Exhausted doesn’t even describe the newborn days. Waking up delirious from sleep deprivation multiple times a night. Struggling with the initial discomfort of breastfeeding, all while recovering from childbirth.
Life with a newborn also made me doubt myself and question every decision I made. I wondered what in the world I got myself into as I wished for easier days (and reminisced about my old life). I wasn’t sure whether I was even fit to be a mom.
(Read more about the expectations and realities of life with a newborn.)
Baby tips and tricks
But as with all things parenthood, I learned on the job. I discovered little hacks that made the days easier and more manageable. I researched baby tips and grew more confident and better equipped to handle a new baby. And I reached out to fellow moms and discovered their secrets to surviving the newborn stage.
In short, these are the cool baby tips I wish I knew from the start. They’re quick wins when we need them most—baby care tips for new moms to better manage.
Below are my best baby tips I hope you find useful as well:
1. Onesies can also be pulled down during messy accidents
Nearly every onesie will come with those envelope flaps near the collar. At first I thought this was designed to accommodate different-sized heads and to make it more comfortable for baby to pull a shirt over his head.
Turns out, those envelope flaps are much more functional than fitting over a baby’s head. They allow you to pull the onesie down.
Normally, you’d undress the baby by lifting the onesie over the head. But at some point, you’ll likely face the dreaded poop explosion. One so full it spills out of the diaper and onto the onesie—not exactly something you’d want to pull over the baby’s head.
The envelope flaps allow you to then pull the onesie down over the baby’s shoulders, removing it without going near the baby’s head.
Onesies can also be pulled down in case of poop explosions.
2. Eliminate gas with the elbow-to-knee trick
One of the biggest challenges with newborn baby care after birth is the baby’s gas and digestion.
My little guy had a serious case of gas, so much so that he was difficult to put to sleep. He’d fuss and cry, and I felt helpless with how to help him. I tried gas drops, which only seemed to help a little. I even tried different bottles, hoping that a new brand would ease his troubles.
Nothing seemed to work—that is, until I learned the elbow-to-knee trick.
Now, I had heard about doing bicycle kicks with a baby to expel gas. I tried this move, moving my baby’s knees closer to his chest, hoping he’d toot a little gas out of his tummy. It still didn’t work.
But then I tried the elbow-to-knee trick, which instantly removed my baby’s gas. Every time I’d touch his elbow to the knee, he’d give a little fart, then another when I repeated with the opposite limbs. It seemed like a miracle!
So, here’s how you do it:
- Lie your baby down on his back.
- Move his right elbow and left knee towards each other as if they were going to touch.
- Do the same with the opposite elbow and knee: Move his left elbow and right knee towards each other.
- Alternate a few times until your baby stops farting.
Hopefully each time you connect one elbow to the opposite knee, your baby will fart and expel some gas. This will keep him be more comfortable and better able to sleep.
3. Keep your baby awake no longer than an hour and a half to avoid over-stimulation
Before I had kids, I figured babies sleep anywhere. After all, at family parties, we’d pass babies from person to person, and I never considered whether they were asleep or not.
When I had my first, I did the same. I didn’t follow any type of routine, much less look at the clock to see how long he’s been awake.
The result? He felt cranky and overtired, which made it harder to put him to sleep. I couldn’t lay him down drowsy and awake—instead, I had to hold him in my arms, rock or feed him to sleep.
Turns out, babies can only stay awake for so long. And more importantly, they don’t “just fall asleep” when they feel tired. If they’re overstimulated, hungry, uncomfortable or tired, they have a hard time falling asleep.
I then began to be more conscious of how long my baby was awake. I learned that an hour and a half is about the most a newborn can stay awake. And I looked for sleep cues and didn’t hesitate to put my baby down for a nap, even he’d only been awake for 45 minutes or an hour.
And guess what—he began to sleep better. He was less cranky and overtired and instead seemed to welcome his next nap. When I had twins a few years later, I remembered this handy trick and avoided keeping them awake too long, making them easy sleepers from day one.
Sure, this isn’t always convenient, especially if you feel stuck at home, but it can make a huge difference with how easy it is to put your baby to sleep.
4. Track your baby’s feedings and diapers
Your doctor will likely ask a few questions about your baby’s progress:
- what types of bowel movements he’s had
- how often he pees
- how many ounces of milk or minutes he nurses
And if you breastfeed, you’ll want to track how many minutes he nurses and on which breast. If he’s bottle-fed, track how many ounces he drinks.
For accurate answers, record your baby’s feedings so you don’t have to pull the information from memory.
Track your baby’s diapers as well, including, the kind of poop he had, such as color, texture, and how often he peed or pooped. Not exactly enticing, but necessary.
Keeping track of all your baby’s latest feedings and diaper changes can feel overwhelming. Get a convenient way to track feeding and diaper times with my FREE printable tracker! Download it below:
5. Feed your baby after he wakes up
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
It didn’t take long for me to see that my baby would fall asleep with nursing. I even prided myself for being the only who could put him to sleep—I had “mama’s touch,” I assumed.
Trouble is, he’d only fall asleep through nursing (or rocking). Nap times became horrendous—I’d spend several minutes rocking him to sleep only for him to wake up the minute I laid him down.
This also made nap times short. Forget about two-hour naps—each time he stirred, he wouldn’t know how to put himself back to sleep. I’d either resort to rocking or nursing him all over again, making both of us miserable and sleep deprived.
Then I read Tracy Hogg’s E-A-S-Y technique (eat/awake/sleep/you). Rather than feeding your baby to sleep, you’d feed him after he woke up. At first, I was doubtful. This was, after all, one of the ways I could put him to sleep. But when I saw how much he relied on external sleep aids to fall asleep, I knew I had to try a different way.
I then changed my routine. Rather than feeding my baby to sleep, I fed him after he woke up, which allowed him to try to fall asleep on his own. He stopped tying nursing with sleeping and instead expected to eat when he woke up.
Here’s how it works:
- Feed your baby (eat) after he wakes up (awake) so he’ll have energy for her awake time.
- After your baby has been awake a while, put him to sleep drowsy but awake (sleep). He can explore different ways to put himself to sleep, such as sucking on his thumb or rocking his head side to side.
- Once he’s asleep, you can tend to yourself (you) and repeat the cycle.
6. Find alternative ways to hold your baby
The first day I was home alone with my twins felt like a juggling act. With two babies to care for and only one set of arms, I needed to bounce between one baby to another to get them to sleep.
Because a baby’s preferred position? In your arms. The snuggling feels good, but isn’t sustainable. After all, you need your arms to get things done, from using the restroom to preparing food. And it’s not always safe to fall asleep with the baby in your arms.
Instead, use other techniques to hold the baby. I relied so much on baby gear to hold my babies, giving me time to tend to the other twin or catch a break.
These are the items I recommend the most:
- Swing: The swing was perfect for lulling my babies to sleep, where they often fell asleep for a nap. The motion soothed them when nothing else seemed to work, or at least kept them entertained during awake time.
- Baby wrap: A baby wrap allows you to keep the baby close while freeing your arms to do other tasks.
- Stroller: Many babies will fall asleep in a stroller, making for convenient errands or a walk around the block. A stroller is also helpful for quick shopping trips, placing the baby in the stroller while you put items inside.
- Infant cushion: The infant cushion below uses the baby’s weight to give the feeling of being held.
Infant cushions mimic the feeling of being held in someone’s arms.
Using several baby items to hold your baby is also convenient so that, should he fuss with one, you have other options handy.
7. Swaddle your baby for better sleep
For months, your baby grew accustomed to the tight spaces of your womb. To go from the fetal position to lying flat on his back isn’t the easiest transition. He also has the Moro reflex, which explains the sudden flailing of the arms that can startle him awake or even hit him on the face.
Enter the swaddle. By wrapping your baby systematically in a blanket, you’ll prevent his arms from flailing and waking him up. And by recreating the snugness of the womb, you’re more likely to help your baby sleep longer stretches.
Here’s how to swaddle your baby:
- Place a square swaddle blanket (like these Aden+Anais ones I loved) flat on a surface like a diamond.
Aden + Anais
- Fold the top corner down 5-10 inches towards the middle so that the diamond now looks like the top part got cut off.
- Place your baby on top of the swaddle with her neck aligned with the straight line you folded.
- Keep your baby’s arms straight next to her body. Then fold the left corner of the swaddle over her body and tuck it under her back. Her left arm should still be free.
- Fold the bottom corner up and over her left shoulder, tucking it inside the swaddle.
- Holding her left arm down, fold the right corner over her arm and entire body, tucking the flap into the swaddle.
Swaddles help babies sleep longer and feel snug.
Follow this step-by-step illustration of how to swaddle a baby.
For a more convenient option, use a Velcro swaddle blanket or the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Both keep your baby snug, are less likely to come undone and take less steps—especially useful in the middle of the night.
A Velcro swaddle is a convenient way to keep baby snug with less steps to do.
The sleep suit is another option to keep your baby snug during sleep.
8. Use white noise so your baby doesn’t startle
In the womb, your baby heard a constant white noise, from the beating of your heart to the muffles of the outside world. But now, he wakes up over the slightest sound.
I learned the magic of white noise early on, when the constant hum of a fan would help my baby sleep much longer than when I didn’t have it running. I was better able to shuffle around the house without tiptoeing, and I didn’t have to worry about noises from the neighbors.
Place a fan or heater in the room your baby is sleeping in to help him fall and stay asleep. Not only is the white noise comforting, it also muffles sounds from elsewhere. If you’d rather get a white noise machine so you don’t affect the room’s temperature, check out these highly-rated options:
9. Hang darkening curtains to extend baby’s naps
You may have heard that you should have your baby nap in a bright room during the day to help him learn day from night. You’re avoiding long naps in the day that he should reserve for nights.
Yes, we want our babies to sleep longer at nights, but we want them to take long naps, too. Hang darkening curtains in your baby’s room—even during the day—so he can sleep longer stretches. As anyone with a baby who only naps in 30-45 minute chunks, a dark room can make a huge difference.
Another benefit of a dark room? Drawing the curtains helps signal that it’s nap or bedtime. These routines let your baby know that he should be sleeping rather than playing.
Rarely does a baby nap for five or more hours during the day (I can count twice for mine). And should you want to avoid those long naps, then wake the baby up. Otherwise, dark curtains help your baby stretch shorter naps to longer ones.
And even with darkening curtains during the day, your room won’t get pitch black the way it does at night. So even then, your baby will still learn that darkness means long stretches of sleep at night.
I hung darkening curtains like these:
Welcoming a baby can be one of the most challenging periods in a parent’s life. While nothing can make the hardships disappear completely, we can rely on baby tips to make those months much smoother.
As a recap, here are the newborn care basics we learned:
- Onesies can also be pulled down during messy poop accidents
- Expel gas with the elbow-to-knee trick
- Keep your baby awake no longer than 90 minutes for better sleep and less fussiness
- Record your baby feedings and diaper changes to monitor his progress
- Feed your baby after he wakes up to reduce the reliance on feeding to sleep
- Find alternative ways to hold your baby to free up your arms
- Swaddle your baby for longer stretches of sleep
- Use white noise to muffle outside noises that might startle your baby
- Hang darkening curtains to help your baby fall and stay asleep
Taking care of a newborn is tough enough as it is, but with these baby tips, you’ll have an easier time caring for your baby.
p.s. Want resources to help your baby sleep well, especially if he only sleeps in your arms? I created a guide just for you! Learn about “How to Get Your Baby to Sleep without Being Held” here.
Image Source: https://www.thebump.com/a/life-with-a-newborn
21. Earn Money Shopping on Amazon
This is such an easy, passive way to rake in an extra $36 a year. ShopTracker, one of the leading public opinion research companies, wants you to share your Amazon purchase history with them. And they’ll pay you for every month you share!
When you sign up for ShopTracker, it keeps your private information, well, private. All it wants to see is your order information, including the order date, product title, category, ISBN number, release date, condition, seller, list price per unit, quantity and other details.
Before you jump in, you need to know:
- This will be a waste of time if you don’t shop on Amazon.
- You must be 18 and live in the U.S.
All good? To earn your first gift card today:
- Sign up, and download the ShopTracker app on your Windows computer and Apple or Android phone. It takes about two minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your Amazon use to qualify.
- Open the app and log in to your Amazon account to automatically share your purchase history. You’ll receive your Visa e-gift card code for $3 via email within 48 hours.
- Take a couple of minutes to share your purchase history to earn another $3 each month.
Your information is securely collected by The Harris Poll, a trusted market research company for more than 20 years. Additionally, ShopTracker removes your name, shipping address and any personal payment information before reporting your purchase history.
22. Get Paid to Shop Online
Believe it or not, some sites will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.One of our favorites is Ebates, a cash back shopping site. It’s giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate.You can choose a $10 gift card for Walmart or $10 in Ebates cash for your next shopping trip on the site.To earn your gift card:
- Sign up for Ebates here with your email or Facebook account.
- Make your first purchase through the site within 90 days, and spend at least $25.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points you cash in for your $10 gift card.
23. Get Paid to Tutor Kids Online
24. Pick up Babysitting Gigs Whenever You’re Available
Ever overhear your co-workers mumbling about needing a night off from little people at home? You’ll be surprised to learn how hard it is to find a sitter!Keep your eyes and ears peeled, and offer to babysit while friends or co-workers go out for the evening — you could earn $50 to $100 in a nightIf you don’t want to bother the people you already know, sign up with SitterCity.Once you create your profile on the app, you can browse babysitting jobs in your area. Parents post to the app looking for full-time nannies, date-night sitters, last-minute care, and even pet or senior care and housekeeping.Families can review your profile and run a background check before contacting you. Then you’ll meet them over the phone or in person to talk about their needs and your rates.If you like hanging out with kids, babysitting could make a fulfilling full-time job or just a fun way to make extra money in your free time.
You can sign up for SitterCity here.
25. Stop Doing Favors, and Rent Your Truck out Instead
Remember how proud you felt when you bought that truck? You were on top of the world — until your family and friends started asking for favors: Can you help me move this weekend? Make a Home Depot haul for me? Tow that trailer full of trash to the dump?That big, empowering truck you bought has backfired. (Not literally, we hope.)Instead of feeling committed to all these favors for family, friends and friends of friends of friends, why not let someone rent your truck — and pay you per hour?Through the online peer-to-peer truck share marketplace Fluid Market, you can lend your truck to community members. Fluid Market reports earnings on longbed pickup trucks and cargo vans up to $12,000 a year.Here’s how Fluid works:
- List your truck. Be sure to have the VIN and some quality photos available. If you do, the process takes about 10 minutes tops.
- Promote your listing. Use anything and everything — from Facebook community groups to Nextdoor. Fluid says earnings are “notably higher” when someone self-promotes.
- Manage your listing. Opt into the “instabook” setting, where users can automatically book your truck without pending your approval. Set up a lockbox for the keys, and bam. Passive income.
Let’s address some concerns real quick. When you list on Fluid Market, it covers all vehicles with $300,000 in car rental liability insurance as well as coverage against theft and physical damage. You can also feel at ease because each renter’s identity is verified with a DMV background check. Payments come weekly, via direct deposit.
And, hey, no heavy lifting required. Now when everyone flocks to you — err, your truck — nudge them over to your listing on Fluid Market.
26. Serve as a Mock Juror
Fascinated by courtroom drama, but hate wasting the day in jury duty for a measly $40 payout?Serve as an online mock juror to help lawyers prepare for real cases. You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time.Instead of hearing arguments from both sides of the case, you review evidence, including documents, videos and photos, at your computer.
27. Start Investing (Seriously, You Can Afford This)
If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself consider starting an investment account through Acorns.You can start small — with $5 — and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to stash $420 away per year.At that rate, you could set aside $1,000 in about two and a half years — without trying.But the beauty is you can set your own pace with Acorns’ features, so if you want — and can afford — to invest $1,000 faster, go for it.
The app is $1 a month for balances under $5,000, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.
28. Jump on the Class-Action Bandwagon
If you use a product that’s involved in a class-action lawsuit, a little online sleuthing could get you a cash payout.The rules of each settlement are different, but in most cases you’ll have to provide proof of purchase or product use, like a serial number or a receipt. Once you fill out your online claim form, you may have to wait a few weeks or months before receiving your payment.Psst — we regularly post new class-action settlement information, so check in often to make sure you’re not missing a chance to get paid!
29. Optimize Your Credit Card Use
If you’re not using a rewards credit card to pay for your groceries, you’re missing out on free money.(One caveat: This only works if you pay off that credit card balance every month to avoid paying interest.)Credit card rewards programs can be confusing, though, because each card gives you different rewards for different purchases. Managing all your points and rewards can be a challenge, especially if you’re juggling more than one card.To get the most out of your rewards cards at the checkout counter, try using Birch. The free app keeps track of your spending and helps you maximize the rewards you’re getting, whether they’re travel rewards or cash back.Birch plugs into your bank account and credit card accounts (with high security) and analyzes your spending habits. It recommends which cards you should sign up for, and which cards you should use for your most frequent purchases.For example, it might suggest you buy products at your favorite grocery store with a specific card to rack up the most points or cash back.
The average American shopper could be earning $600 in credit card rewards per year, Birch co-founder Alex Cohen says, referring to a Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that the average consumer spends $2,165 a month on groceries, gas and other “credit card eligible” expenses.
Don’t miss out.
30. Work as a Transcriptionist
Are you a good listener — and a good typist? You can make $15 to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.
You’ll need experience in the medical or legal fields to get transcription assignments in those areas, butplenty of researchers, reporters and Average Joes are willing to pay for someone to type up their recordings.
You get paid per audio hour, so this is a gig that’s perfect for people with great focus. If an hour-long recording takes you four hours to transcribe, you still only get paid for one hour. Listen closely!
Please Read to the End
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu…
Many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many died.
The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.
Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser. She said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu, and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.
Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:
Thanks for the reminder. I don’t know about the farmer’s story…but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia, and, needless to say, I was very ill… I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs…sure enough it happened just like that…the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.
Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.
This is the other note. Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don’t know what to blame. Maybe it’s the onions that are to blame. Onions absorb bacteria is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu and is the very reason we shouldn’t eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open.