Ahead: Dozens of brilliant mom life hacks to make life easier with a baby!
Being a new parent is hard. Really hard.
If you’re a first-time mom looking for baby hacks to make life just the tiniest bit easier, you’re in the right place!
This isn’t the same list of 10 or 20 baby hacks that you’ve seen on practically every mom blog around. 🙂
I’ve got you covered with dozens of practical (and lesser known) baby tips and tricks in a wide variety of areas:
- Getting sleep
- Nursery organization
- Cleaning and sanitizing
- Bath time
- Infant safety
…and much more!
At the end of this post, you will find a list of popular “mom life hacks” NOT to try for safety reasons.
If you don’t have time to read this super long post, email it to yourself or pin it for later! There are some genius baby hacks in here that you DON’T want to miss!
There may be affiliate links in this post. Read this disclosure policy to learn more.
Let’s kick things off with the first 10 baby hacks for first-time moms!
If you can’t get your newborn to sleep in their bassinet (probably the #1 complaint of new parents), try heating the sleep space with a heating pad before laying baby down!
You’ll thank me for this baby hack in the middle of the night…
If you’re bottle-feeding, instead of going to the kitchen when you’re half asleep, keep a little cooler next to your bed.
I use this one — it has built-in ice packs, which is a game changer.
It easily holds 3+ bottles and keeps them cold all night.
Bath time related baby hack:
Washcloths aren’t the softest, especially on baby’s face…
I originally bought these mini towels for my kitchen.
I started using them for Aden’s baths when I saw how incredibly soft and fuzzy they were! Get them here.
Pack a few 2-ounce bottles (pre-filled/sealed) in your diaper bag as backup in case you’re out longer than expected.
As long as they stay at room temperature and you don’t break the seal, the milk won’t spoil.
This is the kind we buy:
*** Don’t forget the nipples sold separately.
This baby hack has saved me MULTIPLE times:
Build a car kit!
Have a caddy full of backup baby supplies.
Sometimes I don’t even bring my diaper bag if I know I’ll be close to the car.
Here’s why you want one:
- Back up! Just in case you forget to restock your diaper bag.
- Store extra stuff that’s too bulky or heavy to carry around in a diaper bag.
- You won’t always want to take your diaper bag with you. This gives you the option not to.
It occasionally goes on sale for less than 15 bucks.
Use drawer dividers to organize baby’s clothing—and roll them (instead of folding) as I did in this picture below.
This way you can see all the little onesies and you won’t mess up your organization each time you grab something!
Make sure you know which side is facing up to ensure that your baby is sleeping safely!
Have a dedicated bouncy seat or lounger for the bathroom.
You’ll use it when you just need a second to wash your hands, brush your teeth, put on mascara, etc.
We had this cheap bouncer and it was great.
It often goes on sale for less than 30 bucks. Check the price here.
Wash a few of your baby’s next size clothing items and have them in the drawer ready to go when your baby starts fitting into a new size.
That’s 10 of my favorite baby hacks… 50 more to go!
Email this to yourself for later if you don’t have time to read the remaining baby hacks now!
If you need a miracle product to clear up baby acne, try Tubby Todd.
It’s sadly not available on Amazon but I promise you it’s worth it.
(That link will get you 10% off!)
Aquaphor is the perfect ointment for face rashes, not just diaper rashes.
Keep this in mind when your baby starts teething!
Grab the mini-sized ones so you can stick them in a few places. I keep one in the car, one in the kitchen, and another in my diaper bag.
Use a dishwasher basket to prevent small bottle parts, pacifiers, and toys from falling into the lower part of the dishwasher.
I have two of these and use them every single day. I especially love the nipple holders.
Keep a “clothing inventory” list on your phone so you know what you already have in each size and what items you need in future sizes.
This makes it SO much more efficient to shop.
Reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS by up to 90% by offering a pacifier before each sleep!
Make sure to still follow the ABC’s of safe sleep.
P.S. Did you know that 99% of sleep-related deaths are prevented by following the ABC’s? Read this introduction to safe sleep.
Label everything so other caregivers can find it.
“Can you please bring me a burp cloth?”…
“What are those and where do I find them?”…
“They’re on the shelf in the bin labeled burp cloths.”
I’m kind of obsessed with my label maker. You can also cheaply make labels with paper and tape!
When your baby starts pulling your hair it’s SO easy to lose an earring…
These locking earring backs are one of my favorite products of all time.
They’re a little pricey, but SO WORTH IT.
They’ve more than paid for themselves. I’ve worn them every day for many years now and have never lost an earring.
You can use them for all your earrings and even feel confident wearing expensive earrings to the beach.
Super simple baby hack…
Easily change a wet diaper anywhere (even without a changing pad) by putting the new diaper underneath the old one, and then pulling the old one out.
This makes it doable to change your baby quickly on the bed or the couch (which I do all the time).
Turn a laundry basket into a play area!
This is especially great when your baby isn’t quite sitting up on their own, but is getting close.
I fill up the laundry basket with blankets or pillows to make it comfy and give Aden a bunch of toys to choose from.
That’s 20 genius baby hacks… I’ve got another 40 coming at you now!
If you’re finding this post useful, share it in your due date group!
This one is a well-known baby hack for a reason…
Put a command hook (or a few) on the back of baby’s high chair to hang bibs.
Another classic baby hack that I couldn’t skip: hot glue the holes in baby’s bath toys to prevent mold growth.
(This works well, but not flawlessly. Double check that no water has gotten inside the toys. If it has, throw them out!)
When baby starts sleeping longer stretches at night, you can delay diaper changes by sizing up (more padding = more pee absorbed).
If that doesn’t work, get Overnite diapers. If that doesn’t work, size up in Overnite diapers.
If you get to a point where sizing up in Overnites isn’t doing the trick and baby’s diaper is still leaking, get these amazing little pads that go inside the diaper. Game-changing baby hack.
Don’t take the tags off of everything you get at your baby shower. It’s very likely that you won’t end up using everything.
Some things can be returned to the store and other things make excellent re-gifts.
You might even want to have a separate bin in the nursery where you keep unused stuff. You’ll be surprised by how much collects in there!
Use your dishwasher’s Sanitize setting instead of getting a bottle sterilizer.
(Sterilizers require you to wash the bottles first — big time waster).
Lie down at a slight incline and let baby practice lifting his head while lying on his belly.
This is a great tip I learned from my mom…
Avoid buying too many rompers with footies because baby will outgrow them in two seconds.
Grab the footless ones whenever you see them, they’ll have a much longer lifespan.
Halfway done! 30 baby life hacks down, 30 more tips and tricks coming right up…
PIN FOR LATER…
Use a hanging shoe organizer — or this amazing mesh organizer marketed to cruise-goers — to organize swaddles, burp cloths… or really, anything!
Pictured: mesh organizer
During the newborn months, we used this mesh organizer for swaddles and blankets.
We later transitioned it to toy storage. It’s perfect for holding blocks, cars, stuffed animals, and all of the little things you can’t display on a shelf.
I also bought a second one to organize Aden’s baby food!
It’s not expensive. Check it out here.
Do you have random baby-related questions that come up from time to time?
(Of course you do, lol).
Someone recommended this evidence-based Facebook group to me and it was a literal game-changer.
It’s one of the few places on the internet where you can ask questions and get quality advice.
Their specialty is safe sleep, but you can ask anything baby-related.
Ziploc bags are your best friend.
Stick them everywhere you keep diaper changing supplies and make sure you always have one or two in your car.
Ziplocs do a phenomenal job of containing the stink of dirty diapers, which is key if you can’t get to your diaper pail in the house or if you’re out and don’t see a garbage.
You’ll also be SO glad to have them if your baby spits up and you need to change their clothes and stick the dirty ones somewhere.
Safely dress your baby for sleep based on the temperature of the room.
Use this chart to guide you and pin it for later.
This is a baby hack you’re going to want to try, especially during the cooler months…
Turn on a space heater in your baby’s room before bath time so it’s nice and toasty while you’re getting them dressed.
(Turn it off after; best not to leave baby unattended with it on).
This will significantly reduce post-bath time crying.
Get a pack of disposable changing pads.
(These are the same “puppy pads” they stick underneath your bum at the hospital.)
They’re ideal for changing baby on a dirty floor or in the gross airplane bathroom. Just toss them when you’re done.
They’re perfect for traveling because they take up negligible space.
This is another classic baby hack for a reason:
In the event of a blowout, undress your baby by pulling the onesie DOWN instead of over their head.
That’s what those little tabs (or snaps) near the neckline are for!
This is also a great tip if your baby hates having stuff pulled over his head.
Easily walk your dog while pushing the stroller with these versatile stroller hooks (comes as a 2-pack) so you don’t have to hold the leash separately.
They also hold your diaper bag and shopping bags!
Another stroller-related baby hack:
Have a dedicated changing pad and diaper changing supplies for the stroller.
You won’t always feel like lugging around your diaper bag, especially if you’re just going out for a short walk.
I use a clutch:
Money-saving baby hack…
If you’re debating whether to invest in blackout curtains to help your baby sleep, try going the cheapo route first:
Cover the windows with tin foil.
A good hack for this is to slightly wet the windows so the tin foil sticks. Then use painter’s tape to secure the edges.
So many great baby hacks right!? Here come another 20…
Bottles come with plastic lids, which you won’t need unless you’re out and about.
Keep all of the clean lids together in a Tupperware so they’re out of the way but easily accessible when you’re leaving the house.
Get in the habit of checking new clothes for irritating tags. They’re often placed low down by the ribs.
I keep a pair of scissors in Aden’s room.
Before he wears anything for the first time, I turn it inside out, cut out the lower tags, and then wash it.
Get this giant sponge cushion for bathing your newborn. You can put it on top of whatever tub you have.
Does your baby hate the bath?
This will help a ton:
While you’re bathing them, put a washcloth over their belly and continuously pour warm water over it.
Important to know: When your baby starts showing signs of being able to roll over, it’s time to stop swaddling.
When your baby is around 4-6 weeks old, start doing naps in a sleep sack instead of a swaddle.
This will make it much easier to transition.
(Note: If the baby is already showing signs of rolling, you need to stop swaddling altogether).
“Dreamfeed” your baby before you go to bed to get a longer stretch of sleep.
What does this mean?
If your baby is sleeping when you’re ready to knock off, offer them the breast/bottle without fully waking them.
Keep the room pitch black and don’t talk to them.
When they’re done, put them back down and let them continue to sleep.
Nail clipping tip!
Do it while the baby’s sleeping — but not right after they fall asleep.
Wait at least 20 minutes.
They’ll be in a deeper sleep and far less likely to wake up.
Record every time your baby sleeps and eats, not just during the newborn phase.
I know this sounds annoying, but it will save you a lot of guesswork about what your fussy baby might need at the current moment.
It’s easy to lose track of how long it’s been since he woke up or ate.
(I use the Huckleberry app).
Dreft (special baby laundry detergent) is unnecessary.
Get yourself unscented detergent and use it for the whole family’s laundry.
If your baby is always crying during bath time, try giving them their bath at a different time of day.
They may be protesting the bath because they associate it with bedtime—or simply because they’re tired.
The final 10 new mom hacks are up next!
Be sure to keep reading until the end for a list of “baby hacks” that aren’t safe to try.
Long-sleeved smock bibs are the best for messy eaters.
They’re much more protective than your standard bib.
The fact that they’re long sleeve makes all the difference in protecting your baby’s long sleeve shirt underneath.
It’s shocking how staining baby food can be. The same goes for mud.
If you don’t give things a good soak (before washing), you’ll end up with a lot of permanently stained stuff.
Fill up a basin with warm water and Oxyclean. Let it sit overnight if you can. Then wash!
Before and after bath time, use your kneeling pad as a cushy place to change and towel off baby.
I hate wearing a backpack and my baby at the same time.
I got mine from Lululemon.
Before bath time, prep changing supplies and have them all in one place.
This makes it so much easier to quickly get baby dressed and warm!
This is such a simple baby hack that majorly cuts down on crying. I lay everything out on the day bed in his nursery:
Baby hack for cleaning your highchair:
(1) If the food has dried, first spray it down with water or cleaner to soften it up. Wait a few minutes, then wipe.
(2) Use a bristled scrub brush to easily get food out of the little nooks and crannies!
Money-saving tip for first-time parents!
Instead of registering for a bottle warmer, just heat up a mug of water in the microwave for a minute.
Then, place the bottle in warm water. It’s just as fast and it’s free.
Set calendar reminders to swap out the diapers and backup clothes in your diaper bag and car caddy as baby gets bigger.
This is SO easy to forget to do and you don’t want to get stuck with stuff that’s way too small when you’re away from home.
Restock your diaper bag when you get home (instead of right before your next outing).
I typically do this when Aden goes down for the night. It’s one less thing to worry about when I want to leave the house next time.
Keep a bin in baby’s room for clothes he has outgrown. A designated place for everything = a well-organized household.
Bonus List: Popular “Mom Hacks” and “Baby Hacks” NOT to Try
Beware: There are lots of popular newborn hacks, new mom hacks, baby hacks, tips and tricks for first-time parents, life hacks, etc. that are actually UNSAFE.
Of course, you want to make your life as a new parent easier (trust me, I get it), but not at the expense of your child’s safety.
Based on the scientific evidence I’ve linked to below, here are a few “tips” NOT to follow:
UNSAFE: The “weighted glove trick”
This “baby hack” involves filling a glove with something heavy like rice and placing it on top of the infant so they feel like you haven’t left.
This is incredibly unsafe and it’s disappointing (and irresponsible) that this tip is shared on so many mom blogs.
Why is it unsafe?
A weighted glove can restrict the baby’s movement as well as compromise their breathing.
Additionally, any compression can decrease an infant’s ability to wake up if they’re not getting enough oxygen, which is a key contributing factor of SIDS and SUID.
Not to mention, it’s a suffocation risk to place anything in a baby’s crib.
UNSAFE: Putting baby’s Dockatot or lounger inside his bassinet
Unfortunately, this unsafe practice is frequently recommended to new parents by other caregivers who have “finally” figured out how to get their babies to sleep.
DO NOT DO THIS.
“Babies should never be left unattended in baby nests, nor should the nests be placed inside another product, such as a crib, cradle, bassinet or playpen.” – alert issued by the Government of Canada
Letting your baby sleep in any sort of “nest”—even if you’re supervising—significantly increases the risk of suffocation and re-breathing of CO2.
“ALWAYS keep cribs and sleeping areas bare. That means you should also never put soft objects or toys in sleeping areas.” – FDA
More on this here from the AAP.
Also check this post out: Snuggle Me Safety: The Evidence-Based Guide
UNSAFE: Layering baby’s sheets
So many mom blogs seem to be recommending layering an extra mattress pad and an extra fitted sheet.
However, this is a popular “baby hack” that you should skip to minimize the risk of SIDS.
Layering sheets/pads has the effect of cushioning the mattress.
Padding in the sleep space is highly correlated with suffocation. This is why regulated infant mattresses are so firm.
“Soft mattresses… could create a pocket (or indentation) and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone position.” – AAP
You might like this post: 3 Things I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Know About Safe Sleep
UNSAFE: Adding anything whatsoever to baby’s sleep space to make him sleep “better”
You’ve probably gathered this from the last 2, but I’m spelling it out just in case.
Nothing should be added to baby’s sleep space to make it more comfortable.
Doing so increases the risk of SIDS.
No additional padding. No supplemental mattresses. No blankets anywhere (over or under baby). No positioners. Nada. Nothing. Zip.
“Soft materials or objects, such as pillows, quilts, comforters, or sheepskins, even if covered by a sheet, should not be placed under a sleeping infant.” – AAP
According to the AAP, adding soft materials to the infant’s sleep space increases the risk of SIDS 5-fold and this risk increases to 21-fold when the infant is placed prone.
UNSAFE: Any “baby hack” that involves essential oils
Essential oils of all varieties are a NO-NO if you have children or pets in the house.
Many people think they’re safe because they’re “natural.”
Essential oils are skin irritants and airway irritants. They can be poisonous if absorbed through the skin or swallowed.
They are not regulated whatsoever — you never really know what you are getting.
Do not diffuse essential oils if you have a baby in the house. Do not give them to your child to ingest. Do not apply them to your child’s skin.
Now you’ve got all of my best baby hacks — and you know which ones not to try!
If you’re expecting your first baby and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, I want to tell you this:
You will figure it out!!!
Learn as much as you can from others and just do the best you can.
Plus, every parent and caregiver comes up with their own life hacks, tips, and tricks that work for them!
If you found these baby hacks useful, share this post!