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, dad, or caregiver looking for baby hacks to make life just the tiniest bit easier, you’re in the right place!
I’ve got you covered with dozens of practical baby tips and tricks in a wide variety of areas:
- Getting sleep
- Nursery organization
- Cleaning and sanitizing
- Bath time
- Infant safety
…and much more!
This isn’t the same list of 10 or 20 baby hacks that you’ve seen on practically every mom blog around 🙂
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!
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Let’s kick things off with the first 10 baby hacks for first time moms, dads, and caregivers!
- If you can’t get your newborn to sleep in his bassinet (probably the #1 complaint of new parents), try heating the sleep space with a heating pad before laying baby down! *Hands down, this is one of the BEST baby hacks. Try it.*
- 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!
- Keep a “clothing inventory” list in your phone so you know what you already have in each size and what items you need in future sizes. I’m a huge sale shopper so I’ll grab something cute that won’t fit Aden for another year.
- Have a few baby command centers throughout the house where you stock changing supplies and whatever else baby needs throughout the day.
- Stick gallon-sized ziploc bags everywhere you keep diaper changing supplies. 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.
- This baby hack has saved me MULTIPLE times: Build a car kit! Have a caddy full of backup baby supplies. It’s such wonderful peace of mind just in case your diaper bag is running low on any essentials. Sometimes I don’t even bring my diaper bag if I know I’ll be close to the car.
- Good to know for first time parents… Crib mattresses often have two sides: an infant side and a toddler side. Make sure you know which side is facing up to ensure that your baby is sleeping safely!
- Keep a bouncy seat or lounger in the bathroom or just outside of it. You’ll thank yourself later for this one — it’s a simple baby hack that truly makes life with a newborn a little easier.
- Use drawer dividers to organize baby’s clothing—and roll them (instead of folding) like 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!
- Wash a few of baby’s next size clothing items and have them in the drawer ready to go. It’s nice to have them prepared and accessible when baby is starting to fit into a new size.
That’s 10 of my favorite tips for new moms and dads… 50 more to go!
Email this to yourself for later if you don’t have time to read all the baby hacks now!
- This is a baby hack you’re going to want to try, especially during the cooler months… Turn on a space heater in baby’s room before bath time so it’s nice and toasty while you’re getting him dressed. (Turn if off after; best not to leave baby unattended with it on).
- This stuff is the perfect ointment for face rashes, not just diaper rashes. Make sure to always keep some in the house and some in your diaper bag. Ask your doctor about it next time your baby’s face looks irritated!
- Use a dishwasher basket to prevent small bottle parts, pacifiers, and toys from falling into the lower part of the dishwasher. Definitely a MUST HAVE. I have two of these! I especially love the nipple holders.
- Bath time tip: Washcloths aren’t the softest, especially on baby’s face. I bought these towels for my kitchen but after seeing how soft and cozy they were, I bought another pack to use for bath time! Get them here.
- 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.
- 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 (he will!), it’s SO easy to lose an earring. These locking earring backs are one of my favorite products of all time (best kept secret!). They’re a little pricey, but SO WORTH IT. You can use them for all your earrings and even feel confident wearing expensive earrings to the beach. I can’t recommend these enough — one of my favorite products of all time.
- This baby hack is pure genius… If you’re bottle feeding, instead of going to the kitchen in the middle of the night, keep a little cooler next to your bed. I use this one — it has built-in ice packs — amazing! It easily holds 3+ bottles and keeps them cold all night.
- Since it’s unsafe to hang anything over the crib, paint the wall or buy a beautiful wall decal! You can still have an instagrammable nursery while keeping your baby safe.
That’s 20 baby hacks for new moms, dads, and caregivers… 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. Genius.
- 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 where you keep unused stuff.
- Turn a laundry basket into a play area! This is especially great when your baby isn’t quite sitting up on his 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.
- Younger babies typically hate tummy time. A simple baby hack to make it more enjoyable is doing tummy time on your chest. Lie down at a slight incline and let baby practice lifting his head while lying on his belly.
- Use your dishwasher’s Sanitize setting instead of getting a bottle sterilizer. (Sterilizers require you to wash the bottles first — big time waster). More on this here.
- You can also use the dishwasher to clean baby’s toys and teethers — much more efficient than washing everything by hand! This is an important time-saving baby hack you’ll want to remember as your baby gets bigger!
- 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, more tips and tricks for first time parents 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!
- If you want a place to ask baby questions and get quality evidence-based answers, check out Safe Sleep and Baby Care — Evidence-Based Support. I discovered them while I was pregnant and I’m so grateful.
- Another one of my all-time favorite baby hacks… Pack a few 2-ounce bottles (pre-filled/sealed) in your diaper bag as backup in case you’re out longer than expected. They’re great because as long as they stay at room temperature and you don’t break the seal, the milk won’t spoil. Don’t forget the nipples sold separately.
- Safely dress your baby for sleep based on the temperature of the room. Use this chart to guide you and pin it for later. (Click the image to expand it).
- Make sure to stay on top of nail clipping! Babies are really good at scratching their faces. The best time to do this is while baby is sleeping. Ideally, wait 20 minutes after he’s fallen asleep to ensure he is sleeping deeply.
- Important to know: When baby starts showing signs of being able to roll over, it’s time to stop swaddling. More on this here.
- If you need a miracle product to clear up baby acne, get this stuff. It’s sadly not available on Amazon but I promise you it’s worth it. (That link will get you 10% off too!)
- Another classic baby hack for a reason: undress baby after a diaper blow out by pulling the onesie DOWN instead of over baby’s 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.
- Get a pack of disposable changing pads. These are the same “puppy pads” they stick underneath your bum at the hospital — see if you can grab a pack to take home. These are ideal for when you have to change baby on a dirty floor or in the gross airplane bathroom. They’re perfect for traveling because they take up negligible space.
- 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!
TIRED & HUGE? Check out my new to do list before baby, the ultimate guide of 35 things to do while you’re pregnant and lying in bed!
OMG so many great baby hacks right!? Here come another 20…
- Super simple baby hack: Have a changing pad and diaper changing supplies just 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.
- Dreamfeed your baby before you go to bed to get a longer stretch of sleep. If baby is sleeping when you’re ready to knock off, offer him the breast/bottle without fully waking him. Keep the room pitch black and don’t talk to him. When he’s done, put him back down and let him continue to sleep.
- Brilliant 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 painters tape to secure the edges.
- Keep a pair of scissors in baby’s room and get in the habit of checking new clothes for irritating tags—they’re often placed low down by the ribs.
- When 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 when it’s no longer safe to swaddle. (Note: If baby is already showing signs of rolling at that age, you need to stop swaddling all-together).
- Get this super cheap and amazingly useful giant sponge for bathing your newborn. You can put it on top of whatever tub you have. *currently out of stock, I’ll update the link when it’s back!
Pictured: Giant sponge, bath tub.
- While you’re bathing your newborn, put a washcloth over his belly and continuously pour warm water over it. Babies hate feeling cold and this helps A LOT. Simplest baby hack ever 🙂
- Record every time baby sleeps and eats, not just during the newborn phase. It will save you a lot of guesswork about what your fussy baby might need in the current moment. It’s easy to lose track of how long it’s been since he woke up or ate. (I use Huckleberry).
- Dreft (special baby laundry detergent) is unnecessary. Get yourself this unscented stuff and use it for the whole family’s laundry.
- Bottles come with plastic lids, which you won’t need unless you’re out. Keep all of the clean lids together in a tupperware so they’re out of the way but easily accessible if you’re leaving the house.
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.
- Avoid staining baby’s clothes by removing his shirt while feeding him solids. If this isn’t an option (maybe it’s chilly or you’re out in public), get some of these long sleeved smock bibs! They’re much more protective than your standard bib.
- To prevent and remove stains, master the art of the overnight soak. This is much more effective than just throwing them in the wash. Make sure you have a basin available.
- Before and after bath time, use your kneeling pad as a cushy place to change and towel off baby. (I have this adorable set and LOVE it).
- Get yourself a fanny pack (hey, they’re coming back…I think?) for when you’re baby-wearing. 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:
- Cleaning your highchair: (1) If the food has dried, spray it down with water or cleaner to soften it up. Wait a few minutes, then wipe. (2) Use this crazy good 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 the 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” — filling a glove with something heavy like rice and placing it on top of baby so they feel like you haven’t left
This is a so-called “baby hack” that isn’t safe. It’s disappointing (and irresponsible) that this tip is shared on so many mom blogs.
Compression decreases an infant’s ability to wake himself up if he’s not getting enough oxygen, which is a key contributing factor of SIDS.
A weighted glove can restrict baby’s movement as well as compromise his breathing.
It’s also a suffocation risk to place anything in a baby’s crib. Always follow the ABCs of safe sleep. A is for “Alone.”
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: Safe Sleep 101: The ABCs
UNSAFE: Layering baby’s sheets — adding an extra mattress pad and an extra fitted sheet
This is a popular “baby hack” that you should skip to minimize the risk of SIDS.
Layering sheets/pads cushions 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.” …NO.
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 youre 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!