If you’re a first-time parent, taking care of your baby can seem a little overwhelming. Know that it does get easier with time and practice, even if that doesn’t offer much consolation at the moment. We’ve compiled the ultimate list of life hacks for new parents. From tips on feeding to sleeping to changing, this list of baby hacks for new parents is sure to help you feel more confident about the parenting journey.
20 Hacks for New Parents
1. Be willing to accept help
First and foremost, be ready and willing to accept help from those who offer it. There’s no reason to pretend that you have it all together if you don’t. Plus, those who are closest to you will probably love getting to support you in a way that’s truly helpful. No matter the reason, let people know if you need to lean on their assistance. Whether you just need an hour to catch up on sleep, need someone to talk to, or could use a home-cooked meal, learn to depend on your friends and your family.
2. Be prepared for sick days
Unfortunately, sick days for you and Baby are inevitable. Rather than having to run to the store in the middle of the night to grab medicine or electrolytes, keep these items in stock in your house. Stocking up on Pedialyte, Vitamin Water, and any over-the-counter sickness medicine can save you precious time and energy when someone in the house becomes sick.
3. Make taking medicine easier on your baby
Giving your child—especially a baby—medicine can be an adventure of its own. If your baby needs to take some sort of medicine, one hack is to utilize a medical plastic syringe. Pour the liquid medicine into the syringe, and administer the dose. The syringe will make it much easier for everyone involved.
4. Keep your exercise balls
If you purchased an exercise ball for labor preparation or for your workouts, keep it around! Babies often love to be bounced, and it can be especially useful if they’re a bit fussy.
5. Don’t get peed on
Have a sweet little baby boy? The fresh air from taking off a diaper often prompts a baby boy to start peeing, meaning there’s a very real chance you could get peed on. Luckily, if you swipe a wet wipe under his belly button before you take his diaper off, this can elicit the same reaction. The only difference is that he’ll pee in his diaper instead of on you. Success!
6. Use newborn nightgowns
Look for a newborn nightgown or other sleepers that are open at the bottom. This will make diaper changes a million times easier than having to deal with onesies and pajamas.
7. Create a changing station on both levels of your home
If you live in a home with multiple levels, you may find yourself running up and down the stairs throughout the day due to diaper changes. Instead, create a small baby-changing or bin on each of the floors so you won’t have to keep running around.
8. Utilize a step-by-step approach to changes
As your child begins to grow, there will inevitably be a number of changes that they’ll encounter. Some examples? Crawling to walking, bottle to sippy cup, crib to bed. These may seem like simple changes to you, but chances are they’re a pretty big deal to your child. When you encounter these changes, adopt a step-by-step approach rather than rushing through these transitions too quickly or abruptly. Before transitioning to a sippy cup, for example, have your child play with it and grow accustomed to it beforehand. This approach will help make those bigger transitions less scary.
9. Be prepared with a second change of clothes
Whenever you leave the house, make sure to bring at least one change of clothes for each of your young children or babies.
10. Have a second change of clothes for yourself
Your young kids certainly need a change of clothes, but do you have one for yourself? You never know if you’ll be dealing with baby poop or spit-up on your clothes, so make sure you’re prepared as well.
11. Eliminate technological distractions
Simply put, try and stay off your phone when you’re around your kids. No matter how young they are, your kid will know that your phone is taking precedence over them. That work email or text can most likely wait until a later time.
12. Keep baby wipes everywhere
Baby wipes can be good for more than just cleaning a baby’s bottom. They’re also great for cleaning up spills and messes. Buy multiple packs and keep them at various places around the house or in your car; you’ll be glad you have them handy.
13. Use a white noise machine
Babies who learn to fall asleep to silence can be easily awakened with any little sound around the house. Conditioning your baby to fall asleep to a white noise machine will make it easier for Baby to stay asleep, even if there are other small noises.
14. Wear your baby around the house
Consider purchasing a baby wrap that you can wear around your body while you do household chores. Not only will your baby love being close to you, but you’ll also be able to stay hands free so you can accomplish all those chores and laundry.
15. Lay down while you breastfeed
When your baby breastfeeds, it can take between 20-40 minutes for an entire session. That’s a lot of time for you to simply sit and stare off into space. Instead, use that time to give yourself a bit of a rest too. Lay down so that you can take a quick power nap while your baby feeds.
16. Opt for a gender neutral diaper backpack
Nowadays, there are tons of cute diaper bag options you can choose from. But if you’ve purchased a diaper bag with a cute print, chances are Dad’s not going to want to carry that one around. Instead, opting for a gender neutral diaper backpack (instead of a diaper bag) is more practical. Not only can both Mom and Dad use it, but it’ll be easier to carry a backpack on your back than it will be to slug a diaper bag over your shoulder.
17. Trim Baby’s fingernails while they’re asleep
Trimming your baby’s fingernails might be a point of contention or anxiety for you, especially because you don’t want them to move around while you’re cutting them. Try to cut their fingernails while they’re either sleeping or feeding. They’ll be way more relaxed, so it’ll make the job much easier for you.
18. Drink water while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can take a lot of you—literally and figuratively. It’s not out of the norm for moms to be incredibly thirsty while they’re breastfeeding their baby. So, keep a water bottle or hydro flask on hand for those feedings.
19. Change your baby’s diaper strategically
When you’re about to change your baby’s diaper, place the new, clean diaper underneath the dirty one. When you remove the dirty diaper, having one already there will make the process easier. Plus, you’ll reduce the chances that you’ll get peed on by your baby.