Taking Care Of A New Baby? Here’s What You Actually Need To Do
Mom Hacks Every New Mom Should Know
Newborn care can be scary when you are a brand new mom. It feels extremely intimidating. Once you take your new baby home, you may worry about whether you will be doing everything right, and if you know all you need to know to be a good mother.
Below are 20 easy and practical tips from mothers who’ve actually been there. In other words, moms who know the ins and out.
These are valuable tips that you can follow TODAY… tips that will ease things for you as soon as you implement it.
For your convenience, this article has been separated into three parts:
- New baby feedings;
- New baby sleeping hacks and tips; and
- Other general tips from moms who have been there.
Here are the new baby hacks experienced moms use to keep themselves sane.
New Baby Feedings
Make Baby Feedings Easy For Yourself
It doesn’t matter if you are nursing or bottle feeding. Either way, you will need to hold your baby while you are feeding him/ her, and a nursing pillow makes baby feedings easier.
A nursing pillow is not for everyone, though. If you feel uncomfortable holding your baby for extended periods, while feeding, you probably need a nursing pillow.
If you do 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.
Formula feeding your baby? Every mother knows the wrath of a baby who needs to be fed… NOW!
Every formula feeding mom knows the stress she feels when she’s got to warm the water in the microwave while her baby is screaming his/her little lungs out. Don’t put yourself through that stress, when a bottle warmer will solve that issue.
Get A Nursing Nightlight
… or any nightlight for nighttime feedings.
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.
The “nursing nightlight” also has a timer that you can set. It vibrates at the end of a feeding to wake you just in case you accidentally fall 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.
Nursing Your New Baby? Keep Up Your Milk Supply
Don’t let milk supply stress you out. If you think you have a problem, speak to your gynecologist They can give you a prescription to help increase and maintain your supply. This is the easiest and most effective method.
However, there are also several lactation teas, cookies and supplements available that are also helpful, like:
Breast Pumping Mom Hacks
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, but if that is not possible in the moment, the next best thing is to pump.
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.
New Baby Sleeping Hacks and Tips
Swaddle your 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 below. (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 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. Just a few positive sleep associations are swaddling, white noise sound machines, singing a lullaby to your baby before bed, or a solid bedtime routine.
Keep The House Quiet During Nap Times
Getting a baby to sleep takes time. Now 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 should 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.
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Yep, 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’s a few helpful resources:
Make Arrangements To Take 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, who simply go to sleep when we are tired. Nope. 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
Other General Tips From Moms Who Have Been There
Set up Easy Meals
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 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.
Get a Diaper Caddy
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.
Avoid Buttons Whenever Possible – Particularly At Night
Buttons are time-consuming and they can be frustrating. Avoid them, particularly in the beginning. Get 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.
Get a Pacifier Clip
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 below 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 it 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.
You may also be interested in: 5 Easy Tips To Prevent A Diaper Blowout
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 car seat base.
Installing car seat bases take a few minutes and this is a lot of time wasted if you keep switching. It is a huge hassle that can easily be avoided by getting a base for each car. 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
Baby’s scratch themselves – this is just something that happens.
However, 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.
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.