80+ practical tips for new parents (P.S. you’re already doing an amazing job)
By Cradlewise Staff
Hello new parents! The new parent’s life can be exhausting and challenging. There are a lot of challenges to get through that you might often end up doubting yourself while muddling through different situations. Just remember that there is very little you can do to mess up. Try to relax and savor these amazing moments with your LO. Here are some interesting tips and advice for new parents that we have put together.
Tips for baby sleep
1. Always have an exit strategy while putting your little one down to sleep
Especially if your baby is a fussy sleeper. Having your baby fall asleep on your arm is a very tricky situation since you don’t want to risk waking them up by moving.
2. The Slow Extraction Method
Watch your LO’s body cues. Do not leave until they are sleeping. There is a popular method called “The Slow Extraction.” You just have to move in little bits at a time. If they start to stir, try soothing them right back without going into the previous position.
Babies usually tend to wake up when you place them in the crib. To know more about what you can do to prevent this, check out our blog, “Complete guide to Moro reflex: How to calm a baby.”
3. Keeping your baby close to you in your room
This is better than keeping them in a separate room. Room sharing is recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) for babies up until 6 months of age. This brings a sense of comfort for both you and your baby and enhances deeper sleep for everyone. There’s the additional benefit of you not having to run across the hall every time you hear your baby.
4. Make sure your baby has a blanket with at least three duplicates
Rotate them equally, so they all wear off at the same time. It’s all about the fabric and the tiny knots.
5. Plan a sleep schedule for you and your LO
After 4 months, your baby might start sleeping for longer stretches at night. This is the best time to plan out your sleep schedule. Adjust your sleep and waking schedules to match your baby’s. If your LO wakes up at 6 am, you need to be in bed at 10 pm to get 8 hours of sleep.
6. Invest in a quality mattress and proper black-out curtains for both you and your baby
These help improve your quality of sleep and your LO’s ability to distinguish day and night and get their alarm clock going.
7. Place your baby on a flat hard regular crib mattress
Also, make sure to remove any soft toys on the mattress when your LO is asleep. This helps reduce any chances of suffocation.
8. Reading to your kids will help them fall asleep faster.
It will grow your relationship with them. It will make bedtime easier and help them develop an interest in reading.
9. Keep exposing your baby to natural light to help associate with day and night
Get outdoors once a day and set a night routine. Exposing your baby to natural light will help them develop their circadian rhythm. To know more about the circadian rhythm, check out our blog “You are not in control of when you feel sleepy, your internal clock is.”
10. Contact naps are totally normal for babies, especially for two-month-olds!
You are home to them! Our only advice for new parents is to let them contact nap and set yourself up with a snack, water, phone charger, and headphones.
11. Try having your LO nap in a carrier strapped to your chest
That way, you can get up, have a snack, even use the toilet if you’re bursting, and she’ll still be getting that contact nap.
12. Remember to always support your baby’s head and neck
Another vital piece of advice for new parents is to always support the head while you carry your LO upright and when you put them down.
13. White noise can be a lifesaver
White noise filters out sounds from outside and provides a soothing and comfortable environment for the baby to sleep. For a more extensive guide, read our blog, “Baby music guide: womb effect, music training, white noise and more.”
14. Try heating your LO’s sleep space with a heating pad before putting them down
However, our advice for new parents is to use caution and read the instructions.
15. Clip nails when asleep
Clip your baby’s nails while they are sleeping for the best results. This is about 30 minutes after you have put them to sleep. Do not forget to file their nails to avoid rough edges. They can leave scratch marks on your baby’s skin.
16. Get a nursing pillow
The Greatest thing ever for allowing a baby to nap on you comfortably.
17. Place a loud ticking clock next to your baby when asleep
The sound of the clock ticking can act to stimulate the mother’s heartbeat for the baby.
Shopping tips to save money and effort
18. Buy clothes according to season beforehand
When shopping for baby clothes, always think of which season it will be when your baby is of a particular age. If your LO is 2 months in November, you will have to buy cotton clothes for the 7th month, in April. Planning ahead saves you those extra bucks.
19. Buy loose-fitting clothes
Avoid buying perfectly fit clothes for your baby. Get more oversized clothes because they tend to grow out of the old ones quickly.
20. Second-hand baby gear stores are the best!
You can find everything you need there for cheap and in great condition. You can also trade in your used baby stuff for cash or store credit at a few stores. These can be used again to purchase new things as your baby grows.
21. Try getting a lot of receiving blankets
They serve many purposes and can easily be blankets, playmats, burp cloths, and towels to clean up spills.
22. Choose your fabrics wisely
You will get all kinds of stuff like snot, puke in there. They must be easy to wash and dry.
23. Try to buy the in-front button onesies for newborns
These can be snapped in the front and changed quickly. This will save you a lot of time and effort to change clothes which you will often do.
24. Get a swaddle with Velcro
Swaddling with Velcro makes it easier for you to snap in and out your baby’s clothes. They are also said to be cozier than those with a zipper or a button.
25. Wear a tow shirt for nursing
They can come in handy when you are in public places and cannot find a feeding room. It is easy to pull up and feed your LO.
26. Buy a baby hammock that fits into your shopping cart
Getting a baby hammock will make your grocery shopping easier. This is because you don’t have to carry your baby around while putting things in the cart. It also saves you from having to carry a large car seat everywhere.
27. Always have diaper pails on every floor
Purchase a lot of diaper pails and set them on every floor in your house. It will save you the time of running up and down.
28. Buy adhesive hooks to save you time and effort
Use adhesive hooks to pin to your baby’s crib or change tables for quick access to clean clothes and other essentials.
29. Do not take off tags from your gifts
Don’t take off the tags for all the gifts you receive during your baby shower. You might get many products that might not be helpful, and most of them can be returned or exchanged. So always have that option open.
30. Save money by using the “sanitize” setting on your dishwasher
Instead of getting a bottle sterilizer, use the “sanitize” setting in your dishwasher.
Baby feeding tips
31. Label your breast milk as morning, afternoon, and evening
Your breast milk plays a vital role in regulating your baby’s body clock. So labeling the time of your breast milk can be a great hack. Check out more tips on this from “How does breast milk help develop circadian rhythm in babies?“
32. Mini-fridges on the same floor as the bedroom
If your bedroom is not on the same floor as your kitchen, we recommend keeping a mini-fridge somewhere on the same floor. This will save you a lot of time and effort in taking the stairs at night.
33. Do not wake up your baby to breastfeed in the middle of the night
However, dream feeding is an option. Only tend to your LO if they wake up at night. Let them sleep otherwise.
34. Choose which method of feeding suits you and your baby
Breastfeeding can be challenging. Try researching the different methods and choose what you think is best for you and your baby. Try your best, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about how you feed your baby.
35. Do not give your baby milk in bed once you notice that their teeth have erupted
Doing this will increase their risk of developing cavities.
36. Do not give your toddler pineapple juice
One of the most essential pieces of advice for new parents is to avoid pineapple juice. They contain enzymes that might not sit well with their digestive system.
37. Be prepared and pre-fill bottles of milk
Always be prepared by packing a few pre-filled bottles of formula or breast milk in your diaper bag as a backup.
38. Keep track of your baby’s feeding and changing routines
Keeping track of your baby’s routine makes it easier to mention when in the doctor’s office. There are even apps to help track these for parents.
39. Use wet gauze instead of brushes
Avoid using brushes for your baby until they turn one. You can alternatively use wet gauze to wipe down their gums.
40. Use a back positioning chair while nursing
Try to sit in a good back positioning chair or furniture while nursing your baby and avoid slouching.
Advice for new parents: sleep and health
41. Do not neglect your nutritional needs while caring for your baby
It can affect your postpartum health and the time you spend with your little one. Getting the proper nutrients also greatly helps lactating moms. It is recommended to avoid eating meals filled with carbs throughout the day. You can fill up your plate with protein-rich and energy-sustaining foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, and nuts.
42. Avoid carrying your LO on your hips
This exposes your back muscles to a lot of stress. Try switching sides from time to time to distribute the weight equally.
43. Squeeze in those extra hours of sleep whenever you can
Sleep when your baby sleeps because you will be busy tending to them and putting them back to sleep when they are awake.
44. Take turns to feed and change at night
You and your partner can take turns to get up at night to tend to your LO or alternate baby duty each night. This way, at least one of you gets a full night’s rest, and the other can get theirs the next night.
45. Ask for help from friends and family
You can ask your parents or friends and family for help. Do not hesitate to ask for help at times. Catch a nap or just spend some time watching Netflix alone or with your partner.
46. Take turns to babysit with friends or neighbors
You can also babysit kids in turns if you have someone in the same boat. This will help you both to take some time off and talk about things that you might find difficult to handle. Who knows, they might have a solution for you! Sharing might help you muddle through the chaos.
47. Relax and enjoy the present
Enjoy the early stages as much as possible after they learn to walk. It might be another challenge running around and making sure they don’t crash onto things or topple things over.
48. Listen to the advice that only works for you and your baby
Take everything you hear from family and what you read on the internet, and in books, with a pinch of salt. It’s worth listening to, but ultimately, every child is different.
49. Wearable baby carriers are better than strollers
If your back can stand it, our advice for new parents is to use baby carriers. Your strength should grow with your child, so you can probably do it longer than you think. Also, as they get heavier, you can start putting them on your back. Carriers don’t work for all babies, but it is a miracle for those who like carriers and like sleeping in them.
50. Do not drive or handle heavy machinery when sleep-deprived
As a new parent, sleep deprivation is definitely a thing. Try taking a cab or carpooling with friends to go out. Avoid driving when you have slept for less than six hours.
51. Take notes of things when you are sleep-deprived
Sleep deprivation is not good for short-term memory. Do things as you think of them or write them down, so you won’t forget.
52. Interact with your baby as often as possible
Spending time holding your baby and talking to them helps develop their bond with you.
53. Get sleeping aids to help sleep
Sometimes getting some external help to sleep when you just can’t is okay. Get some earplugs to help you sleep through those exhausting nights.
54. Do not neglect spending time with your SO during all the chaos
It is important to communicate how you feel and encourage each other to get through this stronger. Remind yourselves that this is temporary, and you will miss these small moments very soon.
55. Pre-plan your food to eat after coming back home
If you are alone. Pre-plan your food before rushing to the hospital in labor. Make sure you have picked out groceries and meal plans for the first week or two. Also, maybe prepare food for the first few days and refrigerate them. You can heat them and eat them later after the baby is born.
56. It’s okay to say no to visitors wanting to see your newborn
This might be hard, especially when many genuinely want to meet the baby. But take some time for you and the baby before you are ready to meet people.
Tips for diaper changes
57. Opt for a backpack instead of a diaper bag
Your diaper bag will become your purse, so get one or more that matches your style instead of matching your baby’s stuff. Don’t get a diaper/nappy bag and opt for a backpack. You simply don’t need an expensive bag, but you will need to be hands-free nearly all the time.
58. Give your baby some much needed diaper-free time
You can lay them on absorbent mats and go about your day.
59. Try to fold your baby’s legs in a crisscross position while changing diapers
This helps keep your hands and your baby’s feet out of the poop zone.
60. Use a baby moisturizer to treat rashes
You can also use baby moisturizer to treat face rashes and not just diaper rashes. They serve multiple purposes.
61. Change diapers by putting the new one below the old one and then pulling out the old one
While changing diapers, try putting the new one underneath the old one and then pulling out the old one for an easy change. This hack can be a lifesaver in emergencies.
Tips on cleaning up after your baby
62. Always place your baby’s highchair on a plastic mat for easy cleanup of any messes or spills
You can also try using a waterproof pad on your LO’s crib.
63. Double-layer sheets to avoid impacts of spit-ups
It will also give you the time to change sheets and clean them later.
64. Organize and label essentials to make it easier for the caregiver
If you are planning on getting a babysitter or a caregiver, make sure to label the boxes. It is easier for them to identify essential items if you label all the boxes.
65. Use long-sleeved smock bibs if your baby is a messy eater
These provide more protection than your standard bib.
66. Invest in a house cleaner if you can afford it
You will be grateful for this advice. It would be otherwise exhausting to take care of yourself, your LO, and the house all at once. And being in a clean space might also calm you down and help deal with matters at hand.
Tips to soothe a crying baby
67. Observe and learn your baby’s crying habits
Crying is your baby’s only means of communication. Different cries often mean different things. Learning your baby’s crying habits will help you.
68. Gas might be the reason for random crying
If they are randomly fussy, it might be gas issues. Burp them and bounce them. Or get gas drops too.
69. Give gripe water to relieve gas
Babies usually have gas in their stomachs which makes them colicky. Try using gripe water to ease the effects.
70. Pour warm water slowly over their belly by covering it with a washcloth
You can try putting a washcloth over their belly while constantly pouring warm water over it if your LO hates baths.
Tips while caring for toddlers
71. Freeze baby washcloths
Take a couple of those little baby washcloths and wet/freeze them during teething. Babies love to chew on them, and they feel good on their gums.
72. Massage their arms and legs softly
Try gently massaging them if they are fussy and cranky for no reason. It can help calm them down.
73. Cover sharp edges in the drawing room
It is important that you cover up all the sharp edges with a padding of some form. This will prevent your toddler from getting hurt. Make sure to remove objects such as a flower vase, bowl of marbles and keep other small brittle things out of their reach.
74. Keep the kitchen child-friendly
Toddlers have the habit of following their parents around. Hence, the kitchen becomes the most vulnerable place. Keep all detergents and cleaning agents locked in the cabinets. Unplug every socket and put child safety.
Store cutlery safely in a cupboard and keep refrigeration doors locked.
75. Take pictures of your baby’s growth and milestones
Do the thing where you take pictures of the baby in the same chair or with the same toy every month to show growth. Those picture series are fun to look at, but you only get one shot at doing them.
76. Relax if your toddler is a fussy eater
They often tend to have odd food habits and eat when they are hungry. But make sure that they are getting nutritious food when hungry.
77. Be prepared for sick days
Your child’s immune system is not very strong, so make sure you are ready for sick days. Always have a stock of rehydration drinks ready, so you don’t have to run to the pharmacy every time. You can read more about how your baby’s immune system develops from our blog.
78. Make sure that you install your car seats properly
It might seem like rocket science for new parents at first, but it’s alright to check if it’s done right with the store.
79. Don’t stress on developmental milestones
Do not obsess about what stage your child is supposed to be at. Unless you genuinely have a reason to be concerned, your child will do all the things it’s meant to do in time. Remember that it is not a race, and be patient.
Read our blog on how babies learn and the role of myelin to understand your baby’s development.
80. Your baby does not have to have their sleep schedules improve every day
Try not to look at day-to-day patterns and focus on weekly or monthly patterns to track their habits and progress.
81. Use band-aids as easy and quick DIY to babyproof your home
Use band-aids to cover power outlets while leaving your toddler at home.
82. Purée any extra or leftover baby food
This is one of the best time-saving advice for new parents. Simply freeze the purée into ice cubes for quick meals.
83. Blend healthy foods into liquids for fussy eaters
If your toddler is a picky eater, try blending veggies into soups.
84. Hot glue your LO’s bath toys
Your baby’s bath toys might easily catch mold growth. Hot glue the holes in the toys to avoid this. Also, check for any existing mold growths and drain out any water before doing this.
The ultimate baby sleep tip
Each baby is different, and you will have to adapt to their patterns. Most challenges that new parents face stem from their baby not sleeping well. Our award-winning smart crib has helped babies sleep better. It can be used for newborns up until 24 months. Its built-in monitor helps learn your baby’s sleep patterns and detect early signs of wake-up. The crib bounces your LO back to sleep before they wake up completely.
- Room sharing is recommended by AAP. Harvard Health. 2020. “Room sharing with your baby may help prevent SIDS, but it means everyone gets less sleep”
- Bedtime reading. UNICEF. 2010. “Parenting tips for the first two years of life”
- Put a washcloth over their belly while constantly pouring warm water. NHS. 2019. “Tips for new parents”