Parenthood is busy and it’s no secret that it can be utterly exhausting. Anything that makes life with little ones easier gets a big tick from us. From minimising your household chores to getting some extra ZZZs, here are our favourite parenting hacks…
Make your life easier with a place to put your baby in each room
Solo parenting whilst your partner (if you have one) is at work can be tough. There is a reason why parents joke about not being able to go to the loo on their own, let alone make something to eat! Somewhere safe to put your baby down in each room is a clever hack that makes things a bit easier (and gives you your hands back!).
For the littlest ones, a bassinet on a stand for the living room is a good idea for daytime snoozes and a portable high chair with a newborn attachment is handy for the kitchen. As they get bigger, there are lots of options for safe play spaces – including a baby gate, playpen, or a floor seat with a tray.
Be extra prepared for trips out and about by choosing the right stroller
Choosing the right stroller can make your life much easier when you’re out and about with your little one. Most buggies fall into one of two camps. A heavier model with good suspension and sturdy wheels for off-road steering. Or a smaller, lightweight design – which is handy for getting about on public transport, doing the nursery pick up and drop off, and going on holiday.
Choosing a stroller that is the perfect balance between the two will ensure you’re ready for every eventuality. Leclerc Baby’s range of strollers are designed to be compact and lightweight but also have an all-wheel suspension. The brand’s Influencer and MF Plus pushchairs also have lots of other clever design details to make life as a parent easier. We love the slick one button fold and clever magnetic harness and the fact that you can fit accessories like a buggy board to transport multiple children.
Make dressing your little one simpler by planning their wardrobe
The early morning panic of not being able to find a matching top and trousers before rushing your little one out of the door is easily eliminated with a little bit of forward planning. Choosing a colour palette for your little one’s wardrobe might sound a bit boring, but stick with us on this one…
Whether you favour brights or neutrals, choosing baby clothes that will mix and match easily gives you more outfit options. It also sidesteps any arguments when they reach the age where they want to dress themselves. It cuts down on washing as well – as everything can be put on one cycle. Win win!
Become a nappy changing pro with a few simple parenting hacks
Poo-splosions have got to be one of the worst things about being a parent, so here are a few brilliant ideas to turn you into a nappy changing expert. Firstly, packing some disposable changing mats in your hospital bag is a game changer. Nappy changing in those first few hours can be a bit of a learning curve and placing a disposal changing mat straight into your little one’s hospital cot is much easier than going back and forth to the changing station. Our second favourite hack is to place a new nappy under your baby before taking the existing one off to make sure you catch any accidents. And our third tip is to go with the flow when you’re out and about. No public toilets or changing facilities? We’ve done many a nappy change in the buggy bassinet with the changing mat laid on the mattress.
Make a few tiny adjustments to maximise sleep and rest
Someone will have almost certainly told you to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s repeated so often because it’s sound advice, but if you can’t then try to use baby’s nap time to relax. Catch up on a Netflix show, take a bath, or do whatever self care looks like to you.
If you can get a co-parent to help during the night this makes a huge difference too – even if it’s just with nappy changes. Sharing the night settling makes things easier though and gives you more flexibility as it can be tricky when your baby will only drift off on you. If you’re breastfeeding, swapping out a feed for a bottle given by your partner can also help you to get a longer stretch of sleep. But this is of course a personal choice.
Keep your little one entertained (without filling your house with toys)
Babies are like little researchers. They are constantly exploring their new world and it can be exhausting trying to keep them entertained. They can get bored of toys very easily, leaving you with an overflowing toy box full of unplayed-with things. A brilliant hack is to swap toys, especially bigger items like play gyms or walkers that might only be useful for a few months.
Getting creative with items you already have in your house can also provide hours of entertainment. A plastic bottle containing rice makes a great shaker, as does a bean-filled glove. Items you may already have like felt balls, a plastic egg, or even kitchen utensils can provide hours of amusement and help to hone fine motor skills. A laundry basket or baby pool filled with toys is also a fun game. Get creative, parents!
Make your parenting kit work harder and create less waste
Babies come with a lot of stuff and it can be a minefield knowing what to invest in and what will be collecting dust in six months time. Ask other parents what they have found useful and always check reviews online before you buy. Road testing items ahead of purchasing can also help you to avoid making mistakes. Borrow from friends, or search out local services like sling libraries.
We also like to look for items that cover several bases. Choose a stroller that’s just as good on city streets as it is on woodland walks, like Leclerc Baby’s Influencer and MF Plus pushchairs. And invest in items that can be used for multiple tasks such as a travel cot that can double as a playpen, or a portable high chair that can be used for mealtimes as well as a place to play.
The little things that can make a big difference
Finally, sometimes it’s the smallest things that can save you time and make your life as a parent easier. A few items are high up on our list of must-haves include an electric baby nail file for wriggly fingers; a baby shower cap to avoid tears when shampooing your little one’s hair; a stroller with an easy one hand fold (a game changer when you’re juggling a little one on your hip!); and freezer pots for prepping your little one’s meals in advance.
Everyone has their favourite parenting tips and tricks, so remember to ask your friends who have little ones for more hacks.