Newborn care

25 baby-care hacks for first-time parents

Having a baby can be overwhelming, but don't fret. We've got all the secrets to get you bathing, dressing and changing your newborn like a total pro.

25 baby-care hacks for first-time parents

Photo: Roberto Caruso, Paint Colour: Rosy Blush 2086-30 by Benjamin Moore

1. If your baby needs to take medicine, simply pierce a hole in the tip of an open-ended pacifier (the Philips Avent Soothie already has a tiny hole to work with) to create a small opening, or you can use a bottle nipple—no cutting required. When your baby is happily sucking away, stick the medication dropper in to administer the dose. (Only use your hacked soother to administer medicine.) Amazing, right?

2. The kitchen sink is the perfect height for a baby bathtub, especially when you’re recovering from childbirth.

illustration of a jar of coconut oil and a comb Illustration: Olivia Mew

3. Moisturize cradle cap with a bit of coconut oil, and use a baby comb to gently and gradually remove the flaking skin.

4. Nose-hair scissors with rounded tips make for safe and sturdy baby nail scissors. Or just file them down. (Chewing them off is a no-no!)

illustrated steps showing how to swaddle a baby Illustration: Olivia Mew


5. For fussy babies who don’t like to be bathed, try “swaddle bathing.” Wrap them in a light blanket or swaddling cloth, and carefully unwrap one little limb at a time. Then wash, rinse, rewrap and repeat.

6. Exercise balls: If you got one for labour, keep it! Some fussy newborns love to be bounced.

7. Layer a few covers on the change pad so you always have a clean one handy.

8. Fold the waistline of newborn diapers down and away from the umbilical cord area while it’s still healing.

9. Lie down and have baby do tummy time on your chest or belly so they still feel close to you.

illustration of a baby wearing a long open-ended nightgown Illustration: Olivia Mew

10. Use newborn nightgowns (sleepers that are open at the bottom) instead of onesies and PJs. They’re life-changing for those first few days of dressing baby.

illustration of the make up brush Illustration: Olivia Mew

11. “Paint” diaper cream on with a makeup brush or use a mini spatula to avoid getting the goopy stuff all over your hands.

12. To cut down on bathtime, bundle your baby in a football hold and wash their hair under the kitchen tap.


13. Prevent your baby boy from peeing on you by swiping a wet wipe under his belly button right before a diaper change. This is said to make him pee before you take the diaper off, as fresh air prompts the same reaction.

14. Using a natural vegetable oil (like olive or coconut) on your newborn’s little tushie during diaper changes will make cleaning up their first sticky meconium poops way easier.

Illustrated steps showing how to make a bib bandana from an old sweater Illustration: Olivia Mew

15. DIY “bandana” bibs or neck warmers can be made by upcycling your oversized sweaters or sweatshirts—which make the best drool-catchers. - Cut off part of the sleeve. Pass over baby's head with cuff at the top. - If you like, hem or cut into a point for a super stylish look.

16. Ripped diaper tab? Don’t throw the diaper away—just grab an adhesive bandage or some painter’s tape.


17. Sit baby on your lap and burp them by slowly moving their upper body in a circle while holding their head.

18. Make foaming baby wash by filling an empty bottle of foaming hand soap with equal parts regular baby wash and water.

19. If you don’t want to use a diaper pail, you can fill an empty wipes container with plastic bags for throwing away individual poopy diapers.

20. Lay a new diaper down under the old one before each diaper change—just in case!

21. If you want to wear your baby out and about, swap the diaper bag for a lightweight backpack.

Hand holding a measuring spoon of sugar over a glass measuring cup filled with water Photo: Roberto Caruso, Paint Colour: Rosy Blush 2086-30 by Benjamin Moore

22. Right before a shot, you can give your baby some sugar water, which releases natural pain-reducing chemicals in the brain. (Some hospitals do this for newborns before painful procedures.) To make your own, mix two teaspoons of boiled water with one teaspoon of sugar and let cool.

illustration of a mom carrying a carseat in the crook of her elbow Illustration: Olivia Mew

23. Carrying baby in a heavy car seat in the crook of your arm? Pad that area of the handle with a cut-up piece of pool noodle. (Be sure to remove when driving.)

24. If you live in a multi-level home, keep a small baby-changing station or bin (with a change pad, diapers, wipes and creams) on each floor so you don’t need to go up and down every time.


25. Go for sleepers that zip up, not the ones with snaps that never line up. Faster is better when your baby is wiggling around and it’s the seventh outfit change of the day.

This article was originally published on Apr 18, 2020

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