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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
parents panel

8 readers share the parenting hacks they've learned from their own mums and dads

‘When a baby is restless or crying, the sound of a running tap really soothes them.’

WHEN IT COMES to being pregnant, or parenting a newborn, everyone’s just figuring things out as they go. That’s why it can be so helpful to hear how other people are getting through the mess of it all, from the first nappy change to the countless sleepless nights.

Our Newborn and Baby Parents Panel is made up of parents and parents-to-be, all raising little ones aged up to 24 months.


This week, we asked parents about the tips and tricks they learned from their own mums and dads, from creative methods for soothing a fussy baby to learning to trust your own gut – instead of Google. 

What’s one valuable parenting trick your parents taught you? 

Running a tap to soothe the baby: One trick that I learned from my mother in relation to soothing a baby which has been really helpful was running a tap. It’s not great for water charges or the environment but when baby is restless and crying, perhaps fighting sleep, running the tap helps settle them. Coupled with some old fashioned rocking, it does the trick!

- Kathryn Walsh

The tick-tock trick: When my son was a baby and was difficult to settle, my mother-in-law had a loud ticking clock in her kitchen and we’d stand there and she’d hold and rock him and say ‘tick tock’ over and over again really softly and it worked. He now has an obsession with clocks (will there be a Late Late Show appearance in the future, perhaps?) and I swear it’s because of all the tick-tocking talk as a baby! We stand in the same kitchen with my baby girl now and do the same thing.

- Valerie Murray

shutterstock_1099760117 Shutterstock / Halfpoint Shutterstock / Halfpoint / Halfpoint

Tummy time for a windy baby: My mam told me to lie my baby face-down across my lap when she has wind because apparently this gives them great relief. I wasn’t shown this in the hospital, so as a first-time mam I was reluctant to deviate from what they told me.

I watched my mam do it a few times and my little girl seems to really love it – and there’s the added bonus of some tummy time, too, as she tries to look around while she’s there!

- Claire Kodjo

Being kinder to myself: Breastfeeding was a non-runner with my first baby and once my mother gently pointed out to me that fed is best (be it breastfed or otherwise) I was able to enjoy the brand new experience of motherhood rather than struggling like I had been. 

- Amy Molyneaux


Keeping the room dark at night: One piece of advice I received from my mam was to keep the room dark at night and never play with my son if he wakes up. My son is a good sleeper, lucky for us, but sometimes he wakes up with a burst of energy in the middle of the night wanting to play with a tired mammy and daddy. We keep the lights off and try not to play with him, even when he is making us laugh. It’s worked for us!

- Paula Lynch

Knowing that babies can handle a bit of noise: Thanks to my parents, I know not to tiptoe around a sleeping baby. I was the youngest of four, so no one tiptoed around me. Hoovering, TV, doorbells, their dad’s snoring – my babies slept through it all!

- Aisling Drake

Just trusting my gut: The best advice I got from my mam was to trust my gut. Google didn’t exist back when my parents had babies and my mam jokes saying she wondered how we survived when she didn’t have Google to check every little thing on! 

- Laura Ryan

No clock-checking: She has been reminding me this from day one when my son was born and I was all over the place. So I stopped checking my watch every time he woke up during the night, or counting down the hours until the next feed or nap. It allowed me to go with the flow a little more and live in the moment as a parent.

- Mairéad McHugh

More: 12 kids’ TV shows and films that parents love too, from Hey Duggee to Fireman Sam

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