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Friday, January 20, 2012

Baby Hacks

As I navigate the world of parenthood for the first time, I'm slowly collecting a list of tricks that makes life easier.  Usually just by a minute amount, but all those tiny bits of easy add up and in the long run you have like a whole year of easy.  Or something.

Some of these are things that are tried and true by me, and some are ones that others have told me. I starred the ones that are Carys tested and approved. But as with anything baby related, what works for one kid is not likely to work for yours. That's pretty much how it works, I think. You read what works for other people and it's fairly certain to not work for you. But maybe your baby isn't such a rebel and will be more complacent. Ha! That's a lie. Babies are never complacent.

If you have one to add, include it in the comments and I'll be sure to update!

- To aid in transition to the crib from a bassinet or Rock n Play sleeper, put a rolled up towel or pool noodle under the sheet in a U shape to mimic the confinement of the smaller space. *Note* this could be a SIDs risk, though putting it under the sheet helps with that a bit. I wouldn't personally do it until I had an older baby, but when you're desperate...
- If your baby wakes up the second you put them down, place a heating pad on the mattress for a few minutes to make it nice and warm.*
- To aid with reflux or even just a stuffed-up baby, place a thick book under the crib mattress or lower the mattress settings at one end to give a slight recline to the crib.*
- To aid in a daycare transition (or even out of co-sleeping), sleep with your baby's blanket or sheet overnight, so when they are using it they are comforted by your familiar smell. 

- Correctly using the 5 S's (swaddling, holding on baby's side, shushing (noise you make), swinging (rocking baby firmly side to side), and sucking (bottle, nipple, pacifier) can instantly calm a fussy baby. 
- The colic hold is great for fussy babies....try it! Place the baby facedown along your forearm with their face by your elbow and their legs hanging on either side of your hand. Use the heel of your hand to slightly put pressure on their tummy. They should be facing out or down. Hold your arm close to your body to brace the baby in place.
- Try taking a bath or shower with the baby. The skin-to-skin contact and warm water can be calming. 
- Use mattress pad protectors to do naked booty time - one of the best diaper rash cures/preventions out there.*
- Especially with a boy, blow on his goods when you undo the diaper, then put the diaper back down. This often stimulates them to pee, which will prevent pee on your face.
- Rash creams: 50/50 Maalox/Aquafor mix*, coconut oil* (bonus: cloth diaper safe!), breastmilk* (yes, seriously)
- For yeast rash, read this.*

- Use coconut oil to combat dry skin, diaper rash, or any other skin irritation. Great for drool rashes too!*
- If they have a fever, take their socks off to help it break faster.
- Use breastmilk as a cure-all for just about anything that ails them. Clogged tear duct? BM. Baby acne? BM (like overnight, it's a miracle!). Diaper rash? BM. Pinkeye? BM.*
- If you need to give your child medicine that they won't take, blow in their face after you've gotten it in their mouth to stimulate their swallowing reflex.* You can also try giving them the medicine from a bottle nipple.
- If you need to go the hospital with your baby, use baby socks on their hands to prevent them from pulling at IVs and ports. 
- For congested babies, run the hottest shower you can, aim it low so there's a place for you and your baby to sit out of the direct water line, and close the shower curtain around the shower to contain the steam. Sit in the tub with the baby (or sit them in their baby tub) to help clear their sinuses.
- For fast and natural earache relief (temporary, not used in place of a doctor visit), put a drop of olive oil in the affected ear.
- To help relieve gas, try lifting the baby's feet above his head and making a counterclockwise circle with his knees pressed towards his chest.

- Put your emergency contact information and baby stats on an index card, put the index card in a baggie, and tape the baggie on the side of your car seat.*
- If it's winter and you need them in a warm coat, but are concerned about the safety of a fluffy coat in a car seat, put them in the car seat, then put the coat on them backwards after they are strapped in. Once you arrive at your destination, you have the coat ready to go!*
- Park next to cart return bins at stores.* If your child is still in an infant seat, it lets you put the seat in a cart immediately and wheel it into the store, and allows you to return the cart after shopping without leaving your child at all. If your child is in a convertible seat and rides in the cart, you can put your child in the cart immediately and not have to worry about the danger of them bolting in a parking lot.
- To soften hard furniture edges or fireplaces, look for pipe insulation in a home improvement store. Lots cheaper and more variety in color than what they sell in baby stores!

- Most restaurant workers know this, but you can turn the wooden restaurant high chairs upside down to hold an infant car seat.*
- Buy a cheap shower curtain or shower liner to put under the highchair for easy cleanup.
- Add gas drops directly to the bottle if formula feeding. It will dissipate bubbles and help to prevent gas even more.
- If you're dealing with a nursing strike, try taking a warm bath with the baby, or doing a nurse-in, where you and baby lie in bed and do as much skin-to-skin time as possible.*

- If your child hates bathing, try taking a bath with him or her.*
- Most babies prefer water warmer than what the "temperature warning" gauges say.*
- Test the water temperature with your elbow rather than your hand.*
- Heat up the room where the bath is taking place and the room where the baby will be immediately after the bath with a space heater.*
- Try an adult towel if your baby cries at the end of the bath. Most baby towels are too thin to provide any warmth.*

- Put frozen grapes, apple, or any other food (including formula or breastmilk) into a mesh feeders for instant relief.*
- Place applesauce into the center of a washcloth, twist the washcloth around it, and freeze. You can also wet the center of a washcloth to achieve the same effect.*

- If you have a front loader, check the rubber ring around the door...baby socks love to hide there!*
- To get poop stains out, dampen the garment and put in the sun (even in the winter or through a window!).*
- If your child hates things being pulled over their head, put onesies on from the bottom up and take them off the same way (in the case of blowouts, you can remove them this way also to prevent poop from getting all over the baby).
- Use dresses as tunics and tops over pants or leggings once they no longer work as dresses.*
- If you have sleepers that snap up the legs, snap the legs before you put them on the baby, and then just snap up the front while it's on the baby. So much faster and easier and much less likely to make a mistake!

- Store your pump parts in the fridge between pumping sessions if you can't wash and sterilize.*
- Attach rubber bands or paperclips to your nursing bra to make the straps long enough to hold your pump in place for hands-free pumping.*
- Cut holes in a sports bra (the kind that zip up the front work best but any will do) to make a DIY hands-free pumping bra.*
- Store frozen bags of milk in a standard-size gift bag. Cut a slot at the bottom of the gift bag and pull milk from there, and you'll always be pulling the oldest.

- If your child is too short for the jumperoo on the lowest setting, put a couch cushion or pillow under his or her feet to allow them to use it. Similarly, place a rolled up blanket around their torso to help stabilize if needed.*

- Cloth diaper prefolds can be used for anything and everything. Even if you're not cloth diapering, it's great to have a dozen or so on hand. Burp cloths, changing pad covers, rolled up as head rests, towels, washcloths...you'll find yourself reaching for them constantly.


  1. If you are fortunate enough to have a personal minifridge at work, that would work perfectly for storing pump parts. But if you are sharing a fridge with the rest of the office, it might be awkward (or at least it was for me). According to Kellymom.com a quick rinse with water is fine for storate in between pumping sessions during the day, thanks to the anti-bodies in BM!

    My little girl will be 2 in April and we just went through the toddler bed transition. My biggest tip - the TWILIGHT TURTLE! It will be your best friend. Norah was never scared of the dark, until we took her crib safe haven away. This helped so much and also helps her for when we travel back to see our family who lives in Omaha.

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  2. To add to the diapering tricks...
    Our daughter LOVED to pee right in the middle of a diaper change. Our NICU nurses told us it was because the "cold breeze" stimulates them. The nurses trick was to push down on her lower abdomen just a little bit before you take off that dirty/wet diaper. If there is anything in their little bladder, it will usually come out and saves you from getting peed on or wasting a brand new diaper!

  3. Lindsay, I have a shared fridge too - I have a cooler pack that I put the milk and pump parts in to avoid embarrassment!

  4. It is so nice of you to share such a post most of the babies do got skin rashes due to diaper.

  5. Another diaper rash cure we found, thanks to a brilliant nurse, is Calmaseptine (spelling?). It's found usually at CVS or Walgreens, may have to ask the pharmacist as it may be behind the counter.

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