Okay so maybe I’m not an old mommy, but I am coming out of the newborn fog for the third time now and feel like I’ve learned a thing or two! I told someone just the other day that I wish my son (my first) could have the mommy I am now, because there are so many things I have learned since he was born! Here is some of the advice I wish I could give myself five years ago.
- Enjoy it and don’t take it for granted. Take photos. Some moms love it and others just don’t. Don’t burst other women’s bubbles if they do or don’t judge those who don’t!
- Make a list of what you “need” to do before baby arrives, edit it two or three times down to the real essentials, and then actually do it, because it won’t happen once baby is born.
- As far as baby gear, you don’t need a million things and not everything has to be new (just the car seat).
- Do fun things with your spouse and treasure them. Dates, trips, hobbies, whatever. These moments may be few and far between for awhile and you’ll need the memories for times when things are harder and you love, but don’t like them.
- See a chiropractor.
Labor & Recovery
- Avoid a c-section. It’s easier for a minute but harder long term.
- Educate yourself so you can advocate for yourself.
- Be nice to the nurses. Not only are they amazing people who do amazing things, they will be the people who really take care of you, not the doctor who you will see for 5% of the total birth and hospital stay. We brought cookies this last time, and they went over very well! 😉
- Don’t be a hero, take the pain meds.
- Buy depends or wear boxer briefs instead of regular undies.
- Breastfeeding is hard. Find an IBCLC and get help asap. Bottles may seem easier the first few weeks, but a pain to make/wash/pack for the next year. Watch this video about hands on pumping.
- Accept help. Find a friend to arrange meals for you. Don’t worry about how you look, smell, or how your house looks, let people come over. And let them hold your baby, fold your towels, or play with your kids. If they volunteer for anything at all just say, “yes”.
- Self care is crucial. Find what makes you tick and don’t lose it. Do you need a shower and actual clothes every day? Do you need to get out of the house? Have a real conversation? Get outside? There is a way to make it happen, so figure it out and do it. Take your vitamins, eat enough (and good stuff if you can), and stay hydrated. Sleep every moment you can and forget about the chores.
- Communicate with your spouse your needs. You are on the same team.
- Random advice – clothes and diapers aren’t all sized the same- Gerber runs short, Carters run skinny, Huggies and Honest Co. are short, Pampers/Target run skinny. (In our experience!) Oh and at 3 am zippers are your friend. Buttons are not.
After the survival stage
- Every stage is different and some are not as great as others – know that everything is temporary and if you’re in a hard stage, a different one is coming.
- Messes will be constant so learn to let it go and enjoy the activity that made the mess (& do what you can to teach responsibility but remember, they’re little).
- Kids who are expected to be independent will be – give them space to do that while having the expectation you are always available to help them, and they will thrive. But keep in mind to not be too frustrated when they use their independence and confidence to do things you wish they wouldn’t (like pour their own bowl of cereal).
- Everyone’s kid is the best but no one’s kid is better – they learn different things at different times and all have their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t fall into the comparison trap.
- Motherhood is the best job and the hardest job. You will never feel so many conflicting things at once until you bring a baby into the world. You will have great days to etch in your memory, and horrible days you will luckily forget about. After I miscarried a few years ago, the OB told me that he believed that people are given the child they are meant to have, there are no mistakes and there is nothing random about it, and that thought has stuck with me. If you believe in any sort of intelligent design, remember that you and your child were made for each other! <3