Hey Mama, I want to let you in on a few of my top lifesaving newborn hacks that will totally save your sanity once you welcome your little one into the world. Because let’s be honest: When people say that all newborns do is eat, sleep and poop, they don’t tell you that getting them to do those things sometimes takes a lot of work!
Oh, and they also fail to mention that newborns also cry. And despite such little lungs, they can really let you hear it! After 7 babies and years of work in the hospitals, you will definitely want to save for the future!
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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Nursing/Pumping Lifesaving Newborn Hacks
In the order of “eat, sleep, poop” we’ll start with hacks to help you with all things baby feeding. When your baby is born their stomach is teeny tiny. Like, the size of a cherry tiny! But while they are small, boy can they eat! In the newborn stage, trying to navigating feeding can be overwhelming!
Here are a few of my top Newborn tips for surviving feeding in few first months.
1. Learn the hunger cues
Newborn Hunger cues are your first chance to notice that your newborn is hungry, before they start to get fussy! Look for clenched fists, licking or smacking lips, rooting and bringing their hands to their mouths. There are a few stages of early newborn feeding cues, each increasing until you may have to do more work to latch the baby onto your breast. Waiting to feed after your little nugget is screaming leads to nipple pain and frustration.
2. Don’t skip burping
No matter how long it takes, get that burp out mama! A few positions to try are over your shoulder, propped up with your hand on their chest or even over your knee. Burping your newborn faithfully, can save you from restless crying moments later.
3. Nurse on demand
This may not be what you think of as a lifesaving newborn hack, but is worth remembering. Your newborn does not need to be on a “schedule”. Even if you try to force one, they’ll quickly remind you that they don’t care about your schedule. And they didn't read the book. Life is a LOT easier if you follow their lead!
4. Muslin cloth diapers for burp cloths
The old school cloth diapers make for great, simple burp cloths. They’re something you’ll need a lot of, so may as well save some $$$!
5. Use a Haakaa
A Haakaa is a silicone “pump” that suctions to the breast that you’re not nursing on in order to pull and collect your “let down”. Easy way to start building a “stash”.
6. Sock over the pump bottle
Are you a pumping Mama? Sometimes staring at the bottle watching milk collect can make you anxious, which can in turn make you “freeze up”. Try putting a sock over the bottle to help you relax and get a productive pump sesh!
7. Use heat before nursing
Did you know that applying a warm compress can help stimulate a let down? This can help get your milk flowing if you have an impatient newborn waiting or want to speed up your pumping.
Lifesaving Newborn Sleep Hacks
There’s no sense in sugar coating it: newborn sleep can be really tough. From having their days and nights “mixed up”, to frequent night wakes to eat, sleep is something lots of Mamas get stressed about!
Here are a few of my lifesaving newborn hacks for sleep.
1. Warm towel in the sleep space
Sometimes the transfer to the bassinet or crib can be startling–going from a warm body to a cold, firm surface. Throw a towel in the dryer and place it in baby’s sleep space while you’re getting them to sleep. Then remove the towel and place baby on the warmed surface! Seriously a lifesaving newborn hack!
2. White noise
You know when it’s too quiet and it makes it hard to sleep? Babies feel that too, so white noise is a great way to add some noise (and block out any excess noise). Portable white noise is also a game changer!
3. Watch the wake windows
Dealing with a super fussy baby that’s been up for hours? Overtired newborns can be so tricky. You can help gauge how your newborn is feeling by paying attention to their wake windows. Typically, when they’re so little, your newborn will only want to be awake for 45 minutes or so before hitting snooze again.
4. Make it dark
Lots of Mamas swear by blackout curtains and how they help baby get their naps in! By blocking out light, you can help your baby adjust their sleep to a more normal pattern.
5. Temperature check
Baby waking quickly or fighting sleep? Check the room temperature and environment. The idea setting is between 68 and 72 degrees. Baby should also be lightly dressed–not too hot and not too cold.
6. If you’re swaddling, try arms up
Is your newborn a real Houdini when it comes to getting out of their swaddle? Or just not loving having their arms down tight? Give an arms up swaddle a shot! Lots of babies like having their arms up by their face, or even out of the swaddle all together.
7. Embrace the nap trap
Mama, to your newborn, you are their safe and secure space. Which is so sweet. It can also be a bit inconvenient at times. But the truth is, you will blink and they will be on the move and busy toddlers. My lifesaving newborn hack? Embrace the cuddles and try to set yourself up for the possibility of being “nap trapped” for a little while. And if you have another child making it so you can’t just sit and be trapped? Babywearing to the rescue (more on that later)!
Helpful Diapering Hacks
Let’s put it this way: Sh*t’s about to go down. And probably up their back a time or two, in typical newborn blowout fashion. When you first are faced with the challenge of changing your newborn’s diaper, it can seem intimidating. They seem so fragile and tiny, so you move slow and steady. Well Mama, think about how they enter the world…squeezing and contorting to fit through tight spaces. They are not as fragile as they seem! Once you get over the initial intimidation, you can quickly become a diaper expert.
Here are a few lifesaving newborn hacks to keep in your back pocket to take your diaper changing game to the next level
1. Clean diaper under the dirty diaper
When you’re about to change a dirty diaper, open the clean diaper and lay it flat underneath your baby. Once you take off the dirty diaper, you can easily put the clean one one. Lifesaving newborn hack for little baby boys…
2. Doggy bags/wet bag
Out and about with no trash can in sight? Or have baby’s dirty blowout onesie that you need to take home? A wet bag is essential! You can purchase reusable ones or get plastic doggy bags for easy tossing.
3. Ruffles out
If you’ve been experiencing blow outs, take a look at the diaper ruffles–they’re for more than just looking cute. Make sure the ruffles are fluffed out to help avoid leaks!
4. Wetness indicator
Lots of diaper brands are including a “wetness indicator” nowadays that changes color when the diaper is wet. Great little newborn hack for before you can really gauge what it feels like.
5. Double sheet trick
Diaper leak in the middle of the night? Save yourself the pain of having to remake the crib in the dark. You’ll have three layers over the crib: a fitted sheet, the mattress protector and then another fitted sheet. If baby’s diaper leaks you can easily toss the sheet and mattress protector in the hamper and you’ll be left with a fitted sheet to get you through until morning!
6. For little baby boys…
Make sure to point their penis down. If you don’t intentionally do this, you’ll have a soiled outfit up the side sooner than later! You probably would have figured this one out eventually, but I'll take my cut for teaching you this lifesaving newborn hack ahead of time.
7. Sun bleaching
Got tough breast milk poop stains that you just can’t get out? Try scrubbing a bit of detergent/soap on the stain and setting it in the sun to dry! Often times the sun will “bleach” out the stain!
Must Know Soothing Hacks
Few things have the power to make you feel accomplished like being able to soothe a fussy newborn. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy–soothing your little one can feel incredibly frustrating and defeating when you’re sleep deprived or are alone.
These are some of my seriously lifesaving newborn hacks for soothing a fussy baby when you’ve exhausted all of the bouncing, swaying and singing to no avail.
1. Yoga ball
Fussy babies loveeee to be bounced. But all that bouncing can take a toll on mom and dad. Bring in the yoga ball! Sit and bounce baby until they fall asleep, without killing your back!
2. Use water
If you are trying to calm your newborn who just won’t seem to be soothed with anything? Try swaddling them or wrapping them in a blanket and running their read under warm water! Some babies may also enjoy a warm bath.
3. Car rides
Need a few minutes of peace? Baby won’t fall asleep? Try a car ride! The vibration and movement is magic when it comes to getting baby to settle down. It can feel a little intimidating to pack up a fussy baby just for the purpose of going for a ride to grab some Starbucks, but it may be the magic trick you need within that very moment!
4. Get outside
Not only can being outside help soothe a fussy baby, it’s also great for sensory development and their circadian rhythm. Exposing them to light can help regulate their sleep, if that’s an area you’re struggling in!
Babywearing is amazing for those days where baby only wants to be held by you, but you just have to get things done around the house. Wearing your baby helps regulate their breathing, keeps them close to your heartbeat and helps to keep them calm. In fact, research shows that babies who are worn for at least 3 hours a day cry on average 43% less.
6. Gripe water
This is great to have on hand for the time that gas, hiccups or other tummy trouble strikes! Gripe water has simple herbs and plants that can help calm a fussy newborn. It’s a natural remedy that can be a total lifesaver for newborns on a temporary basis!
7. The “I Love U” massage
Another lifesaving tip to use when your newborn is a bit gassy! The “I Love U” Massage helps move gas out of baby’s belly by drawing an “I”, and upside down “L” and an upside down “U”. Watch this video to see how it’s done!
Survival Tips for Mama
Mama, I see you. This is hard work. You may have heard it before, but now you see what they mean. Having a newborn is a huge life adjustment, whether you’re a first or fourth time mom. While the snuggles are so sweet and being their source of comfort is so incredible, it can also be exhausting, lonely, messy and downright difficult.
While they aren’t magic tricks that take away all of the challenges of newborn life, these lifesaving newborn hacks and tips will be key in helping you enjoy the fourth trimester, even when it’s hard or inconvenient.
1. Change of clothes
Too often Mamas pack multiple changes of clothes for baby and then they are the ones that end up needing a change after a blowout, spit up or leaked breast milk. When packing your diaper bag, be sure to throw in a spare t-shirt for yourself, just in case.
2. Audiobooks, podcasts & music
Motherhood can be a little lonely. Add in a baby who fights sleep or needs extra cuddles that leave you trapped and you can really feel isolated. Get a couple of good audiobooks, podcasts or playlists set up to listen to when you find yourself nap-trapped or stuck cluster feeding for hours on end. Keep your headphones handy and close by! Thank me later for this lifesaving newborn hack.
3. Insulated coffee mug
This is a double HOT TIP! Insulated mugs are amazing for keeping your coffee hot hours after you’ve made it. Because gone are the days of finishing it while it’s hot! Another use? If you need to change a diaper or get up in the middle of the night, make a cup of coffee and put it in your insulated mug. That way right when you wake up you have a hot cup on your nightstand before your feet hit the floor! Thank me later for this lifesaving newborn hack.
4. Red light, blue glasses
A red light can help keep baby and you in a balanced sleep state in the middle of the night, by making it so you don’t wake too much. Blue light blocking glasses are also super beneficial for when you find yourself scrolling on your phone in the middle of a night feed (or really whenever)!
5. Rolling cart
If you imagine yourself staking out in multiple areas of your home with your newborn, then a rolling cart may be such a lifesaver for hauling all of your essentials back and forth. Pack it full with things like extra burp cloths, a water bottle, nipple cream, snacks or really anything you think would be handy!
This is the third time this newborn hack is mentioned and for good reason! It is seriously such a lifesaver to have your hands free every once in a while. Plus, baby loves it too! Win Win! There are many styles to choose from, such as a wrap, a ring sling, a structured carrier + even more.
7. Tune out all other voices
The biggest “newborn hack” of all is to try to tune out all the other voices. Everyone will have an opinion, unwanted advice or a set of “rules” that they believe you must follow in order to have a happy baby. But Mama, you can tune out all of that noise and just reflect inwards to see what feels right to you. There is no one better suited to care for your baby than YOU!
Did you take note of all my lifesaving newborn hacks, but still feel a little nervous about surviving the newborn phase?
I hear you, Mama! And I have just the thing to help you feel prepared and empowered.
All expecting moms should be equipped with these 35 newborn lifehack, especially before the baby arrives! From keeping your newborn warm to keeping her content, you'll be a pro at being a new mom before you know it.
And I may have a few bonus lifesaving newborn hacks included, just for you!