Parenting a newborn is like being in an endless, sleep-deprived tunnel — and it can be all too easy to feel underprepared and overwhelmed. Here’s a secret: None of us has a CLUE what we’re doing once we come home from the hospital with a new baby. It’s all running around, looking for an expert or some kind of road map and realizing, yep, none of that exists so you need to wing it. Here’s just a few things we hacked during the first year as a new mom:
Cold Crib = Awake Baby
Sometimes you do need to put that baby down, if only to grab a shower. But transferring a sleepy baby into an ice-cold crib can wake them right up, so consider using a heating pad or a warming blanket to make it cozy. Don’t leave the blanket in the crib with your baby — just warm the mattress, then remove it. As you set your baby down, they’ll feel warm and comfy, and you can finally wash your hair instead of stepping into a dry-shampoo mushroom cloud.
Remote Control Bottle Warmer? YES, PLEASE
If you’re bottle feeding, you need one of these remote bottle warmers. Here’s the magic: The baby wakes up, you turn on the warmer (because you already prepped a bottle and put it there before bed). By the time you change the baby’s diaper, the bottle is warm and ready. Whaat?! It’s like you’re living in Hogwarts with this kind of remote-control sorcery.
Get You A Mesh Bag Or You’ll Never See Your Baby’s Socks Again
You know those lingerie mesh bags your mom used for her fancy underwear? Find out where she bought them so you can use one to wash the baby’s socks. Because those suckers are TINY and disappear at a far higher rate than regular socks. You’ll save your sanity, and your baby’s cold toes, if you wash them in a bag.
Get The GOOD Bottle Brush
Washing bottles sucks. They are tiny and getting that spot right under the top is impossible without a really good brush. This one with its combo of bristles and sponge is definitely the best one around for reaching that tricky area under the lid that will drive you to the brink of insanity with its hard-to-get-to crumbs of nasty.
Disposable Diapers Actually Tell You Something
Some of us didn’t learn this until potty training, so let’s save you from that fate. Diapers today have a little strip down the outside of the crotch area that actually changes color when the baby is wet. You’ll still need a sniff test for other diaper deposits, but that little wetness indicator is super-helpful. The more you know.
Save Space In Your Dish Rack
There are two truths about dish racks: First, everything baby-bottle-related gets lost in them, and secondly, you need your dish rack for the dishes the adults in the house eat from. So it’s worth investing in a bottle-drying rack that also helps organize and keep track of all your bottle parts too.
Naked Baby Means Less Laundry
Once your baby starts eating solids, you’ll save yourself from lots of laundry if you feed your baby in just a diaper. Bibs help, of course, but a topless baby can be wiped down fast with a warm washcloth and slipped back into their onesie with less mess. And if you schedule bath time after the last meal of the day, you can just pop them right in the bath.
Here’s How To Make Bath Time More Pleasant — For YOU
Once your baby can sit up, they will love splashing about in the bathtub. But kneeling next to your baby while they play? Much less fun. Here are two tips: First, get a shower cap if you want to have any shot at preserving your hairstyle. Secondly, get one of those kneeling pads they make for gardeners — they are cheap, and your knees will thank you.
The thing about being a mom? You just don’t know until you know. You know? Hopefully these pain-free hacks can help you survive the early days of momming. That’s our goal, make your life easier, least amount of work because, let’s be real, you’ve got a lot going on. And you’re doing a great job. Really.