Inside: These are the newborn baby hacks you wish you’d known the first time. Things like how to keep binkies clean, remove baby poop stains, and reduce spit up!
As a mom to be you need two things: good mom friends and all the newborn help you can get!
While I can’t be there to help with your newborn, I can spill all of the secret tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years as a mom of 3.
Some of these are great baby hacks for dads, too. You’ll definitely need all hands on deck with a newborn.
And as for 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!
RELATED: Everything You Need To Know As A First Time Mom
Newborn Baby Feeding Tips
1. 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, and 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.
2. Introduce a Bottle Early (even if exclusively breastfeeding!)
If you plan to exclusively breastfeed, you might consider introducing your baby to a bottle about 2-4 weeks after you’ve established your milk supply.
This parenting hack can make the later transition to a bottle easier 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 or if you need a sitter since you’ll definitely want a break every now and then.
Lots of moms love the bond that comes with nursing, but you don’t have to sacrifice much of that sweet time for this tip.
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.
These are the bottles I used with my third baby.
3. 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 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.
This is the type of cover I bought for my third. It’s great because it also doubles as a car seat cover.
But now that I’ve been nursing my third for 8 months, I’ve found myself going back to this type of cover.
It’s worth a try to give both a spin to see which you prefer.
4. 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
5. 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 to keep them warm while you wash their hair.
Pro Tip: To prevent cradle cap, use the soft-bristled scrubby they give you in the hospital with every bath. Simply give baby’s head a good scrub in each bath to get rid of any build-up.
6. 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 because they’re 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.
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 or you can use YouTube.
Just search for “white noise” videos and you’ll find several that are created to last several hours through the night.
7. 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.
8. 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 them relax for optimum sleep.
We bought these curtains for both of our kids and used them even when they were toddlers.
9. 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 and 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!
RELATED: The Best Newborn Sleep Tips For New Moms
Newborn Diapering Hacks
10. 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!
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 baby wipes, you get baby a lot cleaner with less waste!
To execute: 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.
11. 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.
12. Make Sure the Diaper Is Snug
One reason 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.
And if you’re looking for even more protection, check out these diapers that have a built-in pocket at the top to catch any escaping mess.
13. Avoid The Leg Lift After A Feeding
I change my baby in-between feedings because it helps those sleepy heads wake up to eat on the next side. But 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.
14. Master The Onesie
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.
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!
15. 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.
RELATED: The Best Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Stains (With Printable)
More Clever Newborn Tricks
Here are a few other newborn baby hacks to help you with that first week:
- 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
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
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 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 superwoman 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 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 motherhood 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.
To help you make the transition to motherhood as seamless as possible, I created several printables including baby sleep schedules, a 4 week meal plan, and a stain removal guide.
As a bonus for joining my weekly-ish newsletter, you’ll get access to all of those printables (plus a few more!) Click here to download and subscribe or you can use the nifty box below.