It’s time for the second installment in the Mom Hacks series! I usually call these “mom hacks” because I write to moms, but of course, anybody can employ these tips and tricks, be it dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, you name it!
These posts are so much fun because they’re just a collection of little tidbits that can range from pregnancy into the toddler years. I learned many of these from experience (and adaptation).
Try out these tips to save yourself some headache!
Related reading: 5 Awesome Mom Hacks | Part 1
Mom Hack #1: If They’re Awake in the Night but Not Crying, Leave Them Be
This is the single best piece of advice I’ve ever received. It came from my mom (thanks, Mom!).
I was going crazy at night with Lydia waking up, and one night I complained to my mom about it. She said, “Is she crying when she wakes up?”
Like a lightbulb, it hit me that no—she wasn’t actually crying. But I was going in and doing the entire feed and rock-to-sleep cycle every time.
My mom suggested that I just lay in bed, listening, until she cried.
What happened is that I lay in bed and fell back asleep—because Lydia went back to sleep! Within a few days, we were all sleeping through the night and we haven’t looked back.
Once babies reach a certain age and development, they don’t actually need night feeds anymore. Getting them to go to sleep on their own is a whole other can of worms, but one the best first places to start is giving them a chance to figure it out on their own when they’re content.
So if your baby is waking up at night but isn’t actually unhappy, just leave him be and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised that the next time you wake up, the sun is coming in through the windows!
Mom Hack #2: Not Getting Peed On After Baths
Have you ever gotten your baby all squeaky clean, wrapped her up in her adorable hooded towel and laid her down on the changing table…just to get immediately peed on?
This happened to me so many times until I got smart about it.
Here’s the trick: when you’re getting all your bath stuff together before the bath, like your shampoo and wash cloth, go ahead and grab a diaper and open it up. Lay it out next to the changing pad.
Then, when you’ve finished the bath, dry baby’s bum and bikini line before anything else, and slap that diaper on and velcro the tabs straight away.
This won’t save you from baby peeing along the way to the changing table (although you could lay out the diaper right next to the tub and cut out the distance between). But it’ll dramatically cut back on the opportunity your baby has to pee on you!
Mom Hack #3: Have Newborn Photos Lined Up Before You Go Into Labor
If you want to get newborn photos, make sure you set them up (or at least do your research) before your baby makes her grand appearance.
After baby arrives, life changes. It becomes chaotic, you hardly know what day it is, and sometimes you don’t accomplish anything beyond basic survival. Setting up a newborn photo shoot is the last thing you need to worry about then.
Worse yet, the time flies by and you might forget about the photos until it’s too late.
Newborn pictures are easiest when your baby is still a newborn. They work best when she’s squishy enough to be bundled into a tight swaddle or stuffed into a pumpkin. They are so much simpler when your baby sleeps all the time and won’t be easily woken up by being put in all kinds of positions.
So don’t wait until you see that little face this side of ultrasound and realize you need to document it forever. Get them set up as soon as you can!
Mom Hack #4: Diapering Made Less Messy
You will lament the day your baby discovers there’s something underneath the diaper. As awkward as it is, they are curious and will try to stick their hands down there during diaper changes. As you can imagine, this makes stinky diapers a lot more tricky and terrifying.
You can make changing during these phases more bearable by maximizing efficiency and employing every parent’s most powerful tool: distraction.
First, set up everything you need. Open a fresh diaper, pull out a few wipes, and have an object of distraction ready to go. Don’t let your baby hold the object until you’re ready to change him. You’ll only have a couple minutes before he loses interest in what he’s holding. When you’re ready, give him the object and change that diaper quick as you can!
Books are my top choice for distractions, since our daughter loves them and she has to use both hands to hold one open. I like to have a small stack available with backups in case the first gets tossed to the ground before I’m done changing her.
A word of caution: don’t use anything that can’t be easily cleaned, because sometimes baby will accidentally dip it down onto their poopy skin. So I don’t suggest using your phone. A toy cell phone with electronic buttons to push works wonders, though!
Mom Hack #5: Borrow Before Buying
New baby gear is expensive. There’s nothing worse than splurging on something just to find out your child hates it. Or you might think your baby is ready for something when she needs more time to develop; it might be better to wait a little while yet before making the purchase.
Whenever you’re considering a big-ticket item, like a walker or a bouncy seat or even a bumbo seat, ask around and see if a fellow parent friend has one sitting around that they can spare. They might let you borrow it until it’s outgrown its usefulness to you. At the very least, they may let you try it out to see if it’s worth buying.
You’d be surprised how many pieces of baby gear are collecting cobwebs in garages and closets across the country right now. Many of these items are only useful (but totally worth it) for a few months of a child’s life, but parents keep them around waiting for the next kid.
If you can’t find one to borrow, or if you don’t want to purchase new, check out your local secondhand shop, like Once Upon a Child, for discounted options!
Have you tried any of these tips? Comment below and tell us how it went!
You might also like these posts:
Reframing mom Guilt | It’s Okay to “Fail”
How to Get Past the NICU and Enjoy Real Life | The NICU Part 2