When the doctors hand your very first baby to you and send you on your way, they don’t give you a manual to figure this baby-thing out. Instead, you’re left to wing it with the help of Google and your nearest and dearest.
Everyone has tons of unsolicited advice for you, but here are some tips and tricks that veteran parents have learned on the parenting journey and would love to share with new parents.
1. How to get rid of baby vomit
On carpets, the couch or the bed:
Wipe off the gunk, spray the offensive stain with vinegar (this will really help to absorb the smell), then sprinkle with baking soda or rub in a paste of baking soda and water. Let it dry completely, then vacuum up the powder. Good as new!
On your child:
Towels are your best friend. If your baby is having some tummy time, lay baby down on a towel. When travelling, cover him with a hand towel so that his little milky burps won’t create messy straps and clothes.
2. No rolling off the bed
To create a cosy nest in baby’s cot, pop a shortened pool noodle underneath the sheet and lay her on her side with her back against the noodle. A rolled-up towel will also do the trick. When co-sleeping, positioning a pool noodle underneath the fitted sheet between you and baby will help you to not roll onto baby in your sleep – peace of mind! And if baby is sleeping out at a family member’s home, the pool noodle will come in handy again to stop her from falling off the mattress.
3. Avoid poop up the back
That such a tiny body can produce such volumes of poo boggles the mind. Here’s a trick I learned with my second baby: You know the standard vests or onesies with the fold-over or “envelope” collars? They’re actually designed so they can be pulled down the shoulders and body in case of an explosive nappy. No more doodoo in the hair! Zip-up onesies are also great for these kinds of disasters. You’re welcome.
4. Getting baby to sleep
Those hazy days where you think, “Hey, my baby is the best sleeper!” will eventually turn to nights of endless cradling and shooshing and wishing you knew what to do to get this child to sleep because you can’t do this anymore.
5. DIY Playpen
An inflatable pool (with high sides and no water – obviously) makes for a great playpen both indoors and outdoors. Lay a few blankets inside for a soft surface and let baby loose with some of her favourite toys or coloured balls, while you get on with folding the laundry or scrubbing the pot… always keeping baby in view.
6. Avoid the pee fountain
Baby boys are famous for peeing on you the minute you open their nappies to change them. Have a stack of face cloths next to the nappies, and the moment you open his nappy, cover his penis with a wash cloth. There are even little things called Pee-Pee Teepees, which are very cute but a tad unnecessary when face cloths work just as well. Some parents have reported that their babies make a weewee the moment they come into contact with a cold surface. For this reason, they wipe baby’s belly with a cold wipe and let them finish their number one before taking off the nappy.
7. Always be prepared
Always keep a small bag with wipes, nappies, change of clothes and a plastic mat in the boot of your car.
8. Meconium poo
New-born babies’ first stools are black, sticky meconium, which can be a close to impossible to wipe off. So in those first three days, put some coconut oil, almond oil or Johnson’s Baby Oil on your baby’s bottom after each nappy change. When he makes his first meconium stool, it won’t stick to his skin and will be easy to wipe off with more oil!
9. Let them sleep at an angle
Lift the cot mattress slightly so your baby is lying at an angle – this will help with silent reflux. Or buy a wedge pillow. (Avoid normal pillows with feather or holofiber filling until they’re older, to reduce the risk of suffocation and SIDS).