Taking Care Of A New Baby? Mom Hacks That Will Actually Help
Mom Hacks Every New Mom Should Know
New baby care can be scary for first time parents. It can feel extremely intimidating.
Below are 33 easy and practical tips new baby hacks from mothers who’ve actually been there. In other words, this is advice from moms who have figured out a few baby hacks to make things easier for themselves.
These are valuable tips and new baby hacks that you can follow TODAY… tips that will ease things for you as soon as you implement it.
New Baby Hacks For First Time Parents
Use Nightgowns for Easy Night-Time Diaper Changes
Newborn hacks don’t get easier than this. Baby nightgowns make nighttime diaper changes a lot easier for first time parents. There is no fighting with getting legs into sleepers or mismatching buttons.
Use A Nursing Pillow For Easier Feedings
Whether you are nursing or bottle-feeding, you will need to hold your baby for extended periods. A nursing pillow makes baby feedings easier.
Mom Hack: If you like feedings with a nursing pillow, and you have more than one floor in your home, do consider getting more than one nursing pillow. Yes, it is an extra expense but the hassle of running up and down the stairs is way more than it would cost you to just buy a nursing pillow for each floor.
Get More Sleep By Dream Feeding Your Baby
Dream feeding is when you rouse your baby—without fully waking—to feed one more time before you go to sleep for the night. By sneaking in one more feed between 10pm and midnight, research shows that this reduces night wakings for young babies and it helps them achieve longer stretches of sleep.
Use A Baby Swing To Soothe Your New Baby
There are people who worry that by putting your baby into a swing, he/she would get used to it, and then not be able to sleep without it. On the other hand, most moms agree that they’d do anything (within reason) to keep their babies calm and happy… and sleeping.
Baby swings are excellent! Your baby feels constant movement, so it’s a great alternative to carrying your baby around all day.
Mom Hack – Get a swing that can be plugged in. It saves you the hassle of needing to replace batteries all the time.
Wash Your Baby In The Kitchen Sink
Bathing your baby in the kitchen sink is not just a cute picture opportunity for first time parents. It’s actually very functional. The kitchen sink is the perfect height in which to bathe your baby safely. No bending down, hurting your back while you are at it.
If you are recovering from childbirth, this would be very convenient for you.
Use A Bottle Warmer For Formula Fed Babies
When your baby wakes up hungry, he/she wants to be fed NOW! There is no explaining that preparing a bottle is a process that takes time.
It can be really stressful when they’re screaming their little lungs out. If you’re formula feeding, save yourself the hassle and get a bottle warmer.
Avoid Getting Pee’d On (Boys)
If you have a little boy, you are going to get pee’d on. Try to prevent this by swiping a wet wipe under your baby’s belly button right before you open his diaper. If he needs to pee, this should make him pee before you take the diaper off.
Use A Nightlight So That You Can See
You cannot turn the lights on because this may fully wake you and your baby. You can’t keep them off either! But if you cannot see anything, it will be really hard to nurse or bottle feed your new baby. A simple nightlight or nursing nightlight solves that problem.
Some nursing nightlights also have a timer that you can set. It vibrates at the end of a feeding to wake you just in case you accidentally fell asleep while nursing. This is a very helpful “wake up call” if you are following safe baby sleeping guidelines, and you are worried about sleeping with your baby.
Keep Up Your Milk Supply
For some moms, maintaining their milk supply is easy. For others, it may not be.
Don’t let milk supply stress you out. The more you stress, the less milk you will produce.
You have several options:
- Tasty Lactation Smoothie Recipes To Increase Milk Supply
- Easy & Tasty Lactation Cookies You Can Make Yourself
- Yummy Brewers Yeast Breastfeeding Recipes To Increase Milk Supply
- Easy and Effective Tips On How To Increase Milk Supply
Use A Breast Pumping Bra For Hands-Free Pumping
It is rather uncomfortable to hold two bottles to your breasts for the entire time while you are pumping breast milk. Solve that problem by getting a breast pumping bra. They’re easy to use and oh-so-convenient because you can be hands-free while you are pumping.
Breast pumping bras are well worth it every penny you spend on them, but they are not cheap. If you feel it would be too much of a splurge to invest in a new breast pumping bra, make your own. Here is an easy guide to making your own breast pump bra.
Get Relief From Engorged Breasts
Engorged breasts are ouchy! The easiest way to relieve engorged breasts is to nurse your baby. If that is not possible in the moment, the next best thing is to use a breastpump.
Here are a few helpful tips to relieve engorged breasts or blocked ducts.
- Take a quick, warm shower before breastfeeding, or use moist heat on the breasts for a few minutes. Doing this may help the milk begin to flow. Don’t keep the heat on too long because extended periods of time (over 5 minutes) may make swelling worse.
- Use a cold compress for 10 minutes after feedings to reduce swelling.
- Gently massage and compress your breast when your baby takes a break between sucks. This may help drain your breast, leaving less milk behind.
- If you are still in a lot of discomfort, ask your doctor about taking Tylenol or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
- A supportive nursing bra makes some of us feel better during engorgement. Others prefer to go bra-less. See what makes you feel better.
- Gentle breast massages and relaxation techniques may also help improve milk flow and reduce engorgement.
For a more thorough guide, please see…
Swaddle Your New Baby
Most babies cry less, sleep better and feel soothed when they are swaddled.
Some babies will resist being swaddled but you have a better chance of it working for you if you start swaddling right from birth.
Learn how to do it – it’s easy. Ask the nurses to show you how when you are in the hospital or see the video above. (Notice how the second baby fusses, then calms down when swaddled – proof that swaddling does work to calm babies!)
Hospital blankets are great for swaddling but if you don’t have access to them, muslin blankets are a great alternative perfect because they are light.
However, if you cannot be bothered, then use the Velcro swaddles like the one below.
Sleep-Train Your New Baby Early
You are going to have sleepless nights – this is just the nature of being a new parent. However, you can minimize the problems associated with sleep deprivation by sleep training your baby early.
The goal is to create positive sleep associations from an early age in an attempt to get your newborn to sleep for longer periods of time. When you get into the habit of doing these things consistently before they go to sleep, they naturally associate these actions with sleep.
You don’t have to do everything. Pick 1-3 things for your bedtime routine, and stick with it.
Use A White Noise Machine To Mask Household Noises
White noise machines are awesome for drowning out sounds that might occur naturally in your environment. All kinds of noises can wake your baby’s slumber, like cooking, the tv, the doorbell, a toddler. If you live in a city, for example, a white noise machine will help to block out traffic noises. According to
Depending on what kind of white noise machine you get, you could play rainforest sounds or soothing beach sounds. Some machines are equipped with instrumental lullabies.
But while white noise machines are great, they should be used with care.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), white noise machines can cause hearing problems and problems associated with language and speech development if not used properly. They recommend that your white noise machine be placed at least 7 feet away (2 meters) from your baby’s crib. Also, keep the volume on the machine low.
- Another potential hassle is that your baby may become dependent on the white noise machine, meaning – he/she will not go to sleep without it.
Keep in mind that even if you use it with care, your baby may not respond to it.
Keep The House Quiet During Nap Times
Getting a baby to sleep takes time. Imagine it just took you 25 minutes to get your baby to sleep (and you really need to pee), and as you lay your baby down peacefully and tiptoe to the bathroom, your phone rings… and it’s on the loudest ring setting.
Perish the thought.
Needless to say, keep the house quiet so that your baby can sleep peacefully. Here are a few things you could do:
- Turn off your phone or put it on silent or vibrate;
- Make a “no sew door latch cover” to dampen the sound of the “click” when the door closes.
- Turn off the door alarm or hang a sign up to let people know how upset you will be if they wake your baby from his/her nap.
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
That’s not just something old people say. Every experienced mother says it because she knows it’s true.
Now, if you have a toddler on your hands, sleeping when your baby sleeps may not be possible but whenever it is possible, do sneak in a few naps.
Here are a few helpful resources:
- Disco Naps – 6 Easy and Effective Ways to get the rest you need
- 9 Powerful ways to get your baby to sleep through the night
Get A Backpack Diaper Bag To Keep Your Arms Free
Do consider a backpack diaper bag. Traditional diaper bags are great, but there is something about having both arms completely free… particularly when you have a baby. You have no worries about it sliding off your shoulder, and even dads can use it. They’re also very roomy and you tend to get more into them, than traditional diaper bags.
Get More Sleep By Taking Shifts
Perhaps you can take the early shift and dad can take the midnight shift so that you can sleep a little longer.
Figure out a schedule that works for both of you.
Make Sure Your Baby Gets Enough Rest
A baby who does not get enough rest, is cranky. Babies are not like adults. They cannot simply go to sleep when they are tired. Babies need to be put to sleep so you need to create the environment first, before your baby will nod off to baby dreamland. Here is a helpful guide to see how much sleep babies generally need, based on their age.
- 1 week old: 16.5 total hours of sleep per day, including 4 naps
- 1 month: 15.5 total hours of sleep per day, including 3 naps
- 3 months: 15 total hours of sleep per day, including 3 naps
- 6 months: 14.25 total hours of sleep per day, including 2 naps
- 9 months: 14 total hours of sleep per day, including 2 naps
- 1 year: 13.75 total hours of sleep per day, including 2 naps
Set up Easy Meals Before Your Baby Is Born
When your baby arrives, it is extremely unlikely you will want to go grocery shopping or cook, but you will get hungry and you need to be prepared.
Preparing freezer meals will make your life A LOT EASIER! Here is a great resource for make-ahead freezer meals for new moms.
However, sometimes you may be hungry and you wouldn’t be able to sit down to eat, particularly if you are holding your baby. At times like this, it is convenient to have meals or snacks that you can eat while holding a baby, like burritos, grilled cheese sandwich, smoothies, muffins, healthy granola bars, etc.
Having a few easy meals or snacks on hand is a great idea and a major stress reliever if you don’t have family or friends around to cook for you.
Getting enough to eat and drink is important for any new mom, but it’s even more important if you are a nursing mom – eating enough is important to keep your milk supply up. If you are nursing, be sure you have water that is easily accessible.
Use a Diaper Caddy To Keep Things Close
A “Good” diaper caddy is a must-have. Your diaper caddy is the place where you can store diapers, wipes and other newborn baby essentials like diaper cream, an extra change of clothes, nail clippers, etc.
You will have your hands full with a newborn baby, and there is no sense in needing to run to and from to get the stuff that YOU WILL NEED. Have it all within reach by using a diaper caddy that:
- Is big enough to hold what you need. It is useless to have a caddy that will only hold enough diapers for a day. The whole idea of the diaper caddy is to avoid the hassle of running to and fro for baby essentials, so be sure you get one that fits the stuff you need.
- Is strong enough to hold what you need. Diapers and wipes and other baby essentials are not heavy, but having said that, you don’t want a flimsy diaper caddy. Get a decent one right from the start because later you can use it for picnics, toys or whatever.
- Has ‘strong’ separators to keep your things organized. There is nothing worse than separators that detach and get all your stuff mixed up;
- Has strong handles to make transporting it from place to place, easier;
Once your baby is older, you’ll be getting out of the house more often. This is another time when a decent diaper caddy will be great as a car caddy.
Be Prepared When You Leave The House
There may be diaper blowouts, leaky boobs, projectile vomiting or any other mishaps that happen when you leave the house. This will happen and cannot be avoided.
The best way to solve these issues is to be prepared.
Make sure you have an extra change of clothes for both you and your baby, enough diapers, wipes, etc. You can keep these extra supplies in a diaper bag.
While keeping your extra supplies in a diaper bag is good, experienced moms swear by actually keeping a diaper caddy in the car. That way, you relieve yourself of the stress of always needing to remember.
Here is a helpful checklist for: Everything you need in your baby car kit.
Set Up A Pack n’ Play In Your Family Room
A Pack n’ Play is not just for traveling – it’s tremendously helpful, particularly if your house has more than one level.
Running up and down stairs to change a diaper or put your baby to sleep, is a hassle you will want to avoid – soon. Solve that hassle by setting up a Pack ‘n Play in the room your family spends most of their time.
Most new Pack n’ Plays have attachments like a bassinet and a changing table, so it’s extremely useful. This can be the spot where your baby sleeps during the day, get diaper changes, etc.
The modern pack ‘n plays are also amazing because you barely have to bend down to change a diaper – it has made life so much easier.
Use Onesies With Zippers – Particularly At Night
Buttons are time-consuming and they can be frustrating. Avoid them, particularly in the beginning and especially at night. Get baby clothes that have zippers instead.
You don’t want to try to figure which button goes where at 3 am in the morning when you’re changing a dirty diaper.
Use a Pacifier Clip To Prevent Lost or Dropped Pacifiers
Beware the wrath of a baby who needs a pacifier, now!
Pacifiers get lost, a lot. That’s because babies spit them out or they fall and get dirty. It can happen anywhere, too. Solve that hassle with an easy solution. Simply attach your baby’s pacifier to a pacifier clip. By doing this, your baby’s pacifier is always within reach.
Don’t get just any pacifier clip, though.
- Fabric pacifier clips are cute and cheap but keeping them clean is a hassle because they have to be manually hand-washed. Washing them in the washer could ruin them.
- Braided pacifier clips are super adorable but beware – they may stretch and pacifier clips that are too long become choking hazards.
Expert Mom Tip – get a pacifier holder that attaches to all pacifiers. The most popular pacifiers on the market right now are Soothie and Mam. Avoid the hassles and get a universal pacifier clip like the one above that easily fits onto these and all other pacifiers.
Blow Outs Will Happen – Handle It The EASY Way
Diaper blowouts happen when your baby’s poop makes its way out of the diaper and all over baby’s clothes.
It will happen. You cannot avoid it.
The cleanup is not fun, but it’s even worse if you have to pull your baby’s poopy clothes over his/her head to remove it – possibly getting poop onto your baby’s hair too.
Solve that problem by dressing your baby in envelope onesies. Why? Because envelope onesies can be removed without needing to pull it over your baby’s head. You can simply pull it down. The “envelope flaps” on the shoulders allow you to do that.
Stay Organized By Hanging Baby Onesies
If you are hanging your baby’s clothes, it will take a ton of hangers! This mom hack will save you hangers and space in the closet.
Avoid Lost Baby Clothes
No one has figured how, but tiny baby clothes tend to get lost in the wash. Avoid that hassle by washing baby socks and other small baby items in lingerie bags.
Use Aquafor For Diaper Rashes
If you want to get rid of a diaper rash quickly, use the number 1, mom-recommended diaper rash cream. Diaper rash creams can get expensive, but this one is cheap and effective.
Paint Diaper Cream On Your Baby’s Bottom
If you don’t like getting diaper cream on your hands, use an old makeup brush, a mini spatula or a diaper cream spatula.
Save Diapers With Ripped Diaper Tabs
Individually, diapers are not expensive but as the numbers add up, they are ridiculously expensive. Therefore, you won’t want to waste even one diaper if the tab accidentally rips off. You have options:
- If it ripped off like in the image above, fasten the unripped side to your baby. Put a second diaper on your baby, over the ripped one. The second diaper will hold the first one in place. When it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, simply remove the first, broken tab diaper and now refasten the second diaper.
- If it’s just the sticky part that broke off, you have the option of fastening it with a bandage.
Invest In More Than One Car Seat Base
If your baby will be driving in more than one car, you will be well advised to get more than one baby car seat base.
Yes, it is an extra expense but installing car seat bases takes time. If you have to switch the car seat base from your car to your husband’s car, it will get tiring really quickly. Keep in mind that you will be using it for at least 18 months.
Continually switching is a huge hassle that can easily be avoided by getting 2 car seat bases. It is well worth the money if you consider the time wasted for swapping the base from car to car.
Keep Your New Baby’s Nails Short To Avoid Scratches
You can solve this hassle by:
- putting baby mittens on your baby’s hands. However, this is a temporary solution. Those mittens are bound to come off some time or the other and this will lead to scratching.
- filing your baby’s nails. This is easiest done when your baby is nursing or sleeping. Nail filing is easy and there is no risk of hurting your baby. You can use a baby nail file for this purpose. However, nail filing does take a bit longer than simply clipping your baby’s nails.
- clipping your baby’s nails during nursing or naps. Clipping a baby’s nails with a baby nail clipper is a little stressful, particularly if you are a new parent – it’s easy to cut too deep and hurt your baby. It doesn’t make things any easier when your baby is squirming. Avoid the worries and do the clipping when your baby is sleeping or nursing.
Make ‘Medicine-Giving’ Stress-Free
The thing about medicine is most of the time, you need to give it more than once a day. If you are normal, you are likely to forget. And if you do remember to give your baby medicine, you may forget if you had already given it, or not. This is real problem for us normal moms because we have a lot on our minds. Also, you don’t want to over, or under medicate your baby!
Here’s an easy solution – just use a sharpie and create a schedule on the bottle, with the dates and times of the day. Every time your baby drinks the medicine, make an “x” on the bottle. This is perfect for babies and kids of any age.
Then there are times when your baby won’t like the idea of you putting a syringe in their mouths. Solve that little hassle by making a hole in a soothie pacifier, that is big enough for your baby to suck the medicine from.
If that doesn’t work and baby simply won’t accept the pacifier with the ‘weird taste,’ mix the medicine into a small bit of milk, in his/her bottle.
Use Coconut Oil For… Everything
Coconut oil is safe and very versatile. You can use it for all kinds of things like:
- removing meconium from baby’s bottom;
- cradle cap;
- diaper rash;
- insect bites;
- baby acne;
- baby thrush;
- baby toothpaste;
- baby lotion/moisturizer;
- baby massage.
Soothe Fussy Babies With An Exercise Ball
Babies love to be bounced. It soothes them. If you have an exercise ball, use it. If you don’t, try to get the biggest size – it’s easier to get up from a big ball, particularly if you are holding a baby.
Use Changing Pad Liners To Always Have A Clean Changing Pad
Changing pad covers are great but they get dirty very quickly, particularly in those first few weeks.
You have options:
- Lay a changing pad liner on top of your changing pad. If it gets wet or dirty, you can replace it quickly with another; or
- Layer a few changing pad covers over one another. If the top layer gets dirty, you can easily remove it and be ready with another one; or
- Lay a new diaper under the old one, before each diaper change. That way, if there is an accident, it will spill into the new diaper.
Make It Easier To Carry The Car Seat
If you are carrying the car seat in the crook of your arm, it can get sore very quickly. Avoid the pain by cutting a piece of a pool noodle to cover the handle.
Use Disposable Diaper Bags or a Diaper Pail To Minimize Diaper Smells
Diapers smell! You have two options in dealing with it.
Note From The Author
Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling things there is but every mom will tell you that it’s also the hardest thing to do.
You get no pay, no sick days, and you always have to work. You are on call 7 days of the week, 24 hours per day.
But, there are ways to make this motherhood thing easier! As a mother, I strongly encourage you to always be looking for hacks that will make your life easier because seriously, you already have a lot to think about.