So…I know how unwanted parenting advice can be. I’ve had people get in my face and tell me how to do something and it’s pretty much the most annoying thing I’ve ever experienced. So I decided to give my parenting advice in the form of a blog post that you can totally ignore if you want to. All babies are different and this is pretty much just my experience with my daughter. But I figure if I can help out just one desperate mom looking for answers…it’s worth it. So here goes nothing.
1. This isn’t necessarily parenting advice, but still important. Labor hurts…most of the time. Some people say it didn’t hurt at all. I call those people liars, but who knows. They could just be super pregnant ladies and baby havers like Gisele Bundchen. I’m just gonna tell you to expect it to hurt. And…it doesn’t feel like really bad period cramps. It starts like that…but DOES NOT progress that way. With each contraction it hurts more and more and goes from feeling like intense cramps to someone twisting a knife in your gut. Okay,maybe that’s an exaggeration…or maybe not.
2. You will feel like Super Woman the first couple of weeks…this doesn’t last and there will come a day when that sleep deprivation catches up with you and it’s no longer easy to get up and feed her in the middle of the night. SLEEP on that day. Get someone to come take the baby off your hands whether that be your husband, your mom, or a friend. Just have them come over and hold them while you nap. You will feel human again.
3. I didn’t have a super fussy newborn and most people don’t Newborns are mostly quiet and they sleep a lot. Don’t get used to it. I kept saying how easy it was in the beginning but it changes around 4-5 weeks. They don’t necessarily get fussier…just needier. They’re more aware. Which means they’re more aware that you aren’t paying attention. More aware that they are hungry. More aware that the poop in their diaper is making their butt uncomfortable. They know when YOU aren’t holding them…or when you ARE holding them (Everleigh didn’t want anything to do with me around this time and only wanted Grandma to put her to sleep…thanks mom!).
4. Follow your instincts. At night Everleigh was waking up constantly and wasn’t always hungry. I kept thinking she would be more comfortable on her belly to sleep, but knew that people say it’s a no no. One night I decided to try it because I was desperate for a solid block of sleep. It worked. And she didn’t die. I say if it’s not completely outrageous and dangerous and you feel like it’s the right thing…go for it.
5. If you are nursing…buy some nursing tanks and bras. Yes, they are outrageously priced but totally worth it. So much better than trying to finagle a regular bra over your boob while attempting to keep yourself semi covered with a blanket AND hold a baby.
6. Have fun with the clothes. Everybody told me that I didn’t need a bunch of cute newborn clothes cause she would just stay in a sleeper or a onesie all the time and that I wouldn’t feel like getting her dressed. Well she wasn’t and I did. I had SO MUCH fun getting her dressed every morning and it really made our “same stuff, different day” routine a little sunnier.
7. Take them out if you feel like it, stay in if you don’t. There are people who say you should stay in with your baby first at least the first months, especially if you have a winter baby, cause they can get sick. Well, I say babies are resilient and probably have a better immune system than you or I do. Don’t be afraid that they are going to catch the Black Plague. Just don’t let people hock a lung up in their face and you’ll be okay.
8. If you can…wait until your husband or mom or whoever you have in your life comes home, to shower. I realize you can’t always do this and some people are single moms but if you can…do it. Lock the door and take that shower all. by. yourself. It will feel like a freakin day at the spa.
9. Get a convertible car seat. I am going to do a review of our convertible car seat in my baby gear post, but that can wait. We bought a stroller system with the infant car seat. Babies outgrow those things pretty fast believe it or not. Ev started getting cramped and uncomfortable in it at about 2 months. Plus, at that point babies really want to sit up and see what’s going on around them. A convertible car seat, especially the Maxi Cosi with the Tiny Fit System, grows with them and saves you money.
10. Don’t buy 10,000 hats. They don’t really need them after the first month or two.
11. It’s okay to get overwhelmed and it will happen. It’s also perfectly fine to set them in the crib/swing/bouncy/pack n play…heck, even the floor to go to the bathroom, shed a few tears, and collect yourself.
12. Que up a few good TV shows and don’t listen to people who tell you having the TV on all day around a baby is bad. When they’re this small they barely know they have hands let alone the capability to rot their brains with reruns of Gray’s.
13. Go to a movie. It’s okay. Pick a day when there won’t be lots of people in the theater and go see something you’ve been wanting to watch. They will most likely sleep through the whole thing and in the event that they don’t…just go outside for a few minutes to calm them down. Seeing some of the movie is better than none, right?
14. Don’t feel bad for letting other people hold your baby. I did…but they really DO want to. They wouldn’t have asked if they didn’t.
15. Get a play gym. Once they get to be about 2 months they will love it and you might finally get to do some laundry…or eat.
16. Prepare to spend some money. Baby products are hit or miss. What works for one kid might not work for another. We went through 3 swings before we found the right one. And there are plenty of baby items that we label as “crap” sitting around our house cause she didn’t like it. But…that’s what craigslist is for, right?
17. Hold them, hug them, stare at them while they sleep, sleep with them! They will only be this small for so long. Let the chores go by the wayside for a little while and just enjoy your baby. I promise you won’t regret it.
18. Eat whatever you want for 6 weeks. If you’re breastfeeding you will be hungry all the time! If you aren’t…you probably still will be. Give yourself some time to recover before going on a diet.
19. Get a baby monitor with video capability.
20. This one saved my sanity. My child HATED the car. I don’t mean that she would fuss until she fell asleep. No…there was no falling asleep. She would just cry…and cry…and cry. We went on a 7 hour trip to FL and she cried the whole way there and it was awful. For the way back we got a car DVD player and hooked it to the back seat headrest so she could see it and to this day…it is the only thing that makes her happy in the car. AND WE LOVE IT!
So there you go. Take it or leave it. Honestly…you will leave most of it. But that’s okay. Cause my biggest piece of advice is to do things your way. Never feel bad for your parenting decisions. Everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE. Once we left a restaurant with Ev still in her car seat and FORGOT TO BUCKLE HER UP. I felt like a horrible parent…but she was fine. And that’s the most important thing. As long as your baby is okay…you did okay.
Good luck, new mama! You’re in for an adventure!