25 Genius Baby Hacks Every New Parent Needs to Know
If you’re a new parent – or about to be a new parent – you’re probably familiar with baby hacks. There are countless articles about baby hacks out there, many of which recycle the same tips.
In this article, I wanted to share the hacks and baby care tips that actually worked for us. These are the tips I would share with a friend who just had a baby – many of which I learned from more experienced parents when I was a new mom myself.
I’m not an expert on baby care, but I do have three kids. At this point, I’ve had more than my fair share of experience in the baby care department!
These tips are divided by category, so you can find what you’re looking for easily – even if you’re reading this in the middle of the night and haven’t slept for more than 2 consecutive hours in weeks! Use the links below to jump to the section you’re looking for:
As I compiled my list of baby care tips, I realized that I had a LOT of tips relating to diapering. Unfortunately, this is because you’ll be changing a lot of diapers in those early days!
1. Vaseline makes meconium clean-up easy
For the first few days, your baby will pass what’s called meconium. Meconium is a very sticky, tar-like substance, which is difficult to wipe off baby’s bottom. I recommend using vaseline on baby’s bum for the first few days, to make cleaning up those meconium diapers easier. Simply apply it after each diaper change, to form a barrier that makes the meconium easier to wipe off. If you’re looking for a more natural alternative, I’ve also heard that coconut oil works well.
We skipped the change table and don’t regret it. Purchase a dresser that can double as a change table, or simply change baby on the floor. We set up a diaper change station on each floor of our house, with a diaper change caddy similar to this. We use a simple contoured change pad upstairs (with a cover), and a basic foldable change pad downstairs, and do 100% of our diaper changes on the floor or a bed. This set-up has served us well for six years and counting!
3. Fold baby’s diaper down so it doesn’t irritate the umbilical cord stump
Many newborn diapers have a little cut out in the front so that the diaper doesn’t cover the umbilical cord stump. If your diapers don’t, or the notch doesn’t quite do the trick, simply fold the front of the diaper down. This helps keep the umbilical cord stump dry, to speed up healing and prevent irritation.
4. Get everything ready BEFORE you change the diaper
There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a diaper change and realizing that your wipes container is empty, or you just used your last diaper. Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start changing baby’s diaper.
5. If it’s messy, make sure you have a garbage bag beside you
On that note, if you realize that you’re going to be dealing with a messy clean up, grab a plastic bag or garbage can for wipes disposal. If it’s a blowout, you DON’T want to be trying to contain everything in the dirty diaper – trust me!
6. In case of a blowout, pull the onesie DOWN
Have you noticed the overlap on onesie necklines? Those allow you to pull the onesie down, instead of up when you’re dealing with a blowout. This is highly preferable to getting poop in your baby’s hair!
Also, it’s worth mentioning that sometimes – in the case of a really bad blowout – the clothes just aren’t salvageable. Don’t feel too bad if a few outfits get sacrificed – we’ve all been there!
7. Boy and girl specific diaper-changing tips
I had two boys, then my third was a girl. Although she was our third child, my husband and I felt like brand new parents in the diaper-changing department! Here are some of the tips about diapering boys and girls that you need to know.
You likely already know that you need to wipe front to back for baby girls. This was the one piece of advice that everyone kept telling us before we had our daughter. What we didn’t realize is that the handy wetness indicator on newborn diapers is going to turn blue in a different area. For boys, that wetness indicator is usually going to turn blue in front, while for girls it’s going to turn blue underneath. That may seem obvious, but it took us a little bit of time to figure out.
Diaper changes for boys can be a bit trickier, as they have a tendency to want to pee as soon as the diaper is off. We found that if we opened the old diaper up and exposed it to air and then quickly closed the diaper again, we could often catch the pee in the dirty diaper – definitely preferable to being peed on! Finally, when you’re diapering little boys, make sure you point their penis down – otherwise they’ll pee right out of the top of the diaper.
8. Once they start sleeping for longer stretches, overnight diapers become a lifesaver
Once my kids starting putting together longer stretches of sleep (and didn’t need to be changed overnight) we were faced with a new problem – they kept peeing through their diapers. This is when overnight diapers became our best friend. These absorb a lot more than regular diapers, which means they can sleep uninterrupted, and you’re not dealing with a wet crib every morning.
The other advice that I should mention is going up a size in diapers overnight for extra absorbency. This never really worked for us, but I know that many people swear by it!
9. Make life easy with diapers delivered to your front door
I was on my third child before I learned that I could get diapers delivered to my front door through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. Not only that, you save 20% on diaper subscriptions. I was kicking myself for not realizing this sooner! If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, I highly recommend it – with little ones it’s worth it for the convenience alone.
10. You may leak on the other side when nursing
I shared some general breastfeeding tips in this post. The only thing I’ll add here is that you may leak on the other side when nursing. Nursing pads were a must for me (these were my favourite), and I would also use a burp cloth to absorb the excess so I wasn’t having to change my nursing pads multiple times a day. Flat cloth diapers make perfect burp cloths – they’re cheap, incredibly absorbent, and hold up well.
I have also heard amazing things about breast pumps like this to catch milk from the other side. I had oversupply issues, so I love the idea of being able to save all of that valuable milk that is otherwise going to be wasted.
11. Set up feeding stations around your house
Whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding, I can almost guarantee that at some point you will sit down to feed baby, and then end up trapped under a baby who has finally fallen asleep. Inevitably your water/food/phone/remote/book will be just out of reach.
Avoid this by setting up feeding stations around the house. Include your nursing pillow (if you’re using one), a burp cloth, lanolin, snacks, drinks, and some kind of entertainment like your phone, a book, or the remote, in case baby falls asleep.
12. There’s an app for that
You might think that remembering things like which side you fed on last or when the baby last pooped or peed would be easy. Spoiler alert – it’s not! I used a baby-tracking app to keep track of details about feeds (when, what side, how long), and even diaper changes in the beginning. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and having a record to refer to makes everything easier. .
13. Muslin blankets make fantastic nursing covers
There’s no need to cart around a blanket for baby and a specially designed nursing cover. A muslin blanket is perfect for both! To use it as a nursing cover, simply drape it over your shoulder and baby, or if your little one likes to move around a lot while nursing, tie it around your neck to get it to stay in place. These muslin blankets are AMAZING.
14. Use a command hook to attach bibs to the back of the high chair
Ok, I fully admit that this is a recycled baby hack, which I probably got from a list of baby hacks years ago. That said, we’ve used it for 6 years now, and it really is convenient!
15. Buy dishes that secure to the highchair
Unless you’re much luckier than I am, there will be a stage in your baby’s life where they think it’s HILARIOUS to throw everything from their highchair tray onto the floor. We had the best luck with these suction bowls, and this mat. Neither of them are perfect solutions (baby will be able to get them off eventually), but they buy you a little bit of time before their food is thrown on the floor!
16. Make swaddling easy
The recommendations on swaddling have changed more times than I can count, and will probably have changed again by the time I publish this article. If you choose to swaddle, I cannot recommend this swaddle enough. We just discovered it with our third baby, and wish we had it for all of our children! It’s incredibly easy to use, which is a lifesaver in the middle of the night.
The design of the swaddle allows baby to have their hands up closer to their face, something that many babies seem to prefer. It has snaps at the arm holes to convert to a sleepsack once baby is ready. It could be a coincidence, but our third baby was by far the easiest to transition to a sleepsack, and I’m convinced it’s because she had more room to move her arms around with this swaddle.
17. Try a few sleepers to figure out what you like best
Some sleepers have snaps, and some have zippers. I recommend trying both to figure out which you like better. I preferred sleepers with snaps, because they let you keep more of their little bodies covered during the middle-of-the-night diaper changes. My husband prefered sleepers with zippers, because they were easier to get on and off.
Another brilliant option is a sleep gown like this. These have an elastic bottom to make middle-of-the-night diaper changes quick and easy.
18. Fussy baby? Try an exercise ball
Sitting and gently bouncing on an exercise ball can be an excellent way to calm a fussy baby. This was one of the only things that worked with our second – we spent HOURS bouncing him every night.
19. If your baby hates tummy time, lie them on your chest
All three of my babies hated tummy time, and this was one of the only ways to make it tolerable. Simply lie on your back and place baby on your chest. Tummy time is a lot more bearable when you’re close to mom (or dad)!
20. Skip the bathtub
We borrowed a baby bathtub with our first and used it only a handful of times. I found it much easier to bathe them with me. Baby was happier in the tub with me, and we got some valuable skin-to-skin time. I did need help from my husband in the beginning – getting in and out of the tub with a slippery newborn can be tricky.
Related: Must-Have Baby Items: 0-6 Months
21. Stash burp cloths everywhere
If you’ve got a spitter, use burp cloths everywhere. Place them under baby when they’re in the swing, bouncer, play mat, or doing tummy time. Stash them around your house on the couch, rocking chair – you get the idea. We had burp cloths everywhere when our oldest was a baby – it’s much easier to wash a burp cloth than the entire play mat!
22. Keep pacifiers clean and contained when you’re on-the-go
I’ve seen countless baby hack lists that suggest using disposable condiment containers to keep pacifiers clean when you’re on-the-go. My recommendation? Use this. It keeps pacifiers clean and in one place, and you can secure it to a certain spot on your diaper bag, car seat, or stroller, so you can easily find a pacifier when you need one.
23. This pacifier will save your sanity in the car
This tip might sound a little strange, but bear with me. When you give your new baby a soother in the car, there is a good chance they will lose it within a few minutes. It will then fall into the depths of their car seat, and there will be little to no chance of you recovering it from the front seat.
This is a fantastic solution. You can prop it up against baby’s chest, so it’s easier for them to keep in their mouth. If and when they do spit it out, it’s much easier to find in their car seat – especially when you’re doing so blind from the front seat!
24. Pack extra clothes for you
When your baby is young, you will always have a fully stocked diaper bag when you leave the house. Don’t forget an extra shirt for you! I can’t tell you how many times I had a baby spit-up on me when I was out, and was relieved to have a back-up shirt. I keep a bin in the car all the time stocked with back-up clothes for all of us, and a few other items that are nice to have when we’re out and about.
25. Track medicine dosages right on the bottle
This is another baby hack that I found on Pinterest years ago. Use masking tape and a sharpie to mark out your child’s medicine dosages right on the bottle. Check off each dose, as you give it. This avoid any questions about whether or not you’ve given your child all of the doses they should have for the day, and is a lifesaver when you have multiple children taking antibiotics.
I hope you found the tips on this list helpful! If you have tried and true baby hacks that worked for you, I’d love to hear them!