8 Life-With-Baby Hacks
Bringing home a new baby can be daunting. After all, they need all kinds of stuff, right? Not necessarily. While some baby items are needs, many, if not most, are wants and luxuries. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them, but some items can be used for a variety of different things. Why not minimize the clutter and cut down on the number of things you will need to donate in a few years?
If you are like most people, you have seen videos and articles of life hacks, whether it is Ikea furniture used in an innovative way, or simple ways of making every day life easier. But are there baby hacks? What things can you do, or reuse, when you are getting ready to bring baby home?
1. Toss the burp cloths
Real talk? They are really pretty shoulder covers but if your baby is like every other baby, they will spit up everywhere except where the burp cloth is. Instead, try using flannel receiving blankets, swaddle blankets, or for those prolific barfers, prefold cloth diaper inserts make the best and most absorbent burp cloths.
2. Get the wipe warmer!
We know it seems like the most ridiculous piece of baby equipment in the history of mankind. But we swear, it is worth it, especially if your little one has sensitive skin! Rather than using wipes that can sometimes irritate a baby’s delicate skin, you can wet and roll baby washcloths and keep them warm in the warmer.
3. Bathe like a boss
Have you heard the horror stories of babies who hate baths and scream? That isn’t going to happen to you! Use a receiving blanket or an extra towel to wrap your baby in before you give them a bath. This helps to keep them warm and happy while getting washed.
4. The funny shoulders have a purpose
Those funny, envelope shoulders on onesies have a purpose. They open the neckline so that you can take the onesie off over the shoulders and down instead of up over the head. That doesn’t seem like a big deal to you? It might when you have had a diaper explosion and pulling the onesie down saves you a bath because there is poop in baby’s hair!
5. Size matters
When you are picking baby items at the store, keep the storage size in mind. While the Hummer of baby strollers might be fantastic for trips around town, it won’t do you any good if it doesn’t fit in your trunk. Likewise, things like swings, bouncers, and baby gyms won’t always clutter your living room. If you are planning to store gear for future babies, consider the storage footprint of what you are purchasing. Something that folds and stores flat is going to take up less space, and be less likely to get broken, in storage.
6. Freeze your milk
If you are breastfeeding, freezing your milk is a fantastic option. Having a ‘stash’ will allow you to take time away if you need it. However, traditional storage bags have some drawbacks. Often the bag is not open fully and it is impossible to tell exactly how much milk is in the bag. Using sterilized ice cube trays, or freezer trays specifically designed for breast milk will give you a better idea of how much milk you have, how much you are thawing, and how much your baby is consuming. You can also stick a pacifier into the ice cube tray of milk to make popsicles, which is particularly helpful when teeth start coming in.
7. Name that tune
Pick a lullaby or song and sing it every time your child gets upset or hurt. Over time they will associate that song with being soothed and comforted and it will work even faster. It can also help them avoid getting upset in the first place if you start singing it before the tears start.
8. Hire Help
Okay, this isn’t so much a hack as just good advice. Everyone needs help, and in an era where your village might be thousands of kilometers away, you might need more practical and hands on help than you realized. Having a doula, nanny, or au pair who is there to help you get your to-do list done, grab a nap, and drink your coffee while it is still hot (the first time!) can be invaluable. These professionals should support you in reaching your parenting and family goals.
Whether you buy and use every single piece of baby gear on the market, or you subscribe to a minimalist theory for baby gear, there are ways to make what you have work even better than before. Don’t be afraid to be creative with what you have. And remember, your baby’s favourite part will always be the box.
Meaghan Grant works with families to explore their options and help them to discover their own strength through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. She is a Certified Labour Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Postpartum Placenta Specialist. As co-owner of Toronto Family Doulas, Hamilton Family Doulas, and Ottawa Family Doulas, she is committed to providing judgement-free support of all birth and parenting choices.