Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advice for the New Mommy

About a month from now, my sister Emily will give birth to a little boy. She will be the first of my siblings to have a baby and I was thinking about what advice I would give her. I'm not an expert. I have only one child with one on the way. Still, I know a few things:

  • Start wearing a night bra now. I would recommend this for anyone pregnant, starting at about 5 months. Your "girls" get big. Night bras really can save them from unnecessary gravitational damage. You will definitely want one if you are nursing, but I recommend wearing one from now on, even after nursing. They are totally comfortable and so worth the return. You can find them at Motherhood for under $15.

  • Invest in a really comfy, but cute black "sweat" outfit. Black yoga pants with a matching hoodie would work great too. Most new moms choose one comfy thing that they wear basically as a uniform for a month or so after their new little bundle arrives. Choosing something black hides that unfortunate weird shape your body will take on. Also, people will be showing up with food, gifts and just wanting to see the baby. For some reason, when you are in all black, you look like you are trying. So many people mentioned to me how they were impressed I was already getting ready for the day, when in reality I was just wearing my black sweat outfit that I had been in for days, had thrown my unwashed hair into a high ponytail and (maybe) brushed my teeth. Remember, you will be as big as you were at about 5-6 months, so that is a good time to buy your outfit.

  • Read Happiest Baby on the Block. It is a non-controversial, easy read about calming a screaming newborn. Reading this before you have a screaming newborn is much easier than waiting until you really need it. Have your husband read it too.

  • If you are wondering what you actually need for your baby, and what to register for, read Baby Bargains. Seriously, this book saved me so much stress and money. It basically rates every possible baby purchase and tells you what you actually need - and what you can re-gift at a different baby shower. (You don't need a wipe warmer. Just hold the wipe in your hands for a few seconds and it will be nice and toasty.)

  • Ignore most advice. Of all the advice I give, this is the most important. :) Most advice really won't apply. Before relating my next experience, let me say that I love my mom dearly. She is a wonderful mother and did a fabulous job raising 5 children. However, these 5 children were the easiest babies imaginable. She remembers mostly holding them close as they slept. Mostly I will remember screaming into a pillow as mine screamed in the next room. - One day on the phone with her I was trying to explain the nightmare I was living. She replied, "I remember when you had colic. It was horrible." I was amazed. I hadn't known I had had colic. She continued, "Yes, I remember it happened one day. I couldn't get you to stop crying all afternoon. I was a mess." I just sat in silence as the epiphany hit me. My mother's worst memory with a baby was ONE afternoon of crying. That is what she thought colic was? I had been dealing with constant screaming and no sleep everyday for over a year. I realized that while my mom knew a lot about being a mother, she could give little advice that would help me at this time in my life. (I will be stalking her right around the time I have teenagers though.)


Every baby is so different. I remember watching Lydia's best friend Kate for the first time and just staring at her. I was doing everything I could to keep Lydia from scratching my eyes out, and Kate just sat on the floor. For hours. She just played with a few toys and looked around the room. She needed no comfort, no stimulus. She was just...easy. She just came that way. Mine...came a different way. People gave me well meant advice, but usually it just did not apply to my situation. It applied to the situation the advice bearer was used to.

I will say something that 2 years ago I never would have believed could have come out of my mouth. I am grateful for that difficult first 18 months of Lydia's life. I am such a better mother because of it. I seriously have developed some super-human calmness when it comes to her. I understand her and the huge spirit within her. Had I not had that difficult experience with her as a baby, I probably would not have become the mother Lydia needed. - As for this next baby, I have "requested" an easy one. I pray for you Emily, that you will get an easy one too. If not - call me me anytime. I probably won't have any good advice, but you can vent all you want.

Oh - and one last thing. If they offer the epidural, take it.

12 comments:

April said...

when all else fails...get highlights and wear black.

Natalie said...

amen!

ZogLady said...

Agreed on the epidural!!! All the way! *L*

As well.... Advice from me, sleep when you can. I knwo people suggest this all the time... But then us super mom's think 'Bah! I don't need to nap'... Yes, you do. A week or two later it'll catch p with you! Sleep!

Tori said...

I'm less than a month away from having my first and I love your advice!! I'm going to have to check the book out too and get me my black outfit! oh and the epidural is my totaly must!! :) Thanks!

kristi lee said...

For sure on the drugs...you get to enjoy the whole birthing process. BTW...you're friend's wedding dress is gorgeous.

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I think babies come with much stronger personalities because they have to, you know, to be strong in this world. My best advice is "to do whatever works." Don't worry about the books, and advice from others - do what you've got to do.
Oh, and get a pedicure before you have the baby. That way, if all else is falling apart, at least your toes look pretty!

Natalie Jane said...

Good tip Laurel! I am planning on getting highlights and a blowout right before I have the baby. I need to add pedicure to the list.

Paige said...

natalie - I love this post, not so much for what you say - though it is good advice - but for how you say it...motherhood can bring with it so much humility and so much wisdom and I think that you have summed that up really nicely here!

Linda F. said...

A wonderful post! I'm "expecting" my first grandchild in August. And I raised one...count 'em...ONE child! She was of course perfect, as her child will be! (minor eye roll here). Anyway, I've forwarded this to her. (Of course, I'm telling her no epidural. I gave birth during the years when they were considered poison to the baby. So I have a drop of demerol and the rest was au naturale. And it was wonderful! But to each her own!)

The Linabooty's said...

After this last baby was born I cried to my mom and said "I just don't like being a mom sometimes". Her advice was "fake it". Fake the hard times and enjoy the rest.
p.s. I just paid $1,400.00 for my epidural and it was money well spent:)

Emily Taylor said...

Thank you for the advice. Of course I already new the secret of black, but I should probably buy a new semi-matching one.

I don't think I've ever read an advice book, and don't really intend to. But I do listen to what people say and gather my options. Also, I just tend to look everything up online.

But honestly, you know I'll just call you when I really need the advice.

Saucy said...

I will always remember that my own mother told me:

"People will give you lots of advice. Smile, listen politely and then do just what you want to do and don't apologize for doing it your way."

Genius. Loved your advice list, and my kiddies are 18 and 14.

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