Did you know that 3,855,500 babies were born in the United States in 2017? If you’re preparing to have a baby, it’s great to know that you’re definitely not going it alone.
Many new parents have come before you, and they know the struggle is real. They’ve managed through sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, and improbable messes, too. What’s more, they’ve come away with some pretty nifty tips.
Ready to get your hands on their collective advice for new parents? Read on for nine essential hacks that’ll save you time, money, and precious energy.
Tips for First-Time Parents
First-time parents, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Bringing home baby will change your life forever. And while it comes with its own set of unique challenges, raising a child represents the most rewarding experience that you will ever have.
You may already have tons of baby gear. And you’ve probably already taken the time to prepare your home for your infant’s new arrival. But you’ll still need a list of surefire tips when the going gets tough.
Whether changing diapers, putting your baby down for a nap, or learning the ins and outs of cleaning a high chair, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve organized this new parent advice by theme to make tips easier to find in a pinch. Like, say, when you’ve got an inconsolable baby in your arms at 3 am. Fortunately, these hacks will help you with that, too.
1. “Mess-Free” Diaper Changes
Let’s just get this out of the way up front. “Mess-free” diaper changes are an oxymoron. That said, a little advice from the pros can help you minimize the damages.
If you have a newborn baby boy, always have a washcloth or small towel handy to cover their penis during diaper changes. Cold air can stimulate little boys to urinate, and it’s better done on an absorbent towel than in your face or on your clothes.
As for diaper cream, it’s a necessary, messy evil. In fact, its moisture resistance makes it nearly impossible to wash off.
What to do? Use a baby wipe to immediately wipe the goop from your fingers by wrapping it tightly around each digit.
Or, better yet, get a soft plastic diaper cream applicator so that you can keep your hands cream-free in the first place.
2. Diaper Bag Must-Haves
As babies get older, they sometimes rebel against diaper changes. Or, they prove such wiggle worms that you can’t get them to hold still long enough to get a clean diaper on them.
So, keep change-time only toys nearby to capture their attention. Don’t forget to stash a few in your diaper bag, too.
Always keep empty ziplock bags in your diaper bag. You never know when a serious mess could occur. And, believe me, babies are capable of some doozies.
Besides plastic bags, throw in an extra shirt for you as well as a onesie or change of clothing for your baby. You’ll thank yourself later.
3. A Little Warmth Goes a Long Way
After having a baby, expect some serious sleep deprivation. There’s no way around it.
Fortunately, baby sleep hacks abound. One of our favorites? Heat up the baby’s bed before you transfer them from your arms into it.
Do this with a microwave heat bag. Just make sure to remove the bag before you add the baby.
And don’t let the area where you’re going to lay them down get too hot either. You simply want to dull the sensation of going from warm arms to a cold bed.
4. White Noise Machines Rock
A white noise machine will prove a sleep-saver for you and baby.
Why? Before birth, infants sleep despite a sea of noises all around them, from the sound of your heartbeat to your voice and more.
It can be difficult for them to go from these sounds to silence. Fortunately, this machine surrounds them with the comforting noises from their prenatal experience, giving you a chance to catch up on some much needed shut eye.
5. Red Lights Instead of Red Eyes
Now here’s a weird hack that works surprisingly well.
Change out the light bulb in your baby’s room from a white light to a red one. Yes, it’ll look a bit odd to say the least.
But wait until you’re trying to find something or get around your baby’s room in the middle of the night. Then, you’ll see what we mean.
Why? Red light gives off a dimmer type of light and is far less likely to wake up baby in the middle of the night. Yet, you’ll still see well enough to avoid fumbling around or making noise in the dark.
6. Mastering Baby Messes
Yes, babies are adorable. But they also represent fine-tuned mess-making machines. So, get ready for lots of stain removal.
Always keep these three items on hand:
- Dawn dish soap
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
This triple threat will remove just about any stain without harsh chemicals. What’s more, you probably already have all three of these items under your kitchen or bathroom sink.
7. Tackling High Chair Disasters
As for items that babies use every day, think simple and easy to clean. High chairs prove a notoriously difficult item to sanitize. Yet, they get truly disgusting.
So, get one that can be hosed down in the backyard or washed in the shower. You may also be able to dismantle and wash portions of your high chair in the dishwasher.
While we’re on the topic of high chairs, here’s a super handy hack for bibs. Purchase an adhesive hook from the store and stick it to the back of your high chair. That way, you’ll always have a spot to hang fresh bibs.
8. Dealing with Baby Clothes
When you embark on the journey into parenthood, you also embark on the journey into keeping paired socks together and accounted for.
Any experienced parent will tell you that keeping matching socks on your baby’s feet proves nigh on to impossible.
Don’t make this task even more difficult by tempting your dryer to “eat” teeny-tiny baby socks. Instead, invest in a mesh laundry bag.
As for dealing with baby clothes, instead of trying to fold them, roll them. Once you’ve rolled them into neat little piles, stack similar items in small storage boxes. Or, use drawer organizers to keep them neat and easy to find.
9. Invest in the Best Device EVER Created for Babies
Right now, a pack and play might not sound like a big deal to you. But once your baby arrives, you’ll immediately start to see the utility of this device. In fact, we believe pack and plays are among the best baby inventions in history.
They prove highly transportable and can go nearly anywhere. (Some models can even be carried on your back.) Find out more about the best pack and plays by reading this blog.
They allow your infant to have a safe place to play and nap no matter where you travel.
Finally, they’ll keep mischief-makers out of trouble while also corralling messes in one easy-to-clean location.
Golden Advice for New Parents
The journey into parenthood comes with its road bumps as well as plenty of advice for new parents. But not all advice is created equal.
You need to stick with what works for you and your baby. That said, simple, effective, cheap hacks like the ones above will make your life easier.
Ready to learn more about what to expect when your baby comes home? Check out this post on seven must-haves before your baby’s arrival.