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Baby Hacks

Because a life changing event like bringing a human into the world can be overwhelming, I’ve found the following baby hacks to be quite helpful. These have made our lives a little easier so I thought I would share them with you. And be sure to follow along on Instagram (@twotwentyone) for more tips!

1. Layer crib bedding.

Owen isn’t sleeping in the crib in his nursery yet, but when he does, I plan to layer his bedding. By that I mean a mattress pad, sheet, mattress pad, sheet. So if he happens to have an accident in the middle of the night, I can just strip a sheet and mattress pad layer off and there’s another sheet and mattress pad underneath.

The yellow & white striped sheet found here and the alligator sheet found here. I recommend these waterproof mattress pads because it’s a two-pack.

mattress cover and sheet

2. Use burp cloths. Everywhere.

This kind of goes along with the above. Whenever I lay Owen down anywhere I throw a burp cloth underneath his head. We always have a burp cloth in his angled sleeper, where he currently sleeps. (Did you know they now make a sleeper that rocks on its own? Amazing.) So if he spits up, I swap out the burp cloth instead of having to wash the sleeper cover.

rock and play

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of the sleeper, remember to air yours out periodically. Moisture can get trapped between the cover and plastic piece, resulting in mold. And don’t forget to wash the cover often, too.

air out rock and play

As you can see, I also do the burp cloth trick with Owen’s activity mat.

In case you’re wondering, the thing under the burp cloth is a support that helps babies’ heads from getting flat spots. You can buy one here.

kick and play activity mat

3. Keep a stocked baby basket in your common area.

To make our lives a little easier, we keep a basket filled with random baby stuff on our coffee table. It’s stocked with hand sanitizer (first time parents– wee!), baby wipes, pacifier wipes (first time parents– wee again!), lotion, pacifiers, baby nail clippers, bibs, and burp cloths. I was going to invest in a fancier basket but I decided to go with one of my trusty organizers.

I found that the basket also helps when family members babysit Owen. That way they don’t have to go searching for things in his nursery, and I’m not constantly answering “Where’s ____?” texts.

coffee table baby basket

4. Keep a basket of baby toys in your common area.

Like with the baby basket above, we keep a basket of baby toys on the sofa table behind our couch. When we’re hanging out on the couch with Owen we can easily grab a toy or book.

(The gray felt basket is from HomeGoods. But I found similar gray felt baskets here and here.)

toy basket

5. Prepare for blow outs.

Once upon a time, Owen had a ridiculous blow out in his car seat. Breastfed babies are the kings and queens of blowouts. AmIright? Needless to say, it wasn’t fun. We had to take the car seat apart, wash the cover, and wait a day for it to air dry. In an effort to avoid this, my friend told me about this awesome tip. I took a changing pad liner, cut it in half, cut a slit in it for the car seat buckle, and put it in the car seat. Now if Owen has a blow out, the changing pad liner will protect the car seat, making clean up so much easier.

Note:  I checked with a CPS technician before using the pad liner in the car seat. He said the pad isn’t impeding with the function of the straps and it’s very thin, so it won’t affect the efficiency of the carseat, assuming I have Owen properly buckled in. This is basically a DIY version of a manufacturer car seat protector. He said ultimately it’s up to the parent, and using my ‘mom gut’, I feel okay with using it. And no need to tell me that I’m voiding the manufacturer warranty– I’m aware. Use your own discretion.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I LOVE those orange hand things. They hold the buckles open while you place your baby into their car seat, and they help prevent twisted and tangled straps. You can buy them here.

bohemian blue car seat

car seat protector

I put the other half of the changing pad liner in his bouncer.

I must add that when Owen did have a blow out (or three) in his bouncer before I used the changing pad cover, the material didn’t stain at all.


6. Invest in mesh laundry bags.

Ah, the elusive missing baby socks. Corral those socks by using these bags. I always keep 2-3 bags in Owen’s hamper. One bag is for socks. The other bags are for bibs and his swaddles. The bibs and swaddles have velcro, so to keep them from sticking to other items, resulting in thread pulls, while being washed and dried, I put them in the mesh bags.

baby laundry hamper

7. The diaper trick.

When I know Owen has a #1 diaper, I slide a fresh diaper underneath before opening the dirty diaper. This makes changing the diaper faster, and it also helps if he starts ‘free peeing’, as we call it. If he starts spraying, I can flip the diaper up and block him from peeing all over the wall. I’m sure this can also be helpful when changing girls.

You can also see the washcloth under his booty. This is helpful for when he has a #2. I really don’t care if some poo gets on the cheapo washcloths I bought. It’s so much easier to wash the washcloth than the changing pad. Plus, I don’t care if the washcloth gets stained.

diaper trick

8. Use clothespins to hang baby pants.

More about that tip here!

hanging baby pants

9. Baby car kit.

We have emergency baby car kits in both of our cars. To read more about the car kits and what’s in them, click here.

baby car kit 1

I recreated my baby registry HERE if you’d like to check it out!

PLEASE anchor your furniture and electronics! A child dies every two weeks as a result of a tip-over incident. I strongly encourage you to read my blog post on how to anchor furniture and electronics HERE. Let’s keep our babies alive and well.

how to anchor ikea dresser

Be sure to check out my most popular baby-related posts below! There’s tons of great stuff to pin to read later!

GREAT baby hacks! Tips and tricks to make life with an infant a little easier!

GREAT baby hacks! Tips and tricks to make life with an infant a little easier!

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  1. From an mom with older kids definitely consider a mattress protector (or sheet saver) between those layers of bedding because otherwise wetness will seep right through everything. It usually has a plastic backing or plastic layer to stop the moisture then add another layer of bedding. Nobody likes middle of the night crib changing ever!!

    1. The waterproof pads are the ones I use. I linked to them in case people want to see exactly what they are. I definitely agree– middle of the night crib changing doesn’t sound exciting to me! 🙂

  2. #3- yes! Include diapers too! When I was recovering from my c-section and climbing stairs was difficult, I was so thankful I’d set up baby stations in our living room and bedroom so I didn’t have to go back and forth.

    Great idea about the changing pad and car seat…. I’ll have to try that!

    1. I totally agree! Thankfully we live in a ranch and Owen’s nursery is right off of our living room so we only have to walk 10 steps to his changing table. But I would definitely recommend a downstairs changing station for people in two-story homes.

  3. We had burp cloths everywhere! So much easier to wash those than the actual baby equipment! I love your idea of the liner in the car seat! Thankfully Noah never really had blowouts and never in his car seat… That must have been a pain to clean!

    1. Right? That’s why we have them everywhere.

      Lucky! The car seat blow out was the worst. But I felt really bad for Owen because he had to sit in it until we got home.

  4. I love these! They would have been so helpful when my kids were small! Going to share with everyone.

  5. Erika Miller says:

    I love all of your suggestions, except 1. I know blow outs in car seats are awful, but putting anything between baby and carseat besides clothes is usually prohibited in most manuals. It changes the friction of the seat and the safety of the straps. That’s also why after market products are usually prohibited as well.
    Since having my son in February, I have learned A LOT from the fb group, “car seats for the littles.” We all want to keep our littles safe 🙂

    1. I checked with a certified car seat technician before I put it in. He said the pad isn’t impending with the function of the straps and it’s very thin so it should be okay. So it won’t affect the efficiency of the carseat, assuming I have Owen properly buckled in. This is basically a DIY version of a manufacturer car seat protector. He said ultimately it’s up to the parent. And using my ‘mom gut’, I feel okay with using it.

      Trust me, car seat safety is so incredibly important to me (I’m constantly adjusting, tightening, and checking Owen’s straps) especially because of the horrible car accident Brad and I were in in 2007 where I suffered a chronic injury. Thanks for checking– I really appreciate it.

  6. What kind of burbcloths (cloth diapers) do you use? Since registering I’ve only ever seen the solid white ones… Thanks! I appreciate all your hacks and advice. I’ll be starting my own journey in March

    1. Gerber makes colorful ones that Target carries. At least they did for years. Not much selection though.
      I agree. DIY is the way to go for really cute cloth diaper burp cloths.
      Good luck and congrats!

  7. Layering the bedding also comes in handy when you start potty training, so tuck that away for future use too! Great list 🙂 — Kendra

  8. great ideas! I made burp clothes right after our son was born in November-such a quick easy project with fun results! Those lulaclips look so handy. I might have to splurge and get a pair. The buckles drive me crazy!!
    love reading your blog, especially since I became a mom!

  9. great tips! I have never done the sheet layering trick, but I may now. Our princess has a runny nose and wakes up 5 times a night with a cold wet face. I’ll definitely be giving this a try. And I second the burp cloths everywhere. While we don’t use them on babies anymore really, we use them as rags and napkins. They are perfect. And once these are used, I’ll probably make more! Cause why not?

    1. Using a humidifier helps to clear up blocked or runny noses quickly. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have one, let the shower run until the bathroom is steamy and sit there with baby. It works really fast.

  10. Great tips! I will have to remember the double sheet one — brilliant 🙂 We keep a lot of the same things in our trunks as well 🙂

  11. Where did you get the cute basket you put his toys in? They grey one.

  12. Great ideas! What car seat is that? It is crazy adorable!

      1. Do you like the car seat? I have the exact one but baby isn’t born yet. Btw, awesome tips!

  13. Bookmarking this for future use 😀 I’m clearly not a parent yet because I thought a blowout meant blow drying your hair LOL!

  14. Love theses! My little guy is nearly 5 months old. He loves to be swaddled but is starting to break out during the night. Which type are y’all using?

    1. Thanks, Angie! Owen is starting to break out of his large Summer Infant SwaddleMe wraps during nap time and when he wakes up in the morning, so I order a couple SwaddleMe WrapSack to try. If those don’t work, I’ll probably get a ComfortMe Wearable Blanket. I’ve also heard good things about the Zipadee-zip wearable blankets. They’re a lot like ComfortMe blankets. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks! We were using swaddle me. Now we’re using a halo swaddle sleep sack. I ordered a metlin’s sleep suit. Hoping that will help to transition him.

  15. Another good diaper changing trick for a boy is to just lay a washcloth over his penis for the entire change, that way he pees directly onto that instead of all over himself or you or the wall before you have time to flip the diaper up. Saves you a diaper, too!

    1. I bought a product called “Peepee Teepees” for my son. They’re basically terry cloth cones that you put over his penis so if he pees during a diaper change everyone is safe.
      I bought his because I can’t sew, but they look like they’d be easy enough to make.

  16. So many good tips! Thanks for sharing! Now I’ll definitely feel more prepared when having kids!

  17. We did all of those except the car seat protector. What a life saver that would have been! I used receiving blankets to put down on anything and everything instead of burp clothes. My kids seemed to have the biggest projectiles after every meal. I mean one gets a ton at baby showers so might as well use them, right. When you child gets older, do to your bed what you do with his crib. Kids seem to travel to their parents room in the middle of the night and manage to pee in that too. So it saves everyone a lot of time and anguish in the middle of the night.

      1. LOL! I joke and tell my husband we should have covered the entire house in waterproof material because as a mom of boys, they pee EVERYWHERE! And they think it’s funny the way it shoots out. So brace yourself because pee isn’t the only thing they find funny. Anything that has to do with “bathroom” words is somehow so entertaining. BOYS! Never a dull moment in the life of “BOY MOMS” welcome to the club sista.

  18. I wish i knew about some of these when Holly was small!!

    Great post!


  19. Chelsea,

    I’m 6 months prego, so keep this info coming!!! Any tips/hacks to make nighttime feedings easier?!

    1. Congrats! I’m probably not the best person to offer tips for nighttime feedings because Owen is a champ and has basically slept through the night since birth (don’t stone me). He usually sleeps 7-9 hours, wakes to eat, and sleeps another 2-4 hours. BUT when I have to get up for his feeding and it’s still dark outside I’ve found the dimmer I had Brad and my FIL install on the ceiling fan light fixture in the nursery to be helpful. I turn the light on just enough so I can see. So that’s my one tip– invest in a light dimmer.

  20. Fantastic tips! Your blowout hacks (crib and carseat) are straight up genius. Also, I cannot agree with you more about the burp cloths. You can never have too many! And even after your baby has grown out of the spit up stage, you can use burp cloths as diaper bag changing pads, covers for your changing table, or for super soft snot rags, that won’t irritate sore noses, when the kids have a cold.

    1. Great idea about using the burp cloths as snot rags! My friend uses the burp cloths I made for her as ‘lovies’, which I thought was a good idea.

  21. Some good tips here however for number 5, it is not safe to have anything between baby and the car seat. Most car seats specify this in their manuals. It has a negative impact on the effectiveness of the car seat in an accident.

    1. Thanks, Lexi! I checked with a CPS technician before using the pad liner in the car seat. He said the pad isn’t impeding with the function of the straps and it’s very thin, so it won’t affect the efficiency of the carseat, assuming I have Owen properly buckled in. This is basically a DIY version of a manufacturer car seat protector (like this one by Britax: http://amzn.to/1znAp8a). He said ultimately it’s up to the parent, and using my ‘mom gut’, I feel okay with using it.

  22. So I am way over the age of most people reading this, but I wanted to see if you had my tip & you don’t . Both my kids were winter babies & after nursing hated to be put back into a cold bed after being snuggled & warm. I put a heating pad on the lowest setting & layer it on the crib or bassinet while feeding them. Then when they were changed & full & ready to sleep I just pulled it off the sleeping area with one hand & checked to make sure it wasn’t too hot (it never was, but I just had to check) then they were happy to go back to their bed. Hope this helps someone 🙂

  23. Super genius ideas, Chelsea! I will definitely be pinning this for when I have a little one.

  24. Dionna M Gregory says:

    Some great tips! I used most of these on my almost 20 year old son. The layering of crib bedding was a major lifesaver. I got loads of receiving blankets at my shower, and I used those in a lot of situations that you used burp cloths. Not quite as absorbent, but I had so many of them it was all good.
    Another great tip for middle of the night feedings/diaper changes…hungry babies want their bellies filled first, not their diapers changed. But on the other hand, you don’t want to rile up a sleepy baby with a full tummy. We would feed half the bottle, change the diaper, then feed the remainder. Then put the dry, sleepy baby back to bed and try to catch a few more hours of sleep before the next round.

  25. Anissa F Cuello says:

    These are so so so helpful! When Micah was teething, he had a couple blowouts in his crib and the layered bedding would have been a great help. Right now with his runny nose, the burp cloth idea makes a lot of sense. These are genius, I swear! Thank you for sharing. Pinning for further reference! Can still use these with my 6 month old.

  26. The mesh laundry bag works as they grow up. I use 2 for each person. One for clean socks and one for dirty socks.

  27. You are never supposed to use anything between baby and the car seat unless it’s approved by the manufacturer of the seat. Doing so can void any warranties the seat may have because you are not using it properly.

    1. I checked with a CPS technician before using the pad liner in the car seat. He said the pad isn’t impeding with the function of the straps and it’s very thin, so it won’t affect the efficiency of the carseat, assuming I have Owen properly buckled in. This is basically a DIY version of a manufacturer car seat protector. He said ultimately it’s up to the parent, and using my ‘mom gut’, I feel okay with using it. Thanks for your concern though.

  28. Love all of these suggestions! Thank you. But what really caught my eye was those alligator crib sheets. Do you remember where you found those, they are Adorable!

  29. Hi! Love your tips…but curious to where you got your hamper? Absolutely love it!! 🙂

  30. Taylor Murray says:

    What are those orange hands holding the car seat straps up and out of the way? Where can I get those?

  31. I love your trick for the Carseat! But, there is an easier way! They make pads for the carseats already! I have one for my toddler who is still potty training. But I never thought to use one for my infant. You just never know…

  32. Where did you get his wire laundry hamper?

  33. You’d be surprised just how amazing cloth diapers are at preventing blowouts!

  34. Where did you get that adorable basket you use for toys? I love it!

  35. Came across this post on Pinterest, love all the tips! We’re in the process of waiting to adopt, so learning for the future. I never thought of the mesh bags for baby socks and bibs, brilliant!

  36. Thanks! This was really helpful as a soon to be first time mom!

  37. These are great suggestions! Especially putting the baby socks in a mesh bag- those socks seem to disappear so quickly! #4 is on the way for me and I will be using these tips! 🙂

  38. The link for the car seat buckle holder doesn’t look like what you have in your picture. I would really like to find some!

    1. I just did some research and I’m not finding them available anywhere. When I went to the Lulaclips website to purchase them it took me to that Amazon listing I link to. I’m sorry– I don’t know what’s going on with them.

  39. Chelsea,
    Where did you purchase your burp clothes with the strip on of colorful fabric in the middle? I have been looking for those and can only find plain white burp clothes in stores and on amazon.

  40. Love your post! Where did you get the white hamper? It’s adorable!

  41. Hey! I didn’t read the comments to see if anyone suggested it up prevent blowouts in the future with cloth diapers 😉 look into it if your still diapering babies and toddlers!!

  42. I must really be lucky with my baby. She’s 4.5 months old and we had spit up happen exactly 5 times in her entire life and it was always small enough to wipe up with a tissue. I don’t even own any burp cloths (registered for them but didn’t get them)! Same for blowouts. I had maybe 3 when it was time to switch from newborn size to size 1 in diapers. I was prepared for all the laundry people keep talking about and in all honesty I do one small load of baby laundry every two weeks. It might change when she’s older but we’ve been blessed so far!

  43. I love your blog. You are an absolute genius. Thank you for helping me organize my life as a first time mom.

  44. Thank you for this blog post. Seriously. I’m due with baby number 1 in two weeks and am trying to get as organized as possible without going too crazy. These are some great tips I pinned. Thanks again! 🙂

  45. You have some amazing tips in here! i will be sure to send them to my friends who are having little ones. i myself have 5 over the age of 2 up to 15 ! And i recommend you get a good waterproof mattress protector for the future! (i even put on on my bed) we like the ones from http://www.protectabed.com/content/mattress_protectors.asp but i’m sure there are other places that sell good ones too. best of luck and thanks again.

  46. I LOVE your baby’s car seat! Where did you get that?

  47. Love all of these! Thank you for sharing. What kind of car seat is that. Love the pattern.

  48. What do you have on his car seat? The little hands on each side and the car seat cover

  49. Wonderful tips thank you so much!! What is the color of your baby’s room? I love the pretty blue behind your dresser. Thank you!

  50. I love the changing pad liner idea- when you cut it did it ever start to unravel after wash or over time?

  51. Ashley sawant says:

    I use dog training pads in the car seat and for when I have to change her in my car. They are cheap thin and super absorbent.

  52. When I was pregnant with my son Ezra I read this post. I have to say “thank you” for tip #5 Prepare for blowouts. As a new mom, this has saved our Rock and Play from a crap ton of blow outs (pun intended).

  53. Chelsea, thank you so much (again!) for this post! I first read it when I was pregnant with my first daughter, two years ago! Today, I thought of you when my new baby puked in her swing, AND THEN on her Boppy lounger…but I didn’t have to wash either because I had layered a receiving blanket and cloth diaper in both! I tossed both in the wash and grabbed new ones. Thanks again for writing this. Your tips have saved me so much sanity for 20 months of motherhood now! THANK YOU!!

  54. Dewayne Dignan says:

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    https://math-problem-solver.com/ . At the very least I can still take photos and learn about some superb abilities.

  55. I hope you know anything you add to a car seat officially deems all voids on it gone. The federal transportation department heavily advises against it. Any liscenced car seat technician will tell you this. I would advise against this car seat tip or trick in this article.

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