I have quite a few friends who have newborns or are getting ready to pop out their first kiddo so I thought I would share some tips I have learned along the way. I have blogged a lot about parenting older kids so this is geared more toward the youngins.
By the way, I was going through some old pictures and I can't believe my oldest is now 7. All of this seems like just yesterday!
That being said, my first tip is - it goes by WAY too fast so enjoy every single second. Yes, even the times when they are crying or keeping you up at night.
Here are some others for you and I truly hope they help:
- Don't be afraid to ask for help - from anyone who offers.
- Don't expect your husband to have the same maternal instincts or bond with the baby that you have. They will form their own bond with your child and it does not have to come from feeding, changing diapers or rocking them to sleep.
- It's okay to take naps. I encourage napping when your baby naps.
- Don't make weight loss your priority. Focus on your baby because you will never get those first months back.
- Take as much time off from work as you can afford.
- Do tons of research when looking for childcare and ask for recommendations. Consider all options including nannies, in home daycares and public daycares. I can personally say I have had a MUCH better experience this time around using an in home daycare as opposed to public daycare.
- As long as they are not hungry, wet or poopy it's okay to let them cry it out, I promise. Teaching your baby to self soothe at a young age will be a good thing for them in the future.
- Unless you never want to have sex again or never want to share a bed with just your husband again (not to mention safety issues) don't ever let your baby sleep in bed with you. If you feel like they have to be closer they make the bedside cribs that attach onto your bed. I personally liked using a bassinet until they were about 2 months old and then I put them in their own room.
- "Purple crying" is very common around 4 months of age. Both of my boys were very happy babies but did go through this. It's basically where they cry uncontrollably and you have checked everything (not hungry, not wet, not tired, etc.) and can't seem to calm them down. To avoid making the situation worse (you getting frustrated or overwhelmed) my advice is to put them in their crib or another safe place (swing, bouncer) and step outside for a few minutes to take a break. I think this is healthy for both of you when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Don't feel pressured to have your baby achieve milestones right "on time" and don't feel defeated if they are a little behind. All babies develop at different rates. I would say to trust your pediatrician on this. I promise you they will develop eventually - it just takes longer for some of them. Enjoy them at every stage!
- Don't feel pressured to breastfeed. You will likely have family memebers pressuring you and definitely nurses at the hospital pressuring you. Breastfeeding is not for everyone - TRUST ME! :) If you aren't comfortable or are stressed out (not producing, etc.) your baby will not benefit. Formulas have come a long way and are great for babies too!
- Trust your instincts and be confident in your abilities as a mom. You already have a bond with that baby and in their eyes you can do no wrong.
- Take every single opportunity to hug, snuggle, kiss and love on your baby. They may not reciprocate right away but you are forming an unbreakable bond by doing this. Tell your baby every day how much you love them. Sing to, and most importantly, pray with and over your baby.
Some of my favorite quotes on parenting/mommyhood:
"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." ~Peggy O'Mara
"I don't want my children to be what I want them to be. I want them to be everything God created them to be." ~Jon Gordon
"Every good and perfect gift is from above." ~James 1:17