It’s important to note that the advice in this story comes from dad bloggers—not doctors. These strategies aren’t backed up by research, and they may not work for your kid.
But if you’re hoping for some last-ditch magic to calm a crying newborn, or you just want to save some money on pricey baby gear, these homespun hacks may do the trick.
Flip Your Kid’s Socks
There will be times when your baby is losing his mind, and you just can’t figure out why. He’s fed. He’s changed. He doesn’t need a nap. What gives?
Look at his feet, suggests Armin Brott, author of The New Father and founder of MrDad.com.
“Sometimes what you’ll find is the baby has little sock threads wrapped around his toes,” says Brott. “That can make him uncomfortable, or even hurt him.”
The thread (or a hair) is so tightly wound that it may cut off circulation to one of his toes.
So always put your baby’s socks on inside out, Brott says, and check his toes first if he won’t stop crying.
Buy a Cheap Yoga Mat
You could spend $30 on a foldable, portable baby-changing mat.
Or you could buy a cheap yoga mat, cut it into rectangles, and have six spongy, easy-to-clean changing mats for about $10, says Zach Rosenberg, cofounder of the popular dad blog 8BitDad.com.
“A lot of stuff branded for babies is overpriced,” Rosenberg says. “If you focus on functionality, it’s easy to get creative and save money.”
Sink Your Teeth In
Babies are born with fingernails, which tend to grow quickly.
That’s a problem, because your uncoordinated child may scratch his or her face if you don’t keep those nails pared down.
Brott’s advice: Skip the clippers and use your teeth instead.
“Babies’ nails are really soft, and they’re easy to bite off,” Brott says. Since your baby can’t stay still, you won’t run the risk of nicking his or her tiny little fingers with a clipper.
Swap Snaps For Zippers
Squirming, crawling, kicking babies and teeny-tiny snap buttons don’t mix. But for some reason, 90 percent of newborn outfits seem to come with snaps.
“I’m sure that’s so you avoid accidentally catching the baby’s skin in a zipper,” Rosenberg says, “but if you’re careful, I think the risk of that is pretty small.”
It’ll take you roughly 12 hours of being a parent before you’ll wish every outfit your kid owns sports zippers instead of snaps, Rosenberg says.
So tell your friends and family you only want zippered baby clothes from now on.
Make This Diaper Switch
A lot of new dads take off their kid’s diaper before preparing its replacement.
Bad move: “Cold air can trigger peeing,” Brott says. “So you always want to open a new diaper first, and get it under your baby’s butt so it’s ready as soon as you get the dirty diaper off.”
You’ll remember this tip the next time your little pal sprays pee on your face or on to your couch.