Adjusting to life with a newborn is like juggling flaming swords while balancing on a ball while being stalked by a hungry lion.
Things can get overwhelming very quickly if you aren’t careful. So check out some of these quick and easy newborn hacks to have you rocking this motherhood thing.
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- Use coconut oil to remove meconium (the thick tar-like poop all newborns have). That stuff sticks to everything! A little coconut oil on a soft rag works wonders and it’s so much easier on your baby’s sensitive skin.
- Pull onesies down during diaper blowouts. Those little flaps of fabric on the shoulders of the onesies are to allow it to stretch to move down your baby. You do not want to have to deal with poop in your babies hair. Yuck!
- Make sure that your new diaper is open and ready, as well as wipes standing by, BEFORE you open the dirty diaper. This is especially important if you have a baby boy. They can really get some distance on that pee if you aren’t careful (I speak from experience). The less time that you can spend with that diaper off, the better.
- If you’re really talented, then you can put the clean diaper under the dirty diaper for changes. I was never very good at this for some reason, but this is my husband’s preferred way of changing J’s diapers. He makes it look so easy.
- Set up changing stations throughout your house. In addition to the nursery, I also had a station in my bedroom as well as in my living room. I just picked up some cheap baskets and had diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a blanket/cloth to either lie him on or for spit up (THESE are my favorite). Not having to go back upstairs to the nursery every time J needed a change was really helpful.
- Wait to 5 minutes to change the poopy diaper. Once you hear that first bit of poop come out, wait a few minutes. There will most likely be another round to follow. Be careful though waiting for a 3rd installment. Every time, and I mean EVERY time that we waited and let J go 3 times in his diaper, it came out. Either from the sides or up the back, even up the front one time. It didn’t matter. He had to be changed after 2 rounds.
- If you have a boy, make sure his penis is facing straight down when you put the diaper on. The pee will go in which ever way it is pointed. That diaper is just no match for an improperly placed penis. Trust me.
- Blowout stains? Use carpet cleaner to get it out. I’ve been doing this for years for all kinds of stains (thank you restaurant industry), this trick has saved me so many clothes! If your baby has really sensitive skin, then you may want to wash it a second time to make sure all of the stain remover is gone. We’ve never had any trouble though.
- Layer the crib with a mattress pad, then a sheet, then a mattress pad, then another sheet. This way if you have a diaper blowout or a spit up situation in the middle of the night you don’t have to change the whole bed. Just pull the top layer off and you’re good to go.
- Get him really full right before bed. Now there is a lot of controversy around this idea. Some people don’t think that it has any effect on how long the baby will sleep, while others swear by it. My thought is that when I am really full, all I want to do is sleep. I would like to think my son would too. When we first brought J home, we were having to supplement with formula and I had begun pumping, though sporadically. J would cluster feed at night, and it was exhausting. I began having my husband bottle feed him with either formula or expressed milk right before bed time. This allowed me to go get a few hours of sleep. Now, I don’t know if this had an effect on his sleeping, but I do know that he was sleeping 5-6 hour stretches by the time he was 2 weeks old. So you decide.
- Since the AAP says not to use any blankets or anything in the crib, using a sleep sack is the way to go to keep your little one warm. I love the Halo sleep sacks. They aren’t too heavy for warm nights, but they have enough room that I can layer J’s clothing for when it’s cool. J is a December baby, layering was my friend. And if you’re looking for a super easy swaddle, then Halo makes one of those too. This was my go to if J was having trouble sleeping. Definitely worth it.
- Start implementing a bed time routine from the beginning. Babies thrive off of routines. It helps them know what to expect so that they know they are safe. Having a routine in place will also help your baby learn to self-soothe faster and easier. Trust me, you want this. It doesn’t matter what your routine is so long as you stick with it.
- Use a night light or a lamp with a dimmer in the nursery for night time feedings and diaper changes. I use a salt lamp like THIS one. Not because I believe that it actually does anything to his health, but because it isn’t very bright and the orange lighting is great for keeping J calm at night.
- Size up diapers for night time. If you’re having a leaking issue, using a larger diaper at night can solve this problem. Just make sure that it is still tight enough if you have a skinny baby, but it will at least be able to hold more.
- For cold nights, use a heater in the nursery to keep your little one warm. Newborns can’t regulate their body temperature like you can, so you’ll have to help your baby. Just make sure that the temperature doesn’t rise too high. Between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal range.
- Also for cold nights, you can use a heating pad to warm up the crib before placing your baby in it. Just put it on low while you’re doing your bedtime routine. When you’re ready to put your little one to bed, just remove the heating pad and the sheets will be nice and warm. This will help keep your baby from spazing out when he touches the cold sheets in his sleep.
Related: Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep
- Use a Haakaa silicone pump during nursing sessions to catch the leaked milk from your letdown. I would normally catch a couple of ounces of just leaked milk every time J would nurse. This milk can either be used for bottle feeding (see sleeping above), or frozen for later on down the road. Either way, no sense wasting the milk.
- Use a nursing pillow. I got a Boppy nursing pillow and I can’t stress enough how much I love this thing. J is almost 9 months old and I still use it on a daily basis. It’s awesome and made feedings so much easier. Trying to finagle regular pillows to give me the right support without killing my back was just not happening. Save your back, get a good pillow.
- Set up a nursing station where ever you need to make things easier on yourself. Have snacks, water, those awesome flat fold cloth diapers like THESE I mentioned earlier, your Haakaa, and a phone charger or a book. Having these things ready to go means that when your baby is yelling for food you won’t be running around like a crazy person trying to find your water bottle or getting hangry because you forgot to grab snacks. Preparation is key for dealing with a newborn.
- Just like with nursing, having a pumping station set up where ever you plan to pump. For me this was in my living room so I could binge watch some Netflix while I was pumping.
- Get a hands free bra. (This one is amazing!) There are a million different styles out there, but having one will make pumping so much easier. If you don’t get a bra, then you can always get a set of Freemies. They can adapt to fit most pumps and they’re awesome! I love mine. Either way, hands free is the way to go.
- Feed the baby while you pump. I would prop J up on his Boppy and pump while he was taking a bottle. This kept him occupied long enough for me to get a full pump in. It also made sure that I stayed on my schedule. Win-win.
- Use coconut oil for chapped nipples. Lanolin is great, but it can cause extra friction during pumping. A little coconut or olive oil will help keep your nipples from sticking to the plastic which will make pumping SO much easier.
- Baby clothes are cute, but so not worth it. Save yourself the time, money, and effort and just let your baby wear pjs. J lived in footie pajamas his first month or two. They were just easier to deal with for the many, many diaper changes.
- Don’t take the tags off of any of the clothing. Best piece of advice I ever received. I’m sure you’ve already started buy and receiving baby clothes. If your baby isn’t here yet then you don’t really know what you’ll need. J came out really skinny, but really long. He was wearing 3 month clothes by 3 weeks, but I have to buy particular styles because he’s still a really thin kid. Having the tags on meant I could just take them back. Carter’s is amazing for this. You may not get the full amount back (if you don’t have the receipt), but it’s better than being stuck with a bunch of clothes that don’t fit and having to buy new ones.
- Pick clothes with zippers over snaps and buttons. Those may look cute, but you will hate your life when you’re trying to change a fussy baby in the middle of the night and you have 30 snaps to get through. Just use the zippers.
- Use a mesh laundry bag to wash socks. I hung a bag like THIS on the side of J’s hamper with a chip clip. Anything smaller than a onesie went in there. Socks, bibs, hats, wash cloths, all of it. That way nothing got lost in the washing machine.
- Roll baby clothes instead of folding them to better fit in drawers. You can fit so many more in there and they’re easier to find.
- Don’t try to cut your baby’s nails. Use a nail file instead. No risk of cutting his little fingers this way. The best time to do it is when he’s sleeping or when he’s eating.
- Create a separate drawer or cabinet in your kitchen for all of your baby things. Even if you’re nursing and not pumping, you will still have a ton of baby stuff. It helps having it all in one place.
- Use a bottle nipple to feed medicine. Most babies will not like the medicine syringe going in their mouths. And you’ll introduce bacteria that way. Instead, you can fill up the nipple of a bottle (I’m sure you have a freebie somewhere) with the medicine and let him suck it out that way. Much easier on everyone.
- If you’re nursing, don’t introduce a pacifier until he’s 3-4 weeks old. You want him to be able to latch really well before introducing a pacifier. It can cause some latching issues otherwise. I personally like the Soothie pacifiers. They’re supposed to be the best shape for a baby’s mouth.
- Wear your baby. J didn’t like to sit still (still doesn’t) so I would wear him when I was doing things around the house. It would keep him calm and allow me to have my hands to do normal things like eat. I have the Ergobaby 360 carrier and I love it! We’re going on 9 months and I’ve never had an issue.
- If you don’t have one, get an Amazon Prime subscription. Their subscribe and save thing is awesome and I use it for all of my diapers and wipes. I haven’t been able to find cheaper prices anywhere and the free 2-day shipping more than makes up for the membership fee. I believe they’ll even let you try it free for 30 days. Give it a whirl, you’ll like it, I promise.
What other hacks have you found to make living with your newborn a little bit easier? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!