Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What You've Learned

One of my friends is due with her first little one in three weeks. She is in that place where the excitement, the fear, the unknown, start to collide.

She asked me for some advice, which was flattering, since I feel like a rookie in every sense of the word. I didn't really know what to say offhand, so I told her that I would think on it and get back to her.

So, I am asking for your help, Dearest Readers. Please leave your absolute BEST parenting advice in the comment section for me to compile for my good friend. I will also put all of the answers in a post in a few days.

Thank you!

26 comments:

Kim said...

My best advice is to not expect that breastfeeding will be an easy, beautiful experience. It's just not reality for most women. Go into it with an open mind, and if it doesn't work out or you're exhausted out of your mind, it's really okay to stop or supplement. No matter what anyone says.

Anonymous said...

When the baby wakes up at night to be fed or changed. Dont make eye contact. They will get back to sleep faster if they know that mommy is taking care of business

uncomplicateme said...

My best advice: to have no expectations. To take it as it comes. Don't expect things to be easy but don't expect them to be difficult. Life with a newborn will be how it will be, and fretting over it won't help.

And CHERISH those first two weeks. They go by SO fast. And all of a sudden you will have a gigantic 10 week old and you don't know what happened.

Stacy Woodruff said...

Get a small, relatively inexpensive (~$100) digital camera and carry it around with you in your pocket or in the diaper bag. Then use it often. The big expensive cameras are great, but if you're so worried about breaking it that you won't cart it around with you, then it is useless. There will be so many times when you will think back and say "If only I had pictures of that." And when the kid gets covered in goo or mud or other unknown substances, don't be in so much of a hurry to clean him up that you forget to take a picture first, because you WILL wish you had gotten a picture of their cute face smeared with blue frosting, even if it was also smeared on your formerly white sofa, too.

Nicky said...

Those first few weeks are amazing and wonderful, but mainly they're wonderful in retrospect. When you're in the middle of it, you mainly feel exhausted and confused and in over your head. Every new mother has a moment of "Oh my goodness, what have I done!" It doesn't mean anything, it goes away, and things get easier. If you know that everyone feels in over their heads at first, it makes it easier to relax and laugh about it and go with the flow.

Also, that no eye contact thing. Totally true.

Anonymous said...

My advice for first time parents is that the first 6-8 weeks sucks. You will be thinking "oh god...what have I done". You will be sleep-deprived, confused, cranky and so worried about doing everything right.

Just get through the first 6-8 weeks. After that it is so much more rewarding and exciting, and you start to get more confident and more sleep!

Tracy said...

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever try to compare yourself to another mother, and moreso, do not doubt that you are the most perfect mother for your child. You are. Without a doubt.

Fertilized said...

Leave the parenting books alone for the first 6 months. Every child IS really different and yours is not broken if it does not comply to any "said miracle parenting" book

christine said...

Try not to worry so much. Is the baby sleeping to much? Not enough? Not eating enough? I rorried and cried my first 3 months

Anonymous said...

Oh every baby is so different, it's hard to give "the right" advice! But after 2 boys and another on the way, I'll try...

On breastfeeding (especially middle of the night, eyes-half shut-feedings & diaper changes) = feed on one breast, change diaper, feed on other breast, put baby back to sleep/bed. Full belly, clean diaper. Hopefully. Not always foolproof.

If you soak anything long enough in a bucket of water & laundry detergent, the stains will eventually come out :) Oxi-Clean is a great invention.

Go with the flow.

Expect to be late - everywhere you go.

Nap when the baby does, if you can. If you can't sleep, then rest or veg out or eat or shower & shave your legs. All become few and far between those first several weeks.

Yes, it gets easier.

No, you did NOT make a huge mistake. Life altering change? YES! But life returns to a "new normal" - and OH SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED normal! I promise.

It's okay to let the baby sleep in a carseat, a bouncer, a swing, your bed, a boppy, a bassinet, a crib. Sleep is the key, where that occurs is NOT.

Ultimately, do what's best for you and your family!

ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY every single momemnt that you possibly can. It goes by WAY too fast!

Joy said...

Do not take everything literally and don't put your newborn on a schedule. Let them build their own schedule and go with the flow. EACH BABY IS DIFFERENT so don't compare.

Just because someone else's baby is sleeping through the night or eating solids or whatever, doesn't mean it is right for yours!

Katie said...

Gosh, such great advice. . . Keep it coming!

Leanne said...

My biggest piece of advice...keep baby in YOUR room for at least the first three months. It will save you stumbling through the house late at night to soothe baby! Our twins are at the foot of our bed in their shared crib. I would be a zombie falling over things trying to get to their room at night! Not worth the hassle and it settles me personally to be able to hear them breathing at night.

Anonymous said...

all great advice! especially the not comparing yourself to other moms and their stories! i hated it when some mommy friends said stuff like, "my child was sttn at 4 months" or "dont co-sleep, its dangerous!" or "i cant believe you're STILL breastfeeding!" or the worst of all "i lost all my pregnancy weight by 6 weeks!"

so two pieces of advice - dont compare and DONT LISTEN TO ASSVICE! (you will get plenty!)

Mel said...

Good babies with good parents cry. I felt like such a failure any time she cried that first month until it finally struck me that babies just cry. A lot. And they sometimes have to cry to fall asleep! And it is ok to set them down when they are crying and walk away if you need a break and you know for sure they are fed, clean, warm and not sick or in pain.

Breastfeeding is painful at first, even though most lactation consultants say that it shouldn't hurt if the latch is correct. Your body has to get used to it!

I also think that you cannot spoil a baby by holding them too much. I hate it when people say that!

Jen said...

Remember that it gets so much better and so much easier, but you'll miss the little tininess of the beginning.

And a practical tip- rest while you are feeding the baby. Be comfortable and make a conscious effort to relax during that time. Oh, and people seem to think that breastfeeding has to be this amazing bonding time. I found that if I did too much bonding, she stopped eating to stare at me. It works much better if I watch TV and ignore her so that she can keep her mind of business. :)

Amy B said...

My advice would be to listen to advice from friends, family and the pediatrician, BUT in the end do what feels right to you. You have to do what works for you and your baby. From the moment her baby is born her instinct will kick in and she will do great!

Alexicographer said...

I came over from LFCA.

As others have said, it's OK to wonder "what have I done???" in deciding to have a kid. We all have those moments.

I've realized ... don't make problems out of things that aren't. If it's not a problem for you and your child (even if people tell you it should be or will become one), it's not a problem (example: my son slept in our room until he was 15 months, and dire predictions were issued about what would happen when we moved him into his own room. What did happen -- nothing, except he slept [even] a little more soundly than before. Now, this was lucky, but it also goes to show ... no sense anticipating problems that may not even arise. Don't worry, you'll be plenty busy dealing with the stuff that does arise, you won't be bored.).

I'd recommend Harvey Karp's "Happiest Baby" book. Not only did I get some good tips from it, but understanding that in many ways, developmentally my son still wanted/needed to be inside me for his first 3 months of life outside the womb (except that human babies cannot gestate that long and be born safely, so they don't) made dealing with his helpless, needy self a lot easier for me.

I'd also recommend buying a good sling and/or carrier if you can find one, but it's worth going to a place where you can try them on after the baby is born, if possible, because they all fit so differently. OTOH I ended up liking a Mei Tai carrier bought new on ebay for $25 including shipping best, so you could also try ordering a few cheap alternatives and see what works for you...

As your baby turns into a toddler, think about how any routines you might establish will work in your life. I've kept our bedtime routine to a minimum and don't usually include bathtime then, because I just don't have the time/patience in the evening.

JJ said...

Since Im realatively new at this gig, Ill just say that: if you cant breastfeed, or even if you just dont want to: ITS OK!!

Martha said...

Here from LFCA, the best advice I ever got was from my pediatrician on the day my 1st son was born. (14years ago, gone in the blink of an eye I kid you not.

He said,

"Take good care of yourself. You are the most important person in your child's life."

Mazel Tov!

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

My advice goes like this...

-You will never get those first few weeks back. Savor, enjoy, and abolutely love every single moment those first few weeks. Try your best not to be fearful or worrying about what "needs" to get done. Just love on your baby. It's the only time you can really put life on hold (meals, maternity leave, etc).

- Trust your mothering instinct. If you sense your baby needs something, trust that you are its mommy and will feel a connection no one else (not even Daddy) feels.

- Allow yourself the whole range of emotions that first 10-14 days. Your hormones are going to be whacked. Don't try to figure out why you may be crying, because the littlest thing may set you off. It may mean nothing.

- Stick with breastfeeding and give it your very best shot. Especially as the baby gets older, it will become the most unique, bonding, amazingly precious connection and experinece that only you two share. Really try.

Deb said...

All such wonderful advice. I can't emphasize enough the advice to take it easy on yourself. Babies can be difficult, it doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong. And just because one thing works for one baby, DOES NOT mean it will work for yours. Get as much advice as possible and just keep trying different things until you find something that works.

Here is my biggest advice...Let others help, especially daddy. You don't have to do it all and you really want the baby to bond with others as well.

And the last bit of funny advice, that I wish someone would have told me...babies pee a lot and especially when you are changing their diaper. Always put a clean one under him/her AS SOON as you take the dirty one off. Just expect to get peed and pooped on, it's the official initiation into parenthood.

Ms. J said...

Oi vey, this seems so huge!

What I've learned . . .

* The lack of time for persoal hygiene can not be underestimated. Ever.

* Guilt is the easiest thing to pack when going on a business trip or going to be away from your baby all day. Seriously, no matter how full your purse or suitcase is, somehow, it always manages to squeeze in and take up the most amount of room!

* Some t.v. watching will not turn your child into a zombie, nor make them autistic. As with food and drink, the same rules apply . . . moderation. After all, I am convinced Children's Programming was designed by a brilliant mom who recognized the need for mothers to have 4-minute chunks of time in which to bathe, wash dishes, or wipe down the highchair.

* Do not stress about the rules being strictly enforced when grandparents watch the kid occasionally . . . honestly, so long as they are safe and have a good time, let the rules slide.

* Routine, routine, routine. It might take you a while to figure out one that works for you and baby, but then STICK WITH IT!!! And don't be guilted into deviating from it!

Tracy said...

Katie, I told my husband about this and he told me he was surprised I didn't share this tidbit because I say it all the time.

If something seems screwy, whether it be something along the lines of eating, sleeping, or crankiness, just try to go with the flow. Usually within a week it works itself out. (Obviously this would not apply if you suspect your baby is ill!) I spent a lot of time stressed out about these things and within a week things were totally different.

Anonymous said...

Trust yourself. Be your own mother with your own mothering style. You don't have to do it the way your mom did or your best friend does or that book you read says to do it, etc. Also, if you do it your own way you'll be a happier mommy. And a happier mommy means a happier baby.

Lori said...

Talk, Talk, Talk to the baby all day long, whatever you are doing. Tell them what you are doing, changing their diaper, dressing yourself, cooking dinner, whatever it is, they love the sound of your voice whatever you are saying and that is how they learn. They may not get it or understand what you are saying, but they will.