You can read an entire library of books on parenting but sometimes the most useful lessons can only be learned on the job. Some mums have started sharing their tips, tricks and ‘hacks’ that they have learned along the way on a Mumsnet thread. The thread was originally started by Mumsnet user SharingMichelle when she divulged her parenting hacks back in May, and other users soon followed with their own top tips.
'Give [your children] music and headphones for long car journeys. Shuts them right up. My eldest is 10 and I've only recently learned this,' she wrote.
'Peel the negative space off the sticker sheet and your small child can peel off the stickers independently. Without ripping them. Yes, even cheap stickers. WHY didn't anyone tell me this one??!' she added.
Other mums started responding with their own tips, like getting sand off a child's foot by using talcum powder, and, if your little one doesn't want to take their Calpol, then one parent suggests putting it in their milk.
Another mum suggested getting a child to draw inside a cardboard box to save a lot of mess. 'She's only allowed to use felt tips when colouring inside an old box. She loves it, and I don't need to worry about mess!'
Another suggested to 'lift the flaps on the sides of juice cartons so the kids can use them as handles and not squeeze juice all over themselves.' And the reason for those necks on baby vests? To pull the vest down and off your child instead of over their heads!
One user even shared their tip on how to get their little one to sleep. 'Stroke a baby’s nose from between the eyes to tip to get them to fall asleep. They close their eyes as they follow your finger down'. Genius! To avoid constantly changing and washing a baby's sheets, one user suggested 'put a muslin square down at the baby's head end of crib/moses basket/cot then when or if they spit up just remove that and put a fresh one down. No sheet changing.'
And to sterilise toys and toothbrushes, one mum suggests that the dishwasher can be used for anything!
If you have a newborn baby and have experienced fresh wee running all over their clothes when you change their nappy, one mum suggests putting down a towl on the plastic changing mat first. 'I'd rather wash a towel than undress and redress a whole outfit!'
If your baby is prone to a nappy rash, one tip is to dry babies' bottoms with a muslin or flannel, and if your baby's socks tend to slide off their feet – 'turn down the tops of baby socks a couple of times they stay on'. Who knew?
To encourage her children to eat more vegetables, one mum sprinkles edible glitter on their broccoli.
Mums also agreed that some things are best done when the babies are asleep – like putting creams on their skin, or filing their nails. Sneaky!
And it turns out that incontinence pants (for postpartum weeks) and incontinence mats could come in very handy – one mum puts down an incontinence mat in her children's beds (on top of the main sheet, under their bottoms) to avoid having to strip the whole bed if they have an accident.
Maybe it's time to bin the books and just hang out on mum forums instead?