Being a parent doesn’t come with a manual! Check out these tips and tricks for making the early days with your little one easier.

Before Baby Is Born

  • Make a lot of freezer meals, so there’s one less thing for you to worry about when baby arrives.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Organize a meal train where family members and friends bring you meals on certain days as you heal, and your family adjusts to your new addition.
  • Get rewarded. “Take a look at your local grocery stores, big box stores and online retailers to see if they offer a baby rewards program,” suggests Siobhán Alvarez, blogger at Mimosas & Motherhood. “For example, Target will give you an additional discount off diapers, and Amazon offers a large Subscribe & Save program that can be combined with their Baby Registry Diaper Discount to help you save even more.”

Catch Some Z’s

  • Get onesies with zippers – no buttons, advises Adam Duvall of the Atlanta Braves. This’ll save you the pain of trying to line up snaps in the dark in the middle of the night.
  • Babies are fully relaxed when they are sleeping (or feeding), making it a great time to cut their nails without them squirming.
  • For baby boys: “If your little boy isn’t staying dry throughout the night, and you see wetness on their tummy, flip the diaper,” suggests Kimberly Stroh, writer for Savvy Mama Lifestyle. “Putting the diaper on backwards helps that area stay dry, because the diaper placement is higher.”

Laundry Hacks

  • Save yourself the hassle of extra laundry by getting a simple changing pad that can easily be wiped down. The Bumbo Changing Pad is easy to wipe down and doesn’t require any covers.
  • Wash a few of your baby’s next size clothing items, so they’re ready for use when your baby starts growing. Pack them in a separate drawer or use drawer dividers to keep them organized.
  • Get stains out fast with the OxiClean Baby Stain Remover, which easily removes dried-on formula and baby food, juice spills or diaper stains. For a DIY solution, try dabbing white vinegar on the stain, or soak items in a combination of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.
  • Interested in using cloth diapers to reduce waste? Dry the wet diapers in the sun for natural whitening. Spray lemon water on them while they’re still wet to increase whitening.
  • If your dryer is turning off before baby’s clothes are dry, the load might be too light for the dryer to recognize. Speed up the cycle by adding a clean dry towel to the dryer, which will help to absorb excess.

Out and About

  • “When you’ve got a newborn baby, your diaper bag can get really heavy,” Stroh says. “Instead of storing everything inside your diaper bag, convert your car’s trunk space to a changing area. Use a small diaper caddy to keep the extra things you need. Diapers, wipes and travel-sized cream are smart to have on-the-go. It’ll save your diaper bag from being too heavy, and many moms appreciate their trunk space over a public changing table.”
  • Lighten your load. “I keep a multicolor retractable pen in my diaper bag instead of a whole bunch of crayons or colored pencils,” says Amritha A. Joseph, the blogger behind In Transit. “It has all the colors, makes no mess in the bag, it’s less stuff to carry and keep track of, and since it’s a pen, even mom or dad can use it when they need something to write with on-the-go.”
  • Keep an extra onesie or outfit for baby in your diaper bag or car, but also pack a change of clothes for you in case of an accident.
  • A stroller hook will hold your diaper bag or shopping bag when you’re out about. Or get your steps in around the neighborhood on a walk with your dog by clipping the leash to the hook.
  • Restock your diaper bag when you get home or before you go to bed, so you won’t have to stock items at the last minute before you need to leave.
  • Plastic condiment cups will make pacifiers and other smaller items easy to find inside your bag.

Diaper Duty

  • If you live in a multi-level home, keep a small baby-changing station or bin with a changing pad, diapers, wipes and creams on each floor, so you don’t have to go upstairs or downstairs every time you need to change a diaper.
  • “Those first few weeks of changing diapers is such a learning curve. You do get faster and much more proficient the more diapers you change,” says Laura Hunter, the co-founder of Moms On Call. “With newborns, they have such a startle reflex, and they do not like being without clothes! Unsnap the onesie, pull it up over their arms and snap it over one of the shoulders. This keeps those hands from flinging about and keeps them feeling nice and warm. As they get older, giving them a toy that only comes out while on the changing table may also help.”
  • Buy wipes in bulk to keep them stashed all over the house and in your car.

Keep Baby Healthy

  • “If you’re struggling to administer liquid medication to your baby, try using a nipple that’s not attached to a bottle,” Stroh says. “Place the measured medicine amount in the nipple. Start your feeding and let them relax. Switch out from your breast or bottle to the nipple with medication. They’re into the rhythm of sucking, and usually take of all the medication instead.”
  • Use a makeup brush or mini spatula to place diaper cream to avoid getting the stuff on your hands. Bumco’s Baby Bum Brush was created for this purpose, if you’d prefer to buy the silicone brush.

Bonding with Baby

  • Atlanta Braves’ Austin Riley suggests creating a routine for your baby as soon as possible and reading to the baby as much as you can. Babies respond to noises and familiar voices from birth, and they’ll start responding to words in the first year of life!
  • Wear your baby around with a baby wrap. It’ll promote bonding and keep your hands free, so you can do chores while taking care of your baby. It can be tempting to catch up on household chores while your baby is asleep, but try to sleep when baby sleeps.
  • Practice tummy time with your baby on your chest.

Around the House

  • Set up a Pack ‘n Play in a room you frequent or in a room where you need your hands, like the kitchen, so you have an area to put baby.
  • Buy a bouncy seat or lounger for the bathroom for baby while you brush your teeth or wash your hands. And, use it early on, so your baby doesn’t grow accustomed to being held all the time.
  • Repurpose a hanging or over-the-door shoe organizer to keep items for baby – swaddles, burp cloths, blankets.
  • “Have all your items you need in the bathroom within arm’s reach. The three-tier cart on wheels is wonderful for this,” says Hunter. “Place a large, warm washcloth over the arms and chest to keep them warm during bath time.”

Time to Feed

  • Invest in a good water bottle to ensure you have enough liquids on hand to keep you hydrated if you’re breastfeeding.
  • Set up a serving tray that’s within reach with remotes, water or snacks for long nursing sessions.
  • “Once you’ve introduced solids, place 2-3 pieces of 2-3 food groups on the tray at a time. Too much food can overwhelm them. Keep it to very small portions,” Hunter says. “Have two long-handled spoons available and load the spoon with a bite. Let them grab that one, and while they chew on that one, you can load the second spoon, and swap them out.”

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