Baby Hacks to make life easier
No amount of reading books or talking with family members can prepare you what life is really like with a baby. There are just SO many things you won’t be prepared for, or think of on your own. That’s ok! This list of handy genius baby hacks for new parents will (hopefully) blow your mind and have you thinking… WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!
And, it’s not your fault – you don’t get enough time to sleep, eat, or do much of anything you are used to doing. Not to mention if you’re recently postpartum, you’re still dealing with learning to breastfeed and recovering from childbirth. (If you’re still in that stage – here’s another post on postpartum hacks and one breastfeeding hacks too if you need those!)
I decided to impart all of my best baby hacks (or “new mom life hacks” if you like), as well as some ideas from other moms who have been there too. You’ll love these baby hacks to make life easier!
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The Best Parenting Hacks for Babies:
DIAPER CHANGING HACKS
MESS-FREE DIAPER CREAM
The trouble with diaper cream is that it is kind of permanent. If you try and wash your hands, it just spreads it around and makes it worse. Instead of trying to wash your hands, immediately use a diaper wipe wrapped tightly around your creamed finger and wipe it off that way. To keep your fingers clean all thogether, pick up one of these. They work really well and are easy to clean.
DIY BABY WIPES
Wipes get super expensive really quickly. Did you know you can actually make your own baby wipes for much cheaper? Wellness Mama came up with the recipe after trying to find something more safe and natural to use instead of baby wipes. She also says she saved over 200 dollars a year by making her own wipes!
CHEAP DIAPER GENIE REFILLS
CHANGE-TIME ONLY TOYS
As baby gets bigger, it can be hard to get him to just. lay. still. for a bum change.
Having “special” toys that we play with ONLY at change time can help keep them distracted (and facing up) for just a few minutes. Work fast!
KEEP EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS IN YOUR DIAPER BAG – ALWAYS
The first time you change a poopy diaper on the side of the road or need to deal with an all out poopsplosion at Church – you’ll be glad for those empty bags. We always think to pack an extra shirt… we never wonder what we will do with the poop covered shirt.
SAVE HUGE WITH AMAZON PRIME
I hate to admit that I not only HAD (as in already paid for) an Amazon prime membership for a full year before I found out that you can save up to 20% on diapers with a subscription, but even after I found out I didn’t bother to try for another 3 months.
Set up your subscription on Amazon, save money, AND never have to run to the store for diapers again. Winning. (You can try Amazon prime for FREE for a month here.)
BABY SLEEP HACKS
WARM UP BABY’S BED BEFORE “THE TRANSFER”
I don’t bother trying to transfer my babies anymore, we just co-sleep, but before we did that, it really helped to warm up baby’s bed before laying them down. (This is possibly my all time favorite of these baby hacks for new parents .)
That way they weren’t going from a warm body to a cold spot, and generally helped them settle in much faster. We used a microwave heat bag for this. (Remove bag from bed before placing baby in bed – the goal is just to warm the bed, be careful not to over heat your baby!!!)
RED LIGHT BULB HACK (OTHERWISE KNOWN AS MY STAY-SLEEPY HACK!)
There are going to be those nights where your little one will wake up over and over again.
Diaper changes and getting-the-boob-in-the-screaming-mouth are both hard in the dark, especially for a first time mom.
Instead of turning on your normal light, consider replacing your white bulb with a red light bulb instead. A red light bulb emits dimmer light, so (hopefully) baby will stay in “sleep mode” (AND SO WILL YOU!) if you have to turn on some light during the night.
USE A WHITE NOISE MACHINE FROM BIRTH
Baby sleep is one of the hardest things you will deal with as a new parent. Your baby’s time spent sleeping is going to be pretty unpredictable for the first little while, so it’s definitely worth reading up on some baby sleep tips because different things will work for different babies. One of the best things that helped our baby sleep was a white noise machine.
If you aren’t too keen on purchasing one right now, you can always plug in an old TV and turn the sound up a bit on static, or a humidifier, or anything that HUMMMMMMMS (lol).
(They also have free noise machine apps you can download on your phone, but the downside to these is your phone will have to stay playing in the room with the baby.)
ONE MINUTE SLEEP HACK
A family went viral when they took a video of getting their baby to sleep (in less than a minute) with a tissue. Now, I don’t think this will work for EVERYONE, but on some nights, you may try anything.
BABY CLEANING HACKS
MESH BAG HACK FOR LAUNDRY
New babies go through a lot of socks. And other small clothes.
The problem is, it’s pretty common for these tiny things to mysteriously disappear. This issue is further complicated by the fact that some washer machines seem to eat socks. Honestly, I have no idea where they go, they go in the washer and they don’t come back out. In order to save yourself some time hunting for socks, buy a mesh laundry bag to wash them in. In fact, the second you take those socks off they should go straight into the mesh bag until they are ready to be washed.
DIY MAGIC STAIN REMOVER
Babies are pretty notorious for ruining at least a couple of outfits in the first six months of life–and it’s usually YOUR favorite outfit of theirs! Luckily, a clever mother figured out a magical stain remover solution that will help you salvage your favorite baby sleeper. All you need is some baking soda, dawn dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide (which I think most of us already have around the house.)
CLEAN PACIFIER HACK
If you use a pacifier, you KNOW how difficult it can be to keep them clean! If you are lucky, you have a binky that came in a convenient carrying case–but if you didn’t, you can use a sauce container (those ones you get from a restaurant) instead!
BABY NURSERY HACKS
CLOTHING SPACE SAVER
A space-saving mother at It’s Baby Time has a couple of excellent tips regarding your baby’s room organization. She reminds us that we can put small storage boxes to use in your little one’s dresser drawers and changing table drawers. Here’s my favorite part–she recommends rolling up onesies rather than folding them as this will save space. If you don’t have any small storage boxes laying around, pick up some drawer organizers instead!
SAFELY CONVERT A DRESSER TO A CHANGING TABLE
Mom Smart Not Hard reminds us that it’s not very safe to plop a changing pad on top of a regular dresser.
A better option is to purchase a changing table converter kit. The converter kit is a large wooden rectangle that can sit fastened on top of your dresser, so it stays securely in place.
HAVE A PLAN FOR CLOTHING STORAGE (and therefore mess)
Your baby is going to grow faster than you thought was possible – and you might have little piles of clothes growing all over to prove it.
Remember, in the first YEAR of life most babies typically go through 4 or 5 clothing sizes. If you had a baby shower, then you probably have more clothing for your baby than you do for yourself.
I definitely recommend taking back and exchanging any clothing you may not use – if you don’t love it, don’t keep it!
You should also have a storage plan for outgrown clothing, to keep it organized, and out of the way. The Organized Mom Life has an excellent game plan you can utilize, as well as free printable labels for storage boxes. You can find that here.
BABY FEEDING HACKS
EASY CLEAN HIGH CHAIR HACK
Okay, I know your newborn won’t be sitting in their high chair anytime real soon. But, I wanted to include this tip as I am hoping you haven’t purchased a highchair yet! If you haven’t, consider getting an IKEA highchair (that one, specifically). This genius mom figured out this high chair comes apart to wash it in the DISHWASHER!
Highchairs are one of the most difficult baby items to get clean, and also one of the grossest lol so if you can streamline that process, I would definitely recommend it.
USE COMMAND HOOKS TO KEEP BIBS HANDY
Bibs did not automatically have good “home” in my home.
A command hook on the back of the high chair is a GREAT place to store your bibs and have them handy when you need them.
REUSABLE SQUEEZE POUCH
Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t know that you could get reusable apple sauce pouches – and literally save a small fortune over the course of a year or two.
I had the best of intentions to make all my own baby food with one of these, but those litle pouches they suck the puree out of are just so darn convenient when you’re on the go – no packing around and keeping track of spoons and lids. Urgh.
Of course, convenience always comes at a premium, and the pouches are a good 25 cents more (for the same amount of food) as the little jars, and of course home made apple puree is cheaper (and healthier) altogether. It wasn’t until recently I started saving my pennies with this reusable squeeze pouch. Score!
UNUSED BREASTMILK BATH (DON’T CRY OVER SPOILED MILK!)
If you leave a bottle of pumped milk out too long – don’t be (too) sad!)
Breast milk contains a lot of awesome properties, and actually can help ease some minor ailments with your baby. Caroline from Swaddles N Bottles tells us that breast milk baths can actually help with cradle cap, minor bug bites, and minor cuts and scrapes. You can learn how to give a breastmilk bath here.
BABY CLOTHING HACKS
UTILIZE THE ONESIE
Have you ever noticed how onesies have the open seams on both sides of the neck of a onesie?
It’s definitely not a style thing, although you can get some that cutesy up that area of the onesie. It exists so you can pull the onesie off from opposite end in case of a poopsplosion. You definitely don’t want to have to pull that onesie over your newborn’s head after one of these, so this makes it so you don’t have to!
SKIP THE BUTTONS
It’s unfortunate that a lot of the cutest baby clothing has buttons. As an expectant or new mother, we don’t always think about the practicality of the clothing we are purchasing for our little ones.
You will learn quickly that buttons and snaps are a total pain at 3 am – so avoid them at all costs. Stick to zippers and nightgowns as much as possible. If you are lucky, you can find sleepers with zippers that open from the bottom, which is definitely easier for those late night diaper changes.
BABY KEEPSAKE HACK
My friend over at Coffee and Coos recommends purchasing the Queepsake app. This app will send you a question by text every day (or few days depending on which plan you get) about your little one. It keeps your answers stored so when you want to you can pull out all of the questions and answers and have a baby book for your baby. It only takes a couple of minutes a day, but your little one will thank you someday. You can also text in random events or pictures that you want to have saved as well.
BABY DEVELOPMENT HACKS
Amy, an occupational therapist at Baby Chick has some “hacks” on avoiding the word gap (words that your baby doesn’t learn in the first three years). This is usually more common in lower income homes, but it can affect anyone. Make sure you are READING to your baby and NARRATING your actions. Amy told us that studies have shown that kids who suffer from a word gap are at a SERIOUS disadvantage once they reach school age. Read more from Baby Chick about the word gap here.
BOARD BOOK HACK
Rachel is an occupational therapist at Can Do Kiddo, and she says that being able to handle a book correctly is an important pre-reading skill, and most babies are not developmentally ready to change the pages of a book until they are between 12 and 18 months old. She recommends wrapping rubber bands around the spine of the book to separate some of the pages. That way they don’t stick together and your little one can get some practice learning to turn the pages.
Obviously, you want to make sure you are supervising your little one at all times since rubber bands are definitely a choking hazard.