I think we can all agree that when the time comes to bring our new little bundle of joy home from the hospital, we will take all the parenting hacks we can get. At least, that's what I found myself googling in the months leading up to the births of my three children. But what's really the most helpful? Here are 5 parenting hacks for bringing home baby to save you your sanity.
1. Baby Baskets Through Your House - I don't know about you, but I could never find a burp cloth or pacifier when I needed one with my newborns. And after my c-section, the last thing that I wanted to do was walk all the way across the house to change my son's diaper. One thing that saved my sanity (and my incision) was to have baby baskets set up in a few areas of our house. Grab a little basket or box and load it up with what you'll need the most: diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and burp clothes. This will ensure that you can grab what you need right when you need it and not have to worry about finding that pesky lost binky or stray burp cloth (adding chocolate to this basket may also be necessary for your sanity).
2. Feeding Box - One of the hardest things when bringing home our second daughter was how to juggle feeding my newborn and entertaining my oldest at the same time. I mean, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, feeding a newborn takes a lot of time. So how do you keep your older child(ren) busy while you feed the baby? Feeding boxes! These are special boxes you take out only when you are feeding the baby and let the older child play with. Simply take an empty box or tote and fill it with special goodies that you know your older child will love. The possibilities are endless! Coloring books, stickers, cars, other small toys, puzzles. Anything that you think would keep your little one occupied would be a great distraction while Mommy feeds the baby will save your sanity when you need it most.
3. Accepting Help - This one can be hard to do, but I've learned is essential to bringing home a new baby. Take ALL the help you can get. Does someone want to come over and hold the baby while you nap? Say yes. Does a friend offer to throw a load of laundry in for you? Absolutely. Does your mother-in-law want to bring a meal? Even more yes. If I've learned anything about the season of newborns, it's that it truly takes a village. And villages sometimes show up in the form of hot meals, cuddling babies, and bags of groceries. Take it all, new mama and daddy. Take. It. All.
4. Blow Out Box - So many times I ran out of the house with out double checking my diaper bag first, only to have my baby have a massive blow out in the car seat. But having a blow out box in my van saved me so many times! Having a little box with extra diapers, wipes and a change of outfit for my newborn came in handy more times than I could count and has continued to come to my rescue as I still used it for my older kids as well. You never know when the next accident or blow out will happen!
5. Give and Take Grace - This is the most important one, mamas and daddies. The ability to give yourself grace in those first few months will save your sanity and your precious heart. Unrealistic expectations are the biggest deterrent to new parents and the easiest lies to believe. While the world may tell you how you should be the perfect parent, giving yourself grace will allow you to be the mom or dad your baby needs and keep the sanity that you need. And it's just as important to give your baby grace - grace when she doesn't sleep through the night, grace when he cries all day for no reason, grace when your breastfeeding plan doesn't go as planned, and grace when your baby isn't anything like you thought she would be. And grace for one another when you're both too exhausted to think straight, because grace in our marriages makes it easier to extend grace as a parent. Grace changes everything and it's the best hack there is.
So whether it's your first baby or your fifth, take these parenting hacks and stick them in your back pocket And remember no matter what hack you use, you are exactly the parent your baby needs!