I haven’t blogged for a bit as we have our hands full! I’ve been a mom for approximately 6 weeks and am happy to offer some efficiency and product hacks that I’ve used to give me more time and sanity as I approach the end of my maternity leave and begin working. I’ll caveat that I try to be thrifty but that means buying quality sometimes, and that I hate to buy stuff with one purpose when I can rephrase something I already have. Babies, like weddings, have a huge market and they soon try to sell you tons of stuff got don’t need.
-Use gripe water for gas. Makes a huge difference and we see better results than the simethicone (milokin). You can mix gripe water into the bottle or serve it before or after a feeding. Also learn the color hold, it’s great for gas and burping.
– Use a giant (quality) laptop bag as a diaper bag. Firstly they are huge and are like Mary Poppins’ bag in that I can continue to shove things in it and there is still magically room. It’s hands and shoulder strap free, dad can easily wear it, I can fit my entire purse in a pocket that I can reach as needed. There are tons of easy access outside pockets for washcloths pacifiers, keys and chapstick (my kryptonite). There are usually TWO cup holders built in on the sides so that’s sixteen ounces of coffee (or water) I can be packing… I keep a $8 Walmart changing pad that has the diaper, wipes, and dirty diaper bag attached so it’s easy to get all the changing stuff out at once. If it’s an older bag (or thrift store purchase) they are easy to wash and change out as needed. My only real down side is that it is very large to fit in the stroller storage and bulky if I’m wearing it at the grocery store, so I keep another smaller backpack in the car and just transfer my purse and diaper pad since everything else is just outside while I’m shopping or strolling.
– Android apps
– – Feed baby to track feeding, poops, and baths (There’s more to track but I don’t need them. Also great if you’re nursing and want to track time on each side). It has alarms to notify you after certain intervals from feeding, diaper, etc and can be synced across multiple devices and iPhone for paid so mom and dad can log feedings on their own phone or tablet.
— Baby sleep by Johnson and Johnson to produce white noise. It also lets you record your voice to play. It offers a timer so that the noise isn’t on all night which I’ve read may not be best for babies.
–Pandora – make a lullaby and kids songs (for awake time) station.
–Wunderlist and Business Calendar for todos (love em and used before baby). Wunderlist allows for recurring tasks like ‘baby bath’, or ‘sterilize bottles’. When going places, I add an event to block off 30 minutes before to remind me to get my stuff together.
–Peekaboo Moments – we use this to share pictures with our family and friends (the hundreds, rather than simply the few that go on faecbook). It has a time capsule video option that’s neat. I keep everyone but my husband and I as fans so that my private notes are only for us to see since I write them to Kip directly.
–OverDrive and Kindle for books. I use a Bluetooth headset to listen to audio books on strolls and while doing chores. Really good wait to get entertainment or even inspirational or learning books in during the day. I also use Pocket to save articles to read later.
— Stock flashlight app. I use this to check on bus latching during night feedings. I also discovered I can keep the light on when taking pictures on my phone at night and they turn out better than just using the flash (which is never turned on since I leave it on off as a default setting).
– Use a microwave sterilizer, they are really cheap and easy and can be used for small toys and sterilizing non baby items as well. Who knows it may even work as a steamer basket…
– We used to make the formula directly in the bottles… This hack is better since we make them in bulk before night feedings start and will need to make a lot in preparation for daycare. Use a big sealed pitcher to make formula in bulk. It’s easier to pour the water and formula into and then you just close the lid and shake it (you can sing Taylor Swift while you do it). It’s then easy to pour into bottles (which can now have the actual amount rather than 4.25 ounces) or you can keep it in the fridge. I don’t pour into bottles during the day so I can put into a more travel friendly bottle if we decide to go out. Especially works well since baby drinks cold formula.
– Now that you are using a pitcher to mix formula, the hand stirrer (a hack on its own, hat tip to Britt E) is free to be used in the diaper bag with a formula portion pack so I don’t have to worry about keeping it cold.
– For the diaper bag, Prefill Four ounce bottles with water and pack formula mix packet so it’s easy to feed on the go without worrying about keeping it cold. This us a good backup in case you need to leave in a rush and don’t want to worry about packing formula.
– Cloth diapers and wipes – it is so much better for the environment and your budget. Buy a ‘stash’ of used covers and inserts off Craigslist. Don’t worry if your son has a bunch of pink and lavender ones, they will make for good wedding slideshow pictures later (we prefer velcro and have a majority of the ones that are one size). Go to Walmart and get a few 24 packs of wipes for $3 each. If you can do the cloth square diapers as inserts do it and have origami fun folding them (they are cheaper). I make the wipe solution directly in one of those olive oil sprayers and it’s a mix of baby oil, baby wash, water and baby lotion. Kip is fine with us spraying it right on his bottom, back, legs, chest, etc. and then washing with a washcloth. Youe washing machine does not care that there’s poop in it. It is still clean every time you open it.. I add vinegar to the laundry detergent to keep everything fluffy and absorbent (this is a hack for towels too). We now just have one trash can that houses all the diapers and wipes, plus a hanging duffel for his clothes, blankets, and other things that have less pee than more on them. Day care is fine with cloth diapers, and we just throw em in the pail every night and reload. Get a good travel wet dry bag to make this easy. You can throw the bag in with the wash.
– Don’t fold stuff. Seriously. Have a bin or drawer for pajamas, non pajama clothes and accessories (hats, socks), diaper covers, inserts, washcloths. Then when you sort laundry you literally just throw stuff into a drawer or bin and you’re done.
– Watch or Google the happiest baby on the block. Learn the swaddling and shushing behavior and then do it. Makes a huge difference when baby is crying.
– Ergo carrier is amazing and hands free and feels solid with all its clips and snaps. It’s all cloth so I can find it down and put it in my aforementioned giant diaper bag. Also washes in the laundry. Practice with your stuffed animals to get used to putting it on by yourself. Not with a live cat like I tried. I’m a lefty so I have to jedi mind trick my right hand into getting the top every time. Kip usually goes to sleep every time I wear him so I use it at church and also around the house if he’s got bad gad and can’t go to sleep. I also use when shopping so if I need to haul out I’m not lugging the giant carrier.
What do you think? Anything I’m missing?