It’s not easy staying at home all day with a newborn.
Truth is, newborns can be really difficult to please.
They sleep a lot – but usually only on you.
They feed constantly, and then often struggle to poop easily when they need to.
It’s a good thing they smell so good, or you could be forgiven for thinking this parenting thing is really hard work.
15 Must-Read Parenting Hacks For The Newborn Days
If you’re currently in the midst of those early days, then fear not. There are some tips that might help.
They certainly won’t cure your sleep deprivation, or give you time to wash your hair. These 15 parenting hacks, though, will go some way towards making your life a little easier:
#1: Trim Those Nails During Naptime
Just to be absolutely clear, you should trim them while your baby is napping. You definitely shouldn’t be trimming nails while you are sleeping. You shouldn’t even be in charge of nail clippers when you’re asleep.
If you’re struggling to summon up the courage to cut those teeny tiny nails, then wait until your baby is fast asleep. He will be blissfully unaware of what you’re doing, and it will be a wriggle-free, tear-free doddle.
#2: Baby Vests Have Wide Necks For A Reason
You know the envelope design at the top of baby vests? Well, it’s not just there to look cute; it has a practical purpose that could save you a lot of trouble.
If your baby has let off an almighty poop explosion in his nappy, simply pull the vest down his body. This will save you smearing poop on his head and will make the ‘poopsplosion’ easier to deal with. Still not pleasant though, sorry.
#3: Everything Is New To Your Baby
You don’t need to go out and spend a small fortune on a collection of all-singing, all-dancing, brightly-coloured plastic toys to entertain your baby.
Your baby is brand new, so everything in the world is new and exciting to him. But the most entertaining thing in your baby’s life right now is you.
At birth, your baby can detect light and motion, and make out faces close by. At the age of one month, he can focus on objects a foot away and make eye contact with you. Plenty of close contact and funny faces will help keep your baby entertained.
And when he is a bit older and ready for toys, look around the house. Sieves, sponges, pinecones … all of these things are readily available and won’t leave you penniless. Put together a treasure basket of everyday, household items for your baby to explore. Just remember to avoid any choking hazards.
#4: Most Baby Clothes Are Pointless
Newborns spend most of the day sleeping. There is no need to dress him in a three-piece suit with matching boots. It’s totally acceptable to leave your baby in babygrows or onesies for the first couple of months.
Comfort is key for newborn babies and ease is paramount for new parents. So don’t worry too much about dressing him head-to-toe in matching outfits.
If you decide to dress him up fancy, he will only poop, pee and spit up on himself within five minutes. Then he’ll be back in a babygrow anyway, so you might as well save yourself the bother (and the washing).
#5: Get Out Of The House Every Day
A bit of fresh air will do you both the world of good. Even when it’s raining and cold and gloomy, going outside will break up your day and make you both feel better. Your baby will enjoy seeing new sights and sounds, and will probably get that nap you’ve been hoping he’ll have.
Getting out of the house also gives you a chance to see something other than the same four walls. You might even enjoy some human interaction – even if it’s just a friendly smile from the postie.
Even if there are no baby groups in your area, and all your mum friends are busy, then head out anyway. Just go for a walk around your neighbourhood.
#6: Use A Bottle Teat To Give Your Baby Medicine
If your baby has been prescribed medicine, it might seem like ‘mission impossible’ to get him to take it. Both of you will probably end up covered in sticky medicine, and you will have no idea how much your baby has actually swallowed.
Fear not. A simple bottle teat will help. Just attach the medicine syringe to the teat and let your baby suck the medicine for himself. Easy.
For more information, take a look at this Genius Hack For Giving Your Baby Medicine.
#7: Cut The Feet Off Onesies
You don’t need to chuck away your favourite onesie just because it’s looking a little tight around your baby’s toes. You can chop off the feet (of the clothes, NOT THE BABY) and the onesie will fit for another month or so.
This hack means your baby can look gorgeous in your favourite onesie for even longer. And it will save you some money.
#8: Blackout Blinds Will Save You
You can resist them for as long as you like, but eventually you will invest in some blackout blinds. It might be when the sun rises at 5am, and disturbs your toddler. It could be when your school-aged child refuses to go to sleep when there’s still daylight at bedtime.
But it will happen.
You might as well buy them now so you can get your money’s worth. Having a dark room for your baby to sleep in might buy you a few extra minutes of sleep, too. You can’t put a price on that.
#9: You Can Get Bargain Baby Clothes At The Secondhand Store
Babies don’t get much wear out of their clothes. They grow fast, sleep all the time, and rarely wear the beautiful outfits your friends and family members give them.
Fortunately for you, other families in the same position donate many of those outfits to secondhand shops. That means you can pick them up at bargain prices.
You might even find some with the price tags still attached. It’s easy to pick up pristine, brand-new clothes for your newborn without having to break the bank.
#10: You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup
You need to put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others. Caring for a newborn is exhausting. You’re probably feeling sleep-deprived, hormonal, and touched out. And that’s ok.
It’s also ok to hand your baby to your partner and disappear for a while. Take a bath or a walk, or just have a cup of hot tea.. You don’t need to feel guilty about putting yourself first.
Self-care will make you a better mama, because then you’ll be better prepared for all the (literal) poop motherhood throws at you.
#11: Throw Out The Baby Books
You know that bookshelf, filled with baby books? Clear it now. Get rid of all the books. They’re full of advice about how to get your baby to sleep through, how you must stick to a rigid routine, and how you should do exactly what the book says, if you want results.
Well, no. These people are not the experts at looking after your baby. You are the expert. That doesn’t mean you always know exactly what you’re doing, but it does mean you’re the person best-placed to make decisions about your baby.
#12: Follow Your Baby’s Lead
Once you’ve got rid of those parenting manuals, you can focus on what really matters – your baby. Your baby will let you know when he’s hungry or tired or in need of a cuddle.
If you allow yourself to trust your instincts, you’ll feel your confidence growing each day. Follow your baby’s lead. He’s not bothered about sleep schedules, or which breast you fed from last, and for how long. He trusts you.
#13: Get A Sling
Remember, before you became a mama, how you had two arms? And how you could do things like eat food and carry things other than a baby?
Well, you can get your arms back. Buy a sling. Your baby will be happily snuggled up against your chest and you’ll have all four of your limbs at your disposal.
#14: Back up Your Photos
Ok, this might not sound like it’s newborn-specific, but there is nothing worse than the utter panic of thinking you might have lost every photo you have ever taken of your baby.
And, with a newborn baby to look after, you won’t have time to try to retrieve lost files. You will just ugly cry for hours. So, to avoid the problem in the first place, find a way to back up your photos automatically.
#15: Talk, Talk, Talk
When you’re a mama, talking is important. Your baby will learn about language and communication by listening to how you talk. Just as importantly, talking with other people will help you to deal with motherhood.
Talk to your partner, your mum and your best friend. Head out to a baby group and tell the other mothers how you are feeling. You’ll probably be relieved to know they’re feeling exactly the same way.
Being a mama isn’t easy. On some days it can be downright exhausting. You don’t have to deal with it alone.