Once your baby can roll, sit, or stand, diaper changes can become a game of wills. This "game" can be scary if your baby lunges towards the edge of the changing table. A local nurse advised me to distract my baby with books or small toys while diapering her. I now keep board books, teethers, or rattles within reach of the changing table; it was a little tip that makes a big impact everyday.
The next great tip involves a trip to the incontinence aisle of the supermarket where you can find protective bed under pads in extra large that work amazingly well on top of the changing table. For a reasonable price, these pads will make cleaning messes easy. When disaster strikes, just throw out the pad and grab a new one.
Store-bought baby food can become expensive—one jar a day rapidly turns into five or six. A stranger in the grocery store shared this one with me: Make a quick visit to the website of your chosen baby food brand(s) and search for the latest deals. Participating in rebates and promotions can yield coupons or free stuff like bibs, bowls, or DVDs; it may be worth saving the labels from the baby food packages and getting involved. Some supermarkets have a cash-back deal for baby purchases also. You will ring up more money than you can imagine during that first year, and every little bit of extra cash helps.
Toy companies are competitive and want to understand their customers. If you ever have a toy that breaks under normal usage, contact the manufacturer directly—your phone call may result in a new replacement toy being mailed directly to you. Manufacturers also want to know if a toy is defective, and if you alert them to a problem you may be compensated. If nothing else, you are passing along information that will likely reach the company's research and development department, potentially resulting in a better, safer product for other children.
A first birthday party can result in piles of toys cluttering the home (as can a baptism or any major gift-giving holiday). I scoffed at the advice I was given to put some of the new toys aside and rewrap them for the next holiday . . . at first. In the end, I wrapped a few of the birthday toys and put them under the Christmas tree, and it worked out great! I also hid some of the other toys away in the garage/basement to be rotated back into the play area at a later date.