Being a mom is tough, especially if this is your first time entering into the difficult role. Any tips and tricks are much needed and appreciated, I know because I have been there. Therefore, I wanted to compile the ultimate list of mom hacks any mom (first-time or not) would appreciate. Which means that the list will keep growing as I discover easier ways of doing the same arduous tasks!
Here it goes, hacks for making taking care of your baby just a little easier!
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Diaper Changing Hacks!
1. Tuck a Fresh Diaper Underneath Baby Before Changing Baby’s Diaper
I learned this variation of diaper changing from a nurse and I will say it has definitely saved me many times. With this method, I am able to change baby on many surfaces, many times without an underpad (of course I’d recommend an underpad just in case, especially if you’re new to this method). It’s honestly the cleanest way, I have found, of changing a diaper in that it is able to catch anything that might leak.
In addition to this hack, another way for an easy and mess-free clean up is putting used wipes into the dirty diaper (understandably this is more difficult when baby has gone #2, poopy diaper). Roll up the diaper from the front end to the back while keeping the wipes inside, and then use the velcro handles to secure the dirty diaper into a little ball.
2. Fold on the Back the Sticky Part of the Wipes Bags (not all packages have this) to Prevent Having to Reopen Them Each Time
OK, so some of you might have figured this out, but I struggled so much with this before I actually did something about it. Always during the messy diaper changes would the back just reseal, and I would be holding my baby up with one hand while struggling to open the wipes bag with the other. So much unneeded stress, you have no idea (or maybe you do)!
3. Reuse Grocery Bags for Blowouts
I found this to be a much better (and cheaper) alternative to buying special bags to keep the smelliest of diapers in. Whenever I knew I had a mess on my hands, the dreaded blowouts, I would grab a bag beforehand and it would be a convenient little trash bag for the pile of wipes that followed. I’d add the dirty diaper to the pile, tie the bag up in a knot, and just toss it in the trash.
4. Make Blowouts an Excuse for a Bath
Another diaper changing tip here. Of course, this would only work if you’re somewhere where a bath would be accessible. If you happen to get lucky, skip the full-on diaper change and put your baby under some running water. I would take this route with the dirtiest and messiest of them and it made clean up so much easier!
5. Wash or Drench Poop Stained Clothes Immediately
If you don’t know this yet, baby poop is HARD to wash out. So, if you would like to avoid using harmful stain removers, throw the stained clothes in the washer OR some cold water as soon as you can. Even if you aren’t able to immediately wash, keeping the clothes in some water prevents permanent stain establishment.
If you do don’t get the chance to drench the stained clothing, you can use your regular stain remover on the stain for the first wash. If you prefer a more natural method you can cover the stain in lemon juice and then let it sit out in the sun until dry, then throw it is the washer. Now in the case that the first wash does not remove the stain, repeat the stain removal steps. DO NOT throw the clothes into the dryer or the stain will set in and will be much more difficult to wash out.
6. The Ultimate Stain Remover
Let’s say that you messed up and dried in a stain, and now it’s impossible to take it out. You’ve tried multiple stain removers with no success. Well, there’s still hope according to the Pinterest Mom community!
This solution has been shown to take out the worst of stains, just check out this mom’s testimony! The solution consists of three common household items, 2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 part Dawn Dishsoap, and 1 part Baking Soda. Just pour the mixture over the stain, brush it in, and let it sit for about an hour before running it through the washer. That’s it and the stain is to be finally removed!
7. The Easy Way to Take Off a Onesie
This hack I discovered off of Pinterest and just thought it was absolutely neat. Definitely had a mind blown moment! Baby onesies are made with shoulder flaps which are designed so that the onesies can be removed from both the top and bottom. So, if your baby has a blowout, you could just fold the onesie off starting at the shoulder and going down! Less mess!
Readers also suggested cleaning baby’s bum well and folding the bottom part of the onesie in just enough to cover the poop stain BEFORE folding the onesie down.
8. Roll Onesie Up Over Baby’s Arms During Diaper Change
The worst thing (or one of the worst things) that could happen during a diaper change is that baby sticks their hand into the dirtied area. Found on Pinterest, the solution to this issue is rolling up baby’s onesie up over the arms. Baby is snug and you’re ready to change that diaper without any mess ups.
9. Wipe and Wait!
If you want to avoid unexpected surprises while changing your baby, wipe the lower part of your baby’s tummy and wait. That cold wet wipe gets baby going if they’re ready for it, I know because I have seen it happen as I was changing my baby’s diaper! Avoid the mess and do it before you open the diaper! Oh and waiting also helps if your baby just took a poo! More times than not, babies’ bowel movements take more the one go to fully come out. So, wait for a little then change that diaper!
10. Lines and Flaps.
If you’re using disposable diapers, you will probably appreciate these, if your nurse didn’t tell you already. Too bad most diapers don’t come with user manuals. No worries, here are some tips to help you use your diapers the correct way and to avoid waste and blowouts.
If you have a newborn, some diapers come with a cutout or a flap at the umbilical cord area. This will definitely help to avoid uncomfortable rubbing against an already sensitive tummy. If your newborn diapers don’t come with something’s like that, our nurses just told us to fold down the front portion of the diaper before we finished strapping it.
As you strap your diaper, you want to make sure that it’s done right because well they work best when they’re used the way they were designed to be. Most diapers are designed in a way to guide parents to where the velcro straps go. Some have obvious lines while others have designs that serve as a way to make sure you have your alignment is done right.
Big brand diapers (like Pampers and Huggies) come with a wet sensor line to let you know when it’s time to change your baby’s diaper. This is especially helpful at the newborn stage as you can figure out pretty quickly why your baby is crying!
Don’t forget about the butterfly flaps! You might have noticed these sticking out at times after you change your baby’s diaper. You haven’t done anything wrong, it’s supposed to be like that! Actually, you want the butterfly flaps completely out as they work as a shield to prevent blowout leakages. They aren’t always effective at stopping the flow, but they sure do help! So, make sure these are pulled out before you release your little bundle, to minimize the mess!
11. Apply Diaper Cream with a Brush if You Don’t Like Greasy Fingers.
Ok, so I will admit that I had no problems using my fingers to apply diaper creams simply because I rarely had to use the cream at all and I didn’t have long nails for it to become a sanitary problem. Oh, and the greasiness was actually easy to remove using the wet wipes I used on my baby’s bum.
With that said, I understand other moms do have long nails and really hate the extra mess, especially on the go. That is where these neat brushes come in handy! Just scoop some cream and brush on baby’s bum. Then use a wet wipe to clean off the brush and you’re done! If you don’t want to buy it, just use an old makeup brush or extra frosting spatula, just make sure they’re clean before you use them!
12. Portable Diaper Changing Stations are Both Frugal and Effective!
I didn’t buy a changing table. Frankly I didn’t have space for one, however, I’m glad I didn’t waste the money! I will say that I rarely found myself changing my baby’s diaper in one specific area, most times I changed my baby’s diaper where it was most convenient. I moved my changing pad and diaper changing kit to where it was needed so it was always easily accessible!
In my diaper changing kit, I had a pack of diapers, 1 pack of wet wipes, diaper cream, and hand sanitizer. That’s it!
I would also recommend that you have a portable changing pad in your diaper bag. Most come with one, but if yours doesn’t you could find one on Amazon for a reasonable price. Carrying around sanitizer wipes and disposable diaper bags is also a must! I’ll go more in depth into what you should carry with you on-the-go later.
13. Use Coconut Oil for Meconium
Baby’s first poop is called meconium. It looks greenish-black and tarry and can be pretty sticky! If you want to avoid using up half of your wet wipes on one diaper, use some coconut oil (any oil works) to help get it off! You can even use an extra perineal bottle from your postpartum kit and fill it with the oil for an easier spray!
14. Straps and Distractions for When You’re Baby Gets More Active!
I didn’t understand the benefit of the buckle strap on my portable changing pad until my baby started flipping over during our diaper changes! They work and her so much so make sure that your changing pad has these before purchasing it!
Also, this is the stage where having toys everywhere you need your baby to remain calm comes in handy! Babies start getting more handsy so keep their fingers away from the mess by keeping them occupied!
I heard that some moms have specific toys designated for play during a changing, that way baby looks forward to diaper changes.
15. Use the Next Size Up Diapers for Nights or for Expected Long Stretches.
If you know you won’t be changing your baby’s diaper within 2-3 hours, like overnight, then use the next size up diaper to prevent and overfilled and leaky diaper. Just make sure that the diaper is strapped on securely or else it will flow out regardless, been there!
16. Avoid Using Your Changing Pad Cover During Blowouts.
I would have to wash my changing pad cover after every blowout cleanup because the poo would always get on to the cover (it’s worse with a wiggly baby). It wasn’t until I had to use my changing pad without a cover (it was ironically being washed) that I realized how much easier clean up was this way! Since the changing pad is plastic, nothing seeps in, all you need to do is just wipe off any leaky poo with a wet wipe! And if you want a sanitized finish, just have some sanitizing wipes at hand (I clean with Clorox wipes and they work great!).
17. Use a Cute Plastic Tote to Hold Baby’s Dirty Laundry
I honestly didn’t want to purchase a special laundry basket for my baby’s clothes as I not only wouldn’t need to use it for very long and I didn’t have space for it. So, what I did was just use a cute plastic tote bag. I was just big enough for all her clothes and as soon as I would see it getting full I’d dump in all into the washer!
18. Limited on Space? Use Storage Bins and Baskets.
Living in a one bedroom condo has definitely called for some creativity when it comes to storage. Mind you these might not be the cutest alternatives as compared to your typical crib set drawers (although you can definitely make it work), they do prevent the need to over congest an already tight space. We bought some clear plastic bins that would fit under our bed and other more decorative storage bins to place in selective areas and organized all of our baby’s clothes and accessories accordingly. I was even able to create various stations for every situation.
This was honestly one of my biggest worries before our little girl arrived, but it definitely worked out much better than anticipated, and mind you, we still have a good amount of space left over!
19. Use a MakeUp Bag for Keeping Your Baby’s Medicine All in One Place
If you want more details on how to make yourself a cute and nifty portable medicine kit, check out my DIY post here! This is so cool and versatile, and, best of all, you could repurpose an old makeup bag instead of purchasing one like I did. Why makeup bag? Well, for one, the brush holders work great for holding all those syringes! And the different pouch compartments are an added bonus!
20. Use Reinforcement Labels to Label Your Baby’s Medicine Syringes!
This hack comes hand in hand with the portable medicine kit, but you can use it with or without doing the entire kit. Frankly, I don’t know how I discovered that these little labels, that have been laying around for years, fit perfectly on baby medicine syringes! I was planning on just using a sharpie to mark the tops of the generic syringes (not all of them come labeled as this Tylenol one), but discovered this neat and nifty trick! Hope it comes in handy to some momma out there!
21. Use Plastic Condiment Containers to Store Pacifiers
I will admit not all pacifiers will fit, but mine do so this works out great! They make it easier to locate your pacifiers for when you need them. The coolest part is that you can recycle an old condiment container and avoid plastic waste!
Mom Hacks for the Unpredictable
21. Pack a “What If” Bag and Keep it in Your Car
I wish I followed through with this option instead of overstuffing my diaper bag with all the extras. Here is what you should always have on hand, just in case (and in addition to your diaper bag items):
- two changes of clothes
- a pair of socks
- a hat
- two swaddles or blankets
- hand sanitizer
- 5 diapers
- 1 pack of wipes
- Roll of paper towels
- an extra pacifier (BIG must as we always ended up losing or forgetting ours)
- a few extra toys
- an extra change of clothes for yourself (because accidents can happen)
- Stain Remover Pens
22. Use Glow-in-the-Dark Pacifiers to Prevent Losing Them
For some reason, we always struggled with having pacifiers easily accessible. Our little girl did not like the pacifier clips and would always end up pulling out her pacifier instead. Getting the glow-in-the-dark pacifier was a game changer as they were much easier to spot as they stood out especially in the dark!
23. Don’t Have a Pacifier? Use the Nipple End of a Bottle Instead!
I totally did this! It was one of those times we forgot the pacifier, and our little girl was getting fussy, so in the midst of an escalating situation I spotted her bottle nipple and had an “Aha” moment! It worked out very well as a last resort. I did have to keep it in place with my finger so make sure you wash your hands, getting under the nails and all, multiple times before trying this!
Breastfeeding and Pumping Hacks
24. Use a Clip to Mark Which Breast to Nurse Next
When breastfeeding, it’s important that you switch sides between every feed as the consequences could be dire (different size breasts)! However, you already have so much on your mind, the last thing you want to do is memorize which side your baby nursed at last. So, place a clip at the top of your bra, on the side where your baby will feed next time. I have also read moms using hair ties to mark which side to feed next, however, I’d immediately fail at this one as I use my hair ties without even thinking twice!
25. Place Pumping Supplies into Fridge in Between Sessions to Minimize Washing
This hack is especially for mammas that exclusively pump. Washing pumping parts gets old real quick! So, if you really wanted to, you could store those parts in the fridge for up to 6 days without washing them (the same amount of time your milk can safely stay in the fridge. However, since you are using these parts at room temperature, this method should safely be used no more than three separate pumping sessions (even so, be aware of how long your parts sit out).
26. Shorten Your Washing Time by Running Bottle and Pump Parts Under Hot Water and Placing into Soapy Water. When Ready to Use, Rinse (*optional* and Gently Scrub) Under Cold then Hot Water.
This is another method I used when trying to minimize the time it took to wash all those bottles and pump parts because it really adds up (and it’s not like you actually have any time to spare)! I learned this method while working in the fast-food industry. We used a 3-part tub system when it came to washing the reusable ware; 1st Hot/Soapy Water, 2nd Cold Water Rinse, 3rd Hot Sanitized Water.
My variation follows slightly the same, excluding the sanitization part; 1st Hot Water Rinse, 2nd Hot Soapy Water Bath, 3rd Cold then Hot Water Rinse. I heard some moms place their pump parts into the microwave for a few seconds as a form of sanitization, however, I have always been reluctant to use microwaves so that’s why I choose not to use that method.
27. If You Exclusively Breastfeed, Pump After to Save Extra Milk When Needed
So this is how you could actually build up a stash, at least this is how I built mine up. I would pump after each feeding, so much so that I accumulated 700+ oz before weaning off the pump because I was running out of storage space.
I always made sure to have a few bags in the fridge before placing extras in the freezer (the oldest milk was always put away first).
28. Use Any Flat Surface in Your Freezer to Freeze Your Milk Packs Flat
I actually used the most bottom shelf of my freezer since it was the most level surface in my freezer (and I didn’t want to use anything extra). It worked out very well for me!
Some moms use small cardboard boxes or even an empty wipes box. Whatever works for you!
29. Store Your Milk Bags in Gallon ZipLock Bags
I preferred this method over any other due to how large my supply was. I would place frozen milk packs, freshest pumped milk packs before the older ones so that the older ones are used up first. I added a piece of paper in the bag in order to keep track of the dates and times that coincided with the packs in the ZipLock bag.
30. Remember the Triple 6 Rule of Storing Milk
Six hours at room temperature, six days in the fridge and six months in the deep freezer. Exact time recommendations do vary across government agencies, however, these are the generally accepted guidelines.
31. Baby Won’t Take the Pacifier? Dip it in Breastmilk!
I won’t say that this method works 100% of the time, however, it is definitely worth a shot if you have a baby who just doesn’t like pacifiers.
32. Heat Up Milk in a Bottle Quicker By Running the Bottle Under Hot Water
My genius husband actually upgraded the hack by placing the bottle with milk in a cup and then turning on the hot water and running it into the cup until the milk heated up enough. Just make sure that the water doesn’t reach the brim of the bottle so as to not allow for the possibility of water entering the bottle if the cap isn’t screwed on correctly.
33. Make Sure to Record the Time When You Pumped for a Future Sleeping Hack!
Did you ever wonder why your breasts feel much emptier towards the evening? Although you do have less milk, rest assured that that milk is actually full of fats and proteins. Don’t believe me, read for yourself (1).
In the mornings, your breasts are usually the fullest. This is because of peak prolactin levels are between 2 and 5 AM. However, even though milk production is high, the milk itself is much lower in fats and proteins. As the day goes on, milk production starts to drop whereas milk fat and protein content increases. One explanation is that this is the way babies sleep through the night (1).
So, next time you pump, make sure to record the times! Whenever you want to put your baby to sleep, you could use milk from a pumping session that was later in the evening, and vice versa.
34. Pump and Breastfeed Until the One Breast Empties Before Moving on to the Next One.
Another pumping tip! Make sure that your pumping sessions last between 15-20 minutes, or, if you’re breastfeeding, make sure your baby completely empties out one breast before offering your baby the other one. The reason for this is that milk fat content also changes with the progression of a feeding or pumping session with hindmilk, milk towards the end of a feed, much fattier (2).
This could also explain why your baby is fussy and seems to always be hungry despite just being fed. So, it might not be a supply issue but a milk fat content issue.
35. Check Milk Temperature By Dripping Some Milk Onto Your Wrist
Just as if you would check the temperature of baby’s bath with a sensitive enough body part (an elbow in that case), you could use the same method when checking the temperature of the milk. Except instead of using the elbow you use the wrist, and “whaa-laa”!
36. Want a Break from the Nursing Bra, Try These Large Bandages!
The other day I was struggling with wearing a cute dress because my hefty nursing bra straps kept sticking out. Sometimes I just wished I didn’t have to wear the bra! However, going braless with leaky breasts is a little more complicated! In that case, an alternative could be using extra large bandages.
Trim the length of the sticky ends before applying over your nipple, so that you don’t have to deal with too much uncomfortable peeling. Add a disposable nursing pad for added protection. Once you’re done, use baby oil to take off the bandage the less painful way.
37. Use a Haakaa to Collect Extra Milk!
I have been using a haakaa since I started breastfeeding, and haven’t regretted getting it. I would primarily use it while pumping and it’s one of the ways I was able to save almost 800 oz of extra breastmilk!
This neat gadget is a must for every breastfeeding mom who wants to save all her precious liquid gold. The Haakaa just acts as a pump for the “other” breast, while you nurse. When a letdown is initiated milk comes out of both breasts, so this is your way of making sure that nothing wastes!
38. Use a Nursing Clip to Make Breastfeeding Easier
This neat clip works great when you’re out and aren’t wearing a suitable nursing top while breastfeeding or even pumping. It holds your shirt up in place so that you don’t have to struggle. Any opportunity to make breastfeeding easier, especially when in public, is well taken!
38. Baby Won’t Sleep? Place Your Shirt Next to Your Baby.
My little girl would know when I wasn’t next to her and she would toss and turn unable to sleep on her own. However, mamma still has to get work done, so what I would do was lay my shirt next to her. Most times than not she would both fall asleep and sometimes even sleep longer. I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with feeling secure and babies dislike being alone, so this definitely helps you get around having to always nap when your baby naps.
As a safety precaution, make sure you are nearby and remove the shirt as soon as baby falls asleep so as to avoid any potential hazards.
39. Still Won’t Sleep Alone? Try this Trick!
I have friends that use this trick for their bundle and it works out great for them! Just put a cup of rice first into a glove (make sure you are either doubling up or using something that will hold up) and place it on your baby! It feels like you never left!
40. Help your baby fall asleep by brushing a swaddle gently over their face a couple of times.
I have found that you have to have both the right setting and right mood for this to work, but it does work! When my baby girl would get fussy struggling to fall asleep, I would brush over her face to calm her down. The swaddle would first distract her first, then it would get her blinking, which then made her sleepy.
41. Clip Your Baby’s Nails While They Sleep
I was always terrified of clipping my baby’s nails. Baby’s are very squirmy and they don’t stay still for long. What worked for me was clipping my little girl’s nails when she slept. Careful with this one, though, because you can actually end up waking them up if you don’t wait long enough! You know your baby best. Usually giving them between 15-20 minutes works out just fine, just make sure they’re actually sleeping!
42. Use Tape to Lower Volume on Toys
Most baby toys tend to be quite loud, this might not be a big deal when you have a noisy house but if yours tends to be quiet for the most part, a toy going off could definitely cause everyone in the room to jolt a little. A quick fix for this is a piece of tape. It’s such a simple solution, but it works so well! It only muffles the sound a bit and brings down the noise to a more bearable volume.
43. Put Your Phone in a Small ZipLock Bag During Baby Screen Time
All babies are intrigued by technology. My baby races towards my phone everytime I set it down. I haven’t really started screen time, but I decided to let my baby have at the phone for a little so that she’s not so obsessed with it.
My phone is dirty, so since my baby likes to put everything in her mouth, I just put the phone in a snack size zip lock bag and let her have at it. She gets over it pretty quick once she gets her hands on it. You can still click through the plastic, so it’s still usable. It also works great if you want to protect your phone.
44. Use an Inflatable Pool as a Playpen
I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was brilliant! Of course, you need to make sure your baby is safe inside by not overstuffing it with toys. However, the idea is great! Your baby is contained in a space without sharp corners, dangerous heights, or hard surfaces. I would recommend, though, that you still keep an eye on your baby and don’t go far beyond reach.
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Every mom does have her own way of doing things and making every day easier. These are the hacks I am able to recall, however, I know there are many many more out there. So, let me know which I missed and help me update the list!