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I Tested These 16 Life Hacks For New Parents To See If They Really Work

Parents don't have time for bullshit.

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Hi, I'm Anna and seven months ago I gave birth to my baby, Luisa. Since then I've been scouring the internet for life hacks to make life with a baby a little easier.

Anna Aridzanjan

There's a lot of really useful stuff out there, but also a lot of complete nonsense. I decided to test out some of my favorite parenting life hacks so that you don't have to.

Instagram: @textautomat

Because as parents, we don't have any time for bullshit. So here goes...

1. Gently stroke your baby's face with a paper towel and they'll fall asleep within 40 seconds.

youtube.com

Does it work?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No. Not even a little. At first my daughter was confused. Then she laughed at the fun new game I'd made up. Then she tried to catch and eat the paper towel. Maybe I should have swaddled her first, like the baby in the video. But try it for yourself, maybe it'll work for you.

Alternatives:

Every baby is different. Some babies respond to sound, some respond to physical contact or steady movements (like carrying them around for a bit). Others still can only fall asleep with a pacifier or boob in their mouth.

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2. Attach an adhesive hook to the back of your baby chair, so that you always have a bib nearby.

Does it work? Yes, absolutely! This might be the easiest parenting life hack of all time. Alternatives:We usually just feed our baby dressed only in a diaper, so she can play with her food and get as messy as she wants. Then we just need to wipe her down with a washcloth (or give her a quick bath if she makes a real mess).
definitelyjennifer.com

Does it work?

Yes, absolutely! This might be the easiest parenting life hack of all time.

Alternatives:

We usually just feed our baby dressed only in a diaper, so she can play with her food and get as messy as she wants. Then we just need to wipe her down with a washcloth (or give her a quick bath if she makes a real mess).

3. Cut pancakes (and other food) into bite-sized pieces faster and easier with a pizza cutter.

Anna Aridzanjan / Via giphy.com

Does it work?

Yes! When I first saw it, I thought, "Why not just use a knife?" But after testing it out, I'm convinced. A pizza cutter is 1) faster, 2) cleaner, and 3) more accurate.

Alternatives:

A mezzaluna chopper would probably work too. Or, you know, a knife and fork.

4. Wash toys thoroughly and efficiently in the dishwasher.

Does it work?Partly. Some toys aren't heat-resistant, so just be careful about the program and/or temperature you're washing them with.Alternatives:Wash and disinfect them by hand, which is a chore.
Twitter: @WaterLibertyRC

Does it work?

Partly. Some toys aren't heat-resistant, so just be careful about the program and/or temperature you're washing them with.

Alternatives:

Wash and disinfect them by hand, which is a chore.

5. Cut your baby's nails while they're sleeping.

Does it work?Partly. It works if your baby sleeps on their back in a bed or crib. The best time to try it is about 20 minutes after the baby has fallen asleep. That's when they'll be in their deepest sleep phase.Alternatives:During the day, our baby falls asleep in her carrier, and it requires two of us to give her a proper manicure. If you're on your own, try cutting your baby's nails right after they've woken up. Usually they're too sleepy to give you too much trouble.
Jjustas / Getty Images

Does it work?

Partly. It works if your baby sleeps on their back in a bed or crib. The best time to try it is about 20 minutes after the baby has fallen asleep. That's when they'll be in their deepest sleep phase.

Alternatives:

During the day, our baby falls asleep in her carrier, and it requires two of us to give her a proper manicure. If you're on your own, try cutting your baby's nails right after they've woken up. Usually they're too sleepy to give you too much trouble.

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6. Remove stains from baby clothing with a mix of dishwashing liquid, hydrogen peroxide, and baking powder.

Does it work?Yes. Just make sure to mix the three in the proper proportions, and apply it gently to the garment.Alternatives:Regular old stain remover works too, and it's a little quicker since it's already premixed for you.
mylifeinpink-kim.blogspot.de

Does it work?

Yes. Just make sure to mix the three in the proper proportions, and apply it gently to the garment.

Alternatives:

Regular old stain remover works too, and it's a little quicker since it's already premixed for you.

7. Write a weekly schedule with check boxes on your child's medication so that they never miss a dose.

Does it work?Life can be stressful and busy, and you still need something to remind you to give your kid their medication in the first place, or your partner gives your kid their medication and forgets to check it off. It'd be great to be so well organized that this is useful, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.Alternatives:Since everyone just looks at their phones all the time, a simple daily push alert works way better as a reminder. You can use your phone's built-in reminder app, or a to-do app like Wunderlist, which allows you to share lists with other people (like your partner, for instance).
BuzzFeed

Does it work?

Life can be stressful and busy, and you still need something to remind you to give your kid their medication in the first place, or your partner gives your kid their medication and forgets to check it off. It'd be great to be so well organized that this is useful, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Alternatives:

Since everyone just looks at their phones all the time, a simple daily push alert works way better as a reminder. You can use your phone's built-in reminder app, or a to-do app like Wunderlist, which allows you to share lists with other people (like your partner, for instance).

8. Use the little cups that come with delivery food as containers for pacifiers.

Does it work?No. No amount of washing can get the pungent smell of soy sauce out of those little cups. I wouldn't even try it with ginger or wasabi cups. Also, depending on the takeout place, the cups can be too small for pacifiers.Alternatives:Honestly, a lot of pacifiers come with protective covers these days, and you can buy spares from companies like Avent.
cynditha.blogspot.de

Does it work?

No. No amount of washing can get the pungent smell of soy sauce out of those little cups. I wouldn't even try it with ginger or wasabi cups. Also, depending on the takeout place, the cups can be too small for pacifiers.

Alternatives:

Honestly, a lot of pacifiers come with protective covers these days, and you can buy spares from companies like Avent.

9. Use two plates and a knife to very quickly cut grapes in two.

Frank Thermann / Via giphy.com

Does it work?

Yes! Here's how to do it. Some of the grapes won't be cut evenly in two, but as long as that's not a big deal, this one is easy and saves a lot of time.

Alternatives:

Well, you can always cut the grapes individually. It's not that hard.

Background:

When offering your child solid foods for the first time, it's important to cut round foods (blueberries, cherry tomatoes, grapes) into 2–4 pieces. That way, if your child does accidentally get the food stuck in their trachea, there's still room for air to pass around it, reducing the risk of choking.

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10. Protect your baby from falling out of bed with a pool noodle and a fitted bed sheet.

Does it work?It didn't work for us. My daughter moves around so much that a pool noodle didn't stop her. Before going to the trouble of trying this one, put your baby on the ground with your legs stretched out around them. Then put something tempting on the other side of your leg. If your kid can climb over your leg to get their prize, then they'll have no trouble with a pool noodle.Alternatives:Buy a special bed rail.
toddlerhacks / Via instagram.com

Does it work?

It didn't work for us. My daughter moves around so much that a pool noodle didn't stop her. Before going to the trouble of trying this one, put your baby on the ground with your legs stretched out around them. Then put something tempting on the other side of your leg. If your kid can climb over your leg to get their prize, then they'll have no trouble with a pool noodle.

Alternatives:

Buy a special bed rail.

11. Use a hanging shoe rack to save space in your pantry and to store more baby food, bottles, etc.

Does it work?Partly. It did save a lot of space, and all those little jars and bottles didn't take up any room in our small pantry. But it's a door we open and close quite often, and every time we went into our pantry, the jars and bottles would slam against the door and make a lot of noise.Alternatives: Instead of a door, secure the shoe rack to a wall in your kitchen or pantry, or to the side of a shelf or cabinet.
Style Savvy Sara / Via stylesavvysara.com

Does it work?

Partly. It did save a lot of space, and all those little jars and bottles didn't take up any room in our small pantry. But it's a door we open and close quite often, and every time we went into our pantry, the jars and bottles would slam against the door and make a lot of noise.

Alternatives:

Instead of a door, secure the shoe rack to a wall in your kitchen or pantry, or to the side of a shelf or cabinet.

12. Widen the neckline on your baby's onesies with an overlapping collar, so that you can take them off easier.

Does it work?Absolutely!Alternatives: Side snap shirts. They're really easy to get off without pulling them over your baby's head.
Getty / BuzzFeed

Does it work?

Absolutely!

Alternatives:

Side snap shirts. They're really easy to get off without pulling them over your baby's head.

13. If your child is always trying to take their diaper off, just put their pajamas on backwards.

Does it work?Well, my child doesn't wear pajamas like this all the time, and the pajamas she wears have built-in feet, so they can't be worn backwards. Because of that, I can't really recommend this one.Alternatives:That's a tough one. There's plenty of clothing out there that a child can't take off by themselves. You could also try layering too.
gretacheney.com

Does it work?

Well, my child doesn't wear pajamas like this all the time, and the pajamas she wears have built-in feet, so they can't be worn backwards. Because of that, I can't really recommend this one.

Alternatives:

That's a tough one. There's plenty of clothing out there that a child can't take off by themselves. You could also try layering too.

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14. Put socks over footie pajamas to prevent the feet from moving around.

Does it work?Yes! No more fluttering empty pajama feet.Alternatives:None that I know of.
Workman Publishing

Does it work?

Yes! No more fluttering empty pajama feet.

Alternatives:

None that I know of.

15. Attach a toy to your baby carrier with a pacifier keeper.

Does it work?Sure, if the toy has a spot you can attach the pacifier keeper to. Ideally, the toy should be pretty light and easy to grab. But it kept our baby busy in her carrier when she wasn't sleeping or looking around.Alternatives:You can also wear a baby toy necklace. Fashionable and fun!
Anna Aridzanjan

Does it work?

Sure, if the toy has a spot you can attach the pacifier keeper to. Ideally, the toy should be pretty light and easy to grab. But it kept our baby busy in her carrier when she wasn't sleeping or looking around.

Alternatives:

You can also wear a baby toy necklace. Fashionable and fun!

16. Help your baby to get rid of gas by gently pushing their knees toward their stomach.

Home Heart Love / Via youtube.com

Does it work?

Not always, but it's worth a try.

Alternatives:

Put your baby belly-down on your thighs and gently massage their back. This can really help reduce gas and belly pain. It can also help to put your child in a baby carrier and walk them around. The movement and physical contact can help release air from the belly.

CONCLUSION: I'm surprised how many of these parenting life hacks actually seemed to work!

Of course, my impressions were strictly personal. Some of these things worked well for me, but may not do anything for you (or vice-versa). But in general, thank you, internet! You're making this parent's life a whole lot easier.

This post was translated from German.