Most first-time parents feel incredibly overwhelmed. There’s so much to do and never enough time to do it. You are running on little-to-no sleep, and yet you are expected to be responsible for this tiny little life. Thankfully, there are parents out there who have been through this before.
There are absolute pros out there who are willing to give their best tips on how to crush this whole parenting thing. We brought you some of the best “baby hacks” we could find. Check out these 40 baby hacks that will upgrade your life instantly.
40. Reuse Foam Soap Dispensers for Baby Wash
If you use foaming hand soap in your bathroom or kitchen, be sure to save those plastic containers. Not only can you reduce waste by repurposing them, but you can also make an incredibly convenient bathtime time saver: foaming baby wash. To make a batch of foaming baby wash, simply combine one part baby shampoo of your choice with one part water, and fill a cleaned, rinsed old foam soap dispenser. Now you’ll have an easy-to-use pre-lathered baby soap that is faster and easier to spread on your baby’s skin, cutting down on the time required and stress of bath time.
Make sure you carefully clean out any old soap containers you use, especially if the soap was harsh, strong-scented, or antibacterial, as any residue would be too harsh for a baby’s sensitive skin. Suppose you’re worried about old soap residue or have a baby with especially sensitive skin. In that case, you can buy new soap dispensers that are designed to be foaming so you can get the same easy-lathering effect without having to spend the time cleaning out old bottles. Ensure you use a reasonably sized bottle to go through your mixture quickly so the water doesn’t become stale.
If you have a nasty, old, oversize sweater or sweatshirt that you were just going to throw away, consider repurposing it into a little bib or drool catcher for your little one. Simply take the sleeve and cut it at a 45-degree angle at about the elbow or a little lower depending on the length of the sleeve, with a longer sleeve being cut lower than a shorter one. Then pass the cuffed part of the sleeve over your baby’s head with the angled long piece in front, and you have a free repurposed drool catcher for your little one.
You can even hem it and add sewn-on decorations like bows or ribbons for a fun craft if you like the look. Make sure you use sleeves with loose wrist hems that comfortable fit over your baby’s head so they aren’t constricting. Avoid fabrics like angora or wool until you are sure your child doesn’t have animal fiber allergies. Simple sweatshirts like an oversized Hanes pullover work best for this project since they’re the easiest fabric to clean. Of course, if you have extra clothing that is still in good condition, consider donating it to a shelter or thrift store before chopping it up.
It’s safe to say everyone dreads having to supply their children medicine, both because it means your newborn is sick and because of the crying that can result from giving awful-tasting concoctions. For babies, one of the easiest and least stressful ways to provide medicine is by using a modified pacifier. Take an open-ended pacifier and simply poke a small hole in the tip that your baby sucks on. Alternatively, you can use a bottle nipple if you want to avoid cutting a hole or damaging a pacifier. Either will work the same way.
When your baby is peacefully sucking away, simply measure out the correct dosage of medication with an eyedropper and insert the eyedropper in the open end of the pacifier or bottle nipple. Slowly and gently squeeze the eyedropper until all of the medicine has been dispensed into the pacifier or nipple. If you use a pacifier, be sure to label and store it separately and only use it for medication delivery. Also, make sure you always note the time and dosage of a baby’s medication and ensure that all other caregivers know when medicine was last given to avoid accidental overdoses.
Middle-of-the-night blowouts are going to happen. To reduce the amount of sleep you lose from these unfortunate events, try preparing ahead of time by double bedding. If you are already using plastic or other non-absorbent mattress linings, you’re already almost there. Simply make your baby’s bed as you would usually but then add a second non-absorbent mattresses layer and then make the bed again. This double-duty takes slightly more time, but when you’re fully awake.
While it may sound like overkill, adding a second layer of bedding with a non-absorbent mattress pad in between means that you can simply strip off the soiled bedding when a nighttime blowout occurs and the waterproof pad to find pristine, already made bedding and a mattress pad below. No more time spent at 3 a.m. trying to remember how sheets work when you’d rather be sound asleep. If you’re going to try this method, make sure you stock up on bedding whenever it’s on sale since more will always be on the bed at once, meaning you’ll have to have more clean bedding on hand.
Yogurt is healthy food for babies and toddlers, and the only thing that could make it better is turning it into a fun sensory experience for your child. The probiotics in yogurt are beneficial for people of all ages, and the protein is great for growing bodies. To help get your little one interested in eating yogurt, you can make them into fun little frozen dots that are not only delicious but a colorful sensory experience that’s easy to dole out onto a high chair tray for a reduced mess. All you need is a Ziploc bag and a healthy yogurt of your choice.
First, spoon yogurt into a Ziploc bag. Try a quart bag for thicker, sturdier plastic. Treat the bag as though you’re going to be squeezing out cake frosting by gathering the bag to a point and cutting off a small portion of the tip of the plastic to make a tube. Squeeze small dollops of yogurt, about the size of a chocolate chip or a little bigger, onto a cookie sheet. Simply put this sheet into the freezer until the yogurt is firm. You can add food dyes to the yogurt to create multiple colors of little yogurt Dippin’ Dots to make an extra fun treat.
If your little one has reached teething age, you’re no doubt scouring the internet looking for any tip or trick you can find to ease their pain and your own stress and tiredness. One great pain reliever you can try is making your own flavored iced teething clothes. Anything that is cold and has a soft texture they can bite down on greatly helps a teething baby’s pain as the teeth work to erupt from the gums. Adding a mild, healthy flavoring like applesauce will give a bit of sugar, which is a mild anesthetic for babies, as well as a distracting good taste.
To make an applesauce teething cloth, take a brand new or carefully sterilized washcloth and spread a very thin layer of applesauce over it, just like you’re spreading jam on toast. Then, wrap the towel up in a twist that comes to a point, kind of like a folded up umbrella. Put the folded cloths into the freezer until they are chilled but not frozen solid. For a cute change-up, you can roll the cloth up into a single tube and tie it in the middle and use the two tails as “bunny ears” for an adorable rabbit chew.
34. Pack Outgrown Clothes in Matching Diaper Boxes
Children grow like weeds, and your baby will always be outgrowing shoes and baby clothes, seemingly while they’re still wearing them some days. One innovative way to gather up outgrown clothes to keep for your next child, donate, or share with family and friends is to pack them in diaper boxes that are the same size as the outgrown clothes. So, once your baby grows out of size N diapers and clothing, pack up all of those items in size N diaper boxes. It’s as simple as that and will save you the headache of rifling through boxes to check sizes.
If you end up having another baby, just think of how happy you’ll be that past you organized baby clothes so thoughtfully. You can simply go to the closet, pick a box of the size diaper your baby is currently wearing, and boom, the right sized clothes. A diaper box filled with matching sized hand-me-down or new clothes is also an incredibly thoughtful baby shower gift, especially if you combine it with actual diapers to save the mom-to-be even more money. You’ll also save secondhand shop workers a lot of time if you explain the storage system when you donate.
How many times have you gotten your little one situated for mealtime only to realize you forgot a bib and have no idea where the nearest bib is. Is it in the laundry? Did you leave it in the nursery? Avoid the panic and frustration at mealtime by adding a clip to your baby’s highchair that always has a fresh bib attached. Make it a priority that after each meal, you clip a new, clean bib to the highchair to avoid the chaos of searching for one at mealtime. If necessary, buy a few extra packs of bibs on sale or make some upcycled bibs from old sweatshirts, so you have plenty on hand.
There are many clever ways to attach the bibs to the highchair ranging from basic to fancy. You could simply tie the strings of the bib around the back of the highchair each time, but that adds some time tying and untying and having to work around your baby after they’re in the seat. You could also go a little fancier and attach a push-type carabiner clip to the chair that holds a bib. Perhaps the best solution is to attach an adhesive Command hook to the chair’s back to keep a supply of fresh bibs easily.
No one, presumably including your baby, likes the sour, funky smell that bottles get over time whether they hold breast milk or formula. Even with regular cleaning and sanitizing, bottles can slowly build up that funk. If you’re starting to notice and worry about the smell, an easy and relatively safe way to deodorize the bottles is already in your medicine cupboard: toothpaste. Simply squeeze a small amount of mint toothpaste into each bottle and either shake vigorously or scrub with a bottle brush. The same compounds that fight sour, funky morning breath in the human mouth will tackle the tart, funky smell in the bottle, leaving them smelling fresh.
Whichever toothpaste you use and whether you shake the bottles or scrub, be sure you rinse the bottles exceptionally well before using them to feed your baby. While toothpaste isn’t necessarily toxic, it isn’t edible and shouldn’t be swallowed. If you’re concerned about toothpaste safety, you can also use children’s or baby’s toothpaste. Any toothpaste is one of the best ways to deodorize, though, and avoids using harsher degreasing chemicals like dish soap, leaving a bad-tasting residue and is considerably more toxic. Also, be sure to always dry bottles carefully to prevent mildew.
If you have an old PVC shower curtain lying around, clean it up, and use it to grab mealtime messes underneath your baby’s highchair. An old shower curtain is a perfect material to catch liquid and solid spills while being incredibly easy to wipe up and sanitize afterward. You can save your floor a lot of staining and yourself a lot of backbreaking effort. Simply lay the shower curtain, or a portion of it if you cut it up until a few different panels to rotate out as needed for deep cleaning. You also can use a cloth shower curtain, but it makes deep cleaning tougher.
If you’re using a PVC shower curtain and find that it feels concerningly slippery, you can always add non-stick shower decals to the bottom of the curtain and curtain panels that you’re using to give it a good bit of traction under the highchair. That could come in especially useful as your child grows heavier and can bounce around more during mealtime. However you decide to use one, try putting a shower curtain, or a portion of one, down during your next spaghetti dinner and see if the increased ease of cleanup is worth it for you and your little one.
You may have heard how coconut oil is great for your skin, and that goes for babies too. Some newborns suffer from a rash called “cradle cap.” It is a lot like dandruff and is not harmful to your baby’s health at all.The Mayo Clinic recommends shampooing your baby’s hair and gently trying to loosen the flakes, but you need to be careful with over-shampooing, which will cause dryness. Instead of going to the doctor for a prescription ointment, try rubbing some coconut oil on your baby’s scalp instead. That will help moisten the skin on their head, and it should help clear up the condition in no time.
Interestingly, the cradle cap cause isn’t fully understood, with several theories that are prevalent. One, and the most supported, is that hormones involved in labor and delivery cause a temporary overproduction of sebum in a baby’s scalp leading to seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Another theory that works in tandem with the first is that a yeast called Malassezia thrives in the hormonally triggered overproduction of sebum and contributes to the thick flakes of dandruff. Regardless of the scientific cause, it isn’t caused by poor hygiene or any mistake on your part, so relax and try some coconut oil.
You may already have mesh laundry bags to clean your bras and lingerie in the washing machine to prevent them from getting tangled with your other clothes. If not, please get them ASAP. They can also be used for much more. Baby socks, mittens, and other small items are incredibly easy to lose. So if you want to make sure you keep everything intact, start putting everything in a zip-up mesh laundry bag. These inexpensive bags also prevent items from getting tangled, so keep a few handy for delicate linens, vintage items, hand-made clothing, and more.
If you’re the crafty sort, mesh laundry bags are also incredibly useful for washing hand-sewn, hand-knitted, and hand-crocheted delicate items. They can also be used for washing and drying skeins of yarn, which is especially nice if using raw animal fiber yarn that can have a somewhat pungent smell. Mesh laundry bags can also be used for dyeing, rinsing, washing, and drying yarns or other fibers to prevent tangling and damage. Again, you can wash small toys and other household objects that are safe for machine washing in a mesh bag to keep them from getting lost or damaged in the spin cycle.
28. Pack an Extra Shirt For Yourself in Your Diaper Bag
Many moms will remember to pack an extra change of clothes for their baby, but they will forget about themselves. What happens if your baby spits up all over you when you are in public? Some mothers would say that they need to go home immediately to avoid embarrassment. But there is another solution: Pack an extra shirt and a plastic grocery bag. If there is an accident, simply put the soiled shirt in the plastic grocery bag and change into your fresh tee. If you’re worried about matching, keep a couple neutral styled and colored shirts on hand.
That is an even more critical tip in case of that most dreaded baby event…. the public diaper blowout. Any parent knows it’s all hands, wipes, fabric, and grocery bags on deck. In the regrettable event that a blowout hits your shirt, it’s an absolute must to have a spare to change into to finish your errands. And if by some incredible stroke of luck, you’re spared the blowout, you still have a handy extra piece of large fabric to try to contain the chaos and mess. Seriously though, as a new parent, you deserve nice clean clothes to feel fresh in.
Babies need their pacifiers when they get fussy. However, when you take a pacifier on the go, it can sometimes get caught on things and become dirty. A great life hack uses small plastic containers with lids to carry one or two clean pacifiers in your purse or diaper bag. This way, the sterile pacifier is not touching anything else. If it gets dirty or sticky, you can put that away in the container too, and clean it when you get home. Small Tupperware-like locking containers are extremely inexpensive, so you can easily have a pacifier in a clean container in your car, purse, and any room of the house.
As your child ages towards teething rings, you can even get fancy and get color-coded lids for your locking containers to designate which are simple pacifiers and which are for teething. Tupperware-like containers are fridge and freezer safe, so you can even pop a teething ring in the freezer right in its sterile, clean container to get it chilled and ready before heading out the door. Little tricks like this might seem like unnecessary clutter at first, but saving even five minutes during a hectic day out with the baby can be an absolute lifesaver for your peace of mind.
Car seat covers can sometimes be costly, and they are also difficult to take on and off. When you have babies, small children, and pets, they will get the seat dirty on almost a daily basis. An easy life hack is just to get a fitted sheet and cover your back seat with it, underneath the baby’s car seat. This way, if your baby vomits, tosses food, or anything else, it will fall on the sheet instead of the car seats. That makes it so much easier to pull the sheet up, put it through the washing machine, and put it back on later.
Twin-sized fitted sheets should work for more sedans, while full-sized may be necessary for larger SUVs. Many stores sell spare fitted sheets that are extremely inexpensive, and they can often even be found on the clearance racks, so stock up if you spy a deal. Having spares ready to go will be a lifesaver for days when you don’t have a chance to do the laundry before needing to run an errand with the baby. If possible, grab either white sheets that can easily be bleached to stay clean looking or dark colors like navy blue or black that won’t show stains.
Many first-time moms say that if they could do their baby showers over again, they would ask for diapers in all sizes instead of expensive toys and gadgets. Others say they wished they started stocking up on diapers during a pregnancy instead of waiting until after the birth, too. Paying for a baby is incredibly expensive, so every dollar counts. That is why it’s probably a good idea for you to get into couponing. You can save a ton of money if you match up sale prices with coupons. Check out The Krazy Coupon Lady for weekly deals on all sizes of diapers.
If you see a phenomenal deal and your budget allows, it’s best to stock up whenever possible. While it may be a slight blow to the budget to buy large quantities at once, you know it’s an item you’ll need a large number of. Thus, buying them at a lower cost per unit will save you a huge amount of money and stress in the long-run. You don’t have to worry about running out late at night and buying them at premium prices. Having a nice supply of diapers in reserve will also give you peace of mind during those stressful late-night diaper changes.
Most babies already love bath time. Well, some clever moms out there figured out that by putting glow sticks in the bathtub, they can create an even more enjoyable experience for kids. That is best for toddlers who are at least two years old. Sometimes, toddlers will become fussy and no longer want to take a bath. But they can’t seem to resist shiny things that move as they splash and play in the water. You’re already going to be carefully supervising bath time, but make sure you pay attention to the glow sticks as well.
While the plastic container portion of glowsticks is made of non-toxic materials, the chemicals inside are toxic. Thus, don’t use glow sticks in the bath with any toddlers who are still at the stage of wanting to stick everything in their mouths, especially if teething and showing the urge to bite down on everything. If your child is at a developmental stage that works with it, glow stick baths can be a fun treat, a way to celebrate a holiday like Halloween, or even used as a therapeutic way to work past bath time jitters or fear of a bigger-kid tub.
Babies are naturally curious. If they see a hole in the wall, they’ll try to put their fingers in it. According to the Electric Safety Foundation, 24,000 children were rushed to the hospital and treated for electric shock in the United States over 10 years. Many of them used hairpins, keys, or other long metal objects to stick into electrical sockets’ holes. That is why it is so essential for all parents to cover their sockets. If you’re traveling, use masking tape or Band-Aids to cover any outlets in your rooms.
At most stores, you can buy plastic plugs to place inside of the sockets. You can even buy a 50-pack for just $9. However, once your baby is older, you won’t know what to do with those plugs except to throw them away. One great life hack is just to use painter’s tape to cover the holes. Babies usually don’t have the motor skills or strength to rip the tape off. If you need to use the plug for any reason, it’s easy to rip it off and replace it later. If you’re worried about the tape being too thin, duct tape is a stronger, more fibrous solution that is harder to punch through.
Most babies and toddlers love bath time, and rubber duckies are a classic. Unfortunately, nearly every bath toy was manufactured with a little hole in the bottom of the plastic. A hazard of using bath toys like this is that the water can get inside the toy, turning into mold. If your child is chewing on a moldy bath toy, they can get very sick, and you don’t even realize it’s happening. To prevent that from happening, you can get a hot glue gun and fill in the hole. Let it dry, and this acts as a sealant.
Make sure you complete this critical babyproofing step as soon as you buy a new bath toy, before it’s ever used, to ensure that the toy is completely dry when sealed. You don’t want to trap any moisture inside a toy by making the hot glue seal. Another great benefit of this trick is that toys will keep their buoyancy even longer by not filling with water over time, making them even long-lasting bath time fun for your little one. The one safety trick to note is to ensure the glue plug is inside the toy and only flush with the exterior so that curious babies can’t chew on the glue or pull it out.
All babies get gassy, but they all need a little help sometimes. A fantastic life hack to get your baby to pass gass is to bend their knees. That pushes against their stomachs and releases the gas that was upsetting them. That will make them smile again in no time. In addition to gently bending their knees towards their tummy, you can also gently and slowly move your baby’s legs as though they’re riding a bicycle. This motion helps to stimulate the movement of gas and can help with gassiness and colic.
If you still have some leftover coconut oil from treating cradle cap, you can also perform infant massage to move gas down through the digestive system. Warm a small bit of coconut oil between your hands and gently rub it into your baby’s skin in downward strokes from their chest to abdomen. While this is calming and relaxing and a great bonding experience for both you and your baby, it also helps displace trapped gas and help it move through your infant and find its way out. Gassiness is a major source of discomfort for babies, so this is a great trick to remember.
20. Use a Fitted Sheet On Top of Your Outdoor Crib
Outdoor travel cribs are remarkable for parents who need to do some gardening or have an outdoor barbecue. However, if your baby is outside too long, they may get sunburned. Even if you put sunblock on them, their skin is still so sensitive. It’s better safe than sorry. A great solution to giving your baby shade in the summer is to put a fitted sheet on top of the crib. If you stocked up on clearance fitted sheets for car seat covers, you’re already a step ahead of the game and likely have spares for covering a crib.
Look for denser materials for sun-blocking fitted sheets, if possible, since cheaper materials may allow more light through than you anticipate. Another alternative is small kitchen panels of sunlight blocking curtains. When using any new fitted sheet to block the sun, check on your baby frequently, especially during the first use, to ensure they aren’t showing signs of heat stress or sun exposure. You can look into the UVA and UVB ratings of various fabrics at skincancer.org. They recommend dark colors like navy blue and black as well as densely woven materials like denim, wool, and most synthetic fibers.
That might sound obvious to some parents but revolutionary to others. Never put your diaper bag in the trunk or so far in the back seat that it’s impossible to reach while driving safely. You never know when you will need to grab an item to help soothe your baby quickly. There is no reason to make things harder on yourself. There are many over the seat bags and holders you can buy to keep necessary baby items like a pacifier or diaper at arm’s reach. However, these can be expensive, so research alternatives like over-the-door shoe bags.
It’s important to remember, for both your safety and your baby’s, that anything you place in the car needs to be secured so that it can’t fly loose and hit you or your baby in the event of an accident. Most items designed for in-car storage and use will be designed with this in mind, but make sure everything you buy for in-car use can be strapped down, buckled in, tied down, etc., to prevent loose flying objects. Convenience is essential, but safety is paramount. That applies to any products for dogs that may ride along with the baby and secure your pets themselves with seatbelt harnesses.
A noise machine can be a godsend for both adults and children who have trouble sleeping. They can make a static white noise, crickets, ocean waves, and more. That is perfect for anyone who lives in a small apartment, or they know that there is a possibility that noises will wake the baby. White noise generators come at a wide price range, with the most basic making a simple fan-like noise, while others have programmable options, different sound files, smart-home integration, and more. While the baby will need to adapt to sleeping around noise eventually, white noise can be a lifesaver in the early sleepless months for mom and dad.
If you are on a budget and white noise generators are out of reach, one inexpensive alternative is a basic oscillating fan. Make sure you point the fan away from the baby, so they don’t become chilled. The best part of this tip is that the cheaper the fan, the louder they tend to be, which means better white noise. Anyone who has slept with a fan in the heat of summer knows how comforting that soft drone can be. Plus, the fan can be useful in summer if you or the baby are starting to get too warm.
Sometimes, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers throw a tantrum when it’s time to go down for a nap. Ceiling projectors will put images up on the wall, and they sometimes play soothing music. That gives your child something to look at while they are in bed, and it can lull them to sleep. Projectors come in countless different options and price ranges, and many feature similar themes like stars or a night sky. Others feature deep sea themes or simply colorful glittery effects. The more expensive models will generate white noise or play soothing melodies to help children nod off to dream-land.
In many ways, these projectors function like high-tech mobiles, giving babies and even older children something to focus their eyes on when drifting off to sleep, as well as some crucial mental stimulation through colors and shapes. The routine of soothing sounds and beautiful images can help fight the naptime and bedtime resistance by establishing a fun or at least non-objectionable familiar routine for older children. If a high-tech ceiling projector is out of reach financially, a white noise generator or a box fan, pointed away from the baby, combined with a mobile over the crib, can have a similar effect.
It’s imperative to put child-safe locks on any cabinet that contains hazardous materials like cleaning products. You can buy child-safe locks from the store, but they are annoying to get on and off, even for adults. Most women have those packs of a few dozen hair ties lying in their drawers. If you’re traveling or simply need to lock a cabinet in a pinch, take a brand new tie that still feels very tight and put that around the cabinet’s two knobs. You will see that it’s not possible to open the cabinet by merely pulling on it.
Just keep in mind that once your child is two or three years old, they may have enough dexterity to get the cabinets open despite the best-laid hair tie plans. But, the hair tie trick still works in a pinch with older kids, especially for cabinets that you want to keep closed but don’t have anything toxic inside. Do you have annoying stuff like pots and pans that can be turned into an impromptu drum session or Christmas gifts that you need to hide from prying eyes? Just make sure you use approved, child-safe locks on the drawers and cupboards that genuinely matter.
Whenever your doctor prescribes a medication for your baby, it is vital to make sure you have given them the proper doses. Their tiny bodies cannot handle too much medicine at one time. Also, if both parents take care of a sick baby, one may accidentally double up the dosage. Unlike older kids, your baby also can’t protest and tell you they’ve already had their medicine. To prevent this type of dangerous overdosing from happening, make a chart on a sticker that includes boxes for the date and time given. You can include the dosage as well.
Ensure both parents and any caregivers, like family or a daycare provider, understand how to follow the system. Even if you’re in a hurry, take the time always to mark the medicine dose as given, don’t promise yourself that you’ll remember later. That is a healthy habit for medicine throughout a child’s life as it can help keep dosage organized at school. As your child gets older, teach them to document dosages of medication as they take it, if they’re able to, as it’s a tremendous lifelong health habit to form early in life.
Babies like to take naps often throughout the day, but the sunlight truly does make a difference in the quality of sleep they receive during daylight hours. If you want your baby to sleep longer and more soundly, make sure the nursery is very dark. You may have to buy room darkening curtains to achieve this, especially for those afternoon naps. Room darkening curtains are also a massive help for older children with early bedtimes to prevent the “but it’s still light out!” argument at bedtime and allow them a much easier, calming time settling down for deep, peaceful sleep.
Darkout panels are often quite utilitarian looking and don’t always come in a cute array of colors of patterns for your baby’s nursery or child’s room. They can also be quite expensive, costing much more per panel than typical curtains. However, you can modify an existing curtain to a blackout panel by merely mounting them with shower curtain hooks on a curtain rod and adding a piece of vinyl blackout material behind the curtain. That allows them to be easily removed for cleaning and dusting and easy permanent removal as they get older without requiring whole new curtains.
Sometimes, the supply of diapers you keep in your bag is not nearly enough. You may find yourself running into a random CVS and over-paying for an expensive pack of diapers just because there is an emergency. If you want to avoid this, consider buying diapers in bulk and keep a stash in the trunk of your car. This way, you will always have them on hand, just in case. Especially if you’ve been wise and are buying your diapers in bulk when they’re on sale and with coupons, make sure you have a supply everywhere you might need them to get the full value out of your purchase.
While it may sound goofy, consider keeping a few emergency reserve diapers in your glove box or the center console box. You can also create a little emergency diaper kit out of an old, empty wipe box. If you have a car organizer with pacifiers and other baby needs to keep them at the ready, try stashing a few extra diapers in there as well. It will be much better, in the long run, to find forgotten diapers in weird spots all around in your car than to find yourself in a blowout situation short a critically needed diaper.
If you have run out of diaper rash ointment, reach for some olive oil instead. Its natural properties have been known to help heal the skin. And, if you already have olive oil in your kitchen, this just might help save you a couple of dollars and a trip to the store. Olive oil has natural properties that make it just as good for you externally as it is when taken internally. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce itching and redness, as well as anti-microbial properties that can prevent secondary infection. It is also an occlusive oil, meaning it seals the skin’s pores from entry.
While it works on the other end of the baby for cradle cap, coconut oil can also be used as a natural alternative for diaper rash treatment. Much like olive oil, it has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties that make it an ideal natural oil for reducing the redness and irritation of diaper rash. Simply warm a small amount of coconut oil between your hands and apply it as you would diaper cream. Coconut oil is also a highly occlusive oil, which makes it an excellent moisture barrier to help prevent future diaper rash and treat any current rash.
It is important to regularly trim your baby’s nails to prevent them from accidentally scratching themselves. However, babies will squirm and potentially start screaming if you try to trim their nails when they are awake. That might lead to you accidentally cutting them too close to the skin, and no one wants that! You can bypass this issue by waiting for them to fall (deeply) asleep and then cutting their nails. Human nails are at their softest point after being exposed to water, especially hot water, so make your life even easier by clipping their nails after bath night to minimize any physical sensation.
Use an approved baby nail scissor and take your time to ensure you cut your baby’s nails smoothly and don’t cut too close to the growing, living part of the nail, which will bleed and cause pain. Follow up with a bit of edible moisturizing oil on your baby’s nails and cuticles like olive or coconut to help keep your baby’s skin healthy and hydrated, especially as they reach finger and thumb sucking age, as this can stress the skin of the fingers. Check your baby’s nails regularly for hangnails or jagged edges that could scratch their very delicate skin.
New parents often set up a nursery with a changing table, but they quickly realize that sometimes, a diaper needs to be changed immediately, and there is no time to run to the nursery upstairs or across the house. It is challenging when you have a two-story house, and you might need to carry your child upstairs to change their diaper. Instead of making your life more difficult, add a small changing station to each room. That doesn’t have to be a massive setup, either. A simple basket of diapers, wipes, and a changing pad is all you need.
If you have a two-story house, make sure you have at least one changing room on each floor of the house. If you spend a lot of time outside, consider having a little enclosed changing area outside. Any room or space you spend a lot of time throughout the day is a good candidate for a small changing area. As you find yourself doing endless amounts of laundry, think about a changing area in the laundry room too. Since it’s a relatively inexpensive setup, there’s just no reason not to make your life easier and cut down on running through the house with loaded diapers.
Some newborn babies are scared of the bath. It’s understandable. From their perspective, they are being dipped into water, and they don’t know what to do about it. Many hospitals have begun using a technique called “swaddle bathing,” which is exactly what it sounds like. The baby is swaddled in a blanket or towel to feel comfortable and secure before going into the warm bath. The water seeps through the towel, so your baby is still getting clean. You can then gently unfold the towel over time to acclimate them to being exposed to the water without the towel.
If you decide to try swaddle bathing, make sure the towel isn’t too tight or heavy on your baby’s chest once it’s fully wet. Also, never let your baby stay in the towel as it cools or put them into it once it’s cooled, as this can cause hypothermia. As with any bath time activity, swaddle bathing requires full, uninterrupted supervision. Ideally, ask a friend or family member who is used to swaddle bathing to demonstrate how best to try the relatively new technique. If your baby is afraid or fussy at bath time, this technique could be a real stress reducer.
According to Parent Hacks, giving your baby a pacifier filled with breast milk can help regulate their ear pressure if you are going on a plane or a road trip in high elevations. It can make the journey much more pleasant for the baby, you, and all other passengers alike. That is also an excellent way to help your baby transition from strictly breastfeeding to using a pacifier to soothe themselves. Look for mother’s milk pacifiers with a cylindrical shape that mimics the mother’s nipple, which will significantly increase its soothing effect on the baby.
People can sometimes be cruel and show no understanding for families who have to travel by air with little ones. One idea that is growing in popularity for air travel is small gift bags for the passengers around you with earplugs, candy, and a short note saying that it is your baby’s first air travel, and they may become upset during the trip. This thoughtful little gesture can reduce the rude comments and complaints of bringing a baby on an airplane. Combine pacifying the other passengers with pacifying your baby with a mother’s milk pacifier, and you have a recipe for far less stressful travel.
As silly as it sounds, you need to start preparing for your child’s social media future. We all know how frustrating it is when our name is already taken on e-mails and accounts, right? By saving your child’s name on Twitter, Gmail, Instagram, and any other social media platform that may appear in the coming years, you can pass that account on to your kids when they are old enough. It can even be a fun and significant birthday gift to hand over control of a full suite of social media with the child’s name at an age-appropriate time.
Make sure you have age-appropriate protections in place on all social media accounts before handing them over to your child. Also, remember not to post anything that might embarrass your child later in life on social media, as they have a right to privacy and cannot consent to what is shared about them as infants. Social media has dramatically changed the way parents share their children with family and the entire world, so think carefully about how you want your child’s image consumed on the internet. What was once a curated, private family photo album is now much more candid images that anyone can see if you’re not careful.
Most moms out there will have at least one big, fluffy makeup brush lying around that we do not have a good use for. If you want to spread the cream on your baby’s diaper rash, but you don’t want it to get all over your hands, using a brush is a perfect solution. When that’s done, use some of your baby shampoos to clean the brush. Air dry, and re-use again the next time you need it. Just make sure you keep it separated from the rest of your makeup brushes. We don’t recommend using that for your face.
If you are worried about allergies, the good news is the cheaper the makeup brush, the better. Only costly makeup brushes use real animal hair like squirrel or boar, potentially cause allergies, while cheap brushes are simply made of synthetic materials and plastics. Many drugstore makeup brands have nice, large brushes available for as little as $5 that should be hypoallergenic. Plus, if they’re gentle enough to be marketed for your face, they will be plenty soft for applying diaper cream to your baby’s bottom. Just make sure you label the brush and keep it separate!
Fussy babies often need a snack to keep them happy. One of the best snacks to bring on the go is Cheerios cereal. It’s not packed with sugar, it has tons of vitamins, and it is dry, so it’s easy to store and carry for a long time. Many moms will go for little ready-packs at the grocery store because it’s more convenient. However, instead of buying those same expensive marked-up ready-packs, re-fill the containers with Cheerios from the box. Some enterprising moms also re-use a coffee creamer container as their own DIY cheerios bottles.
The handy little Tupperware containers we discussed for pacifiers and teething rings can also carry great, healthy portion sizes of cheerios. These are an ideal item to keep stashed around your house and especially in your car, so a calming snack is never far out of reach for the little one. Many new kinds of expensive, organic baby snacks and puffs are available but don’t fall for the marketing hype. Cheerios are a safe, healthy, and long-tested snack for pacifying babies and keeping them munching happily. Keeping little emergency snack packages at hand will help make your errands a much lower stress event.
In the Disney movie Mary Poppins, there is the famous song, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” It turns out that this is true. According to Web MD, if you give your baby some sugar right before receiving a vaccine at the doctor, it will help them manage their pain. Who knew? A study found that sugar water containing glucose or sucrose before routine immunizations helped babies experience less pain and shed fewer tears, making routine immunizations a far less traumatizing experience for both babies and their parents.
Other strategies that are confirmed to reduce pain and upset at routine immunizations include non-nutritive sucking (NNS), a fancy term for using a pacifier or sucking one’s fingers or thumb, or breastfeeding at the time of the immunization. Anything that provides a healthy distraction for the baby has been shown to reduce pain and crying. The research recommends giving babies sugar water before and during the immunization process to maximize the pain-reducing benefits. Sugary solutions have historically been used as a mild anesthetic before performing infant circumcisions and show promise for helping children who need to get stitches.
Believe it or not, there are several different hacks to cutting and using pool noodles. Some moms like to use them on the edge of doorways. That prevents babies from slamming their fingers in a door by accident. Other moms choose to use a noodle section around a car seat handle, which provides a cushion between the mother’s arm and the plastic handlebar. If you want to see some more Dollar Tree pool noodle hack ideas, check out Design on a Dime. Pool noodles are extremely inexpensive and can be found year-round in warmer areas. For cold climates, stock up during the summer as they’ll be phased out in winter.
Another prevalent use of a pool noodle is to make a bed bar for children who are just out of their cribs and not used to sleeping in big kid beds yet. The pool noodle is soft yet provides just enough of a ridge to keep children from falling out of bed while adjusting to the open boundaries of an adult style bed. Simply put a whole pool noodle under the fitted sheet on the outside edge of the bed, and you have a safe, contained safety barrier. As the child gets used to the bed, the pool noodle size can be cut down.
Sometimes, diaper tabs will rip right off, especially when we are in a hurry. Without any way to adhere it together, some people will decide it’s best to throw an unused diaper in the trash. If this even happens to you, grab a Band-Aid or a thick painter’s tape instead. That works just as well, and your baby won’t know the difference. With the high cost of diapers, it just makes no sense to throw a perfectly good diaper in the trash. Just ensure the painter’s tape, if used, doesn’t come in contact with your baby’s skin since it has a strong adhesive.
There are also numerous diaper pins on the market, traditionally used for reusable cloth diapers. However, these pins can be kept on hand to secure a single-use diaper that has lost its adhesive tab. Special diaper pins are typically coated in rubbery material or plastic to make them far less sharp than traditional safety pins. However, they are still considered a choking hazard, so be careful with their use on older babies as they gain dexterity and curiosity. If you end up getting frustrated with single-use diapers breaking tabs, it’s worth noting that diaper services are now making a comeback.
Do you know how they say that if you need to urinate, it’s not good to listen to the sound of rushing water? Well, your baby might have the same reaction. Almost every parent will experience getting peed on during a diaper change at least once during the course of raising a child. But if you use a wet wipe and gently rub your child’s tummy below the bellow button, it will trigger them to pee while their diaper is still on. This way, they will go in the diaper instead of squirting you right in the face.
Rubbing a wet wipe on your baby’s stomach actually works in the way the old camp trick of putting a sleeping person’s hand in warm water is supposed to, but far more effectively. A process called immersion diuresis can cause people to urinate due to temperature or pressure changes involuntarily. While one hand in warm water isn’t enough to cause this effect in a grown adult, in a tiny baby, the sensation of a wet wipe on the abdomen, especially a warm one, can trigger urination. This handy trick will save you a lot of hassle, although you’ll also lose out on a prime opportunity for teasing your child later in life.