9 Ways to Pass the Time During the Long Newborn Days

Whoever said the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short” knew what they were talking about—especially when referring to the newborn days. There’s something about those initial weeks and months with a newborn that simultaneously feel like the longest and shortest days possible.

My daughter was born before self-isolation, so our experience was different than what new moms are currently experiencing. But even so, there are a lot of similarities between the first few weeks with a newborn under normal circumstances and what mothers are experiencing now.

I had no idea what I was in for as a new mom. I couldn’t make sense of my days. My days felt crazy and full of action, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t quite tell you what I did. It felt like most of my day was spent holding my sleeping baby. No complaints, those blissful moments were ones I’ll always cherish. But I was very surprised just how much my baby was sleeping. According to Medical News Today, newborns sleep on average 14-17 hours a day, with some babies sleeping as many as 19 hours a day.

Considering the total number of hours in a day, a baby sleeping up to 19 hours is a lot. So, how do you fill that time?


Considering the total number of hours in a day, a baby sleeping up to 19 hours is a lot. So, how do you fill that time?


During the fourth trimester, it’s likely you’ll be recovering from childbirth while trying to figure out this new-mom life. But there’s also a lot of downtime. I won’t recommend that you “sleep while the baby sleeps” because as a new mom, you probably already know this isn’t always feasible. If you’re not tired when baby is napping, that sleep isn’t going to happen—instead, you’ll probably stare at the ceiling while feeling frustrated that you aren’t sleeping. Plus, while baby is sleeping is your only chance to do things for yourself.

If you can, use this time to relax. Don’t stress about the dishes, the laundry, vacuuming, or other tasks that may be calling your name. You’re a new mom, and if you have a few minutes of downtime while baby is sleeping, use some of it for yourself. You deserve it.

If you find that the newborn days are long, especially while you are staying home, here are a few ways to fill your time as baby snoozes away (many activities are one-handed because there’s a good chance some of those sleepy hours are spent in your arms).


Source: @kristinhhj via #sharetheeverymom


1. Binge a Show

Whether it’s a Netflix series you’ve been meaning to watch or an all-day marathon of The Real Housewives, watch away and do not feel bad about it. Sometime around 3 months, my daughter started noticing the TV, and it’s pretty much been turned off ever since. But in those newborn days, your baby is either sleeping or doesn’t notice the TV—enjoy it while you can.


2. Read a Book

Eventually, you may get tired of watching TV, so grab your Kindle and read a fun fiction book or start reading up on baby-related topics like sleep and schedules. You can, of course, go old-school with a physical book, but Kindles make it easier to turn pages when reading one-handed while holding a baby.

Kindle Paperwhite
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3. Work on Your Baby Book

You might think you’re going to remember every detail of your baby’s birth or each milestone they hit, but you’d be surprised how much you forget (there’s a lot on your mind!). Instead of waiting, use this time to jot down your birth story and get working on your baby book.

artifact uprising baby book
Artifact Uprising
Baby Book
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4. Do a Puzzle or Play a Game

Now I’m not saying that you don’t use your brain as a mom, because you use it a lot. But if you want to use your brain in a different way, do a puzzle or play a game. Do one on your phone, do a crossword, or do an old school puzzle to keep your mind moving. A puzzle is a quiet activity you can do while baby snoozes. Once your baby is moving around and putting everything in their mouth, grown-up puzzles will be a no-go for a while. Check out Jiggy Puzzles for fun art puzzles you can frame.

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5. FaceTime Friends and Family

Your friends and family may not be calling you because they know you are busy in newborn land, but it’s likely they would love to hear from you and see that cuddly, sweet baby. Stay connected with your loved ones with a quick call to catch up. And if you have mom friends, give them a call to ask all your new-mom questions.


6. Listen to a Podcast

You don’t need to stick to parenting-related podcasts. Podcasts are the new blog, and there are endless topics to explore. Listening to podcasts is another relaxing activity that can be done with a sleeping baby in your arms.


7. Go for a Long Walk

Newborns are great because they can sleep wherever, whenever. I can’t speak for all newborns, but long walks made mine very sleepy. If it’s nice enough weather, get outside for a walk around the neighborhood. Cabin fever is real, and fresh air will do wonders for you. If you’re still healing from childbirth, take it very slow and easy at first. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to longer strolls.


Source: @mrsnipple_


8. Pin Recipes

If you have the energy to cook, good for you. But new-mom life is exhausting, and we won’t recommend that you take to the kitchen and start experimenting with new recipes. Instead, spend some time on Pinterest and create a board of recipes for future inspiration. Either save it for when you eventually have the energy to cook, or better yet, share the board with your husband, friends, and family who have offered to help you during the newborn days.


9. Research Mom Meet Ups for Future Use

It’s normal to feel isolated and lonely as a new mom, especially with a newborn when it may be hard to leave the house. Don’t rush yourself into getting into the mommy and me scene (plus, these meetups are likely on hold right now). It’s OK if it takes you a few weeks or months to muster up the energy and courage to join these meet ups. Start by researching what’s available around you. Search for local mom Facebook groups, mommy and me yoga classes, baby storytimes, and new mom support groups. Some of these groups may even offer online support until regular business can resume. Do your research now, and when the time comes that these groups meet again and you feel up to it, you’ll have a handy list of options.