Newborn 101: 7 Tips and Tricks for Surviving the First Months

Life with a newborn is full of many firsts. From the first time sleeping in their nursery, to the first diaper blowout — babies sure know how to keep us on our toes! Today, I am sharing seven tips and tricks I learned that made life a little easier with a newborn at home.

Safety Check the Nursery

Safety is one of the biggest concerns that comes with welcoming a baby. Thankfully you will have a few months before your little one is digging through the kitchen cabinets and curious about the outlets, but one room you should focus on baby proofing right away is the nursery. Check the location of your crib—is it near a window with curtains or blinds? If so, this could pose a strangulation hazard. Do you have artwork hanging on the wall above the changing table or the crib? Wall decorations can be knocked off by curious little hands and legs. Consider positioning the crib in the center of the nursery to keep these dangers out of reach.

Keep an Exercise Ball on Hand

Learning newborn cues and how to calm their tears can have a substantial learning curve. A little trick we discovered when our son was an infant was sitting on an exercise ball while holding him and bouncing him back to sleep. The exercise ball became our go-to soothing tool during our first months of parenthood. Bouncing on the ball can be reminiscent of the movement the infant experiences in the momma’s belly as she walks and moves around. This familiar motion can help calm a fussy baby and it is also a great core exercise for momma!

Do a Small Load of Laundry Each Morning

Staying on top of the household chores can be tough with a newborn. Between the outfit changes, extra bed sheets, swaddles, and baby blankets, it is easy for the laundry to pile up. Try tossing a small load of laundry into the washing machine each morning. Not only will this help you to keep on top of the laundry, but it also will help keep stains from becoming permanent. Newborns sure know how to make some tough stains to remove—treating the stains quickly is key!

Practice Safe Sleep

With newborns spending nearly two-thirds of their day sleeping, making sure their sleep environment is safe is of upmost importance. For infant bedding, the mattress should always be firm and fit snuggly into the crib. Use a crib that is JPMA Certified. Cribs that earn this safety seal meet rigorous safety standards set by the juvenile products industry.

The position you lay your newborn to sleep in is also important. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ideal sleep position for a newborn is on their back. Remember the mantra “back to sleep” as a simple reminder of the optimal sleep position. Also, be sure that your infant’s sleep area is clear of any attachments, blankets, or stuffed animals. Sleep sacks or swaddles are a great tool for keeping your little one warm at night.

Park Near the Shopping Cart Drop-offs

Trips to the store can be a little more complicated with an infant in tow. Rather than searching for the parking spot that is closest to the store entrance, search for a spot next to the shopping cart collection areas. After lugging my little boy’s infant car seat across far too many parking lots, I finally learned this little trick. With shopping carts now right next to your car, you can place your little on in the cart with ease. This is especially handy after unloading a cart full of groceries!

Do a Double Check on Diapers

Preventing diaper leaks tends to always be on the mind of a new parent. If you are like me, when you hear a little belly rumble you immediately start sending out good vibes that this diaper is going to hold what is about to come. A few tips for diapers—the ruffled edge on disposable diapers is designed to be positioned outward rather than tucked in to the diaper. It serves as an extra leak guard layer. Be sure the diaper tape is attached symmetrically to prevent the diaper from sagging in the front. When you start to notice more diaper leaks, it may be time to go up to the next size.

Onesies Can Be Pulled Down

On the topic of diaper blowouts, did you know that onesies could be removed downward rather than pulled over the head? This little trick comes in handy when a diaper change gets messy. You do not even want to know how many times I had to use scissors to cut messy clothes off of my baby before learning this trick! If you look closely at the shoulders of a onesie, they are designed with a fold over flap that connects the back of the onesie to the sleeve. If you tug gently on the shoulders, this flaps allow the onesie to be rolled off from the shoulders downward. No more worrying about having to pull a poop covered onesie over your baby’s head. Sometimes it is the little parenting hacks that make life with a newborn easier.

There are few times in life more exciting and exhausting than bringing home a newborn. Trust your instincts, start safe habits, and enjoy all of the sweet snuggles this phase brings. Time flies when you have a baby!

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