Since we have a brand new baby in our house, I’ve been brushing up on my newborn tips and trying to remember the ins and outs. It’s been a while for me (3 years to be exact), so I reached out to some of my mom friends to share their best newborn baby hacks so we can all benefit.
If you’re a mom to be, there are 2 things you need: good mom friends and all the newborn help you can get (for those sleepless nights ahead…). But don’t worry, this list of hacks is going to make the newborn stage a lot easier.
Some of these are great baby hacks for dads, too! (You’ll definitely need all hands on deck with a newborn).
As for the mom friends, consider me your first! Leave me a comment below with your name, when you’re due, and anything else you’d like me to know about you. I’m excited to be on this motherhood journey together!
Newborn Baby Feeding Tips
Get Skin to Skin Time
Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, skin to skin time with baby is SO important. For this newborn tip, lay baby on your bare chest with just a diaper on and get your snuggles in!
Lots of doctors and midwives will suggest skin to skin right after baby is born, but you can keep it up at home as often as it’s convenient for you. It’s a great way to form an early, strong bond with your baby through the magic of Oxytocin (the love hormone). This practice has also been proven to stimulate and increase breast milk production so baby can stay well fed.
Introduce a Bottle Early (Even if Exclusively Breastfeeding!)
If you plan to exclusively breastfeed, you might still consider introducing your baby to a bottle early on with pumped milk. This parenting hack can make the later transition to a bottle more easy for you and baby.
If you have a baby who’s only used to nursing, it can be difficult for anyone to help you at night when putting baby down to sleep or if you need a sitter (you’ll definitely want a break every now and then)!
Lots of moms love the bond that comes with nursing, so you don’t have to sacrifice much of that sweet time. Just one or two times a day with a bottle can keep baby familiar with a different source for their food so it’s easier on everyone later on!
Practice Nursing With a Cover
If you plan to nurse under a cover in public, you’ll want to use this newborn baby hack! Some babies get used to nursing a certain way and will resist a cover if it’s suddenly forced on them in a new setting.
Try introducing a cover early on even when you’re in the “stuck at home” phase. It doesn’t have to be for every feed (especially, when you’re still trying to get the hang of it), but just every now and then so baby knows it’s a normal part of feeding time.
Use a Nursing Pin
Night feedings with a newborn can be a blur! If you’re breastfeeding, it’s easy to forget which side you last nursed on. Try using a pin, a broach, hair elastic, or some other easy reminder you can stick on to help you keep your sides straight! There’s nothing worse than skipping a side and getting over-full!
Newborn Sleeping Hacks
Get the Best Out of Newborn Baby Bath Time
This next trick could also go under the title “newborn bath hacks,” but it’s a great way to help baby sleep, too. Try adding lavender throughout your night routine (baby wash, lotion, etc.)! Lavender, is calming and soothing for babies and can help them relax before bedtime. A clear bedtime routine also helps baby know to get ready for sleep.
Along with adding lavender, make sure you have everything for the bath ready to go BEFORE you put baby in the tub. This will save you from having to call for help or running from the tub because you forgot baby’s towel.
And don’t forget to wash baby’s head last! Newborns lose most of their heat from their head, so washing baby’s head last will make sure they stay warm until the end. You can also rinse a washcloth in warm water and lay it over baby’s tummy while you wash their hair.
I always use the soft-bristled scrubby (??) they give you in the hospital with every bath to prevent cradle cap. Give baby’s head a good scrub in each bath to get rid of any build-up.
Create White Noise
Babies love white noise! It might seem counter-intuitive to add loud sound to their sleeping routine, but it’s incredibly soothing to newborns babies. They are used to lots of sound in the womb. Plus, the sound will help block out other noise that can be jarring to a sleeping baby.
Newborn Baby Hacks Pro Tip: You can buy a white noise machine, but lots of moms just use an old cellphone. There are lots of free sound apps for babies that are easy to download! This is also one of the newborn hacks Youtube can solve. There are lots of white noise “videos” that are created to last several hours through the night!
Get in the Swaddle Game
For optimum comfort, your baby will love a good swaddle. A nice, tight swaddle helps baby feel warm and safe. It also prevents the startle reflex babies have when laying on their backs, by keeping their arms close to their bodies. A soothing swaddle helps baby feel snug like they were used to in the womb.
Take Advantage of Blackout Curtains
It’s SO important to regulate light and dark for your new bundle of joy. Most babies have their nights and days reversed, so keeping it really dark at night and bright during the day will help regulate their sleep pattern.
Once they’ve got that down, a dark, cool room for every sleep time will keep baby calm and help baby easily relax for optimum sleep.
Make it “Mom-Like”
If your newborn is really struggling with sleep, try making where they sleep smell and feel more like you. Place a shirt you’ve recently worn nearby or spray a stuffed animal with your perfume. (Make sure to keep these items near, but not IN the crib!)
Mom is warm! Some babies are startled by the cool surface of the crib which prevents them from relaxing into sleep. Try placing a heating pad or hot water bottle in the crib for a little bit before you lay baby down. Remove these items right before putting your baby in the crib, and they will have a much easier transition!
One of my best newborn baby hacks is to put a burp cloth under baby’s head while they sleep. This serves two purposes: you can keep it close to you during feedings so it picks up your scent and gives baby a warm place to lay their head. Also, it protects the sheets from any spit-up during the night! Make sure it’s completely flat against the sheet and once baby can roll over, it’s time to remove the burp cloth.
Clever Newborn Tricks
I’ve included several other new mom life hacks in my post for 35 Amazing Mom Hacks You’ll Actually Want to Use. Here are just some of the great ideas:
- Keep binkies clean in your purse with portion cups
- Keep diapers and wipes in every room you frequent
- Tie up poopy diapers in a scented bag before putting them in your diaper pail
- Bounce on a yoga ball to help calm baby
- Put water in a binky and freeze it for instant teething relief
Newborn Diapering Hacks
Don’t Waste Extra Wipes on Diaper Blowouts
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine just how your tiny little baby could create such a huge mess! Let’s face it, it doesn’t get better until they are potty trained!
You might be tempted to use a ton of wipes during a particularly messy episode. But, I’ve found that if you use the cleaner front of the diaper to wipe down baby before starting with the wet wipes, you get a lot cleaner with less waste!
(Open the diaper, grab the front end, elevate baby’s bum by pulling up their feet with your free hand, wipe downward with diaper using the other, then slide the dirty diaper away and proceed with the wipes!)
Use a Clean Diaper For Extra “Protection”
I always put a clean and open diaper under my baby’s bum before I start changing the messy one to keep the changing pad and surrounding area as clean as possible. It’s better for the other diaper to get messy rather than the floor, your bed, the changing pad, etc. Newborns are also known to “spring a leak” during diaper changes so this can save their clothes from getting messy too.
Make Sure the Diaper Is Snug
One of the reasons for blowouts is because the diaper wasn’t put on correctly initially. Make sure the tabs are snug around their waist and pull the leg cuffs out so the elastic part is exposed rather than stuffed into the diaper. This will ensure that the diaper is secure around all parts of their body which should help protect against blowouts!
Avoid The Leg Lift After A Feeding
I change my baby in-between feedings (this helps those sleepy heads wake up to eat on the next side!) and lifting their legs with a full tummy will often send the milk right back out again.
Instead of lifting their legs to wipe their bums, roll them from side to side while you clean with a wipe. This keeps their tummies level and you’re less likely to have to clean spit-up too.
Master The Onesie
Okay, I LOVE this next bit of mom insight! Before having children, I never realized that the “openings” over the shoulders of baby onesies actually serve a purpose! Those flaps are actually made to make it easy to slide the onesie, DOWN and THEN off, instead of over baby’s head. This is SO helpful when dealing with a soiled onesie!
Here’s another great clothing hack: I usually opt for jammies that zip, but sometimes it’s really hard to resist a cute button-down. A great tip is to pre-button the onesie all the way to above where baby’s navel will be, and then slip them right in. This is so much easier than trying to snap up all those buttons while they’re in it!
Tackle Those Poop Stains With Ease
Nothing is worse than seeing that yellow newborn poop on your favorite outfit (for baby and you!). But there are two baby hack products for laundry that will save you time and money!
The first is Dawn Dish Soap. I’ve never tried another dish soap just because I know Dawn works so well. Just add a little to the stain and scrub in hot water until it’s gone.
If you have a lighter fabric, or even white, and the stain isn’t coming out, fill your sink with warm water and add a sprinkle of Oxiclean Versatile Stain Remover Powder. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse clean.
You can also check out my post, Game Changing Stain Removers That Will Make Doing Laundry Easier, to see my other laundry hacks.
Self-Care for Mom
Some of the best baby hacks to make life easier, aren’t actually about your baby at all. Self-care is SO important for new moms. These next mom hacks are just for you! And don’t roll your eyes when you read them…these tips will help you with your mental health and sanity in those first few weeks with a newborn!
Sleep When Baby Sleeps
This was the most repeated advice from all the super helpful moms I surveyed. There’s a short window of time when all your baby will want to do is sleep. Take advantage of this time! The housework can wait! Visitors can come by later.
You and your body have been through so much by this point. You need to rest and heal. Getting enough sleep will help you feel better and recover faster. Taking care of a newborn baby can be incredibly stressful, so you need to do as much as you can to help yourself stay sane!
Take help when it’s offered! So many of us moms love to do it all ourselves, but this is one of those times you can give yourself a break and let someone else do some of the heavy lifting. You can get back to being super woman in a couple weeks when you’ve recovered!
Let Some Things Go
If the house isn’t perfectly clean and the laundry is starting to pile up, that’s okay! We, women, can be so hard on ourselves and hold ourselves to too high of standards sometimes. No one is going to judge you if the sink is full of dishes, and you shouldn’t judge yourself either!
You’ll have plenty of time to tidy the house when you’ve settled into a good routine with your newborn and you’ve been able to properly heal.
Be Patient with Yourself
Newborns don’t come with manuals (and, neither does adulthood in general), so be patient with yourself. Parenting has a pretty steep learning curve, and every baby is different. Give yourself time to figure things out, because you will!
Do what works best for you and your baby, and don’t compare your baby or yourself to any other mom. Take in all the advice from other helpful moms, but don’t let their successes or failures put more pressure or stress on your shoulders.
Take Time for You!
For the first few weeks with your newborn, you might forget what it feels like to be human. Make sure you’re taking time to do even the smallest little things that contribute to your mental and physical health.
Get a good shower, take a walk, sit in silence for five minutes, whatever it takes! Let
people help when they offer to help, and know that it’s okay if your baby cries for a bit while you brush your hair or shave your legs. As long as their needs have been met, you can take a little time to make sure some of your needs are met, too.
How Do You Survive The First Week With a Newborn?
The first week with a newborn is tough, so I hope all of these parenting hacks helped you transition into your new role! Even as a third-time mom, I’m still having to remember how to take care of a little one. No one is perfect! Just take it one day at a time.
But one of the most important newborn tips I can give is to savor the moments! As much as caring for a newborn can be really challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding. Babies grow up fast, so appreciate every stage.
If you’re going through a tough time, just remember, it will get easier. You will figure it out, and before you know it, there will be something else new to learn. Soon, you’ll be the one will all the great parenting hacks!
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Let me know if I missed any of your favorite newborn baby hacks in the comments!