Mom Hacks from Moms Who Have Been There

tricia smith with her daughters. tricia smith shares some of her mom hacks in this article

As a mom of four and neonatal nurse, Tricia Smith is an expert when it comes to newborn mom hacks! Pictured are her daughters Locklyn, Karter, Gentry and Shay. Photo: courtesy of Tricia Smith

You’ve read the books. You’ve taken the advice of doctors. You’ve listened to the well-meaning wisdom from your aunties. And all of that is important! But so is the real talk you hear from a friend just coming out of the sleepless nights of newborn-dom.

New moms need gentle anchors to offer encouragement and knowledge. But they also often need straight talk. A little of both may just be the perfect balance.

What they often need are mom hacks – advice from moms who have been through the trenches of babyhood.

We asked moms what they couldn’t live without when they had infants and what they found completely unnecessary. Think of these mom hacks as advice from your no-nonsense best friend.

Mom Hacks from Tricia Smith

Tricia Smith, a Tulsa neonatal nurse and mom of four girls, was quick to respond to our request for advice to new moms. She’s just the person we had in mind for real talk. Smith has given birth four times, plus she has a front seat to the beauty, tears and – sometimes – confusion that comes with those first days of having a newborn.

Her first piece of advice? How important it is to not let a newborn get overtired.

“They should only be awake 45 minutes at a time for the first couple of months. It’s so easy to miss the window of getting them back to sleep easily because you want to enjoy them being awake,” she said. “But they get overstimulated and overtired easily, and then it makes nap times and bedtime so much more difficult.”

Everyone has their preferences for equipment, like swings, carriers and swaddles – and Smith says that’s a good thing.

“Every baby really is different. Some may like swings, some may like swaddles, some may like pacifiers. While another baby likes none of them,” she said.

It’s true – every baby is different. And every mom is different! So, what works for one may not work for you. Take this advice as just that, then see for yourself what works. New moms – remember that one day you’ll be the seasoned mothers sharing your own wisdom.

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Top Mom Hacks

  1. Invest in a good baby carrier. Choose one that’s comfortable for baby and ergonomic for your back, shoulder and hips. If you plan on doing a lot of baby wearing, start with a high-quality carrier. One of our TulsaKids readers suggests the Tula carrier.
  2. If your baby sleeps better with a noise machine (and many do), then buy one that either charges or has battery back-up so it will stay on if the power goes out.
  3. Reconsider registering for or buying things you can’t be consistent with. For instance, a wipe warmer may be nice to have at home, but if you’ll often be out and about with baby, or if baby will be going to day care, they will be used to the cold wipes.
  4. Double up when making baby’s bed. Layer a mattress pad and sheet, then another mattress pad and sheet, so that if baby has an accident in the middle of the night, you can pull off one set and have a clean set underneath. This prevents a search through the linen closet in the middle of the night.
  5. Most of us know to pack extra diapers and a change of clothes for baby in the diaper bag, but it’s not a bad idea to include a clean shirt for mom. One mom told us she learned this the hard way. After multiple times of her baby throwing up on her, she realized she too needed to pack a change of clothes.
  6. Make a portable baby basket. If you and your newborn will be in multiple rooms of the house or going upstairs and downstairs during the day, keep a basket with a handle handy and grab it each time you leave the room. Fill it with diapers, wipes, pacifier, blanket, bib and anything else you need right at your fingertips.
  7. Consider a NoseFrida. The NoseFrida – also known as a snot sucker – is the kind of thing that might make a new mom’s stomach turn. But after a few times using this nasal aspirator, it’s no biggie. It’s a great, painless way to clear out baby’s nose.
  8. Wash baby’s socks in a laundry bag. We all know the washing machine eats socks – and baby socks are its favorites. Those teeny tiny, adorable baby socks are so easy to get lost in the washing machine. Throw them in a laundry bag to keep them together.
  9. A TulsaKids reader said on nights when you’ve tried everything to get baby to sleep, place a heating pad on baby’s bed. It’s important to do this while you’re holding baby. Never place the baby directly on the heating pad. Let it heat up and warm the bed, then remove the heating pad and place baby on the warm spot left from the heating pad.
  10. We love this pro tip! Don’t wake a sleeping baby is easier said than done. Use furniture pads on the inside of your door frames so baby isn’t awoken with the closing of the bedroom door. Remove the backing, and place the pad right where the door hits the frame.

Natalie MiklesNatalie Mikles is a mom of three – 12-year-old twin girls and an 11-year-old boy. She writes about food, sharing recipes for busy families and picky eaters. She has been recognized for her food columns as well as features on families and issues affecting local children, and she loves pizza and movie nights with her family.

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Categories: Babies & Toddlers, Features, September 2022