18 Must-Know Mom Hacks For Your First Year With Baby

18 mom hacks to make the first year with your little one as smooth and stress-free as possible. You can thank me later!

a mother wearing a green top holding up her six month old baby

I’ve only made it halfway through the first year of parenthood and already I have learned SO much! Parenting is not always a breezy walk in the park (and definitely doesn’t always smell like one!) but these mom hacks have helped me loads. From getting rid of those poopy diaper smells to using leftover breastmilk, I hope these mom hacks will make your life a little easier.

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Balls To Combat Poop Smells

mother adding essential oils to clay diffuser balls to combat poop smells

If you’re a mom, you’ll be no stranger to the smell of poo-puree! To combat those stinky smells, I love making my own DIY essential oil diffuser by getting a bunch of clay diffuser balls (otherwise known as clay essential oil beads) and adding a few drops of orange essential oil. You don’t have to plug anything in and it will help the room to smell so much better. You can also add a few drops to your diaper bin – it makes such a difference!

To learn more about essential oils, sign up for my Free Essential Oils 101 Course

Leave the House 15 Minutes Early

I find Sage will only fall asleep 20-30 minutes into a car ride, and so unless we’re doing a long journey she doesn’t get a full nap before we need to get out of the car. To combat this, I leave 15 minutes early. That way when we arrive I can let her sleep for that extra time before I need to disturb her to go to our appointment or run our errands. This time parked up with the baby sleeping is also an excellent time to catch up on things you never have time to do – like reading a book or calling a friend!

Baby Wearing

Get a decent baby carrier or sling and wear baby around the house while you get things done. Ours is a lifesaver! It makes things like cleaning and food prep so much easier. It’s legit the only way I could get anything done when Sage was a newborn. I still wear her on the days she’s needing more mommy time and cuddles, like when she’s teething.

Subscribe to a Toy Subscription Box

6 month old baby playing with her mother with toys from a toy subscription box

There are so many amazing subscription boxes out there which will deliver developmental toys right to your doorstep. These boxes are great because each month (or every 3 months if that’s what you’ve opted for) you’ll get new toys which are suited for your baby’s specific age! It takes out all the research and guess work, and you’ll probably end up with toys you would never have thought to buy. You also know the toys have been chosen with child development in mind. This is my favourite box!

Stop Baby Scratching with Mitten Socks

a 6 month old baby with socks on her hands to stop her scratching while she breastfeeds from her mother

Socks are not just for feet! Babies scratch a lot, and if you’ve ever tried to get mittens on a baby you’ll know they never stay on. Socks, however, do! They tend to be much longer and have better elasticity, and they turn your little one’s hands into little soft panda paws. 

Dream Feeding

Before you go to bed, top up baby with a bottle or the boob while they are still sleeping. This is the magical time of the night where you can feed them and they won’t actually wake up properly. It will fill up their little belly so they can go right back to sleep, and it means they won’t be waking up hungry an hour after you’ve passed out. I did this from when Sage was a newborn to around 5 months and it made a huge difference. The ultimate of mom hacks for an exhausted new parent!

Baby Bedtime Routine

Create a routine for naps and bedtime. This helps baby know when it’s time to wind down and take a nap. It doesn’t have to be a complicated routine. Even something as simple as reading a book in the same spot (ours is our bed) and maybe a lullaby will work. We also do things like closing the black out curtains, placing her in her sleep sack and turning on the white noise machine. These are all things she is aware of and when we do them, she knows it’s time to sleep.

Use a Nail File Instead of Nail Clippers

a mother wearing a green top filing her baby's nails

Do yourself a favour. Instead of struggling with clippers (and facing the fear of accidentally catching your precious baby’s skin!) get yourself an electric baby nail file. Baby nails are just so tiny and you can’t exactly ask them to keep still, so a nail file makes it so much easier to do. I find it easiest to do when I’m breastfeeding, but honestly she’ll let me do it whenever. It’s like a little baby spa day!

Use Tights Instead of Socks

I know I said I love baby socks for stopping scratching, but that’s where their use comes to an end! When used for their actual purpose they stay on for all of about two seconds and then they’ll be gone. I’ve lost count of how many pairs have gone missing (and how many single socks have gone missing – which is almost more annoying!). They end up stuck in the washing machine. They’re just a pain. Instead, I love using tights under baby grows, and I think these mom hacks would work for both girls and boys. They’re especially good for the autumn and winter because they keep baby warm, and they actually stay on!

Set a Timer to Remind You It’s Nap Time

Babies are pretty good at giving us little signals that they’re sleepy. They pull on their ears, get grouchy, root for the breast etc. But ideally you want to be putting them down for a nap before you reach this stage. This helps prevent an over-tired baby – which, trust me on this one, is no fun! What I did with Sage is I tracked her sleep schedule and figured out what was the best amount of time for her to be awake before she started getting sleepy. I then set myself timers to remind me to put her down for a nap before she hit that tired stage. It also allows you to create a bit of a schedule, which is super helpful in the early months. Just be prepared for that schedule to change constantly!

Play Music or Sing To Your Baby

If you don’t know any good nursery or Disney songs, learn them! I can’t tell you how much singing to Sage has helped when she doesn’t like certain things. Getting washed up post meal time, getting dressed in the morning, diaper changes, you name it! Singing helps calm her right down and actually gets her to smile. For car rides we have saved playlists on hand for when she’s getting upset and they immediately chill her out. It usually buys us some extra time to get home before she has a full on meltdown.

Bonus Tip: If you’re pregnant and reading this, try singing to your bump! They can hear in there and when they’re born they’ll be comforted by the familiar sound of your voice and the songs.

Use the Shoulder Flaps on Baby Onesies

a mother pulling a pink baby onesie off her baby by using the shoulder flaps

When I learnt this hack it was a full on mind-blown moment! Did you know onesies are made with flaps in the shoulders specifically so that you can pull the onesie down baby rather than pulling it over their head? It’s a lifesaver when there’s been a poop explosion! 

Side Lying Breastfeeding

Side lying breastfeeding is just the best thing ever. When I bring Sage into bed with me in the early morning and I’m still half asleep, it’s so nice to be able to lay on my side and feed her. It gives your back a break and means if baby falls back to sleep they can just roll off the breast.

The Wonder Weeks

If you haven’t heard of The Wonder Weeks, it’s a book and an app which basically warns you of your baby’s upcoming developmental ‘leaps’. These are milestones where babies go through a huge amount of mental change. During these leaps you might find your usually calm, happy baby gets extra fussy. It really is so spot on. I can predict when I’m going to see behavioural changes in Sage such as being extra clingy or having a loss of appetite.

Bathing With Baby

a brown haired mother bathing with her baby in a swimming costume

We love bathtime in the HealthNut home. Sage loves playing in the bath, it’s good for getting her relaxed and sleepy before bedtime and if she’s fussy a bath always seems to calm her down. I love getting in the bath with her – and she loves it too! The best bit about getting in with her is afterwards I can hand her to daddy, add some more hot water and have a relaxing bath time too. You’ve just got to get past the possible baby pee in the bath situation 😉 We love using these cups in our bath to create a little rain shower.

Note: Be sure to only take a bath with your baby when you’re not totally exhausted. You don’t want to be falling asleep with baby in the bath!

Using Left Over Breast Milk

Never throw away that liquid gold! If you’ve got leftover breastmilk that they can’t drink, be it because it’s leftover in the bottle or it’s been in the fridge for too long, you can still use it. Just pour it straight in their bath! It’s so good for their skin. You can also just apply it directly to any irritated skin where they’ve got scratches or diaper rash. 

Dish Soap For Stains

This one will not only save you money, but it will also save all your white baby clothes from the dreaded poop stains! My mom actually taught me this hack. You want to do a pre-wash with dish soap for all your poopy garments before you put them in the wash. Just run the dirty area under warm water, add dish soap and scrub until the water runs clear. 

It’s crazy how much baby poop stains and if you throw a poopy garment straight into the wash, it’s going to stain all your other clothes and it’s going to set. You’ll never be able to get those marks out once they’ve been through the wash once. 

Store Your Breast Pump Parts in the Fridge Between Sessions

It’s a pain to have to clean your breast pump parts after every single pumping session. To save having to wash them quite so often, you can temporarily store the parts in the fridge. If you’re going to be pumping throughout the day simply toss your parts in the fridge between sessions instead of washing and replacing them every time. Obviously clean them at the end of the day, but this hack will save countless washing up!

What are your top mom hacks? Leave a comment below, because I’m always on the hunt for new mom hacks!

If you’re interested in seeing more about life as a mom, check out my 6 Months Postpartum Update and Baby’s First Foods: What We Did.

woman in green shirt holding 6 month old baby

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