Monday, November 4, 2013

New mom advice

I had this post buried deep down in drafts, in rough draft form. I planned on completing it during my 31 Days of Writing, but forgot.

First of all, I am a new mom myself, so I have nowhere near all the answers… or even a tenth of the answers.

Mothering is different for everyone, as every mom is her own unique individual, and has her own unique child(ren).

What I have written below is in no way deep or profound. Just some helpful tips that I have learned myself, and with the help of others, that have helped me as I walk through this new journey of motherhood.

Moms on call: sign up for their newsletters, watch their seminars, download their app, read their books, buy their blankets, follow their recommendations for products. Basically, make them your new virtual BFF's. Even better, hire them as your own personal consultant if you would like. Also, get your own twitter account, if you don't have one already, and follow them. Read their twitter feed for additional helpful tips they share with other moms. I can't sing their praises highly enough! They will encourage you and enable you to feel like you are more then competent to be your child's mother. And perhaps most importantly, they will give you the tools to help train your child to have healthy sleep habits. Possibly the best gift you can give a new mom.

The Woombie: buy it, use it, preach about it! I am a huge proponent of swaddling babies for the first few weeks of life, especially for sleeping. Unfortunately, not everyone (especially daddies and grandparents) is able to get a good tight swaddle that stays in place during naps and night time sleeps. This is where the woombie will be your saving grace. Yes, it looks like a straight jacket, and the grandmothers might criticize you at first, but trust me, your baby will love it! And those around you will become believers too.

White Noise Machine: I think everyone should sleep with noise makers, but if you and your husband don't think you can handle it, your baby definitely needs it! Especially if they have older siblings, dogs in the neighborhood or house, or live in a house with a door bell. I never have to worry about the Fed Ex guy, Ellie's screams, etc… waking up Quinn. Our noise machine is loud enough to drown out any household noise. I vacuum, blend, even come and go from the room, and the noise maker covers it all. We use the white noise machine recommended by Mom's On Call, or box fans.

You sweat! Yes, in the weeks-months of your post-partum period you will sweat unlike anything you have ever experienced. This will mainly happen at night, so put deodorant on before bed. Even consider using clinic strength stuff like Certain Dry. Also, keep at one least a clean shirt by your bed... You will want to change by that 3 am feeding. Unfortunately, the hot flashes can strike during the day too, while out in public, so dress lightly and in layers. Both my girls have been born in either the fall or winter, so my post-partum months are during the cold season (thank God!). Layers are my friends! Sleeveless or short sleeved shirts with cardigans are the way to go!

Shower everyday. Yes, I know some days you barely have time to pee or eat, but trust me - a shower makes you feel like a new woman. And even if you hair is still dripping wet all over your mens white t-shirt and yoga pants when you husband gets home, you will feel better about yourself that at least you are clean. There have even been days where I showered right before crawling into bed, but at least it happened. It helped me feel like I did something for myself that day. And besides, clean and tired always feels better than dirty and tired.

Mascara and earrings: they take 30 secs to put on and make you feel like a new woman... Even in pjs. Trust me on this one. Give it a try, and tell me I am wrong.

Buy some new pjs and yoga pants: You will feel better because they're new. You may not be dressed in high fashion, but new clothes, even pj's, are fun and always make you feel better and provide a slight change of scenery. 

Keep a camera handy at all times and teach your husband how to use it. Most men, I have decided, do not naturally know how to use a camera, or know how to look through a view finder and think gee, the way my wife is holding her head is giving her an uncharacteristic double chin, bet she wouldn't like that… I will have slightly change the position of her head. 

Ask people to take pictures of you with your baby. Especially your female friends and visitors. This way you can avoid double chin shots, or mid blink expression shots, explained above. Make sure you are not always a mom behind the camera. You and your kids will want pictures of you with them.

Don't step on the scale until3-4 months postpartum: It's the least of your concerns. I knew this, and ignored this at my 6 wks check up after Quinn. Yes, you have to step on the scale at this appointment, but you don't have to look a the numbers reading across the scale's screen. Your body is rapidly adjusting and changing in those first few months, and what no one really tells you,  your weight can actually fluctuate during this time. It takes 9+ months to grow a baby, and gain your pregnancy weight. The majority of women are not made able to to loose the weight faster then they gained it. It usually takes longer. Focus on just being healthy. Keep sugary yumminess OUT of your house. Keep healthy, quick snacks and foods readily on hand. And don't look at any pictures of Prin.cess Kate postpartum… unless you want to visually kill yourself.:)

Everyone says sleep when the baby sleeps. I couldn't nap after either of my babies were born - my mind was too busy. Adrenaline too high. But try to at least rest. Enjoy those newborn sleepy snuggles on the couch.

Allow yourself 5-10 minutes a day to do something you love just for you - exercise, read, blog, craft. No, its not a lot of time, but it can be your time to reconnect with you. This time for me is often in bed, for about 5-10 minutes after by husband and babies fell asleep. I usually read books, devotionals, or blogs on my smart phone or kindle.

Create a chore list with one or two things a day. You can not conquer an entire house in one day once you baby arrives. But you can do one or two little tasks a day, in those early months.

The weekends are not for catching up and sleeping in. I am still learning this, nearly two years into this mommy-business. For years, Saturday mornings are for sleeping in, watching TV, lounging, doing whatever you want. Or even getting up super early to do something new and exciting. Not once you have a baby, Saturday is no different then Monday… for a season. It won't always been this way, but it will be this way for a while. Your babies don't care what day it is, they still want to eat and wake up at the same time every day. They need you just as much Sunday afternoon as they do Thursday morning. You will be getting out of bed at the same time Saturday morning as you did the day before. Even if you made the silly mistake to stay up late Friday night, like you did in your pre-child days. For the record, I usually do this every Friday night. It requires an adjustment of your expectations. You will need to be reminded of this and it takes lots of practice, but it will help you enjoy those "Monday-like weekends" a lot more fully. One thing that has helped me create a slight difference in weekends, from weekdays, is to try to get all the chores done during the week, so that you don't have a ton of house work for the weekend. Instead of cleaning, folding laundry, dusting, etc… You are spending time together as a family. For the record, I failed epically at this plan this past week, and ended up doing lot of house work this weekend. It was just one of those weeks.

Speak openly-honestly with your husband... Mom... Girlfriend ... Stranger in the park. They will let you know you are not crazy in this new mothering role... Ok your hubs may think you are a tad crazy, but he doesn't have a uterus, so his understanding is rather stunted in this arena. ;) But others will understand, and validate your feelings of crazy. Early motherhood is crazy. And hard. And messy-dirty. But I also think its magical. Sometimes you just need help finding the magic from others who have been there before, even with, you. 

Make other moms... Be patient it can take awhile, but will be worth it. It takes work adjusting to friends with kids. Varying ages of kids, along with their personalities, can semi-complicate forging mom-relationships, but keep trying. You won't regret it. No matter how supportive your mom, husband, or even mother in-law is, being around other females who are going through the same phase of life as you will be incredibly empowering and encouraging.

Watch your baby's eyelashes grow. One of my friend's mom said this to me shortly after Ellie's birth. I just short of shrugged it off and though uh, okay. But before long, I got it. Eyelashes don't sprout up overnight. They grow at unnoticeable speeds. You notice their growth only when you take the time to soak up the quiet moments, be present in the exhausting night time feedings, or even choosing to find joy and thankfulness during the never ending days with a cranky infant.

Watch the eyelashes grown. If you don't, those moments will be gone and you will never get them back.

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Here is a link the post of my favorite baby must haves

These thoughts and opinions are solely mine alone and I have received no compensation in writing this post.

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