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Practical Parenting Tips

We recently held a contest asking for one really practical tip they have discovered in their life as a parent or soon-to-be parent.  It had to be really PRACTICAL… not, “love your baby”, or “be patient.”  We wanted to know HOW to show our love, HOW to be patient.  We wanted tips that included stuff like duct tape, TUMS, chocolate, exercise balls, baby carriers, salt-and-vinegar chips, diaper wipes, chicken soup, swaddling blankets and stain remover.

These are the tips we received.  We love ALL of them.  They demonstrate how loving, resourceful, intelligent, practical, generous and committed parents can be.  Thank you to all of you.

  • Sanity saver – join a local Facebook mommy group, (even while pregnant if nothing else to start building resources).  When you’re a new mom surviving on little sleep and even when you can’t get out of the house you can still interact with other mommas/vent/have a place to ask any and all questions about baby that’s worrying you/have an instant resource/find a network for playdates/know what baby-friendly events are going on/know where the baby-related sales or deals are/child-rearing tips and if nothing else, by reading other people’s posts you know you’re not the only one going through the same things or know what to expect.  – Annie Smith

  • Everyone who visits after the baby is born brings a food item for the fridge or freezer as finger food or quick dinner for the new family.  And morning visitors get to hold the baby while mom eats, showers, washes and conditions her hair AND brushes her teeth all before noon!  – Maartje Goodeve

  • Practical tip for pregnant ladies: always, always carry a snack with you.  You never know when hunger still strike and when it does, it is fierce!  – Annie Shum

  • Have a hair dryer near your diaper change spot for your new baby – turn it on very low to warm and dry little bums.  Sure to make diaper changes easier and your little one might even fall asleep!  – Tanya Binette

  • Put your babe in the jolly jumper, hung from the bathroom door framehead, and you get to shower!  (tip given by a friend, which was part of our morning routine for many months).  – Rotem Regev

  • Plain yogurt directly on a diaper rash.  cleared it up overnight and i’m sure it felt nice and cool on baby’s bum 🙂  – Lisa Kat

  • Baking soda & water soak followed by a water and vinegar soak will take the old milk smell out of that gross bottle or sippy cup that has been missing for days & you know is hiding somewhere in your house 🙂  – Ceilidh Myers

  • For the adventurous, use a blow up kiddie pool as a travel “containment” system at your campground.  Use frozen ketchup packs wrapped in gauze as mini ice packs.  – Kristyn Kaitila

  • When all else fails, a handful of cheerios on the floor will buy you five minutes of peace.  – Jana Kim

  • Try to get out of the house each day, even in the early weeks of parenthood.  Even if it’s just to the grocery store to buy one thing, go to the coffee shop, or walk the dog.  Just getting a change of scenery and some fresh air is refreshing for body and soul.  – Meghan Wiebe

  • If you ever manage to cook/bake up something your baby likes then do up a big batch and freeze into portions.  Then you always have a quick and easy meal on hand.  – Lara Engst

  • If you are planning to go back to work after your mat leave go on many daycare wait lists as soon as you know you are pregnant.  – Clare Randell

  • Start singing one song/lullaby as soon as your baby is born whenever you put your baby to sleep.  I did it with my baby.  And after about a month, whenever he fusses, I would start singing it and he calms down right away.  Very useful when you are in the car or trying to get him to calm down to feed or for a quiet time.  – Juliana Wijoyo

  • Be sure to have one-handed meals at the ready for the first couple of months.  Wraps, muffins, soup in a mug… anything that can be prepared and eaten easily with one hand while feeding!  – Rhea Harriman

  • Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct when it comes to your little one, you really do know what’s best for her, and don’t let others instill doubt in you! 🙂  – Celle Rikwerda

  • When your munchkin colors on the gorgeous glider and ottoman, or the couch with pen/marker, bust out the dish soap and good old elbow grease!!  – Angela Scandale

  • My practical tip is for a mother’s sanity.  Join a baby group.  I felt very isolated in the beginning, but then a friend recommended coming to Baby Group.  I could not thank her enough.  Not only do you get to hear that all the crazy things your baby does is actually normal, but you get the support of all the other parents.  You also get to make friends, who conveniently are on maternity leave as well, and would love to meet you for a coffee or a walk.  I think it is the best advice I received and it is the advice I give to all new Moms I know.  – Jamie Owens

  • If your little one is a fussy eater mix anything with yogurt and I bet she/he will eat it!!!  – Jessica Johnson

  • If you plan on pumping and bottle feeding or formula feeding and are thinking about buying bottles, I recommend buying a few different types of bottles and then once baby is born, see what they like best, then go out and buy more in that model of bottle.  I see so many parents buy 20 bottles of say Ventaire but then their baby is born and don’t take to the bottle and prefer another kind!  (Even my daughter did this :))  So, try out a few different bottles with your little one and then decide from there 🙂 – Nicole Baldwin

  • The one practical thing I could recommend for those becoming parents is to know that something that works for one baby doesn’t work for another.  Therefore there is no point in buying everything before baby comes – better to borrow from a friend and test it out first.. Like carriers, swings, bounce chairs, wraps, etc… Baby’s are picky!  – Lucy Smirnis

  • If you have smaller breasts (I’m a C cup, and it still works for me), no need to invest in expensive designer nursing tanks and bras.  Two tank tops layered do the trick nicely.  To breast feed just pull up the top one, and pull down the one underneath, and viola, a discreet way to nurse at half the price.  – Zach Brittany Mallett

  • When my little guy started getting interested in his feet, I started putting them in his hands at diaper changes (and giving him lots of encouragement and smiles for ‘helping mommy’).  Now that he is a very squirmy 7 month old, it helps keep him on his back and (sort of) still during diaper changes… at least most of the time. 🙂  – Holly Fang

  • Coughs and colds, we hate germs.  To help your littles with a cough, put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the soles of their feet right before bed.  It works.  Give it a try.  – Mira Cameron MacIver

  • My most practicle advice for new moms, get a carrier.  In whatever form… sling, wrap, Ergo, whatever.  When you’re at your wits end (and you will be) strap your baby in and get outside!!!  – Trisha Walker

  • Try to set one goal per day for yourself.  It can be anything – shower and dress, do a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, make it to Mom group…  And if it doesn’t work out, try again the next day.  Things can change so quickly, and this can be stressful, but trying your best to do what’s best for baby and yourself in the moment is what matters most.  I also tried to get outside at least once a day with the stroller except the days when it really snowed.  Baby loved the fresh air and so did I – for the exercise, to clear my head – and for those first few months, to help my baby nap!  – Lara Perzoff

  • Use an old 5 volt cell phone charger to bypass the battery pack on your swing.  You will never have to buy those expensive D batteries and never run out of power!  Especially good with newborn twins who slept better in a swing at first 🙂  – Sarah de Rham

  • Learn how to breast feed lying down and learn how to breast feed in a carrier.  It’s possible and makes life so much easier!  – Anastasia Cyprus

  • My son drinks from a sippy cup, but I give him a regular cup in the bath for practice.  No soaked clothes and no mess!  – Clara Smith

  • Your child is ever changing.  Once you get used to what you believe is normal, it all changes again on you.  Expect change, and embrace the new stages in your little ones life.  – Jen Schilling

  • In my 16 months of parenting there is one thing that I have learned.  Babies vomit a lot.  The first time my son got sick was around 7 months old.  I found myself constantly doing laundry of stinky milk vomit.  I was really quite discusting.  Unfortunately, my matress was not to be spared as well.  One thing that really helped was mixing baking soda with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.  Mix the two together well and put the powder in a siff and srpinkle on your mattress, leave sitting for an hour and vacuum.  Voila.  The baking powder absorbs any moisture in your mattress and the essential oil gives it a nice smell.  I hope this helps if anyone is thinking about how to get their mattress cleaned.  – Dawn Cheung

  • Always carry a pack of post it notes when out and about – comes in handy for a potty training toddler.  Stick it to the automatic flusher sensor so it doesn’t flush while your little one is still on the toilet.  – Brittany & Crawford