It can be challenging to get things done with a newborn, or even an older baby.
When I was caring for my babies, especially as newborns, simple things would take me at least 3 times longer.
Every time I started doing something, the baby would need to be fed, changed, or held. That’s to be expected, especially when they are really young.
But when your baby naps, you can actually get things done without being interrupted, at least for a small period of time.
Below are 10 productive things you can do while your baby is sleeping.
Before I list all of these, though, I just want to mention one thing. It’s very important to make sure your baby naps safely, and that you monitor them to the appropriate degree.
I know what you’re thinking… This post is supposed to be about ‘productive’ things to do while your baby is sleeping.
While most people appreciate a well-needed nap, not everyone would consider it a productive use of time.
But the fact is, you will be way more productive if you aren’t overtired. And it’s important to take care of yourself as a mom. So if you feel like you’re tired enough to go to sleep during your baby’s nap, then go for it!
Figure out in advance the specific things you need or want to do. This will set you up for successfully fulfilling those tasks. Otherwise you may end up expending a lot of energy on things that aren’t as meaningful.
I personally like to plan things out on paper, which is why I love using the Living Well Planner.
I’ve used many different planners, calendars, and agendas over the years. But the Living Well Planner is by far my favorite because it has hourly time blocks, places to plan out monthly and yearly goals, as well as space to write down meal plans, your monthly budget/expenses, and more.
But regardless of what paper or electronic method you use for your schedule or goals, it’s important to mark down what you plan to do, which will save you time.
And saving time is soooo important when you have a baby!
✅For a free tool to make a custom schedule that works, download our free Printable Sample Schedule Worksheets here. (This is not a full yearly schedule, but it will help you come up with a reusable schedule to base your routine off of each day/week.)
I sadly used to have basically NO cleaning routine. And this resulted in my house being messy even though I did clean basically every day.
If you struggle with maintaining your home, I discuss this challenge in this ‘podcast or post’ episode. (You can read it like a post or listen to the audio version.) I explain how changing one thing– having a cleaning routine- changed the state of my house.
And I also define what I mean by ‘cleaning routine.’ I used to clean every day, but I didn’t have a specific cleaning routine (there is a difference!)
But now that I’ve developed and regularly use a cleaning routine, it saves me so much time as a mom.
Whenever I clean while the kids are asleep, I get a lot more done versus when they are awake. (Although, yes, I do clean while they are awake too.)
This post shares tips on what baby items you need to clean, which you can incorporate into your routine as needed.
Of course, grocery shopping while your baby sleeps only works if your baby will actually stay asleep while you’re shopping.
I have personally noticed my babies have stayed asleep in their car seats in the cart, while I’ve gone shopping.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure if you do this that you time out when you’ll be gone within the time-frame your baby will stay asleep.
Be prepared with any feeding/changing supplies, and/or comfort items you need. You want to be ready if your baby wakes up an ‘unhappy camper’ while you’re gone.
Besides going shopping while someone else watches my kids, having my baby asleep when I go is the next easiest option and usually allows me to get through the store somewhat faster.
Now, if your baby is generally pretty content already when you take him/her shopping and doesn’t need a lot of focused attention when they’re awake in a store, this may not be something you want to do while they nap.
It really depends on your personal circumstances as to whether or not this would be beneficial to do during naptime.
But I know for myself, going at naptime was the easiest way for me to bring them.
I loved using this baby carrier, (which apparently is Amazon’s choice too.) It was extremely helpful if they were awake. (And even if I had a sleeping baby I would still bring it in case they woke up.)
I feel compelled to just quickly mention a few things as far as safety if you’re allowing your baby to sleep in a car seat while traveling.
Babies can get very warm when they’re bundled up in their car seats.
It’s very important that they not be overdressed, especially when they are young, because babies cannot regulate their body temperature and could overheat.
Of course, you generally don’t have control over whether they fall asleep while you are driving. But you do want to make sure your baby is safe in the car.
It’s possible your baby’s pediatrician would have concerns about them sleeping in the car seat for an extended period of time or when it can be avoided, especially if they’re still very young.
(My youngest is 2 years old right now, so if he falls asleep in his car seat, as long as I’m monitoring him, I don’t really have any safety concerns.)
Keeping your baby safe is very important, so always be extra careful if/when putting your baby’s car seat on or in a cart.
Also, it may be harder to see while you are pushing the cart, (especially if you are short like me,) so be on the lookout that you don’t run into people or things.
No doubt you’ve heard of some of the hot car death horror stories, as well as other times babies have been left in cars unattended.
Of course, you want to think you would never be that person.
But the fact is this could and has happened accidentally to parents that 110% love their child.
If a baby is sound asleep and completely quiet, especially when the parent is overtired, (like from staying up late with the baby,) or if they drive regularly without having the baby with them, they could forget at the time they get out that the baby is in the car.
For this reason, I recommend either leaving your purse/phone/wallet, (something you always have on you and feel naked without,) in the back seat whenever you have your baby in the car and/or have a habit of always opening the back door as soon as you get out of the car to check if your baby is there (even when you know they aren’t.)
Instead of shopping in-store, you can do your grocery shopping with delivery/pickup, such as with Instacart, (you can get $10 off through your first order here!)
Your baby’s nap may be a nice time to order food/groceries undistracted.
Cooking may take me 3 times longer while all of my kids are home and awake.
This is mostly due to interruptions and divided attention. So cooking while my youngest is napping saves a lot of time.
Planning out my meals in advance and making sure I always have the ingredients on hand for my next meal to cook allows me to prepare the food when I have a good opportunity- like when my baby is napping or when the kids are occupied and content.
If you have a job where you do some or all of your work at home, you’ll likely be more focused and get more accomplished when your baby is asleep.
Otherwise, this is a great time to tackle a home project- or at least get started. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but most parents have at least a few things they want to get done at home.
For example, you could use this time to start decluttering extra clothes in your closet.
So whatever it is that you’ve been putting off or haven’t had time for, your baby’s nap is a great chance to finally make progress. Or to continue any progress you’ve already started.
As a mom/parent, you need time to relax and have fun. And with a baby, your alone time is limited.
So sometimes you can take advantage of your baby’s nap for some much-needed self-care.
(Yes, this absolutely counts as being productive!)
Try to choose activities that make you feel refreshed after. This helps you to avoid burnout and overwhelm. And you’ll increase your productivity for all the things you need to do.
One of my favorite things to do for ‘me time’ is to take a long, relaxing bath.
My husband bought me this soothing bottle of bubble bath as a gift, which is simply wonderful and calming.
When done properly, exercise can make you feel good, help you stay healthy, and give you energy.
But it may be challenging to find the time after having kids.
So you can take advantage of naptime to stay in shape. And you can try this even if you only get a few minutes of exercise in at a time.
Note: If you’ve only given birth within the last few months, make sure enough time has gone by postpartum so your body has been able to heal after delivery.
And, of course, in general you want to make sure your doctor has said exercise is okay/safe for you personally.
If you’re married, one of the most important things you can take time to do is to nurture your marriage.
This strengthens your family and has a positive effect on everything else you do.
So if you and your spouse haven’t had much time together lately, try spending time together while the baby is sleeping. Depending on your schedules, you could do this during a nap, before the baby gets up in the morning, or in the evening after you put them to bed.
I personally enjoy talking to my husband and doing something with him at home while our kids are asleep. Then we don’t have to worry about the youngest ones getting into trouble or needing to give them attention right then. (We stay within earshot of them, though, so that we know if they wake up.)
✅If you’re a wife in a strained marriage is right now, I HIGHLY recommend this book for wives (don’t judge it by its cover- it’s a really great book and the skills inside WORK.)
(The only thing I didn’t agree with is part of a statement the author made in one of her books about the types of men a woman should leave, which she later retracted in her podcast after wives reported to her that even in more extreme situations her tips saved their marriage and ended the bigger issues.)
Your baby’s nap is a nice opportunity to catch up with friends or family.
I don’t know how your circumstances are, but when my baby is awake, there’s often a lot of background noise. It makes it difficult to hear people while I’m on the phone. And I’m also distracted, since I’m monitoring the kids while I’m talking.
So I’ve sometimes used my babies’ naps to stay in touch with friends and family, without the distractions I have when they’re awake.
I’ve noticed the quality and lengths of my conversations are generally better when my youngest is either asleep or being watched by someone else (like my husband.)
Of course, you can use other methods of communication to stay close to family and friends besides calling people.
But the reason I prefer making phone calls is because the conversation is more personal and efficient than going back and forth with written messages or posts.
So those are 10 productive things you can do while your baby is napping.
Sometimes your accomplishment during your baby’s nap might simply be relaxing or getting the rest you need too.
Other times you may be able to plan out your day, pickup/order groceries, get a project done, stay in touch with loved ones, spend time with your spouse, exercise, clean up, or get dinner started.
As long as you plan ahead and use your time & energy wisely, you can be productive no matter what you choose to do.
✅If you feel like you need a better schedule, download our FREE Printable Sample Schedule Worksheets here.
Have a great day, and thanks for reading!