Bouncy seats, pack n plays, high chairs, exersaucers, bath tubs, bumbos, gates, locks and the list of necessary baby and toddler essentials goes on and on. As a first time, rule following parent, I had it all—every baby gadget known to man. And I followed all of the “rules” of where to put your baby, feed your baby, sleep you baby. Now ten years and two more kids later, thoughts of myself as first-time parent make me chuckle.
I can remember the first time I saw a mom change her infant on her lap and I thought, “you can do that!?” I was a giant diaper bag wearing, stroller toting, changing table using, nap nazi, list providing first time mom. God bless my mom and then mother-in-law for putting up with my long lists of do’s, don’ts and schedules (which I am pretty sure they ignored in my absence). It was easy to act this way with one child, you can literally control everything but with the birth of child number two your grip loosens and with child three, the rubber meets the road. I can only imagine how one can parent with three plus children (like a rock star I am sure).
Somewhere along the way I realized that one doesn’t have to follow all of the rules or use all of the gadgets. And with that I give you my two all-time favorite parenting hacks for infants and toddlers. They are simple cheap and not rocket science (and you may already know these hacks and to you friend, I give a big high-five).
Bath Towel Bath
You are at your in-laws house and your infant has just had the biggest blow-out of her three month life and she needs a bath. But there is no baby bath tub! Sure you could use the kitchen sink but yuck (for you and your mother-in-law). Ready folks, here it is…take a bath towel or hand towel, roll up one edge for a bit of a cushion and lay it in the middle of the bath tub, turn the water on and leave the drain open. Now put your baby on the bath towel and give her a bath. The warm water will soak up in to the bath towel and tickle her toes. When the bath is done, simply ring out the towel and throw it in the laundry.
This hack can work at home too. No need for a baby bath tub or any other bathing device. When they are sitting up, they can sit on the towel and once they are on the move, you don’t need it anymore.
I remember visiting my parents when my oldest was in a toddler bed. Everywhere we went I either needed a toddler bed, a bed rail or a king bed so that my son could lie in the middle surrounded by ten pillows. There was no toddler bed and for fear of him falling out of a twin bed, I asked my parents to invest in one of those bed rails (and no, I didn’t think of letting him sleep on the floor). That bed rail was a pain, a pain to put on the bed and a pain to get off. Then I heard of how you could slip one of those round pool noodles that kids use in the water under the sheets to provide a bump. And then it hit me—you can stick anything under the sheet and make a speed bump! They might possibly still fall out but the speed bump will slow them down (this is third child parent talking now).
Simply take a blanket, towel, stuffed animal, pillow, anything soft and stick it under the sheet at the edge of the bed and you’ve got a secure place for a toddler to sleep.
Not rocket science. But to any new parents who like me think all of the baby gear is a must—some of it is and some of it isn’t. Hopefully these hacks simplify your life a bit.
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