A few practical baby tips

I hate the word ‘tips’. (Almost as much as I hate the word ‘strategies.’) Tips are supposed to be NEW things, that you didn’t already know, that can help you.

And yet. Have you noticed? Every single article with tips (10 tips to a slimmer you! The 5 best pregnancy tips! 20 tips for teachers!) is full of the same rehashed bullshit. Things not only that you already knew, but things that aren’t helpful and sometimes aren’t even concrete things to do or get. “Take care of yourself.” “Drink lots of water.” (Hey look, those could be top tips for all three of my examples! See what I mean?!!)

Perfect example from last summer: We listened to an audiobook about tips for twins, and one of the tips was, I shit you not, “shop online.” Effing DUH.

So please know that it pains me to use the word “tips”. I don’t throw that around lightly. But these are little things that I’ve learned or figured out over the past three months–that I didn’t read in the books or on the blogs–that have been helpful, and may be helpful tips for you too!


At the changing table, when you know there’s a dirty diaper, take several wipes out of the container BEFORE opening the diaper. That way you don’t have to frantically tug with one hand if something leaks or someone squirts you.

Also, unfold the new diaper down under the old one. Unfasten, lift, remove, fasten. Makes for a much quicker change!

For pete’s sake, never leave the baby undiapered to throw out the wet/dirty diaper! Clean and re-diaper first! Otherwise you’re just asking for a mess. Yes, it’s gross to have the icky one right there, but it’s already contained. Hold your breath and avert your eyes and cover up that leaky baby!

Use dry erase markers to write directly on bottles. It wipes right off. IKEA sells a set of 4 for like two bucks.

Re-use the nicer wipe container (with the snap lid) with generic brand wipes.

Tie a muslin aden and anais swaddle blanket around your neck like a giant neckerchief, as a makeshift nursing cover/pump cover.

If you are a non-short person like me, you may end up hunching at your changing table because it’s not tall enough. Get some bed risers–less than ten bucks–and your back will thank you.

Make any space an ‘activity mat’: Get a thin tube, dowel, pvc pipe (three bucks at Home Depot!), bamboo, whatever you’ve got. Slide on any hanging toys or rattles. Hang over a co-sleeper or playpen. This idea comes from a girl in my mama’s group–she hung a bamboo pole between two low couches, over a large squishy floor mat covered with a sheet. Instant, free baby entertainment!

Don’t get hung up on name brands for things like wipes, diapers, and formula (unless your baby/babies have special dietary needs). (This is a generic ‘tip’, sorry. Just want to make the point that brand names truly don’t matter.)

Write shit down. All kinds of things. We have a whiteboard up in our kitchen that includes things happening each day that week, grocery/errand lists, a fun countdown (we recently got up to 14 days without being peed on!), a copy of the pediatrician info, and a list of emergency contact info too (clearly we are bad parents because we only just thought of this one, oops). My already forgetful brain has gotten worse with the monotony of daily baby life, so it’s really helpful to have visual reminders and notes.

Wipe some olive oil on pump flanges to prevent chafing/chapping. Much smoother and less messy than lanolin. (Took some digging on a babycenter board to find this one.)


I’d love to hear your best practical baby tips! I’m going to check out Parent Hacks on Facebook

6 thoughts on “A few practical baby tips

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  1. Crib sheet tip-
    Alternate layering sheets and those flannel covered protective mats, as many as the mattress can handle. When the babies spit up, vomit, or have a diaper leak, peel off that layer and you still have a clean sheet under the babies. Also, when making up the crib with the sheets, take the mattress out of the crib so you don’t strain your back.

  2. ooh — this is from my years of babysitting but I bet it’s still good. one of the babies I took care of on a regular basis had really sensitive skin and ointment-ing him up was a part of every diaper change. (just glopping it into the diaper wouldn’t cut it because you really needed to get into the creases of his skin to tackle the rash.) so they kept a big tin of q-tips and tongue depressor sticks right next to the ointment (which was in a jar, not a tube) — made it super easy to get all the little bits greased up without getting your hands covered in goo.

    (it sure was nice when he got potty trained, though. luckily his little brother never had so many issues with diaper rash.)

  3. Coconut oil ROCKS. It’s great on diaper rash, cradle cap, and any scratches the baby may inflict on him/herself. (Some people also swear by it for dry skin, but it does pretty much nothing for my 11mo daughter’s dry winter skin.)

    1. I have heard so much about coconut oil and have yet to try it for myself. I haven’t heard anything about using it for babies, though–great tips! Our babies have really scaly skin right now. We were trying calendula oil for a bit, and now I’m just using lotion.

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