Friday, November 12, 2010

Advice for New Mommies

I spend time on a couple of Mommy Boards, and I asked for a few pearls of wisdom from the groups for a friend who is expecting in a few weeks.  I figured I'd post their responses here, for the world (or my tiny piece of it anyway) to enjoy.

Credit for the silly baby instructions goes to "Safe Baby Handling Tricks" by David and Kelly Sopp.  :)  Buy the whole book here.



"Every baby is different and what works for one won't always work for another. Follow your instincts!"

"Laundry/dishes/vacuuming/housework can all wait. Don't feel bad if you don't get off the couch all day if that's what you need to do for you and baby that day, and don't try to stay up late to make up work that "should have" gotten done. Only worry about taking care of yourself and your baby. Get help if you can, from your husband, family, friends, or a postpartum doula."

"I wish someone had told me how amazing BabyWearing was and that I should get a stretchy wrap to start with from the beginning :)  I didn't get one until finding this board and my son was 5 weeks old at that time.  I was so excited to have 2 hands when I was wearing him!"
 
"I wish that someone would have told me that in the beginning breastfeeding is pretty much non-stop and that it is OK to be couch bound or bed bound for the first few weeks...however this is the same reason that I wish I had known about using a wrap- I was able to breastfeed and move about a bit- which felt a bit freeing after 5 weeks of being couch bound :)"

"Trust your instincts; nobody knows your baby better than you do."

"Trust your instincts and enjoy your baby.   So many people offer so much advice and they are only tiny for a short time...enjoy it and don't worry about when your baby is sleeping through the night or if he is spoiled.   Smile and nod at everyone's advice...or better yet...say "Thanks but no thanks"  unless you ask."

"It goes way too quickly - don't wish your child's life away (i.e. I can't wait for him to smile, roll, etc).  Savor every minute that you have - enjoy the now."



"I wish someone had told me to do whatever I needed to to calm a fussy baby....when he was itty bitty and crying all night, I thought it was "cheating" to put him in the swing and I never considered wearing him.  I thought I should be able to comfort him by rocking / singing to / walking / bouncing him.  That seems so incredibly silly to me now, I can't imagine why I thought that."

"Spend the first few days as a family. People will come over and want to visit, but your priority needs to be bonding with that baby!  I see so many new moms exhausted (even more than normal) because all these people come over and watch the baby sleep and then guess who is not sleeping all night because they need to eat?  I encourage them to give people a timeline, and other than that couple of "visiting hours' nobody can come over!"

 "Ignore the clock.  Cover them up if you have to.  Sleep at 4pm, watch a movie at 2am, do whatever works.  Clocks are not your friends right now and they will probably only frustrate you.  Feed the baby when she's hungry, try to sleep when you can, no matter what time it is."

"Do whatever is right for you and your family. If that means sleeping with a baby on your chest or choosing to formula feed vs. breastfeeding. Do whatever you need to do to survive.  "

"If baby is crying, try a hair dryer, it's the only way I can get my son to take a nap. I wish I learned about it earlier. Wear your baby as much as possible if you want to get things done around the house or if baby won't nap. For a while, my son would only nap if I wore him."

 "Family and friends mean well.  But don't let them make you second guess yourself.  And if it becomes too overwhelming having people around ask them to leave for a while.  Even if they're staying with you.  Send them out grocery shopping or to see a movie."

"Sleep when they sleep, don't wake them up to feed them, let them sleep, get out of the house if you want to, ignore advice of others if you want to, listen to the doctor (call even if you think it might be a silly question), ask questions (even if you think they are silly), allow others to help you (watch the baby, make dinner, clean), let your husband be a part of it all, take lots of pictures, and fill out that baby book!"

"Trust your instincts and do what feels right. The first couple weeks (and months for that matter) are a battle to find a routine but it does get better. People mean well, but that doesn't make them right."



"The quicker you get the baby in the night, the quicker they fall back asleep after feeding."

"Nap when the baby naps. Use this time to catch up on sleep, tv, or whatever that relaxes you.  Don't be tempted to do chores!"

"Don't be afraid to tell people NOT to come over. When my daughter was born I was so overwhelmed by people coming over to visit her/us. They all meant well but it was just more trouble than it was worth with everything else going on...I'll change that next time for sure!" 

"Sleep when you can, if you don't get anything done around the house for 2 weeks oh well. You have a new baby and its mommy and baby bonding time. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your husband, in laws or friends. Trust me, my husband knew more about my pump and my boobs then he would have ever wanted to know."

"Try new things with baby to calm them, going outside (weather permitting) will not hurt them, it's good to get fresh air."

"Listen to what others say, but pick and choose the advice you want to use."



"Try not to stress too much over breastfeeding, it's not good for your supply and the baby can feel it. Relax and go slow, and you will eventually get it. I will be the first to say... Its not easy.  That said it's also not for everyone. Don't feel guilty about going to formula of you just can't do it. Whats important is that baby is getting enough to eat."

"If you can, relax and assume that babies know what to do and take your baby's lead on everything.  As long as s/he's eating, peeing/pooping, and growing, s/he's fine.  Try not to compare to the "average" baby or babies you know."

"Make sure you always have a drink for yourself, a source of entertainment, and a burp cloth within arm's reach and that your position is comfy before starting to breastfeed."

"Point the penis down before you secure the diaper.  And always keep in mind that an undiapered boy is a loaded weapon.  Oh, and move from NB to size 1 diapers when your baby starts peeing more volume even if they still fit in NB- I swear my son started sleeping longer after that change just from the added absorbency."



"Try to put the baby down for a nap when s/he is drowsy or showing signs of fatigue not just when s/he is completely out.  Doesn't always work, but saves a ton of time for you when it does."

"Get out of the house early and often for your own mental health.  It's an undertaking the first few times but gets easier and easier.  Take a ton of pictures and enjoy every stage because the time goes SO fast!"

"Don't give a second thought to what you or your baby "should" be doing.  Do whatever works for you and screw what everyone else is saying.  Don't be afraid to stand up for what you are doing.  It's your baby, not your mom's, not your sister's, not your aunt's, not your grandma's, not your best friend's.  So do what you want, not what they want."

"The first 6 weeks (sometimes more) are pure survival.  Allow yourself to let go of the outside responsibilities like cleaning the house and keeping on top of the laundry, and don't feel guilty about it.  For the first month and a half or so, the only time I ever did laundry was when my nursing bras and tanks needed to be washed.  Basically my laundry during that time consisted of the same nursing bras/tanks, yoga pants, and hoodies.  My husband was on his own.  And we ordered in food a majority of the time.  There was no cooking.  I felt horribly guilty about it at the time, but now I wish I would have given myself permission to just let it all go!  I certainly won't be worried about that crap this time around."

"If you have someone over that you trust don't be afraid to let them love on the baby for a bit while you go shower, take a nap, use the bathroom, or just take sometime to yourself.  Some of my favorite visitors were those that I didn't feel like I needed to entertain.  When my best friend came over it was so nice handing her the baby and saying "I'm going to jump in the shower, be back in 20 mins."


"Even though it seems so hard at first, I promise it does get better. :)"







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