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Clever Hacks That Make the Exhausting Newborn Phase Easier

Photograph by Twenty20

Life isn’t exactly easy with a newborn baby, but there are a few tricks you can try to make it easier.

1. Breastfeeding pillows aren’t only good for hungry-baby positioning: they’re also good for Cesarean incision support. Just lean in and let that C-shaped pillow hug your tender midsection.

2. Does your newborn find your voice soothing? You don’t have to read baby books to them (though it’s never too early to instill a love of books in your child). Try reading aloud your electric bill. Or your grocery list. Or a campaign contribution form. Get regular life stuff done and keep your baby chill, all at the same time.

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3. Why do some onesies have those weird folded openings at the shoulders? Because diaper blowouts. Instead of lifting a dirty onesie up and over your baby’s face, pull it down from the shoulders. Your baby might have a river of poop on their back, but at least they won’t get it on their face.

You will get regular, warm, semi-uninterrupted showers again. I promise.

4. Set up a snack and water station wherever you often sit down to feed your baby. Keep it stocked with fruit, protein bars, trail mix, chocolate, hand lotion, lip balm, baby wipes and maybe even a book or magazine. You never know when or how long you’ll get trapped under a (finally!) sleeping infant.

5. Stockpiling breastmilk for after your return to work? Set the bags down flat as soon as you put them in the freezer. It helps to conserve space, and it’s aesthetically pleasing—at least in a “Wow, this looks so organized!” sort of way.

6. Who wants to get up to mix a bottle of formula for every single nighttime feeding? No one, that’s who. So before bed each night, make a pitcher with enough formula to last you through the night. Once you’re ready to make a bottle, just stir a little and pour. Keep in mind that pre-mixed formula only is only good for 24 hours, so you’ll have to dump any formula that you don’t use within the day.

7. Do showers feel like a luxury you don’t have time for? Invest in some dry shampoo and grab a handful of baby wipes. Spritz and scrub, and you’re clean enough in under a minute. And just remember: You will get regular, warm, semi-uninterrupted showers again. I promise.

Despite how interminable the newborn stage seems, this time really does go by fast, and there’s never another baby or childhood stage like it.

8. Buy a cheap monthly calendar and write down your baby’s milestones on the days they happen. It’s a baby’s first-year organizer, and it’s a great way to record your baby’s health and eating habits for their pediatrician. Because really: You have a new baby. The days all run together, and your brain is now a sieve. Commit things to paper, not to memory (whatever that is).

9. Some babies burp. Others spew. If you have your own little Old Faithful, you might not want to leave that burp cloth draped over your shoulder before you bring your baby up to burp. Instead, cup the cloth—or, if there’s real geyser action going on, a hand towel—under your baby’s chin and lift them up together. You might save yourself (and your shirt) a lot of cleanup.

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10. Take all the pictures. Every day. All the time. Despite how interminable the newborn stage seems, this time really does go by fast, and there’s never another baby or childhood stage like it.

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