Enough time has passed that I have graduated from being a nervous first-time mom of an infant to a slightly seasoned mom of a toddler. That said, here are some of my recommended mom hacks for those of you dealing with babies. Please do not consider this “advice.” These are simply things I’ve tried that have worked and have made life with a little one a little easier.
Double diaper duty.
So your baby is finally sleeping through the night. No more middle-of-the-night feeds, no more going to bed at 7 p.m. because you know you’re getting up at 1 a.m. Congratulations! Now your newest concern is leaky diapers. My son continually woke up with pee-soaked pjs, sleep sacks, and sheets. This was the case even when wearing a branded “overnight diaper.” My current solution is to put him in two overnight diapers, one of which is a size up. Yes, it is a bit more expensive and yes, he looks like an extra from a Sir Mix-a-lot video. But, so far so good…and so dry.
Portable baby’s room.
Living in Westchester with a family, it’s likely that you drive to get to most places. Your car becomes your second home. I have organized my car in a way that helps me address my baby’s needs almost as if we were at home and had access to his room. I have a little box behind the passenger seat in the back on the floor that has extra clothes, jackets, hats, a blanket, and toys. It’s a cute fabric organizer that I bought in a local discount store. Even less expensive is to take an old cardboard box and re-purpose it in this way.
I also have a diaper station in my backseat pocket that mimics my changing table at home. It has wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer, changing pad, and diaper cream. When I smell a poop on the way to Grandma’s house, I can pull over and have everything I need in the backseat without having to root around in the diaper bag. This also keeps the bag fresh for when I need it on the go at a music class, the mall, or anywhere else we might be.
One of the things I really enjoy doing with our son is taking him out for meals. He loves sitting in a high chair, looking all around a restaurant, flirting with servers, and of course eating. In fact, he sings a little happy song that sounds like a muscle car idling most of the time he’s chowing down. However, when I put food on a plate for him, both end up on the floor. Food ending up on the floor is inevitable. But broken porcelain pieces in the middle of a restaurant is another story (unless you’re at a Greek wedding). I discovered these sticky plastic placemats that you can put on the table. They get filthy. Then you peel them off and throw them away. A roll of plastic wrap probably works just as well and your baby won’t know the difference.
There is a ton of gear that goes out the door along with your baby when you go on an outing. One of my hacks is to have a staging area right by the door. When I was 8 months pregnant and we were moving into our house, I wondered how we would use the built-in cubbies across from the door to our garage. Now I know they are a perfect place to pile up anything I don’t want to forget as I walk out the door. This could be a toy for a long car ride, a snack and plenty of non-baby items like our dog’s leash or something I want to put in the mailbox.
Diaper bag do’s.
Once you started taking your baby out of your house, you likely realized how important a well-stocked and easily-carried diaper bag was. One thing I learned was that, as cute as they are, fancy diaper bags were not functional for me. Instead, I bought a backpack. It was roomier and made carrying my son that much easier. Do I feel like I look as chic as when I carried my unwieldy but cute messenger baby bag? No, I look like a continuing education high school student, but at least I’ll be less likely to tip over when carrying my son.