The Early Bird

By Dawn Papandrea

Shared by Emily
Managing your baby's care is all about falling into routines, and some little ones are more predictable than others. In short, a baby can definitely cramp your morning routine if you have to get to work, do a daycare drop-off, have another child to get to school, get errands done, or all of the above.

Here's how I made my morning routine with baby seamless -- well, as seamless as a morning can be:

By doing as much as I could the night before. For the first time in my life, I became a nighttime shower-taker after I had kids. Because my husband works an early shift, I never felt quite comfortable being in the shower, knowing that my baby could start screaming for me any minute. In addition to my nighttime grooming switch, I also made sure to pick out my clothes -- and baby's -- for the next day, restock the diaper bag for grandma's house if it was a work day, and get all my vital items, like car keys and shoes, ready to go.

Giving up those precious last 15 minutes of sleep. On days when my little human alarm clock didn't already have me up, I noticed that if I got up earlier on my own, I started off on the right foot. Easier said than done when you're lacking sleep, but an extra 15 minutes gave enough wiggle room for those last-minute diaper changes or the run back into the house if I did forget something. If no unforeseen issues came up, then I was able to use the time to put in a load of laundry, set up my slow cooker with that night's dinner, or sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. Taking charge of my morning time took away the rushing around.

Lowering my expectations. When you throw a baby into the mix, you can't expect things to always go as they did before. You may have to simplify your hair and makeup routine, resign yourself to the fact that the morning workout might be replaced by the after-dinner workout, and give up your morning run to your favorite coffee shop.

The good news is that all of these modifications are temporary. Before you know it, your baby will grow into a more independent preschooler, and that's when the real morning fun begins.

Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents,, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.