5 Things Every New Mom Should Hear
Hey there, New Mommas. How are you feeling? Swollen? Tired? Overwhelmed by all the internet has to offer? Well, I thought I would offer you some help in the winding, twisting, ever-changing journey of motherhood. My kids are way out of baby phase, but I feel like I have this wealth of knowledge about how to take care of babies, and I have nothing to do with it. It’s all still locked in my brain, and I know I’ll eventually forget it.
Here are 5 things I have learned through trial by fire, and I hope it helps!
1. "Don't Listen to Unsolicited Advice."
I know, right? If you don't trust me, then don't read the rest of this post. But oh my gosh, you will hear advice from everyone. Everywhere. They can't help it. "Yes, the Butcher at Kroger, I am pregnant and will be delivering at Memorial Hermann." "Thank you, Random Lady in the Dog Food Section, I will consider your tips about breast engorgement." Seriously, everywhere. Don't pay attention to all you hear about raising babies and taking care of newborns. If you are a first-time mom, you need to find a select few people whom you admire and ask them for advice. Find a doctor you trust and who supports your decisions as a mom. Everyone else? Nod and smile, but don't listen.
2. "A Baby Doesn't Need a Whole Lot of Stuff."
Yet, the culture around you would like to convince you otherwise. There are entire department stores that go to the bank based on new parents having no idea what a baby needs. A newborn really only NEEDS a place to sleep, a few sets of clothes, diapers, food to eat (via bottle or momma), and a car seat (you can't leave the hospital without one). Anything after that is gravy. A baby doesn't need her own room fully decorated with all new furniture the moment she arrives home. A baby doesn't need a new house in the suburbs. A baby doesn't need every gadget known to man. Don't let people convince you otherwise, and don't let your perfect idea of a home and nursery stress you out and put you in debt.
3. "Nurse if you Can."
If you can do it, nursing is awesome. If you can't, don't worry about it and don't feel guilty. Nursing is cheap, portable, easy to clean up and prepare (no bottle washing). Nursing works as the all-in-one package: food, pacifier, and tranquilizer. Babies love to be close to their mommas. She wants to nurse often? Let her. Enlist help from lactation consultants and other close (very close) friends who nursed their babies.
4. "Babies Come from a Place where there is no time."
Speaking of lactation consultants, I learned this phrase from a lactation consultant with my first baby. She was quirky and a little up-in-my-face, but she taught me how to relax my body to nurse, and she taught me that I can't have unrealistic expectations from a newborn. Allow yourself to get lost in the world of your baby without regards to time. Work on establishing a routine. Don't get frustrated when baby just nursed for 30 minutes and an hour later wants to do it again. Yes, you get tired and yes you get cranky. It will pass. You hear me? It will. Enlist family members and friends for help with food, laundry, cleaning, and upkeep of the house. You just focus on your sweet baby.
5. "You Can't Spoil a Newborn."
I read this in Dr. Kaplan's Happiest Baby on the Block (a great little read by the way with some wonderful techniques - even if the title is ridiculous). You want to hold him all day long? Do it. You want to kiss that baby and snuggle with him? By all means. You can hold and kiss and love all you want. You can give him anything he asks for at this stage. You know why? That baby will only ask for food, a new diaper, or some snuggles. That's all any baby ever wants. It's the best.
So there you go. Newborns 101. Let me know if there are things to add.