Newborn hacks are not something that you will just know – it takes a lot of trial and error to do the momming thing right.
Most of the parenting books have a lot of practical information, and I certainly recommend you absorb what you can. There are some things that the books don’t go over, so I wanted to give those to you now.
I have also reached out to other mom’s who provide valuable information that helped them survive the newborn stage.
Newborn HacksQuick Navigation
Newborn Feeding Tips
Newborn Clothing Hacks
Newborn Home Remedy Tips
Newborn Comfort & Bonding Tips
There are affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
BABY SLEEP HACKS AND TIPS
GENERAL SLEEP TIPS
We had a lot of rough nights before we understood how to get baby to sleep through the night. Baby sleep music and white noise will help a lot, but they are only as useful as your ability to understand and time the baby sleep schedule.
Here are a couple of specific things to remember, or you can read a whole post on baby sleep tips and tricks.
- Baby needs to sleep at night and be up during the day
- Babies need A LOT of sleep. (newborns need an average of 14-17 hours in a 24 hour period)
- Routine, routine, routine
- Use a swaddle–and buy one that velcros shut! I loved my Ollie!
Related: The Best Newborn Swaddles
SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS
“I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, but it really is important. You might think “but when my baby is asleep is the only time I get anything done”.
That might seem true, but I guarantee that you will still find time for the other stuff. (Just the important things… You need priorities when baby is tiny).
If you are getting more sleep you will be able to think clearer, feel more rested and have more energy! It will be easier to get everything else done quickly.” –Sasha over at Life’s Carousel
CHECK OUT A SLEEP PROGRAM
If you find that your little one is still struggling with sleep even though you have tried EVERYTHING, consider looking into21 Days of Peace and Quiet, which is a program run by a nurse.
She has been helping new parents get their littles to sleep for ten years. She has a couple of free resources too, so it’s worth checking out.
GET A PROJECTOR
“I used a projector that put moving stars on the ceiling. It really helped when my baby was unsettled at night as it gave her something to look at and helped her get back to sleep.” –Hayley from Miss Many Pennies
We use a projector from Fisher-Price, and it has been a COMPLETE LIFESAVER with baby number two.
Related: How to Survive the First Week With a Newborn
DAY AND NIGHT
“If your newborn has their days and nights mixed up, make sure to keep their environment noisy and bright during the day, and quiet and dark at night.
Take baby on errands, go for walks, and keep them around people all day. (Even if they are napping, it will be lesser quality sleep.)
At night, keep everything quiet and dark even when they wake up to eat. I would always nurse mine with just a nightlight, change them and wrap them back up and right back to bed. No extra stimulation.
With this routine, they will soon sort out their sleep schedule and do their long, restorative stretches of sleep at night.” –Caitlen from Real Mom Recs
FOCUS ON AWAKE TIMES
“Focus on wake times, not sleep times! I stressed so much over the length of my daughter’s naps and once I focused on how long she could be awake instead, she slept much better!” –Alison who blogs at Crafting The Good
“Use white noise to help your baby sleep longer and more soundly! I totally second this–white noise saved my sleep with my second baby.” –Beth at A Little Knick a Little Knack
Beth was able to use a free white noise app which is great for the money conscious.
Personally, I love my budget-friendly little machine— My kids and I each have our own.
USE A TISSUE
This newborn hack is genius (if you can get it to work!)
Watch the video below to see how you can get your baby to sleep in seconds (disclaimer I tried and this did NOT work on my baby).
NEWBORN FEEDING HACKS
TAKE A BREASTFEEDING COURSE
I know this isn’t exactly a newborn hack, but it’s still one of the best things you can do to prepare for a newborn. Breastfeeding does NOT come naturally for many new mothers.
I personally loved Stacey’s Milkology course. It is SUPER cheap and comprehensive. This is the only resource you will need. Stacey also has a back-to-work pumping class you can check out when your maternity leave ends.
AWESOME TIP FROM A FEEDING THERAPIST
“We don’t often think that as babies start solids one of the most important things we can do for them is to focus on increasing their oral motor skills.
Instead of using rounded teething toys, use chewy tubes (you can find those here). They will help baby gently train his tongue to go side to side and that’s the first movement they need to learn in chewing.
This allows them to have another skill when it comes time at 8-9-10 months old to introduce mixed texture foods (more on feeding milestones here).
It also trains their gag reflex in a gentle and natural way pushing it back from the middle of their tongue farther and farther back. There will be less gagging, less crying and less fuss at mealtimes!” –Ana from Nourished Little Munchkins
NUTRITION NEWBORN HACK
“My best newborn hack is to watch what you eat from day 1 if you are breastfeeding. Fussiness in babies can often be caused by irritating foods like dairy, but also tomato sauce and citrus, and a few others.
Adjusting your diet in the first few months can mean less indigestion in your baby, less spitting up and contribute to better sleep.
Whatever you eat is going to come out in baby’s diaper.
I also noticed less diaper rash in my newborns when I avoided these foods.
If you feel like you are doing everything and your baby is still fussy, start examining your diet for foods that might be irritating your baby.” –Lisa at Birth Eat Love
BREASTFEED LAYING DOWN
Learn to breastfeed laying down! Your lactation consultant can help you with this genius nursing position.
It was so helpful both during the day or at night. At night, I could comfortably nurse while half asleep, whereas if I nursed sitting up I would fully wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep afterward.
During the day, it helps on those days when your back is aching or the baby is cluster feeding. Total game changer!” –Cindy from Living for the Sunshine
FEEDING AND SLEEPING
“Before stressing about the fact that your sleep training isn’t working take a look at your daytime schedule. If your baby’s is grazing all day they will want to do the same thing at night.
When you baby is old enough begin creating a daily feeding schedule and it will make a huge difference with their sleeping patterns.” –Amy from Daily Successful Living
Related:How To Increase Milk Supply Fast
“This is the process of your baby feeding while they sleep. It can be done with breast or bottle, and it can help top your little one off to help them sleep through the night.” –Toni from Becoming Schultz
“Instead of washing your pump pieces after every session, simply store them in the refrigerator to save time. The temperature inhibits any bacterial growth, so there’s no downside other than cold nips.” –Mary from Organizing Chaos 101
Command hooks are useful for many things. I read a newborn hack that recommended putting a command hook (find’em here!) on the back of my high chair.
This is where we now keep our bibs so that we always know where one is.
DIAPERING HACKS, TIPS, & IDEAS
NEW BEFORE OLD
When changing your baby’s diaper, put a new one under the old one BEFORE pulling the old diaper out.
A nurse at the hospital showed us this when my first was born (yes, we had to be shown how to change a diaper), and it’s been very beneficial. You don’t want to ruin your lovely carpet with baby pee and poop.
NIGHT-TIME DIAPER HACK
Buy diapers one size up for night time wear. Waking up with a pee soaked baby is no one’s idea of a good morning.
WAIT IT OUT
If your baby just pooped, give them a good five minutes to clear anything else out.
Trust me–we had too many times where we changed her right away (like good parents should), and ended up getting pooped on.
PUT SOME BAGGIES IN YOUR DIAPER BAG
At some point, your lovely little baby may suffer a poop explosion out in public. Make sure you are prepared with a couple of ziplock bags and outfit changes at all times.
NEWBORN BOY PEE HACK
Baby boys are notorious for peeing on their doting caregivers.
Although there is no proven way to avoid this, there are a few tips that people swear by.
- Swipe a wet wipe under his belly button right before a diaper change
- Avoid extreme temperature changes during the diaper change
- Fresh air can trigger peeing
- Put a cloth (or one of these) over his penis when changing him
PICK UP A SPATULA
Diaper cream is kind of a joke to try and wash off.
When rinsing, you’ll find that you end up smearing the diaper rash cream in even more. You have a couple of options.
Either you can use something like this spatula to paint the diaper rash cream on, or you can wipe it off on a towel after using your fingers.
The type of diaper rash cream you use is important too. You will find that some kinds do not spread as easy, while others won’t come off your hands, despite your best efforts.
Personally, we loved this kind the best. It spread easily, came off our hands easily, and didn’t have the nauseating smell that some other big brands have.
UMBILICAL CORD TRICK
Most newborn-sized diapers have a little slit built into them in the umbilical cord area. Once you move up to a size one, it’s unlikely you will have these.
Bigger babies may never fit in a newborn-sized diaper. If this is the case, go ahead and fold the diaper down so it will not irritate the umbilical cord area.
NEWBORN CLOTHING HACKS
NEWBORN SLEEPER HACK
Buy sleepers that open at the bottom. This way you can avoid having to fully unzip baby to change their bottom in the middle of the night.
These ones are rather adorable.
I know that some of the cutest sleepers come with buttons or snaps.
Unless you get satisfaction from spending an hour buttoning a clothing item only to unbutton because you missed one somewhere, I suggest you stick with something you can zip up.
MESH-LINED BAG TO SAVE YOUR SOCKS
We weren’t sure why we kept needing to buy socks on a weekly basis until we figured out that our washing machine was eating them.
Buy a mesh-lined bag to keep your baby socks safe while washing them.
You can find a mesh-lined bag on Amazon! (Like everything else that exists.)
ONESIE NEWBORN HACK
“Baby onesies are designed to be taken off from both the bottom and the top.
This means if they have a blow out you can actually roll it down off their shoulders and take it off at the bottom! This was a life saver for those extra fun diaper changes!” –Stormy from Pregnant Mama Baby Life
“Keep an extra outfit in your car for both the baby and YOU.
My daughter was a spitter. I kept an outfit for work in my car at all times because she would spit up on me as I was dropping her off at daycare in the morning. Going into work covered in spit up is not exactly professional.
Related: Signs of a Bad Daycare Provider
She also got me good at a family gathering for a holiday, and I had to get my spare outfit out of the car.
Your extra outfit doesn’t need to go into the diaper bag if you need the space. The baby’s spare outfit can go in the bag. Just keep yours in the car.” –Niki from Toots, Mom is Tired
NEWBORN HOME REMEDY TIPS
DEALING WITH CRADLE CAP
“As infants, both of my sons were blessed with dry skin around the hairline and brow bone. They also had mild cradle cap. The peeling, scaly flakes drove me crazy!
Putting baby lotion on the area just made a bigger mess because the skin would roll and peel up into sticky clumps.
One day, on a whim, I decided to apply the lotion to the dry areas during bath time while my son was still wet so the dead skin clean up would be easier…It worked like a charm!
The towel acted as an abrasive to gently scrub the skin away while also collecting it.
Their skin always looks great for days after I do this. I applied a similar method to the scalp…Rub the lotion into wet hair and scalp (like conditioner), let it set a few minutes, then brush through, rinse with water and towel dry.
It really helped loosen the scales and get rid of the cradle cap more quickly.” –Mary from Organizing Chaos 101
“Wait until they are sleeping! Wait twenty minutes after naptime or bedtime and check on them. If you can lift their arm without them tensing this is a perfect time!
You can read more about this here if cutting nails makes you nervous.” –Em over at Healthy Wealthy Vida
We never used a Nose Frida (you can find it right here) but I had friends that did. Just in case you DON’T know what these are used for..let me enlighten you.
The Nose Frida (snot sucker) is a nasal aspirator that will help clear a build-up of mucus in your baby’s sinuses (which is common in newborns).
Related: Strange But Normal Newborn Behavior
The newborn hack part of this product is in how it is used. You (mom or dad) get to basically suck the snot out of your baby’s nasal passages. I know it sounds disgusting, but many moms swear by it!
Alternatively, the nose aspirator you receive at the hospital is better than anything you will buy in the store – so hold onto it. That was enough for us, but the Nose Frida is an option if you need to do something more aggressive.
A lot of baby medicine comes with a dropper. Not only are droppers less accurate than a syringe, but they are ridiculously MORE challenging to use than a syringe.
USE A PACIFIER
Most babies do well with medications, but not all.
If your baby does not like being restrained, or if you just don’t feel comfortable administering medication, use a pacifier. This will not work with all babies, but it may be worth a try.
Get your baby sucking on the paci (these are our favorite) and squirt the medication into the pacifier so they can suck it right in.
“If you have a baby who is having trouble with gas, try a little bit of gripe water. When my son switched to formula, he had a tough time with gas, but I would give him a little bit of gripe water and he would feel better almost instantly!” –Joanna at Mom With Cookies
BICYCLES, BICYCLES, BICYCLES
Most babies get gassy. Gas is pretty painful for your little one, so gassy usually means fussy too. Move baby’s legs in a bicycle motion to help relieve some of the gas buildup.
“If you’re nursing your baby and they seem to be really colicky/gassy, limit your use of dairy and watch what you eat!
Once I did this, my baby was so much happier and if that doesn’t work, give them some gripe water and a warm bath and that should do the trick!!” –Florence from Italian Polish Mama
BATH NEWBORN HACK
If your little one does not like to be bathed (our second baby HATED baths) you can try swaddle bathing. This is where you wrap them in a swaddling cloth and put them in the bathtub.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Bathing a Baby
You can unwrap one limb at a time. After washing, go ahead and rewrap them.
We found this seemed to help with our second, although keeping baby warm is definitely a concern.
“Use Gerber Soothe Colic Drops to prevent and treat belly aches and belly cramps”–she swears by it! –Hilda from Real Mom Help
NEWBORN COMFORT & BONDING HACKS
USE A PACIFIER
“I know that pacifiers aren’t for everyone, but trust me, as a mom of three, pacifiers can be a worthy godsend (these are our favorite ones)!
To get your newborn to take a pacifier, it’s ok to introduce it early – all of my kids had a pacifier within their first day! – as long as you’re offering it after a feeding session, not as a feeding replacement.
If your baby isn’t taking to a pacifier right away, try softly tapping the back of the pacifier as it sits in their mouth. The gentle tapping motion will encourage your baby to begin sucking.
It usually only takes a few times of doing this before your newborn will get it and be able to take the pacifier on their own.” –Ronni from The Screenwriters Wife
GREAT BONDING WITH BABY
“Take family showers with your newborn. The skin-to-skin contact is good for building your relationship with your baby.” –Shari from Diary of a Sol Cal Momma
Related: How to Bond With Baby
“If you have a baby that prefers being held all the time or only sleeps when they’re held, babywear! It’s a lifesaver because you have your hands free to do other things but you’re still meeting the needs of your baby.
Plus your baby is less likely to be fussy because they are still being held next to you in the baby carrier/wrap!” –Christina from Raising Biracial Babies
Personally, I loved my Lille Baby and my back thanked me for it!
Get toys with rings so that you can attach them to various things.
Personally, we used toys and pacifiers (with a clip) and attached them to our baby carrier.
This way our little one had something to entertain her while I was carrying her around. This also becomes useful as you can use these same toys in a car seat or stroller.
UNDERSTAND YOUR NEWBORN’S CUES
“They will let you know what they need and when they need it using subtle cues. Get to know your baby’s cries as they can guide you as well. Their cries will sound different depending on what they need.” –Kayle at Parenting Expert to Mom
My babies did not really like tummy time – and honestly I am not sure I have met a baby that does!
Lay down on your stomach so you are eye-level with baby. This way you are supporting and bonding with them.
This newborn hack is one that will come of use to any mother that uses a pacifier – because you will KNOW how difficult it is to keep them clean!
To help keep your paci clean, you have a couple of options.
Use an empty plastic sauce container to keep it in (yes, like the ones at restaurants)
Purchase a pacifier case (like this one)
Purchase a pacifier that automatically goes inside out when it hits the ground so it doesn’t get dirty (my favorite!)
Keep your paci on a clip attached to your baby (although this one always made me nervous!)
“I think the best newborn hack is to accept help when it’s offered, and ask for help when you need it. It can be overwhelming to have a tiny new human who is totally dependent on you for everything.
It can be very easy to fall into the guilt trap we set for ourselves – thinking we need to be able to do it all, and then feel guilt when we have difficulty meeting that expectation. We can’t do it all.
Related: Powerful Self Care Tips for New Moms
In the past, a new mom would have a ton of help, and that just doesn’t happen these days unless we arrange it. Nobody will think less of you for accepting or requesting assistance.” –Anna from Abrazo and Coze
GET CONNECTED TO OTHER MOMS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
“It takes a village to raise a child, so it is super important to build yourself a connection of other moms that you can rant to when frustrated, hang out with when you want adult conversation, and just create connections.
I spent my whole maternity leave exploring as many community locations, and baby programs in my neighborhood and making mom friends.
It is easy to feel bored and isolated at home so the best way to combat potential postpartum blues is to get out and make connections.” –Erin from Little Miss Kate
“Have something that is portable to set baby in (bouncer, napper, etc). This way you can take the baby with you when you go to the bathroom or to shower.” –Pamela over at Hodge Podge Moments
Related:Best Baby Products
“The best newborn tip I was given was to do one thing every day for myself. As a new, nursing mom, recovering from a C-section, this by far was the best advice I was given.
By taking care of myself each day (mine was taking a shower), I felt refreshed and better able to take care of my newborn.” –Lisa at Cheerfully Simple
Which newborn hack did you find the most useful? What other hacks have you tried? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
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Tomorrow for nap time I’m trying that tissue trick. That was amazing!
Also, I 100% agree with the side-lying nursing tip. This is our primary method of nursing now because most of the time sitting up was hurting my back! I only feed my son sitting up now if we’re out somewhere or if I want to sit on the couch with my hubs.
Jamie, LOL you will have to let me know how that goes! The tissue trick worked for my little one…but she was the easiest sleeper we had! And yes..side nursing is a lot more comfortable than some alternatives. Good luck!
I can’t believe I made so many mistakes as a new mom.
With my first baby i did so many stupid things that took so much of my time, trying to do the best all the time. I love this article, thank you for sharing! I will recommend it to my friends.
Hey Suz – we’ve ALL been there! I’m glad you liked the article. 🙂
Penelope Smith says
My sister just found out that she is pregnant with her first child. It is good to know that she will need to clip the babies nails. It does seem smart because those nails could cut you or the baby as well.
Hi Penelope! Congrats to your sister! And yes – you’ll definitely want to clip those nails – they can be pretty brutal.