Becoming a first time mom is terrifying. What’s more terrifying is knowing that it doesn’t get much better with the second (or third) kid. Basically, you’ll never really know what you’re doing or if you’re doing it the right way. So you turn to friends, family, and researching to get advice, right? Yep. Me too. Except I got way more advice than I could have ever wanted. Do this when your baby is crying. This will get them sleeping through the night within the first few weeks. None of it really worked for me, but I did end up with a nice bank of baby hacks that have been surprisingly useful. So, while I have no advice on getting your baby to sleep or how to stop two year old temper tantrums or even how to survive a grocery trip without one (or two or three) meltdowns, I DO have some handy tricks that have helped me along the way.
Double up on sheets and mattress protectors
Whether you’re at the potty training stage, diaper stage, or just sick snotty kids stage, there will be a time (usually around 3 am when you’re fast asleep) when you will hear a small person calling for you from the other room and upon arriving at said person’s door, you find a bed full of _____________________. Insert the grossest thing that comes to mind. It’s going to happen. Vomit? Check. Poop? Several times. A combination of snot, urine and tears? Oh yeah. Don’t worry, you’ll smell it before you see it so you’ll know something is about to make you want to turn around and go back to bed and say “Good luck, kid”. But, you’re a good parent so you’ll muster up the strength to step into the war zone and begin cleaning up the ______________ covered child along with the bed. But, it’s 3 am and you’re tired and honestly have no desire to worry about finding another mattress protector and sheet to throw on the bed. Prepare for this night ahead of time. Buy an extra protector and fitted sheet. Layer them. It should go: Mattress, protector, sheet, protector, sheet. When your night of hell comes, rip off the top sheet and the mattress protector underneath it (Trust me it’ll be disgusting as well) and toss them in the laundry room (or actually wash them if you’re feeling ambitious) and you’ll have a clean set ready to go underneath. There is no limit to the amount of layers, either. Vomit usually comes in twos. Add another layer on if you want so you’ll have two fresh sets of bedding ready to go. I stick with one- call me a risk taker.
Diaper changes at night- Cat and Jack sleepers
Why people aren’t talking about these sleepers more often is a mystery to me. They zip backwards. You heard me. From the bottom up. WHY IS THIS A NEW IDEA?!? It makes so much sense. I use these when the kids are babies and require several diaper changes in the middle of the night. We keep our house cold at night and my kids have always freaked out as soon as I unzipped their sleepers and the freezing cold air hit their little chests and stomach. Instant screaming fit that for sure could be heard down the street. The reverse zipper ones let me just open the bottom, pull out their legs and do a quick change with, get this, NO SCREAMING. So much faster and so much easier. God bless the soul who figured this out. I have only found these at Target.
Moisturizing Wipes- Add lotion to their baby wipes
I used to always try to lotion my kids up after bath time. It was easy when I had one kid. Bath time, brush teeth, lotion, diaper, then bed. Add another kid or two and this gets a LOT more hectic. I don’t even have the time or energy to make sure all three kids get bathed on a daily basis. More often than not, my two year old gets a quick swim on the tub with some soap thrown in and the babies get wiped down with a wipe. Keeping that sweet baby skin soft and moisturized is not a priority anymore so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and lotion while cleaning. I add some water to their baby lotion to make it soupy and pour it into the wipes container. Clean and soft babies. You’re welcome.
Bathing baby- don’t use a baby bath tub
Ugh. I hate baby bath tubs! They are bulky and get all gross if they don’t dry completely (or you forget to empty it after bathing the child. Guilty.) They are awkward to reach around and make it difficult to wash anything other than your kid’s face and stomach because they are all squished up in it. Plus, you have to worry about the kid turning their head or sliding down in the tub and going underwater. I stopped using it with my oldest as soon as she could sit up but never used the baby tub with my twins. I use a squishy shower mat for the bottom of the tub and fill it up with about 2 inches of water. Then I lay the babies directly in the tub. Way easier and less clean up.
Storage containers- Creamer
If you’re anything like me, you survive on coffee. It’s pretty much the only thing that keeps me from falling asleep while my kids run around like maniacs after being awake all night. Wish they sold toddler energy in drink form but until then, coffee is where it’s at. Did you know that most creamer containers are clear once you peel the label off? Yep. Clean em up and use them for snacks, small toys, colored pencils and crayons…they are essentially free (since you buy the creamer already), are a great way to recycle, and are fantastic for car trips. Toss them in the recycling bin when they get broken or worn out.
Kids have nightmares. Apparently this starts pretty early as we have already had a few rough nights with our two-year-old. I like to have a way to ease their minds and calm their nerves. Put some distilled water in a spray bottle. Add lavender and sage essential oils with a splash of witch hazel. Spray in closet, under bed, and anywhere else monsters might be hiding.
Plug Up Those Bath toys
Have you ever cut open one of your kids squirty bath toys? On second though, don’t. You probably don’t want to know what’s living in there and being sprayed across your bathroom and into your child’s mouth. Just toss them now. Then, buy new ones and use a hot glue gun to seal the hole. Sure, they don’t squirt water any more, but they also don’t house mold. I do this for the pool toys too. My kid never even noticed that her toys didn’t squirt water anymore and I felt much better about her chewing on them at bath time.
Stop Drippy Popsicles
Stab the stick through a cupcake liner. This one was a “duh” moment for me because it makes so much sense and I never even thought of it. At least I know now.
Baby Powder at the Beach
Another mom told me this one while we were at the beach one time trying to clean the sand off my screaming toddler in the freezing cold beach showers. You know the kind. The water only kind of works and it’s ice cold. She came over to me and said “try baby powder next time instead of the shower. It get’s the sand right off.” Holy crap it actually does. Never again will I attempt the shower unless it is a heated one in a stall with soap. Now I just douse the kids in powder and the sand brushes right off. Mom: 1 Beach: 0
What mom hacks have you discovered?