“Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare” -Ed Asner
One of my dearest friends is going to have a baby within the next two weeks. My insides are about to implode with excitement for them!
We are going to have a little boy in our midst and I know my Summershine and her fur-brother are going to be so excited when they find out – there’s nothing like shepherding little world-changers alongside your besties.
In honor of my sweet friend, Kailey, I’m sharing 10 hacks I discovered for life with a newborn:
1. Poopy clothes bucket – Babies inevitably overflow their diapers a few times within those first weeks. Fill a bowl or bucket with sudsy water and any potions you feel comfortable using for stain removals and keep this by your changing table (I used seventh generation detergent and water).
When you change the baby, throw the poopy onesie in the bucket and forget about it. When the baby is napping and you find energy, return to the bucket and throw them in the washing machine. Some clothes may require that you get a washcloth and rub the places where the clothes got dirty before putting them in the washing machine
2. Laundry basket for car – When your baby is crying, you do not want to leave him or her on the floor in their car seat while you take 37 trips back and forth from the car to the kitchen to unload groceries.
Make it in one trip by loading all of the items that need to go inside into a laundry basket in trunk of your car and grabbing the basket on your way in. Easy peasy.
3. Pink noise – This is mainly for colicky babies, and I must forewarn you it can cause headaches, but you must weigh the headache you procure from a screaming baby verses the headache you acquire from pink noise and pick your poison.
You may or may not know that there are several colors on the noise spectrum (I do not understand the science behind this despite marrying a sound engineer – click here if you are interested in learning more).
There is the more popular white noise, and the less popular pink, brown, blue, violet, grey, red, black, green, etc. noises.
Research shows that pink noise actually soothes the nerves of a crying baby better than other sounds.
4. Blue tooth headphones – In the early, newborn days, the baby often wants to be held or nursed for several hours (usually in the middle of the night). Sometimes reading can get monotonous. You may find yourself craving a Netflix binge, but you do not want to wake the baby or your spouse (if y’all are co- sleeping)…
Wireless headphones make it possible for you to listen to your favorite show or podcast without waking the others, and it also eliminates the frustration of the wiggly baby getting tangled in the headphone wires.
My favorite binges during these early days included Parenthood and Gilmore Girls – both awesome content for new mamas.
5. Snack/nursing stations – For breastfeeding moms, it’s important that you stay well hydrated and keep your calorie content sufficient. Your body requires more calories while nursing than it did when you were pregnant. Ample water can also help boost your supply. On every table next to comfy chairs it is helpful to have a bowl of nuts (or some snack that does not need to be refrigerated), a water bottle with a straw, a boppy or pillow, a burp cloth, and a phone charger.
Maintaining these snack/nursing stations is an awesome assignment for dads. Ryan kept a station stashed in the nursery, at my bedside, and in our living room.
6. Fridge Help List – There will likely be several family members and friends who stop by and want to help. If you are fortunate, you may even have a relative offer to come stay with you for a while to help offset some of the household responsibilities.
Your number one goal during these early days is to get lots of skin to skin with your baby, nurse, and rest. In order to make this possible, write out all of the daily and weekly chores you do around the house, entitle it “Help me by…” and placed it on your fridge where all guests can see it.
My list included cleaning the floors, getting doghair off my couch, what day and where to set out the trash and recycling, when to feed the dog and take him out to potty, details about my laundry process, etc. For husbands who need written reminders and lists, this is a great way to provide that without nagging or feeling presumptuous by continually asking for help.
7. Extra Pump Parts – Nobody wants to wash pump parts at 3AM. Your insurance will provide you with a pump for free. This pump will usually come with two bottles and two flanges. Buy an extra set of bottles and flanges. When you finish pumping in the middle of the night, you do not want to have to pour the milk into a container, clean the parts, and return to bed. You will want to shove that milk in the fridge and head back up to bed to enjoy the time you have to sleep. Do yourself this favor and spend some of that Target gift card on some extra pump parts, you’ll thank me later.
8. Towels by the bed – Sometimes your baby will spit up and pee in your bed. Right where you planned on sleeping. And this will probably happen at 1:32AM after you finish nursing and you’re getting ready to slip into slumber. Have a few towels next to the bed that you can use to wipe up some of the mess. Throw a clean towel over the dirty spot, climb back in bed and sleep. I know, this sounds gross right now…but when you are desperate for sleep at 1:32AM you will not care.
9. Freeze the meals – Sometimes people will drop off a meal on the one day you feel energized enough to actually cook for yourself! Cook anyway. Take advantage of these bursts of energy. Cook and freeze what you make, or freeze the meal someone brings you. This will be a gift to you during a future sleep regression when the meals stop coming and you have little energy!
10. Gas Drops – Hyland’s Gas Drops saved us. Every baby is different. Some babies respond really well to Gripe Water (our baby didn’t). Buy a couple different options. You will want this by your rocking chair. If your baby is not soothed by the “5 S’s” (Shushing, swaddle, side/stomach position, swing, suck ) use these homeopathic drops. Our pediatrician allowed us to start using these during her first week of life.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3