Parenting Secrets for Calmer Days & Nights

The Motherboard is all about shared wisdom. Here veteran moms (and one dad doc) share their secrets for making life with baby a little calmer-- for both of you.

  • Kaysh Shinn

    The Magic Baby Calmer

    "Warm a receiving blanket in the dryer for just a few minutes (it should not be hot to the touch), then swaddle your baby in it. The closeness and warmth of the blanket will calm any baby."

    Blythe Lipman, co-author of Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions

  • Alexandra Grablewski

    A Colic Comfort

    "When it comes to colic, remember the magic rule of threes: Colic usually starts when your baby is three weeks old and involves three hours a day of crying. It typically ends by the time your baby is three months old. FYI: A significant number of babies who are diagnosed with colic may actually have acid reflux. Get it checked out by a doctor."

    Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician in Austin.

  • Shannon Greer

    A Super Time-Saver

    "Create a portable diaper-changing station. Keep diapers, wipes, and a changing pad on hand-everywhere. This way you don't have to race up to your baby's room when lightning strikes."

    Erica Wells, co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms

  • Kathryn Gamble

    The Power of Old-Fashioned Play

    "Toys are great, but old-fashioned play is some of the best kind. Letting your baby play with pots, pans, and spatulas isn't deprivation. Instead, it encourages individual creativity and imagination. Old school is still good school!"

    Devra Renner, M.S.W, co-author of Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most and Raise Happier Kids

  • PhotoAlto/ Matton

    Solace for the Sleepless

    "Just wait for 17 weeks—that's the magic moment when your baby will start to sleep through the night. By definition, sleeping through the night is six hours, but that will feel like a lot after 17 weeks of being up every two to three hours!"

    Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician in Austin.

  • Shannon Greer

    A Teething Miracle

    "If your little one's gums are sore from teething, make a sock soother: Fill a clean white athletic sock with ice cubes, tie a tight knot, put her in the high chair, and let her gnaw away. Make sure to stay close and supervise."

    Blythe Lipman, co-author of Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions

  • Alloy Photography/Veer

    An Attitude Adjustment

    "Find the positives. If your baby spits up on the new shirt you knew you should never have put on, don't get worked up. Instead, force yourself to find three good things that are also happening, such as 'I am so thankful my baby is healthy overall,' 'at least the spit-up wasn't in my new purse, too,' and 'I'm grateful to have clean water to bathe my baby and myself in.' The calmer you are, the happier your baby will be."

    Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness

  • Gemma Comas

    A Toddler Trick

    "Make veggies the appetizer. By putting veggies on the plate or high chair first, he'll start eating them when he's the most hungry."

    &mdashShara Aaron, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist, author of The Baby Fat and mom of three (ages 7, 4, and 15 months)

  • BananaStock/ Jupiter

    Prep for the Pickies

    "Toddlers are picky eaters but can often be fooled into eating things they think they don't like if you offer it in different shapes. For example, your toddler may not like carrot coins, but he'll love carrot sticks; he may like toast triangles not squares; he may like to gnaw on half a bagel but not a bite-sized piece."

    Erica Wells, co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms

  • Image Source/ Veer

    Juice Weaning for Winners

    "Experts now recommend feeding your toddler no more than four to six ounces of juice per day and some suggest no juice whatsoever since it's so loaded with sugar. If your toddler is already a juice fan, break the habit by diluting it in water. At first, mix only a little water so your toddler won't notice. Then gradually increase the proportion of water to juice until it's all water."

    Ruth Yaron, author of The Super Baby Food Book

  • Fancy Photography/ Veer

    How to Deal with a New Fear

    "If your toddler is suddenly afraid of the bath, allow him to stand outside the tub with the water running gently into a tub of bubbles. Stand him on a sturdy mat and give him a sponge bath while he looks inside. Eventually his curiosity will get him back into the fun-looking tub."

    Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D., a parenting psychologist specializing in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents.

  • Reggie Casagrande

    Don't Leave Home Without It

    "Keep a mini permanent marker in your diaper bag so you can easily mark items. For example, if you have two kids, use the marker to write each child's name on his or her sippy cup, toy, or artwork. You'll save a lot of bickering."

    Jennifer Bright Reich, co-founder of Momosa Publishing and mom of two sons, ages 4 and 3

  • Comstock/Getty

    Being Frazzled Doesn't = Failure

    "It's OK to feel frazzled. No matter how much you read, there will be times when you feel like you have no idea what you're doing, and you may even feel like a failure as a parent. It's okay. It happens to everyone so give yourself a big big break!"

    Nora Carillo, a child development specialist at Phoenix Children's Hospital