Newborn Hacks Every New Parent Should Know
The newborn stage is a mix of excitement and exhaustion, worry and hope. But most importantly, it’s the time to build a deep and loving connection with your baby. Finding ways to make the newborn stage as easy as possible will help you focus on what is most important – getting to know your little one.
Nora’s Nursery’s offer some of the best Newborn Hacks, all focussed on making the newborn stage easier for you and your family. While some of these Newborn Hacks are focussed on making cloth diapering easier in the early days, many of the Hacks are relevant regardless of how you choose to diaper your baby.
For those committed to cloth diapering, did you know that most cloth diapers are designed to fit newborns? Nora’s Nursery cloth diapers are designed to fit babies anywhere from around 10 lbs to 35 lbs. So, if you are committed to cloth diapering, or maybe want to try a mix of cloth diapers and disposables, there is a Newborn Hack here for you!
Newborn Hack #1 – fitting your cloth diapers
Nora’s Nursery provides an in-depth discussion and video to help you size your cloth diapers based on your baby’s age and range of motion. Check out Get The Perfect Cloth Diaper Fit to Avoid Cloth Diaper Leaks.
But if focussing on sizing your cloth diaper for newborns, here is a quick step-by-step guide.
Step 1. Adjust the Diaper Length
It is best to adjust the diaper length without an insert, and without the diaper being on your baby.
To adjust the diaper length, use the rise snaps that run along the front of your diaper. Three rows of rise straps adjust the size setting.
For newborns, attach the top row of the rise snaps to the bottom row of the rise snaps. When you have adjusted the snaps in this position, there will be no visible rise snaps along the front of the diaper, as pictured below.
Step 2. Adjust the fit around the thigh
Once you have adjusted the rise snaps, add your cloth diaper insert. Now you are ready to fit the diaper on your baby.
Start by adjusting the size of the diaper around the thighs using the thigh snap.
The thigh snaps are the second row of snaps running along the top of the diaper. Four thigh snaps are located on either side of the front of the diaper, with one connecting snap on the diaper wings.
Wrap the wings around to the front of the diaper. Connect the thigh snap to the smallest setting – the snaps closest to the middle of the diaper, as pictured below.
Check to ensure the fit is snug against baby’s thighs, without being too tight.
Step 3. Adjust the fit around the waist.
The waist snaps run along the top of the diaper. For newborns you will wrap the wings over each other. Instead of connecting the wings to the snaps along the front of the diaper, you will connect the wings directly to each other, as pictured below.
Experiment with the waist snaps to see the range of options you can use to adjust the fit.
Step 4. Check your fit
To check if you have a perfectly snug fit on your newborn, use the finger test. A snug fit will allow you to fit only one finger between the thigh and the diaper. You should only fit two fingers between the belly and the diaper.
If you still have a loose fit, a great way to fill out your cloth diaper while your little one gains a few pounds is to simply add an extra insert. Check out Nora’s Nursery Accessories on the website for packs of cloth diaper inserts.
Newborn Hack #2 – build your diaper stash
Make sure you have enough cloth diapers on hand. For newborns and young infants, the suggested number of cloth diapers and inserts is 24 to 36. For older infants, you may only need 14 to 24 diapers and inserts. These suggestions are based on the need to change a diaper every 2 hours, with washing every 2 to 3 days. You can get away with less diapers if you plan on washing your diapers daily. Nora’s Nursery offers cloth diapers in packs of 4 and packs of 7, or you can buy diapers individually. Check out Nora’s Nursery Products to see the range of patterns and options to choose from.
In those early days, you should focus on getting rest and getting into a routine with your newborn. Even those most committed to cloth diapering will say that having a few extra disposable diapers on hand is a good idea and can save some time and energy. Disposables can be an easy solution as you get through the first few days and weeks. You can use a combination of cloth diapers and disposable diapers if it helps you adjust to your new routine. For small babies, consider disposables designed for newborns until they gain a few pounds.
Newborn Hack #3 – a good routine can save on diaper changes
When your newborn isn’t sleeping, they are eating, and of course, dirtying their diapers. Generally, newborns require feeding every 2 -3 hours. Setting up a good routine can help you manage your time, and even save on the number of diapers you need in a day!
See if this routine works for you. Feed your baby when they first wake. Spend some time burping, snuggling, and playing. Unless baby has had a poop, wait a while for a diaper change after you feed. This will give baby some time to kick the digestive system in gear – and you may avoid double diaper changes during your baby’s wake windows. Consider keeping your baby upright for 15 – 30 minutes after a feed to help with digestion. This way you can avoid spit up and gasses when you are ready to lay your baby down for a change.
Newborn Hack #4 – protect baby’s sensitive skin
Newborns have sensitive skin, and diaper rashes are common. To prevent diaper rash, ensure to change your cloth diapers regularly to prevent irritation. Diaper creams can be an essential item for your baby. When using a diaper cream, make sure to use the right amount. A thick layer of cream will create a barrier, preventing urine and stool coming into direct contact with skin. This thick layer of cream is especially important when you are hoping for longer stretches of sleep while also protecting baby’s skin.
Keep in mind that certain diaper creams can be difficult to remove from cloth diapers. So, look for a cloth diaper friendly diaper cream – visit Diaper Creams and Cloth Diapers to get some good tips and suggestions.
Consider using a diaper liner in the early days. This will make diaper changes and diaper cleaning easier. Not only will your diapers be free of diaper creams, but you can also throw your cloth diapers right into the laundry without having to rinse away any meconium or stool.
Preventing diaper rash is easier than treating it – so it doesn’t hurt to use a natural, cloth diaper safe diaper cream at every diaper change.
One additional bonus to using a diaper cream is that it can make clean up a little easier. Poop and meconium can easily stick to baby’s skin. A diaper cream, or a bit of all-natural coconut oil on baby’s bottom, can create the barrier needed to prevent sticky messes.
Newborn Hack #5 – consider baby wipe warmers
Some babies get really upset when a cold baby wipe comes into contact with their skin. If this is your baby, consider a baby wipe warmer. Better yet, throw the item on your baby registry and be prepared! While this may seem like an unnecessary baby gadget, it can really help make diaper changes more comfortable for baby, and ultimately for you. Using a warm wipe can be especially great during overnight diaper changes when you don’t want to stir baby too much out of sleep.
Newborn Hack #6 – bring calm to nighttime diaper changes
During overnight diaper changes, you want just enough light to see without causing too much of a shock to yourself and baby. Light can confuse baby into thinking that it is daytime and could really upset nighttime sleep. So, look for a light that isn’t too bright. Set up a lamp or nightlight near your diaper changing station. Look for a nightlight that is dimmable or use the lowest watt bulb you can find for your lamp. You can even consider a Himalayan Salt Lamp that gives off a nice warm glow while also improving air quality in your home.
Newborn Hack #7 – avoid getting peed on during a diaper change
Babies, especially baby boys, can surprise you with a pee mid diaper change. The fresh cool air stimulates this reaction. To avoid this, run a baby-wipe underneath babies belly button while they are still diapered. This can help mimic the sensation of coldness and trigger a pee before you take off the diaper!
If your baby is prone to surprise messes during a diaper change, here’s a pro tip – lay down two fresh diapers, one on top of the other. Lay baby down on top of both diapers. Use the diaper on top but have the other one ready underneath just in case! Think of the extra diaper as an insurance policy if anything goes wrong!
Newborn Hack #8 – find ways to help put baby down for a sleep
Newborn babies love to be held. It’s their natural instinct. They seek out the warmth and comforting smell of their primary caregivers. If you are looking for ways to help baby transition to sleeping on their own, consider these pro-tips.
Cold sheets can easily cause baby to wake when you try and put them down for a snooze. Try using a heating pad to warm baby’s cot or bassinette before bedtime. Once you are ready to put baby down, remove the heating pad and let the area cool slightly so that it is comfortable and warm without being too hot. This can help transition baby from the warmth of your arms to a cozy sleeping spot.
Place one of your worn t-shirts near your baby while they sleep. The smell from the t-shirt will remind baby of you and maybe prevent the instinctive fear that comes with being separated from a primary caregiver. Ensure that you do not place the t-shirt on or too close to baby, as this may pose a sleeping hazard.
Newborn Hack #9 – choose the right pyjamas
Playing around with tiny buttons and snaps on your baby’s PJ’s can be aggravating, especially during overnight diaper changes. Stick with PJ’s that have zippers. Look for two-way zippers that can be undone from top to bottom or bottom to top. Changing a diaper is much easier if you can just zip from the feet up, leaving baby’s arms and chest covered.
Kimono gowns are a great option for newborns. These gowns are essentially sleeping dresses with an opening at the feet. The gown hold baby snuggly inside, but when it comes time for a diaper change, you don’t need to fuss with zippers or buttons - simply lift the gown up and pull it back down when you are done!
Newborn Hack #10 – set up your changing station
Wherever you choose to do your diaper changes, ensure you have everything at hand to make diaper changes a breeze. This means stocking your change table shelves with everything you need or setting up a diaper caddy or small cart on wheels that can easily move around with you.
Tip: Ensure the toys you have at your change station are not the same toys that baby regularly plays with. This can be a helpful distraction, especially for babies who get fussy during a diaper change.
Newborn Hack #11 – invest in a baby carrier
There are so many great baby carriers on the market, in a range of styles and price points. A baby carrier is a great way to snuggle with baby but still have your hands free. Many babies will sleep nicely in a carrier and let you do whatever it is you need to get done. Carriers are also a great way to let baby take a nap when you are out visiting friends and family.
Baby carriers come in different fabrics and styles. Fabric wrap carriers and ring slings are great for newborns and can be adjusted to fit in many different ways. They can be tricky to get the hang of, but when you do, you’ll be sure to love it! Soft fabric structured carriers are also great, especially for those looking for a versatility of styles and ease of use. For a run down of different types of baby carriers and their pro’s and con’s, check out this great article from Little Baby Gear.
Newborn Hack #12 – layer extra sheets and change pad covers
Baby’s can be messy. Diaper blow-outs and spit-up can happen at any time! So be prepared. Put extra layers of sheets in your bassinette or crib, or an extra cover on your change pad. This way, if you have a blow-out or mess, you can just take off the top layer and have a fresh layer waiting underneath. Not just for newborns, this is a general parenting hack which can make life easier as your baby moves into the toddler and pre-school phases. Extra layers of sheets can be a saviour when potty training or dealing with a sick kid! Consider this: lay one waterproof cover over your mattress, then a clean sheet on top. Follow this with another waterproof cover, and another clean sheet on top. This guarantees that messes wont seep through and you have a fresh and clean layer if anything happens!
Newborn Hack #13 – get out and about
Take baby out in a stroller or even in a baby carrier and get some fresh air and sun! Lack of sunshine and exercise can be a major contributing factor to post-partum depression - it is really important for new mammas to spend some time outside and get moving.
There are countless benefits to you and your baby when you spend time outside every day. New sights and sounds are exciting for baby, and they get to experience the world from a different perspective. When you allow baby to explore, you encourage brain stimulation and support your child’s process of thinking and learning. Spending time outside in nature is also known to boost immunity and encourage better health. Being out in the sun safely can also help you and your baby get a much-needed dose of vitamin D. And of course, time spent outside has been proven to lead to better sleep!
Newborn Hack #14 – don’t take on too much and ask for help
The newborn stage can be overwhelming. New parents should always ask for help! Think about splitting up daily tasks with your partner or ask for support from family and friends. And remember, it’s Ok to let a few things go – only focus on the things that need to get done and leave the rest.
Here are a few ways to make life a bit easier:
Recruit support – friends and family want to help. Ask for some prepared food that can be easily pulled out of the freezer, like a batch of fresh oatmeal or bran muffins, a healthy casserole, or hearty soup. Let friends and family help with easy chores, like folding laundry or stuffing cloth diapers, vacuuming or washing a few dishes. It’s a great way to socialize while getting daily tasks done.
Ask a friend to hold your baby while you have a shower or a bath – this is a great way to get some much needed ‘you’ time.
Make things easy. Consider disposable and compostable plates for the first few weeks to reduce dish washing requirements. Also, don’t hold high expectations of yourself to make meals. Look for healthy frozen meals that are easy to just warm up and serve!
Double up on chores and save time. You might not know it, but babies are used to noise. The womb is a loud place. Some babies are easily soothed to sleep by the sound of hairdryers and vacuums. If you are trying to calm your baby or get them to sleep, try using a baby carrier and vacuum away! You might be surprised at how quickly baby settles and falls asleep.
Split up tasks with your partner. Take turns with diaper changes, play time and bedtime. If you are bottle feeding, take turns with feeding, especially during overnight periods.
Newborn Hack #15 – be prepared when heading out
When heading out, make sure you have everything you need on hand. Here are some diaper bag must-haves:
And there you have it – Nora’s Nursery’s top 15 Newborn Hacks – we hope they make your life easier and allow you to focus on building a deep and loving connection with your little one in those early days.