Mom hacks- Tips for surviving the newborn stage
You will survive the newborn stage, I promise. These hacks might just make adjusting to a new baby a little bit easier on you and your family.
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1. Breastfeeding on a budget- cut straps off an old ‘spaghetti strap’ style tank. This will turn it into a ‘tube top’. Then layer your shirt over it. This will allow you to pull your shirt up and the ‘tube top’ down to keep things covered up when you lift your shirt to nurse.
2. Baby wearing- I started wearing my baby in a wrap carrier at just a few weeks old. After about a month I switched to a more structured carrier that will work for us all the way up to 45 lbs. She is 11 months old and I still wear her around in this carrier. Baby wearing has made life with a baby so much easier. For me, benefits include: having two free hands while still being close to my baby, keeping a fussy baby calm and comforted, and being able to navigate large crowds without pushing a bulky stroller around.
3. Room sharing with a bassinet- This hack makes life much easier with a newborn in the early weeks….along with following the AAP guidelines for safe sleep. My sweet little newborn only fit in her bassinet for about 2.5 months, but that was just long enough for her to start to learn to sleep longer stretches. Before that, I was up every 3 hours nursing and changing her. Having her right next to my bed (along with a stash of diapers, wipes, and water proof pads) allowed me to change and nurse her without even stepping a foot out of bed.
There are lots of great options out there. My biggest worry was that our cats would climb in the bassinet and cuddle up too close to the baby’s face. That is why I went with this bassinet. The cats could (and would) literally sit on the cover and not get to the baby.
4. Use a delicates laundry bag for socks- I hung a command hook above the nursery laundry hamper. I then hung an unzipped delicates/linen bag from the hook. This made popping small items (suck as socks, hats, and mits) into it when I was tossing the larger items in the laundry. Simply zip shut when you are ready and toss it in with your load of laundry. No more missing socks that get lost in the dryer!
Below is the one that I use. It has loops already there to hang from a hook.
5. Use a clean diaper under dirty diaper to help keep baby’s butt from touching yucky surface- This hack is especially important if you do not have a changing pad under baby. Simply open the clean diaper and slide the back under the baby. Then open the dirty diaper, clean the baby up, remove the old diaper, and apply the clean one. If the diaper is soiled with poop, I sometime place a wipe down on the diaper to keep from accidentally dipping the clean bottom back into the poop until I am ready to pull out the dirty diaper.
To be honest, I used this hack more to protect my surfaces than to protect my baby. There were so many times as a newborn that my little one would start to pee right as I was removing the old diaper. If I didn’t have something under her butt my bed would have gotten soaked in pee.
6. Getting your sleepy little one to close their sweet eyes- Have you been walking around bouncing your sweet baby for what seems like an hour. You know they are tired, but they just won’t give in and close their sweet little eyes. Try this! Gently, but with some pressure, rub in downward motion between their eyes with your thumb or pointer finger. Go from forehead to tip of the nose. Repeat a few times until their sweet little eyes stay closed even when you stop rubbing.
7. Stock your car- I have a baby command station in my car. This makes hopping in the car to go for a quick errand much easier. No more packing up every item that you think you might need into a diaper bag and lugging it with you. I still pack a diaper bag if we are going to be gone all day, but if we are just running to the store or off for a quick lunch, I have everything I need in my car.
My stocked area includes a changing pad clutch (that holds a few diapers and wipes). I can use this for a backseat change or carry it with me into a store. I also have extra diapers, a large package of wipes, a couple of cheap toys, a spare baby outfit, and an old tshirt for me.
Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station with Cushioned Changing Mat
8. Set up baby care stations in places that you spend most of your time- For us we had a station in the livingroom, our bedroom, and of course, the nursery. The nursery we kept fully stocked, while our other stations had just small baskets with some goodies. These goodies included clean diapers, wipes, water proof pads, lotion/cream, and sometimes bulb suction.
Here are the water proof pads that I used when changing baby on random surfaces, such as my livingroom rug. These pads were also a lifesaver to prevent messes on the floor during the times I let her get some fresh air on her hiney to keep rash away.
9. Invest in a nice refillable water bottle- If you plan to nurse, you will be REALLYYYY thirsty. The thirst always seems to hit at just the moment that your baby has finally latched (rendering you completely immobile). Keep a large water bottle full and within arm’s reach at all times. You will also want to be able to open it one handed, so stay away from twist off lids. You will thank me!
What made life with a newborn easier for you? Feel free to comment!