When we brought Davis home from the hospital, there was this huge sense of relief to get to our own surroundings and be home as a new family – but there was also a huge sense of panic. Andrew kept saying, “I can’t believe they just send you home with a baby and that’s it!” We really felt the huge responsibility of keeping this tiny human alive. Now we are almost a year and a half in, and we still feel like we have no clue what we’re doing, but we are learning every day. Since Davis was born I have had the best and most challenging times in my life!
I had a request for a post on mom hacks, and I found myself wondering…do I have any mom hacks?! I feel like we all do, but since we’re all just doing whatever we can to keep our babies alive and fed and happy, we don’t necessarily think of what we do in those terms, or we feel like everyone else already knows all the stuff we would share. So I made up my own list and then enlisted the help of all the moms I know as well as the internet to come up with this massive roundup for you today. Credit given where credit is due, as always! #girlgang – buckle up, because this is a lot of ideas! I hope there’s at least one thing in this list that will help you.
Mom Hack #1: Don’t stress out trying to do what any other mom tells you to do (from my sister Emily). This is probably the best hack of them all. Every baby is SO different, and you know your baby the best. YOU are the expert on your own child. Take advice, leave advice, ponder it, try it or don’t – but always do what works for you and don’t feel any stress or guilt about that.
Mom Hack #2: Keep a park bag/outside bag by the door or in your car that you can grab and go with! For me this is a “baseball game” bag – sunscreen/bug spray, basic first aid kit, snacks, paper towels, extra wipes, sunglasses, hat, bottled water, a change of clothes, grocery bags for any messes, etc. I mentioned on my ig stories that I am obsessed with these bags (my girlfriend Kelly has one that she brought to the park on a playdate) but I can’t stop looking at them! A lot are sold out but here are my favorites that I just think are SO pretty: Sun kiss Hombro bag, Lily Dia tote, Lavender Dia tote, Daphne overnight duffle. I mean they are just LOVELY. I am in no way sponsored by them – I wish! (This hack is from Kelly)
Mom Hack #3: Use dog poop bags for dirty diapers! We have 3 dogs so we have LOTS of these bags we’ve collected over the years. I keep a roll in the diaper bag – scented is even better! Double bag for poop diapers and you can protect your car or other people’s trash cans from making you gag 🙂
Mom Hack #4: My sister makes her own baby food, so she said to just use whatever you’re already cooking! Save time and don’t go out of your way to make special foods. She also mixes breast milk into her baby food for Jackson. She said she usually just leaves part of her food unspiced or adds lighter spices to his food!
Mom Hack #5: Keep a toy bin in your car that is specifically for the car! This makes those toys feel “special” and can save you on a road trip. Change the toys out from time to time so your baby/kids don’t lose interest! (also from Kelly)
Mom Hack #6: Baby powder in the car for sand and dirt (from Kelly and Noelle)Takes it right off! I have heard this from a bunch of moms and also read it online before Davis was born – I’ll be trying this this summer! Also smart to keep in your car: Extra wipes, I like to keep a few extra diapers in case we are out longer than expected or have an emergency, gallon zip lock bags for accidents, a roll of paper towels!
Mom Hack #7: Give your toddler/child a nature box! I’ve seen this from @emily.the.mom.next.door and from some of my friends – have a “special” container for nature items that your child/toddler can find out on walks, at the park, etc. I think Emily the mom next door just uses an old sour cream tub, or you can decorate a plastic bag. It doesn’t have to be fancy! This provides a layer of excitement and a place to keep all of the little “treasures” found outdoors!
Mom Hack #8: Double make the bed (make it, then make it again on top of it) for potty training accidents and nights where your baby might get sick! This way you don’t have to scramble in the middle of the night to find new sheets and make the bed. (from Kelly)
Mom Hack #9: Cool off your kids’ food in the air vents of your car! I figured everyone did this, but I did it in front of my friend Lindsey and she had been blowing on Davis’ food to cool it down for him, and she was amazed, so I figured I’d share! Haha. I also used to roll down my window and hold hot food out of it for a second or two – a lot faster than blowing on something!
Mom Hack #10: Use a pizza cutter to cut up your kid’s food into little pieces. GENIUS. I saw this online and couldn’t believe I hadn’t already thought of it. BLESS THIS MOM.
Mom Hack #11: BASKETS. BASKETS. BASKETS. Easy storage, goes with your decor, and makes for super quick clean up at night or if someone is coming over unexpectedly. Another similar idea is to get a storage ottoman or storage bench for a toy box. Pick something that goes with your decor and you’ll be set! Functional and good-looking.
Mom Hack #12: Lay out clothes and shoes the night before for you and baby. Then, when you’re running around in the morning, you can save time choosing an outfit(from my own mom, Martha). My friend Kathleen even sets out 5 bins labeled M-F for her 3 daughters and they can use those to help themselves get dressed in the mornings! So smart.
Mom Hack #13: Plan for breakfasts and have something to grab and go if you are running late. (from Martha, but we do this too! We are always fighting the clock in the mornings to get to school and day care)
Mom Hack #14: Keep a stain remover pen/stick on hand for spills until you can get the clothes to the washing machine. (from Martha)
Mom Hack #15: Frida Baby vapor drops for the humidifier – what a great idea! I didn’t even know these existed. (from Alora)
Mom Hack #16: Store breast milk standing up inside a soda can box – saves space and spills. (from Jenny) My friend Tori also recommended the Bamboobies reusable nursing pads for breastfeeding moms.
Mom Hack #17: Nursing/pumping cart – if you’re breastfeeding, make it easier on yourself! Use a 3-tier storage cart or something similar that rolls, and get all your important stuff organized on it. My friend Tori told me about this and she saw it on someone’s instagram. A great idea! I had a basket with all my things and a “station” upstairs and downstairs, but this is so smart.
Mom Hack #18: DIY trail mix with favorite snacks. We do this for Davis and my friend Emily suggested it as well. Raisins and nuts can be a choking hazard, and I can’t pump my 15 month old full of chocolate chips or m&ms, so we do our own little snack mixes! Ours are usually cheerios, the Belvita mini breakfast bites, baby sized goldfish, and teddy grahams! Sometimes we get crazy and throw some honey nut Chex in, too.
Mom Hack #19: A family command center. Designating a space for a monthly or weekly calendar, meal planning, information about practices, lessons, events, etc. makes a big difference in keeping everything straight (from Kathleen). I am dying for a big acrylic family planning calendar for the wall, but we do have a small dry erase board that we use for now!
Mom Hack #20: Powdered tide + hot water for blowouts or stains/spit up on car seats! Then you don’t have to take the whole thing apart to wash and dry it. (from Tori)
Mom Hack #21: Packing cubes and different sized waterproof bags! For travel, diaper bag, car (from Jordan)
Mom Hack #22: Painter’s tape! You can do so much with this cheap little blue roll of tape. Make race tracks, roads, tape paper towel tubes to the wall and drop stuff through them, tape plastic baggies to the floor and fill with sensory materials, etc. The list goes on!
Mom Hack #23: Busy boards – you can easily make these at home with stuff you already have, or you can get fancy and buy products to create one! Just get a slab of wood, piece of cardboard from a box, or a foam display board for presentations, and tape/glue whatever your toddler might enjoy to it! Ideas include a reflective/mirrored surface, pom poms, tubes, door latch or knob, light switch, you name it! Tons of ideas on Pinterest. I have my Early Childhood students create these to take to their internship sites!
Mom Hack #24: Paint outside with water and paint brushes/foam brushes. This is such an easy and mess-free activity! My friend Emily suggested this and my friend Kelly does it too! Another outdoor activity I got from my sister’s best friend Megan – she suggested taping skinny bubble containers to a mail box or post (painter’s tape is great for all things kids!). Great for fine motor skill practice, fun outdoors, and most importantly, a great way to keep the bubbles from constantly spilling over!
Mom Hack #25: Sleeper pjs that are open at the bottom with elastic – great for night time diaper changes. (from Jenny)
Mom Hack #26: Limit restrictions wherever you can so your baby has a safe and inviting world to explore. Davis found our wine glasses hanging from the bar cart, and all he wanted to do was knock them together to hear them tinkle. So instead of fighting that battle, I just took them all out and moved them to a cabinet until it’s safe again, or forever 🙂 this is an easy example, but if you find yourself saying no to the same thing over and over again, consider just removing that thing altogether from your baby/child’s environment.
Mom Hack #27: Get your coffee ready the night before! We have an old school coffee maker and we program it at night when we know we’ll have an early morning – we try to do it every night but it just doesn’t always happen! If you have a Keurig, my mom said to go ahead and make sure your water is full the night before! Those little time savers make a difference.
Mom Hack #28: Let your child carry a backpack with their own stuff in it – pull-ups, clothes, activities, snacks. Makes them feel grown up, teaches responsibility, and helps you out! (from Kathleen)
Mom Hack #29: Use cloth diapers as burp cloths (from Jenny). When I was pregnant, a few people told me to do this and I’m so glad we did! They are so absorbent and work great as burp cloths.
Mom Hack #30: Tea tree oil for ear infections (from Alora). I didn’t know about this one because thankfully Davis hasn’t had an ear infection, but what I found when I googled said to dilute it with another oil so it doesn’t irritate the skin but that 50-81% of cases do see improvement with using tea tree oil around the ear! Make sure not to get any in the actual ear canal.
Mom Hack #31: Set up green lights everywhere you go. I worked at PF Chang’s for a couple of years, and they had a “green light/red light” system where you were always supposed to take care of something so a team member wouldn’t get caught by a red light the next time. For example, if you use the last of the water pitcher, you should go ahead and fill it up so it’s a green light for the next person. At home, I joke about this with Andrew a lot because I am a big “green light” girl personally! Do it now to help yourself or someone else later. Take the laundry basket down when you put the baby down for a nap, lay out pjs when you are taking clothes off for bath time, cut extra fruit when you’re making snacks so you have some prepared for next time, that kind of thing! Green light, green light, green light.
Mom Hack #32: Hair tie cutter tool (my friend Emily said she used to use nail clippers to get her daughter’s hair ties out! Genius). We had to do a man bun for Davis when his hair started getting really long and we had to use these, too! They work like a dream. (from Kelly)
Mom Hack #33: The nested bean sleep sacks (from my old student Sam! How cool is that?). We used one of these for Davis when he was younger and it really worked for him – he loved it and it was worth the hype for us. We also got a nice Kyte Baby sleep bag for Christmas for him and we LOVE this brand. He has a pair of footie pjs, a toddler pj set, and one of their sleep bags, and I HIGHLY recommend them all. So comfortable, slinky, and stretchy. And really cute, too!
Mom Hack #34: Zipper sheets for the crib or toddler bed! My friend Kelly told me about these when I was pregnant and asking what to register for for Davis. Amazing. If there is an accident, you don’t have to change the whole sheet, just the zipper top! A little expensive, but worth it.
Mom Hack #35: A sunscreen applicator spongeI don’t even have to explain this one. Genius. There is nothing I hate worse than spreading greasy thick baby sunscreen on Davis, but you can’t avoid it! This is IN MY CART. (from Kelly)
Mom Hack #36: Night time pad inserts for all size diapers (also from my old student Sam). Perfect for when baby starts sleeping longer stretches but the diaper can’t quite handle it!
Mom Hack #37: Tubby Todd all over ointment – great for sensitive baby skin! My friend Tori says it clears eczema, any type of red/irritated skin issue, and even swears that it helps heal baby scratches! Not for diaper rash – but great for everything else!
Mom Hack #38: A sound machine! There are tons of these out there. We love our Hatch Baby sound machine because it doubles as a night light and also has a timer on it for when Davis gets bigger and we can let him know when it’s time to wake up and get out of bed! It has been an awesome investment for us and we take it everywhere we travel overnight. We just use the white noise sound but there are several options.
Mom Hack #39: A bag sealer for when your child doesn’t finish those little snack baggies but you don’t want to waste them! This is just a great gadget to have anyway. Would be great to have one in the kitchen and one in the diaper bag!
Mom Hack #40: These make any cup a sippy cup silicone lids – Davis is obsessed with drinking out of every cup we do, and he doesn’t quite have it yet. These are life savers! Also great for restaurants or when the fast food restaurant forgets to give you your straw (not that I ever stop at those…..)
Mom Hack #41: Use a laundry basket in the bathtub! It will keep your baby contained and will also keep favorite bath toys close by.
Mom Hack #42: Use a cupcake liner under popsicles to catch the drips! Just cut a small slit in it or poke the popsicle stick through. Davis hasn’t eaten a popsicle yet, but this will be a great idea!
Mom Hack #43: Use frozen marshmallows in a bag instead of an ice pack for bumps and bruises! It’s less harsh and easy to move and mold. I have heard this one a lot from other moms but keep forgetting to buy marshmallows! I added them to my list so now we’ll have them – hopefully we won’t need them!
Mom Hack #44: For potty training, keep a training potty with a diaper in it for places you go without a bathroom! This way, you can keep your routine and consistency and the diaper will absorb the liquid.
Mom Hack #45: Lay stuff on the stairs for the next time you go up – I have this little system with myself and I am constantly laying random stuff on the steps to carry up with me – my shoes when I get home from school, important mail that needs to be filed upstairs in the office, etc.
Mom Hack #46: Throw plastic toys in the dishwasher to clean them! So smart and easy – you can clean toys however you want, but this is definitely convenient! I usually use clorox wipes to clean Davis’ toys but this is a great way to clean them really well every so often.
Mom Hack #47: This dishwasher caddy was a game changer! We use it for bottle nipples, syringes, the little sippy cup plugs for the lids (I hope you know what I mean), and anything else small! Great price, and a must have for me!
Mom Hack #48: Use a Yeti or good insulated mug for hot water to warm up your bottles while you’re out and about! I saw this online and it was so obvious, but I had never thought of it!
Mom Hack #49: Tie your art utensils to the easel your kids are using! That way they won’t get lost or worse – used for decorating the walls 🙂
Mom Hack #50: When your baby has a blowout, and they will, pull the onesie down over his/her shoulders, instead of up over the head. I read that the shoulders are made for that and it made so much sense to me. This won’t work for every outfit, but it’s a great thing to know!
Finally, my most important mom hack is simply realizing that you don’t need a million dollars in the bank to provide an enriching life for your child. “Experiences” can be as simple as “helping” you cook dinner, exploring the backyard, or taking a walk through the neighborhood and talking about what you see. This is what I try to reinforce with my child development and early childhood students all the time. I think we get caught up with the best gadgets and toys for our kids and we forget that there’s a whole world out there that’s already prepped for exploration. All we have to do is be present, give lots of love and affection, and facilitate their adventures! If you’re a mom, and you’re trying your best, then you are a good mom!
Please let me know if any of these were helpful for you! Do you have any other mom hacks to share?
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