I am about to become a ‘new mum’ again any day now and it got me thinking about all the mum hack type things I’ve learned since I did this newborn baby malarkey for the first time. You start out blind and fudge your way through for a few weeks but eventually you find some top tips which make life SO much easier!
I thought it would be a good idea to share some of this knowledge so I asked the #UKMumSquad to give me a hand in compiling a list. One person’s top tips is great but when you can have some imparted magical hacks for having a newborn baby from some of the UK’s top mummy bloggers that makes far more sense!
I’ve whittled down our list of hacks and chosen upon a top 10 – these are the ten most very best things you need to know for time saving, energy keeping and sanity saving with your new baby! There were a few I didn’t know even after two babes so whether you’re a first time mum or onto number 2, 3 or beyond I think there may be something here that you’ll be glad you’ve discovered!
The Top 10 In New Mum Hacks!
- Breast milk is basically a magic potion and it will cure all manner of ills! This was told to me in a feeding room inside the Norwich branch of Mothercare when Florence was about 6 weeks old. She’d had a rash on her face for weeks and nothing was making it disappear. The Doctor had called it baby acne and attributed it to being environmentally brought about. A kind lady told me to rub breast milk in and I kid you not, within 2 hours the rash had gone. Not just got better but GONE! From then on in we used it for all manner of things with the kids (and us) and from sticky eyes to spots on my own flipping chin the elixir of breast milk cured it all! Imagine when it’s that good on the outside what it’s doing on the inside huh!
- Baby vests can be pulled down from the top of the sleeves and taken off top to bottom! I literally NEVER knew this but as the #UKMumSquad all agreed this is a well known fact, it seems I may be in the minority. No longer will a poonami put the fear of dread in me as I un-pop the bottom of a baby vest and bring it, like one of those electricity wand tests, over the baby’s head trying not to (and failing) spread poo over the rest of the baby. I will simply fold down the shoulder sleeves which often have a little tuck in the fabric making them envelope opening (or poppers like this one) and bring the vest off from top to bottom avoiding the spreading of poonami matter far and wide! – Thanks to Karen from N4 Mummy
- The easiest way to express milk is to feed on one side and pump on the other! I know so many mums who have told me they find it hard to get anything out when expressing but as soon as they try this trick they discover that a LOT more is produced if you have both sides going at once. The practice works well if you have a double pump too but never quite so dramatically than when you have the baby latched to one boob and a pump on the other. The stimulation from sucking creates a massive flow on the other side which if you don’t pump would literally go to waste – probably in your breast pad but if you can bare to do a pump at the same time as a feed you will fill that bottle so quickly you’ll be able to have a break on the next wake up and let Daddy feed the baby while you sleep – that my friend is gold!
- Use your dishwasher as a steriliser! We can spend ages sterilising bottles and dummies and anything else that may reach our tiny tot’s mouth but it’s good to know that an expensive steriliser can be replaced with your very own dishwasher as the temperatures inside them while they clean will do just the very same thing! (You can also make pretty amazing toffee vodka in the dishwasher by placing a bottle filled with the ingredients inside and turning it on for a cycle but that’s not really a ‘new mum hack’ so maybe just focus on the sterilisation qualities and then in about 6 months we can come back to the voddy!) Thanks Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours, brilliant advice!
- Make a flask of tea, coffee or hot chocolate! Sounds silly but in those first days when your partner has gone back to work and it’s just you and the baby, getting dressed can take all your time and energy so the thought of getting up and making yourself a hot drink is likely to floor you. Make a big flask (or better still, ask him to do it before he goes to work) and then plonk yourself on the sofa with it, some snacks and a bottle of water – then you don’t have to move for sundries. Believe me, you will thank me for this one – it’s not lazy, it’s genius!
- Don’t cut your baby’s nails! Little baby nails grow at an alarming rate and those little tiny paper like finger claws can do much damage to their delicate skin as they scratch themselves by accident. You can buy all sorts of specialist baby nail scissors to do the job but, in the opinion of the #UKMumSquad, all of the post a little bit of a risk. Baby will move his or her hands very quickly so to eliminate the risk of cutting their delicate little digits we say DON’T cut their nails at all! Instead, bite them yourself every so gently. It’s MUCH safer, easier and quicker! Thanks to Emily from Family Four Fun.
- Learn how to swaddle your baby properly ahead of time! If you practice swaddling before the baby comes, with a teddy then you will be a pro once he or she arrives. #UKMumSquad member Sabina from Deep In Mummy Matters says that when swaddled a baby doesn’t wake himself up with the startle reflex meaning they will sleep for longer and settle more easily. She recommends a good swaddle sack. You can find instructions on how to swaddle a baby on the Baby Centre website. I’ve never done this before but I’m definitely going to try it this time, thanks Sabina!
- Learn their cues! As a new mum it can be hard to work out the meanings of their different cries. We just do a round of feed, burp, change, rock… And eventually one will work before you come to realise a pattern and a difference in each cue which will let you know for sure what’s wrong and soon you will be pro at speaking their newborn baby language. There are a couple of things advises Sabina again though, that you can look out for without knowing your baby at all. The 7 mile stare will tell you baby is tired and as he or she goes into a trance like state you can recognise the tiredness and try putting down for a nap without any effort at all – as per The baby Whisperer leave the room and baby should settle on their own if you catch this moment. You will also recognise a grey upper lip means they are windy, grimacing means a poo is imminent and flustering with their face turning it from side to side, especially near your chest, means they are hungry.
- Invest in a sling! Even if you don’t want to be the mummy who walks about with a baby in a sling when out of the house, it’s a brilliant investment for getting things done at home. A new baby likes to be close to their Mummy at all times and who can blame them? They’ve been inside for the last 9 months and want to feel close to who they know, it makes them secure and content but it also means a lot of not getting anything done. Pop baby in a sling however and you will find both arms free makes household chores (is this a good thing, I’m starting to wonder?) like cooking, cleaning and even just getting yourself ready for the day is a whole heap easier!
- Relieve wind with some baby massage! Use the bicycle legs technique, rub baby’s feet and take arm to opposite knee slowly as well as delicately rubbing baby’s tummy clockwise after they have eaten. It’s also a good time for massage after the bath time routine when getting them ready for bed and I like to use a tummy oil from Weleda at this time of day to accompany this routine. #UKMumSquad stalwart Emily from Family Four Fun says it’s always a good idea to help alleviate wind to assists baby in a peaceful sleep – she does have FOUR so I’m inclined to believe her!
Some other great new mum hack tips would be:
ALWAYS carry a pack of wipes, a bundle of nappy sacks is required in your bag for wet clothing as much as anything else, Roll baby’s arms into their top when changing a nappy so as to not get their hands in it, Make ice cube trays with breast milk and the dummy inserted before freezing so that the teet is covered and cold to assist with teething and lastly, the best tip would be to go out and make some pals – join baby groups, chat to another mum in the local cafe, visit a baby class or simply find the local mum meet up group on Facebook! It’s brilliant to make new friends and know that you’re not the only one going through this and you might find, like I have, that those women you met in the local SureStart centre or library singing group have become some of the best friends you ever had!
And thanks again to another group of mummy friends of mine for their collaborative skills and assistance with this post. Some of the gorgeous #UKMumSquad contributed with their top tips and each of them write EXCELLENT blogs that I love to read! Emily from Family Four Fun, Sabina from deep In Mummy Matters, Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours, Karen from N4Mummy and Katy from Modern Mummy.