Since becoming a mom, I’ve discovered I have a big problem. I am one of those moms. You know. The ones who love to offer advice, even though they are only a few months in and don’t really even know that much themselves yet?
Yeah. I don’t want to be that guy … er, girl.
So, in light of all the friends I have who either just had babies, are currently pregnant or just found out they are pregnant, I’m going to indulge myself with a little word vomit and hopefully save them/their Facebook walls/their Twitter feeds from my unsolicited and unwanted advice. I also realize that the same things don’t work for everyone, so I’m just sharing things that have worked for me in the 5.5 months I’ve been a mom.
If you’re reading along, know that I understand how unqualified I am to be offering advice to anyone.
The Summer Swaddle saved my life. Noah was NOT a good sleeper at first, and we were going crazy trying to figure out how to calm him down and put him down for naps and at night. And all those cute flannel receiving blankets we were given? Yeah, swaddling with those lasted approximately two days, and they are now ALL being used as burp cloths.
I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t read Happiest Baby on the Block and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. I’m not kidding. I’m not exaggerating. These two books helped so much with learning how to deal with Noah when nothing seemed to work. Neither is the Bible of baby-handling, by any means, but the guidelines got us going in the right direction. From learning to swaddle, rock and shush Noah to utilizing a dream feed to get him sleeping longer stretches (and eventually through the night), implementing strategies from these books marked a turning point for us after those first 8 really tough weeks.
I love cloth diapering more than I thought I would. Sure, it’s been an adjustment, especially having to clean poopy diapers at the end of 8 hours at day care. But I honestly think Noah has been happier in cloth, and I think the long-term benefits (saving money and hopefully potty training earlier) will definitely make it worth it.
The Ergo has been one of my best friends and was totally worth the money. Those days when Noah refused to nap and got cranky around 5 p.m. (frequently referred to as “the witching hour”)? Plop him in the Ergo carrier and walk him around for a few minutes, and he’s OUT! It’s seriously been a lifesaver in social situations where we had Noah out and about at times when he was supposed to be sleeping, and it made grocery shopping with him much easier without making me look like I was trying to steal a bunch of stuff by cramming it anywhere and everywhere in his stroller. It’s also now allowing us to take walks in places like the arboretum (pictured) where there aren’t necessarily walking trails, and that’s a definite plus, too.
Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t bother comparing yourself or your child to others. Seriously. You will always find someone better, more organized, with a kid who is doing stuff your kid isn’t doing yet, or whatever. Just enjoy your little one, and show yourself some grace. You aren’t supposed to know everything, but as long as you keep learning, you should be just fine.
If you think you might be suffering from post-partum depression, don’t put off talking to your doctor. I am VERY serious about this one. I wish I’d talked to my doctor sooner than I did because I was miserable and really unable to cope with the pressures of being a new mom. Things got better when Noah was around 8 weeks old, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this was just a few weeks after I started anti-depressants.
No amount of reading or advice can prepare you for what it will be like. If it could, I would have been good to go! Take everything with a grain of salt, and don’t let what other people think about rearing your child get in the way of you getting to know him or her. Know that you will mess up at times, and people will criticize you. But if you love your child and take care of yourself, you will both make it through the tough times and really be able to enjoy life as a family.
So there you have it. Maybe not helpful to anyone, but at least it’ll hopefully keep me from making an idiot of myself by offering unwanted advice!