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Holly Pevzner
Contributing Writer

The Best Parenting Hacks of 2017

Get ready to have your world rocked! Here’s what a bunch of ingenious moms and dads thought up this year to make life a whole lot easier.

There really is no innovator like a desperate parent. From simple why-didn’t-I-think-of-that tricks to serious game-changer tips, we’ve rounded up the best parenting hacks from around the Web. They’re dreamt up by moms and dads, for moms and dads, so you know they’ve gotta be good.

1. The Diaper-Bag Hack

You would think that children’s artist and mom Elizabeth Rasco reinvented the wheel, given the overwhelming attention she received for the hack she posted on Facebook this spring. Here, Rasco upcycled an empty tub of wipes into a portable diaper-changing kit. With two cheap elastic headbands, she secured a bag of baby wipes to the inside lid of that tub of wipes. Yeah, sooo? Well, this not only allowed for easy access to the wipes, but also left room to hide diapers, a disposable changing pad, an extra outfit, and diaper disposal bags. To date, this hack has been shared over 110,000 times, and more than 11,000 people have commented with praise like, “Oh my God, how did we not come up with this? Thank you. Sharing” and “Did this and love it. Perfect for a long walk with no bulky bag.” The word “genius” was bandied about a lot too. “I was very surprised this went viral,” Rasco says. “But I think I really hit a chord because diaper bags are so big and cumbersome. No one wants to deal with chaos when they need something quick.”

2. The Stroller-Tire Hack

Katy Cox, a mom of two in Cornwall, England, needs to stow her stroller in her carpeted hallway and she got really, really sick of scrubbing the dirt and grime its tires left behind. “Then one day while showering, the solution just popped into my head, as things do when you’re showering: Why not use shower caps?!,” she says. She bought some and slid them over the tires before putting the stroller away. It’s ingenious. It’s cheap. “And it’s an absolute perfect fit,” Cox says.

3. The Bottle-Storage Hack

Texas mom Brooke McDaniel tacked a $12 shower caddy up in her pantry to store her babies' bottles and pacifiers. This freed-up space in her kitchen cabinets and made everything easily accessible. “I have two children on bottles and not enough time to wash them six times a day,” she wrote on Facebook this summer. “This [hack] ensures my children will have enough to get through 24 hours with ease.” She was onto something: Her idea has been shared over 123,000 times and has elicited some 19,000 comments. (Cabinet space is that important. For real.)

4. The Parking-Lot Safety Hack

Back in June, Kristen Bell (yes, that Kristen Bell. Of Bad Moms. Mother of two. Wife of Dax Shepard. Her) offered up a smarty-pants safety hack to her 4.1 million Instagram followers. She wrote that when her kids exit her vehicle, she yells “Hands on the circle!” This is the signal for her kids to put their paws on the circular gas cap on the car and wait for Mom’s go-ahead to move. “Thus far, [this has] kept all kiddos safe from any oncoming traffic while I unload the trunk. #momlife #momhacks #mom,” she wrote. We say: #hackwelove

5. The Calm-Your-Baby Hack

New dad Daniel Eisenman nearly broke the Internet when he quickly and effortlessly soothed his baby daughter’s cries in the middle of shooting a Facebook Live video. There he was, snuggling in bed and talking about surfing when baby Divina began to cry. With nary a hesitation, the author and motivational speaker from Encinitas, California, began oming to her. (Like, yoga oming.) She quieted in mere seconds. And it wasn’t a fluke. Eisenman has since posted other videos to Facebook and Instagram oming his little girl to quiet. And fellow parents are loving it. His first video has received 39 million views, and 395,000 shares. (His Insta profile now reads “the OM daddy.”) Eisenman says, “Oming to a baby is, so far, the best way I’ve found to get back to dreaming.” And his fans concur, writing, “[The sound] is mimicking the noise of that in the womb. Loud and steady. This kind [of] stuff really works.”

6. The Hair Dryer/C-section Scar Hack

When Australian mom-of-four Mel Watts wound up with an infected cesarean section scar, she turned to her nursing background for her hack. Each time she’d get out of the shower, she would aim a blow dryer, on the cool setting, at her wound for a few moments until it was dry. In fact, keeping-dry is the best thing you can do to help heal this type of infection, beyond taking antibiotics and following doctor’s orders. “And because c-section scars are often hidden under your deflating stomach, it’s hard to do that,” she says. Watts is quick to emphasize that her hack is all about the cool setting. Heat is in no way recommended.

7. The Toddler Coat Hack

Just as sweata weatha approached, mom-of-two Jess Wilson posted a short Facebook video showing a toddler putting her own jacket on sans grown-up help. Yup, the child simply approached her coat—which was splayed unzipped and wide open on the floor, hood end down—up, slid her arms into the armholes and flipped the jacket over her head. Boom! Not one “But I don’t Wanna Wear A Coat!” complaint. Kiddo independence and parent sanity saved in one easy hack that’s been viewed 487,000 times and shared by just under 4,000 people. Resonate much?

8. The Hula-Hoop Hack

Tall parents, rejoice: You can help baby learn to walk without hunching over, thanks to this dad’s hula-hoop hack posted on YouTube. In the short clip, which over 22,000 people have eye-balled, the dad in question coaxes baby to his feet by having him grasp the bottom of a hula hoop, while dad holds onto the top and takes a stroll down the hall. Smart, smart, smart.

9. The Teething Hack

With teething tablets and gels on the do-not-use list, it’s hard for worried parents to help baby when he’s in pain. Good thing Ohio mom Tasia Blackwell figured out this feel-better-fast hack. She fed her baby boy a milksicle, a popsicle made from breastmilk. “It helps with his teething pain and helps fill up his tummy,” she wrote on Facebook. (Once frozen, Blackwell stores each pop individually in breast milk storage bags.) After one of her friends wrote, “Can I share this? It's a great idea!!” the post was shared over 300,000 times. Blackwell writes, “If I can help make anything easier for a mom, I'm with it!” Oh, and, formula-feeders: you can do the same with formula, naturally. Either way, don’t leave baby alone with popsicle, of course.

10. The Teether-To-Go Hack

Because parents of teething babies need all the help they can get, here’s another one: Father-of-one Jesse Hagen, from Queens, New York, quickly figured out that ice-cold teething toys soothed his baby boy’s gums. But he was stumped over what to do when he was out and about. Then one steamy day, when Hagen was filling his Klean Kanteen with cold, ice-cube laden water, it dawned on him to leave a little room and keep his son’s child teethers cold in there too. “This seemed like a good way to replicate the cooling effect on-the-go,” he says. And he was right.

Photo: Courtesy of Diaper Genie

11. The Diaper Genie Hack

Smelly diapers are bad. Paying top dollar to dispose of said smelly diapers so no one has to actually smell them, is worse. Enter: Jesse Lawyer, the dad who found a solution. After Lawyer finished a supply of Diaper Genie bags, he kept the blue plastic ring they were stowed in. Instead of shelling out more dollars on another refill, he used the ring to properly secure a standard trash bag in the diaper pail. While regular trash bags are generally un-scented, the Diaper Genie still worked to lock in nose-plugging odors. Plus: money saved!

Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Frew

12. The Bath Hack

Slide an old pillowcase over a dollar-store pool noodle and —voilà!—you’ve got Australian mom Courtney Frew’s brilliant tub-time hack. “Having a newborn in the bath is hard enough,” Frew told the Daily Mail. “'But [baby] loves how the pillowcase naturally supports her body like her rocker. And I can comfortably wash her and pour water over her body while she splashes and kicks around.” (Is there literally no end to the wonder of the pool noodle?)

13. The Marshmallow Boo-boo Hack

Kids fall and bang into things—a lot. But Amanda Mushro, the mom-of-two behind the blog Questionable Choices in Parenting, doesn’t stock her freezer with ice packs. (“[They] can be too cold, leak everywhere, and be uncomfortable on their skin,” she writes.) Instead, Mushro places marshmallows into plastic sandwich bags and freezes them. “The boo-boo pack gets two thumbs up from my kids because the marshmallows get cold—but not freezing. Plus they stay soft and squishy so they feel great on the skin and wrap around elbows and knees,” she writes. The best part? The kids can nab a sweet treat from the bag once they’ve wiped their tears away.

14. The Car-Seat Hack

Apparently, we’ve all been carrying infant car seats wrong. In her wildly popular Facebook post (5.3 million views and counting), Emily Puente, a chiropractor and pregnant mom-of-two in Mansfield, Texas, demonstrated an easier-on-the-back-shoulders-and-hips way to do it. Here, she turned the car seat to face her, and instead of resting the handle in the crook of her elbow, she maneuvered her hand and grasped the bottom of the seat where the handle attaches to the base. “As soon I switch to this, it’s a completely different change in how I'm using my body to... distribute this weight from this carrier,” she says. Hear that? That’s thousands of parents slapping their foreheads in why-didn’t-I-do-that disbelief.

15. The Toothbrush Hack

Back in December, Kayla Ferreira, a crochet artist and mom of two from Cambridge Ontario, gave her 6-year-old daughter a gift box featuring six Dory-themed toothbrushes. “I’m thinking: Great! I'm done for the year for toothbrushes,” she says. But a few months later, they were all gone. “[She] always throws out her toothbrush too early,” Ferreira wrote on Instagram. To sidestep future waste, Ferreira now labels new toothbrushes with an expiration date. “We are sticking to the change-your-brush-every-three-months rule,” she wrote. “So I used month 3, 6, 9, and 12 and put a symbol on each!” So far, Ferreira reports her plan is working really well. “My daughter has even been tracking on her calendar a countdown until she can start using the next brush!,” she says.

Published October 2017

PHOTO: Crystal Marie Sing