdered formula with water every time you feed your little one. Or you could even go a step further with a bottle maker like the Baby Brezza Formula Pro that does all the hard work for you, preparing your baby’s bottles without the need for all the different steps in-between. No more messy measuring, no more mixing, and no more waiting for water to reach the right temperature – now that’s what we call efficiency!
Some parents even keep a mini fridge in their baby’s nursery to store their night-time and morning bottles. You can easily feed your cherub in their room without having to run up and down the stairs every time they’re hungry. And if you’re wondering how you’re going to warm the bottle up without going to the kitchen, fear not! Bottle warmers will quickly heat up your baby’s milk to the perfect temperature. We want to keep our little ones as safe as possible, so when it comes to cleaning your baby’s bottles, go that extra step and protect against germs with a bottle sterilizer. For example, the Babymoov Turbo Steriliser and Dryer is essentially like your own personal cleaner, sterilising and drying bottles all in one place, so that they’re ready for your next bulk milk production session.
3. Prepare Food in Advance
Listen up mums and dads – milk isn’t a forever thing! There comes a time when you need to get your little one ready for delicious, solid foods, which is the process of weaning. It can be a tad messy at times, but it’s all part of the exciting journey that you and your cherub are going to take together. To make this time go as smoothly as possible, prepare food in advance. Trust me, you’ll thank us later!
It’s also a good idea to batch-make baby food, such as steamed and mashed veggies and fruits, and then freeze them in meal-size amounts in small, zippered bags. Defrost the bags in the fridge and you’re good to go. Remember, snack time is just as important as mealtimes – especially when you’re heading out. Store finger foods in snack-size zippered bags and grab a few whenever you leave the house. No more temper tantrums when you’re feeding the ducks and your little one also wants a bite!
When it comes to Sunday, why not prepare a week’s worth of baby cereal? Simply measure out the right amount in individual bowls or cups with lids, and voila, all you need to do at breakfast is add a splash of breast milk or formula. Easy as pie!
If you’d like to know more about everything to do with food and babies, take a look at our guide that explains how to successfully wean a baby.
4. Reduce Anxiety at Night
You may have experienced many sleepless nights constantly checking on your baby whilst they sleep, or even in the daytime when they’re napping, to check if they’re ok. But mummies and daddies need their beauty sleep just as much as their little ones! There are heart rate and oxygen level monitors that check these in your baby whilst they snooze. These ingenious inventions track what’s ‘normal’ for your bub and will notify you if anything changes. In fact, we can use the study based on American parents who used the Owlet Smart Sock (heart rate and oxygen level monitor) to tell parents in the UK that reduced anxiety and better sleep is on the horizon. The study revealed that the device gave 75% of parents peace of mind, whilst 94% of parents said the quality of their sleep improved. When you’ve had those perfect 8 hours of kip, you’ll feel more energised and productive when you wake up and get through your to-do list at a much quicker pace compared to a sleepless night. And even when your little one is snoozing during the day, think of all the things you can achieve without being disturbed when you have your trusty heart rate and oxygen level monitor to keep an eye on them.
5. Rotate Toys to Keep Children Entertained
If you need to get your to-do list done and dusted, the toy rotation trick will come in super handy. Keep a box of toys in a spare room or garage (or just somewhere that’s out of your little one’s sight) and rotate these, so that your child doesn’t get bored. For example, bringing a toy out of the woodwork that they’d forgotten about will keep them entertained whilst you put a wash on or do your taxes. Your little one will treat it like it’s a brand-new toy, meaning it’ll also keep their attention for longer. Bliss!
6. Avoid Kitchen Nightmares
How many times have you looked under the kitchen table and wondered if any of the food you made actually made it into your little one’s mouth? When you have young children, the amount of muckiness can be frustrating – and constantly having to clean it up is one of those jobs that just has you sighing constantly.
Make meal and snack times more manageable by investing in a washable plastic mat to go under your child’s highchair and anywhere else they’re going to be munching away. Make sure you go for the harder-wearing mats, as they’re often a much better quality and come in a selection of patterns and sizes, compared to the flimsy bits of tarpaulin you’ll sometimes find in baby shops. There are lots of highchair accessories too, which catch any mess before your floor does, like the SillyBillyz Highchair Hugger Bib.
Once your child becomes a cheeky tot and it’s time for them to sit at the dining table like the grownups, plastic table mats will be a lifesaver, as they’ll catch any overspill from plates and bowls. They also stop any mess from spreading all over your lovely dining room table, and you can quickly rinse them off in the sink to get them squeaky clean for next time. It’s worth buying suction pads too. They’re super cheap and will keep bowls and plates in place at mealtimes, which is especially handy when your child enters their crockery-throwing phase. All-in-ones like the Babymoov Learn’isy Silicone Feeding Set not only come with a suction pad but a bowl, cup, spoon, and bib too.
If you want to save time endlessly scrolling on Google for delicious meals, check out our favourite recipes for weaning babies to get your little one’s tastebuds tingling like never before.
7. Fashion and Functionality
Can you really have the best of both worlds? Look fashionable but still have functionality in your clothing? Absolutely! There are lots of different types of clothing to make life as a mum just that bit easier. For example, you can kit your wardrobe out with tops like the Carriwell Nursing Shapewear Top which mean you can feed your sweetheart discreetly and comfortably. Having a couple of these types of tops in your wardrobe will save you heaps of time when you’re out and about. For example, you may be on a family day out or even on holiday, and your little one starts crying whilst you’re out in public because they’re hungry. You may not be entirely familiar with your whereabouts, so you won’t know the best spots to go to for a little privacy – these types of tops will be a lifesaver in these situations. These types of tops have been designed so that mums can achieve the best latch possible without it disrupting their day having to find somewhere to get undressed. Plus, they can either be worn on their own or go under another outfit.
8. Choose ISOFIX Car Seats
An ISOFIX child car seat system is the answer to all parents’ prayers when it comes to saving time when you’re off on a road trip or simply nipping to the shops. If you’re wondering to yourself how to fit an ISOFIX car seat – fear not! They’re designed to make installing a car seat a doddle, which also reduces the risk of getting it wrong. Generally, they’re much easier to install than belted seats, and that’s because all you have to do is plug the ISOFIX connectors into the anchor points found on the back seats of your car. Before ISOFIX car seats came to the market and belted car seats were the norm, a lot of parents would often fit their child’s car seat incorrectly. Not only did this potentially reduce the safety of the seat, but it also meant that parents wasted a lot of time fiddling around trying to fit or figure out how to fit a belted child’s car seat. That meant delayed road trips, arriving late to appointments, and what was meant to be a quick nip to the shop becoming a longer ordeal than it had be. On the other hand, child car seats with ISOFIX are far simpler and quicker to install, since they often come with red and green components to show when they have been fitted correctly or incorrectly. Now you can be on your way and on schedule for whatever you have planned!
Whilst we’re on the topic of car seats, another great time-saving hack is to choose an infant carrier that’s going to make getting your bub in and out of it a breeze. Take a look at our video below where we show you the car seats that are easiest to get your baby in.
Parenthood will play out differently every day – and that’s ok! You can’t do it all, and you can’t do it perfectly. The first step is learning to be ok with that. And then the second step is to use our time-saving tips to not let your to-do list and me time fall on the back burner. Our tips and tricks will help you find the time for what’s most important to you. As well as following these, remember to hold your baby. Take that in. Get lost in the eyes of your perfect little creation that has made you fall so deeply in love. Time flies, so hold onto that moment.