No matter how much research you do beforehand, no matter how many parenting classes you attend, nothing can ever really prepare you for the trials of parenthood. There’s no miracle trick to getting a baby to sleep, nor is there any way of taking away the trial of feeding and winding, however there are small hacks that can be useful to know as a new parent that many of your friends and family may not even know. Here are just a few of those hacks that could be worth trying out.
Create baby stations around your home for your convenience
Every room deserves a baby station. This is somewhere for stashing diapers, bibs, wipes and any other useful baby kit. These stations should be placed strategically in locations where you and your baby are most likely to spend your time. In the bedroom, you ideally want everything on top of or inside the bedside cabinet beside you do that you don’t have to get out of bed in the night (you could even put bottles and formula milk here to prevent you having to trek to the kitchen). In the living room, consider having your station next to the sofa where you usually sit. Having items in arm’s reach will come in handy if you need them in an emergency such as muslin blanket for catching some sick. Also try to place a trashcan nearby so that you can conveniently dispose of used diapers and wipes.
Keep a reserve stash of baby stuff in the car
It’s worth keeping a few essentials items such as formula milk, diapers and spare baby clothes in the car. If you go around someone’s house and realise that you haven’t brought enough diapers or milk, you can use your emergency car stash to avoid cutting your visit short. This could allow you to feel less restricted when leaving the house. Just make sure that you’re not keeping anything in the car that could go off such as jars of baby food.
Invest in products to make breastfeeding more comfortable
Breastfeeding can be challenging and uncomfortable at times. Investing in a few products could make things easier. A nursing pillow is a great item to own, offering support for your baby whilst feeding so that your arms or legs don’t have to take as much strain. Maternity bras meanwhile can offer easier access and more comfort and support for your breasts. There are then life-saving gadgets such as breast pumps that can allow you to transfer milk into a bottle where it can be refrigerated for later use – this could allow your partner to take turns doing night feeds or could simply allow others to help out during the day.
Try the tissue hack to get your baby to sleep
If your baby is fighting sleep, try running a tissue downwards over their face. For some infants, this can cause them to instantly close their eyes and fall asleep (it’s practically hypnosis). This trick doesn’t work on all newborns unfortunately, but it’s still worth trying out.
Keep your baby asleep by swaddling them tight
Wrapping your baby up tight with a blanket is known as swaddling and can be very effective at helping some babies to sleep. This is because it gives babies the same tight feeling as being in the womb. On top of using a blanket, you can also buy a baby sack, which is practically a sleeping bag for babies. This is great for babies that are starting to use their limbs and for whom swaddling with a blanket may be too restrictive.
Invest in some blackout curtains for your bedroom
Does you baby constantly wake up at the crack of dawn? This is likely to be down to the light, which babies quickly associate as being time to wake up. Buying blackout curtains for your bedroom window could prevent the light coming in early in the morning, encouraging your baby to sleep in longer. This could help you to get more sleep – you may even be able to get a lie in at the weekend! Blackout curtains come in all shapes and sizes. You can even buy blackout blinds.
Try using white noise if your baby has trouble sleeping
Some babies get so accustomed to noise that they find the silence at night unsettling. White noise has been found to help many babies get to sleep. This is because it’s thought to resemble what it sounds like inside the womb, a sound that your baby has got used to over the last nine months. You can buy devices that transmit white noise, or you can alternatively download an app on your phone. Of course, if this noise drives you crazy and stops you from sleeping, it may not be the best compromise.
Always pack extra clothes for yourself when leaving the house
Many parents remember to pack a change of clothes for their infant, but not for themselves. Having a spare shirt for yourself could come in handy however if your infant is sick on you or simply decides to drool everywhere. This could certainly be useful at a special event such as a wedding.
Keep pacifiers clean on the go with a pacifier steriliser
Many babies find it comforting to suck on a pacifier, but it can be frustrating if they spit them out onto the floor – if you’re out and about and there isn’t a sink and tap nearby you may have no way of then cleaning the pacifier. Fortunately, you can buy portable pacifier sterilisers which can help to keep them clean on the go. Before you leave the house, you simply put a sterilising tablet in them and fill them up with water – the device is then ready to clean your pacifiers. These sterilisers are conveniently small and can be carried around in a pocket.
Invest in a travel cot and a travel high chair
Staying round someone’s house with a baby or staying in a hotel can be difficult – you may have to check that they can supply a cot and high chair. A more convenient option is to buy a portable travel cot and high chair to take with you. Some of these are so collapsible that they can fit into a suitcase allowing you to take them on a plane if you wanted. Some may also be light enough to carry and may even come with a shoulder strap for slinging on your back. Travel cots and travel high chairs are often two of the items that most parents wish they’d bought earlier as they can offer the freedom to travel anywhere. You should shop around online to find the cheapest options available – the likes of Gumtree are great for getting cheap travel cots and travel high chairs second-hand.
Keep an eye on your baby and get household chores done by using a baby sling
It can be frustrating having to interrupt washing the dishes or hoovering the house because you baby is throwing a tantrum in their baby bouncer. Using a baby sling allows you to keep your baby close whilst getting household chores done. It’s worth adding some chew toys to the sling to discourage them from reaching out for other items or pulling your hair.