16 Newborn Hacks Every New Parent Needs in Their Life
Having a newborn is a crazy ride, but this stage doesn't last for that long (just remind yourself of that when you're looking for the light at the end of the sleep-deprived tunnel).
To make this fleeting time in your and your baby's lives a bit smoother — so that you can focus on the cuddles and kisses — we have 16 parenting hacks that will help you along your way through new-mama-hood like a pro.
Use a bit of coconut/almond oil on your baby’s tush to make cleaning up meconium (those tar-like first few poops) manageable.
The oil will make your baby's bottom just moisturized enough that the poop will wipe right off. Otherwise, you'll truly be there all day.
Utilize onesies correctly in the case of a poopsplosion.
The little shoulder flaps at the top of onesies aren't just a fancy design keeping your little one ahead of the trends; they're actually there so that the head opening can become large enough to slip down your baby's body (instead of up and over!) in the case of an explosive diaper. That way, you can avoid getting poo anywhere you don't want poo (not that there are many places you actually want poo, but you know what we mean).
When changing your baby’s diaper, place the new one underneath the dirty one.
Clean off your babe and deposit all the dirty wipes in the old diaper, lift it out of the way, and have a fresh one right there waiting for you. This saves time as well as precious seconds in the race against being peed on.
For babies who don’t want to take medicine, use hospital pacifiers as a tool.
The pacifiers that you're given at the hospital (also available for purchase) have that hollow opening, which is perfect for putting the medicine dropper in. Granted, the flow through the tiny pacifier hole will make this a long process, but your stubborn baby will be soothed while also being duped into feeling better (they also sell pacifiers for this specific reason, if you're into that!).
Do a bicycle exercise with gassy babies.
If your baby has gas, one way to relieve it is by laying them on their back and rotating their chunky little legs in a bicycle-pedaling motion (elbow to knee) to get things moving internally.
Invest in a zip/button/velcro sleeper.
Swaddling is a thing of the past — now it's all about the zip sleepers. You don't have to do any complicated folds and stay up all night worrying about your baby coming undone or getting chilly.
If you’re going to swaddle, do it the right way.
Use these handy steps:
- Place a square swaddle blanket down in your baby's crib like a diamond.
- Fold down the top corner toward the middle to make a flat edge.
- Lay your baby down on the blanket with the flat edge on the back of their neck.
- Put your baby's arms flat against their body and bring one side corner across their body and tuck it underneath them, leaving an arm free.
- Fold the bottom corner up and over the shoulder of the remaining free arm.
- Fold the remaining side corner over their flat arm and across the body, tucking it under their body.
Don’t keep your newborn awake for longer than an hour and a half.
While it's tempting to want to keep your baby awake because you think they'll sleep through the night that way, it doesn't exactly work that way. Newborns need a ton of sleep, and trust us, a newborn kept up longer than 90 minutes is going to start to become more than crabby.
Sleep when your baby is asleep.
We know, this seems obvious, but there are plenty of moms who either stay up worrying, don't think their child will be asleep for long and want to use nap time for other things, or just choose not to get on a schedule with their child. If you want to sleep during your first year, try out this rule; you won't regret it.
Feed your baby when they wake up, not so that they’ll fall asleep.
Like all other humans, we eat to give us energy throughout the day, starting with breakfast right after we wake up. If you're feeding your baby as soon as they wake up, they'll have nutrients to give them energy for their awake time (see slide nine), and then they won't be relying on milk to fall back asleep, which can end up being a hard habit to break later down the road.
Don’t run into the room at the drop of a hat (cry).
If you swoop in to soothe your baby at the sign of the first startle, you'll never know if they're truly finished sleeping. Sometimes they wake themselves or are crying a bit in their sleep — leave them for a minute to see if they stop before waking them fully by going in and picking them up.
To keep toys within reach and a baby who can sit themselves up from slipping in the tub, put them in a laundry basket.
Although this isn't fully a newborn hack, it's one that you could use from the beginning if your baby's bath fits inside the laundry basket. For babies who are a few months old and can sit up themselves, the basket will work as a catch-all for toys and bubbles, but the water can flow freely in and out. You can also line the bottom with even more nonslip grip to prevent any slippage whatsoever.
Put baby to sleep with background noise.
If you sleep train your babe in a quiet room, chances are they'll be a lighter sleeper, affected by any and every noise. Use a white noise machine or app, or try a ceiling or standing fan pointed away from them just to make some noise — after all, babies are used to a ton of noise inside the womb (it sounds like a vacuum cleaner running in there!).
Use sleepers that are open at the bottom for daily wear.
When you're just laying around the house all day, open sleepers with stretchy bottoms and socks are the perfect outfit — they make changing diapers so much easier since you don't have to button a million tiny little snaps.
If you’re trying to wake up baby in the middle of a feed and nothing’s working, open their onesie or change their diaper.
Letting some cool air hit their bare baby skin or killing two birds with one stone and changing their dirty diaper should wake your baby right up.