blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: Mom Hacks for the First Year

January 25, 2018

Mom Hacks for the First Year

Hi all! Today I wanted to do a fun post and share some mom hacks for life with a little one (think the first year). It’s crazy to think Ro will be one next month, but now that she’s my third I feel like I sort of have a handle on this whole mom thing. At least the first 4 years ;) The rest of it we take a day at a time! That’s probably the first mom tip – learn to go with the flow. Especially with your first – you will likely read all of the books and posts and mom blogs you can, but you will soon learn you just have to take it one day at a time and try your best! You'll get by with a whole lotta grace!

I think I’ll do another post in the future with some hacks that are more specific for the toddler years (when things get even more fun) – but for now we’ll focus on year 1! 

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1. Get baby used to a bottle sooner rather than later
Even if you’re not a mom who’s going to be headed back to work or planning to be away from baby for long enough to need a bottle, you can still use a break now or then. Getting baby able to take a bottle is key to freeing you up from always being around to nurse. It’s also 100% ok to supplement, and this is probably one of the most “freeing” things of all (I just had a full post dedicated to this)! We’ve tried many bottles with all three babies, based on either what was on sale or what was gifted to us, and it usually comes down to which you like best. With Ro we are using these Philips Avent natural baby bottles. Their shape and nipple promotes a natural latch so baby doesn’t get too confused if you’re going between bottle and breast, and they even have a little anti-colic valve that still helps reduce the amount of air baby takes in while she’s drinking. And I love that they come in pretty colors (always a plus)! Being able to have dad or another provider give a bottle while you do something else (eh sleep in the middle of the night, use the toilet, maybe even get a manicure??) is HUGE. I would also say don't place all of the pressure for what baby will take on the bottle itself - it's good to try the same bottle and have the milk heated at different temperatures, someone different feeding them, distraction techniques, etc. If none of those work, then you can try a different bottle!



2. Have a safe place to put them down
With Liv (my first baby) I think I spent too much money on trying to create a safe place. We had a crib. And then we bought a playpen. And then another playpen. And then a gate-thing. And then we sold or donated all the playpens and gates lol. Really I think the crib is all you need. If you are home alone (which many of us are) there’s nothing wrong with having a safe place for baby to put them down while you shower. Make sure there are no hazards within reach (and they somehow can reach farther than you think). Once baby is a little older even having them buckled in the highchair with something to keep them busy while you cook is a lifesaver. I know I’ve tried cooking dinner with a baby or two crawling up my legs and wanting to be picked up and it’s impossible! For the days they really need to be held (trust me, they’ll have those days) a baby carrier is a life saver (I’ve used them all - read a comparison guide here). But if they’re having a regular day, one fun thing to keep them busy is to have them in the highchair and give them a cheerio necklace (with supervision of course)! It’s great for a tiny snack, their fine motor skills, and keeping them busy so you can get something done! These are also great to use on shopping trips ;)



3. Have eyes (and ears) on them even when you’re not there
Now this is one thing I didn’t have with my first, and looking back I really wish I did! Being able to see them without you physically being there is a huge relief. Now I’m not advocating just putting your baby in the crib and letting them fend for themselves while you go off and live your life hahaha, but when they’re asleep (especially during nap times) it’s so helpful to have a set of eyes and ears that you can actually trust. How many of us have gotten baby down for nap and then spent most that time checking on them because you thought you heard coughing? Or just started shampooing your hair and run out because you thought you heard them crying (of course when you check, they’re still sound asleep). We’ve all been there. A monitor changes that. If you think you hear a peep, you can just look at the monitor and see what’s going on. I bring mine into the bathroom, out on our balcony, into my bedroom, into the kitchen – wherever I am that baby is not, and can continue what I’m doing while keeping an eye on her. We are absolutely loving our Philips Avent baby monitor (it’s the one I’ve shared on my IG story numerous times now)! We love it’s sleek design, range, and the sound and video quality. Philips Avent even has a smart baby monitor that connects with your phone through an app – just another way to simplify and streamline everything!




4. At this age, the more effort you put in, the less they’re usually interested
This might sound pessimistic of me, and I promise it’s not – just more like realistic! When it comes to toys (and even meals), the more elaborate I make things and the more money I spend seems to be inversely related to how much interest baby will actually take in the activity or meal. Spent $40 on a new toy? Baby prefers the wrapping paper and the box it came in. Spent an hour making ice cube baby snacks or some other elaborate Pinterest meal? Baby has more fun throwing it on the floor. Now obviously this isn’t always true, but I’ve found it easiest to try the simple option first. Get creative with (safe) household items. One of Ro’s favorite “toys” in the house (and we’ve got an entire playroom of real toys) is our laundry basket. She loves trying to get things out of or throwing things into it (when they’re smaller and not standing it makes a great place to put baby lol), and when I flip it over she loves using it as a walker and pushes it all over the house! We also love clear organizing bags (I love using them in my purse) but I’ll put a few little things in it and give it to her to play with (another great fine motor activity) under supervision!




5. Simplify bath time 
Some people love elaborate bath times, and if that’s you, don’t change. But if bath time is more of a drag, one thing I always did when pinched for time is take baby in the shower with me. Once they’re sitting on their own you can even sit them in the shower while you wash up and sing with them (one of my favorite things). Before they’re sitting it’s easiest to have someone else home who can take baby once you’re done washing them up so you can finish showering, but this isn’t always feasible. Another great thing (when they're smaller) is sink baths - these for me saved my back and were what we did all the time until Ro started getting a bit too big for our sink (one more reason to get one of those gorgeous farmhouse sinks)! Also - it's ok to not do bath or shower every day! We honestly do closer to 2 or 3 times a week, if that. So don't kill yourself trying to baths every night (I talked about this in my bedtime routine post)!


Thanks to Philips Avent for sponsoring this post and providing some of their products to try out! As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% mio (that’s mine in Spanish)!

7 comments:

  1. Hi Laura,
    very well written! I already did find out about some hacks for me as a first time mother myself. But some of the ones you've been writing down also are very helpful! Getting my little one used to the bottle was a very important step for our whole family. I was already on the edge as I really couldn't deal with feeding my baby every few hours, cleaning, taking care of everything. I was not feeling well at all anymore until my hubby and my bff talked to me about how they could support me. One thing was that we decided on starting feeding organic formula in addition to breastfeeding. Looking into different formula we decided to give Hipp Comfort (https://myorganicformula.com/collections/hipp-organic-formula) a try! So now it was also possible that my hubby feeds our loved one during the night time and I could catch up on some extra hours of sleep! This step was very important for myself because starting from this point on I could and loved to accept the help of others. I like your idea of taking the baby with you in the shower, I've never thought about doing this, but I think this is a great idea! Especially when my hubby is home and can take her so I have some extra minutes for myself. Also not bathing our little one to often is a very great advice because this can become also very stressful!
    I'm going to check out your other posts too and thank you for writing about your experiences here!
    Momo

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  3. To mothers interested in breastfeeding exclusively for six months: Introducing a bottle too soon can cause nipple confusion. It's better to wait until 4-6 weeks once breastfeeding is established before introducing a bottle.

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