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  • What Every New Mom Should Know

    October 28, 2008

    Meg, who writes Spicy Magnolia, commented on one of my recent posts saying she was having her first baby in January and that she was scared out of her mind.  And so of course I thought, “I’ll bet Meg would love some unsolicited advice from the internets!”

    So then Meg, here is everything you ever wanted to know about becoming a mom but was smart enough not to ask: 

    • In the words of Dr. Spock, trust yourself.  Use your own good sense. If that fails, Google for reassurance. 
    • You don’t need 99% of the stuff at Babies R Us.  Return that battery powered bottle warmer and buy yourself a nice pair of sweats.
    • Never change a poopy diaper while wearing bell sleeves. 
    • Don’t stock up on diapers. As soon as you do, they will grow into the next size.
    • The one time you go to the grocery store without the diaper bag, you and the other customers will live to regret it.
    • Don’t bother putting shoes on your kiddo until they start walking – more money for shoes for you! 
    • Do what you have to do to make life easy for yourself.  I kept Sean in zip up sleepers for the first year of his life after trying to dress him in one of those cute little Osh Kosh bib overall outfits nearly sent me off the deep end. 
    • Don’t under-estimate your baby’s ability to take in and absorb information – good and bad. Kids are omnipotent. They are aware of everything that is going on in the house. 
    • Take lots of pictures and write stuff down. Your brain won’t be able to hold that much wonderful.
    • Let your child see your eyes light up when he enters the room. Let him know every day that you are glad he was born, glad you got to be his mom. Let your child know daily he is a source of joy in your life.  This will make up for the times when motherhood kicks your booty.
    • Never forget that motherhood is the most precious season in a woman’s life. Wring the joy out of every day.

    Then again Meg, don’t listen to me. I have a whole category dedicated to parenting gone awry

    Got some good new mom advice for Meg?  Leave it in the comments!

    * * * * *

    Update:  A little thank you note to y’all from soon-to-be new mom Meg:

    “Hello, everyone! This is Meg. 🙂 I want to reply to each of your comments to say “thank you”! They all mean so much to me and I’m printing them out to keep. But for those of you who don’t have a blog for me to click on and reply to you personally, please accept my deep appreciation for taking the time to leave a comment; I still feel so encouraged by this post and the comments! I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you!

    November 1st, 2008

    88 Comments »

    1. rrmama says:

      Meg,
      Don’t listen to people when they say holding your baby to much is not good for them. There will come a day when they will be to big to hold and arms will ache. Hold that baby till your heart fills up so much with love you think it is going to break! Congrats! This will be the best time of you life.

      *****
      It’s true Meg! Listen to rrmama. She knows of what she speaks! ~ AM

      October 28th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    2. Julie at Elisharose says:

      There will always be dirty dishes in the sink. There will not always be a toddler that just wants a cuddle. Don’t miss those moments.

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    3. Sherri E. says:

      Yay! I love giving unsolicited advice. Although I guess AM sort of solicited it on your behalf, Meg.

      1- Forgive yourself when you mess up. You will. But God’s grace is bigger than our mistakes.

      2- Also? Brace yourself. In some senses it’s pretty easy to get a sense of how hard and exhausting parenting can be by looking at it from the outside, but nothing can prepare you for how much you will love that baby the first time you see his or her face. Your heart is about to be smashed into a thousand pieces and be rebuilt a thousand times larger. Welcome to the sisterhood.

      3- Babywearing, babywearing, babywearing. Get your hands on a mai tai or a ring sling or an Ergo. Babywearing is the best. Thing. Ever.

      4- Don’t beat yourself up if you wind up not being able to breastfeed, but do give it a go if you can. It is so special, and it will make your life so much easier. Boobs beat pacifiers all hollow when it comes to Making The Whining Stop. 😉

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    4. Tonggu Momma says:

      When your child looks like she is about to spit up, she probably is…

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    5. Blake says:

      My mom gave me the best advice when I was worried about not “doing it right” with my daughter who is almost 6 now…she’s never done any of this stuff either, she’s new to the world. She won’t know if you’re doing it “wrong”, just follow your instincts and love that baby!

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    6. Amy Beth says:

      Um, yeah. I’ll be reading this as I’m literally days away from having a little bambino in my own house!

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    7. Kim says:

      Sleep when your baby sleeps – without guilt. A well rested mama trumps spic and spam floors.

      I hate to mention this – but always put your purse in the back seat by the car seat. You’ve been remembering your purse for a lifetime – forgetting a sleeping baby is an unthinkable possibility.

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    8. Iota says:

      If your child vomits, change the bedding and then put down lots of towels. They will vomit again. They almost never vomit just the once. They will not get the vomit in a bucket until they are 3 years old at the very very earliest. If they say they are feeling better, leave those towels there anyway.

      As so many others say, forget the housework. It really doesn’t matter. Sleep is much much more important than a clean house. You can cope with life if you have sleep.

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    9. Mommyj says:

      Don’t buy cute little frilly outfits with collars. Babies don’t really have necks so where’s the collar supposed to go?

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    10. Amy Nathan says:

      Listen closely when you think you don’t have any instinct about what to do…because if you close your eyes and just concentrate for a moment, the answer will come to you. Trust it.

      Babies grow up fast. And then they drive.

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    11. Susan says:

      When you’re having sleepless nights, or going through any stage that feels hopeless, exhausting, or like there’s no end in sight–know that you’ll look back soon and barely remember any of it. They grow up SO fast and those difficult stages aren’t actually as long as they might seem at the time.

      I was much better set to deal with those stages, by the way, once baby #2 came around and I realized I really wouldn’t have sleepless nights/a gassy baby/a million diapers to change FOREVER.

      Enjoy every moment before it disappears!

      October 28th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    12. Kimberly says:

      1) No decision you make is ever final. Wanna co-sleep? Try it for a while. If it works, great! If not, change it up. The kid will have his/her own mind eventually.

      2) Ask for help. Specific help. When someone offers, don’t be embarrassed. Say, “would you please come in and hold the baby for 10 minutes so I can shower?” or “the floor is desperate for a vacuum.”

      3) Don’t believe everything you read. On the flip side, there is certainly a lot of info out there on a lot of things, so there are plenty of resources.

      4) Don’t let anyone tell you that you will spoil the baby if you hold him all the time. Untrue, no matter how much your mom believes it.

      5) Also, re: breastfeeding. It takes a long time. And they nurse a lot. So, when your hubs comes home and says, “whaddya do today?” and your response is, “ummm, fed myself, nursed the baby”, that is a perfectly appropriate response. Mine ate 12 times a day. Took 45 minutes or so each time. You do the math.

      6) You can do this. Really. And it is really special, even if exhausting.

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    13. Helen says:

      If you can get some practice dressing a contortionist mid-act, then you should be at least prepared for one thing.

      P.S. If said contortionist is willing, you may want to also practice wiping a pooey bum while he is doing backflips.

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    14. Adrian says:

      Babies are really FUN! Don’t lose sight of that fact. Diapers and feedings and all the yucky stuff is only a small portion of your day. The rest of the time, you get to watch them coo and laugh and be cute and SLEEP!

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    15. fern says:

      You cannot love a baby too much.

      You will know your baby better than anyone else. Trust yourself.

      Remember the baby will stop crying. They always do. Eventually.

      If the father (or anyone else) holds the baby and doesn’t support his/her head at first and it flops a little, relax, the head will not fall off.

      If you are so tired you think you will fall asleep while rocking the baby, put her in a snuggly and sit down.

      Don’t let your child play in a sandbox if he has cuffed pants. And if you do, take his pants off outside the house.

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    16. Katie says:

      Reading all the advice brought tears to my eyes. I have a beautiful 2.5 yr old who came into my life when she was 13 mos old. I so cherish what I have but can’t help feeling somewhat sad that I missed her first days and months… Enjoy your precious baby!

      *****
      I’m so sorry Katie that you missed out on that first year, I wish it weren’t so. While I don’t know your pain first hand, I want to acknowledge it. I hope the rest of motherhood makes up for it a just a little. ~ AM

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    17. fern says:

      Serious advice, not to scare you, but something you should know-after giving birth your hormones go wacky and you are given a human being that you don’t know and who is new to the world. Not everyone falls in the love with their baby at first. Give it a little time, it will come. And if it doesn’t, do not wait to get help. You will be among tens of thousands of women, but you will be one of the smart ones who gets help because you really do love the baby.

      * * * *
      It’s true. I was certifiably insane the first few weeks after Sean was born. Those first few days are not exactly like the baby shampoo commercials portray it. For example, where as the mom on TV looked as though she had bathed and slept in the past week, I had not. I cried over America’s Funniest Home Videos. ~ AM

      October 28th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    18. Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years says:

      My biggest mistake was endeavoring to keep scrapbooks, albums, keepsakes, quilts, crafts, etc. with the idea that I was doing it for the baby. By number 3, it’s impossible to keep up–so, do those things if you want, but do it for you.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:00 am

    19. Vintage Mommy says:

      Like they say on the airplane, Put Your Own Mask on First, ie take care of yourself!

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:17 am

    20. kelli says:

      Listen to unsolicited advice.

      Smile and nod alot.

      Then, do it like you want to.

      YOU are the MAMA.

      That’s ALL that matters.

      Period.

      Amen.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    21. Sue says:

      About the breastfeeding, for the first baby, it takes a few days for the milk to “come in.” The colostrum the baby gets before that is extremely good for the baby, too. I believe my daughter lived on water and colostrum for a few days, but they may be doing things differently now. I do know that supply and demand are definitely linked, and I believe if we lived in a culture where bottles and formula weren’t readily available, we’d keep working at it. It is a special bond and believe me is much easier. The milk’s always warm– no stumbling to the kitchen. Also, it’s much less expensive. Mamas and babies stay close together, and that’s a good thing. I would say tho, after a coupld of months, don’t be afraid to supplement rarely so that you don’t break your neck trying to get back home in time to feed the baby or wear your boobs out pumping. I did pump and froze milk for my first one, but for my second one I used a supplement when I had to be gone working part-time. It is important to feed the baby a lot from the breast tho, as that supply and demand thing will cause less milk if you supplement too much.
      Yes, good advice from the others. Love, love, love and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Let Daddy bond too– giving bath, etc., as it will help all 3 of you. Keep praying– you’re going to need to do that the rest of your child’s life. Will say a prayer for you and your delivery.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    22. Mary says:

      The most difficult thing about parenting is being consistent. While it will never be okay to run in a parking lot, some days you may let them get away with whining and some days you won’t be able to stand it and not know how to stop it. Set boundary lines and use them! Children crave structure and discipline and both can be done in a loving positive way.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:48 am

    23. Jan says:

      In the blink of an eye, that baby will be grown and on their way. Pay attention, don’t miss a minute. Learn not to blink.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:48 am

    24. ShackelMom says:

      When you are a one day old mama, you have a one day old baby, so you learn together, a day at a time. Every day is a new one. Remember that when you are at the end of a day was lousy. Give yourself grace.

      Some babies love to be wrapped up nice and tight in a blanket and it really calms them.

      Don’t put your boobs away wet.

      Don’t start thinking about your shape for at least six months.

      About whining: give them your full attention and reasonable answers when they use their ‘big girl (boy)’ voice, and remind the nicely.

      October 29th, 2008 at 1:03 am

    25. happy geek says:

      You won’t be pre-pregnancy size after giving birth. Not even close.

      If your baby has colic it is OK to put them down in the crib and walk away for a little while. No child has ever died of crying. Yes, you can’t hold a baby too much but a non-stop crying baby can wear you down.

      If it’s a boy, push the p*nis down before closing the diaper.

      Daddy will do it differently than you do, if you hover too much, he will stop doing it altogether. (this is insanely hard to do by the way, at least for this control freak) Let him find his own way.

      October 29th, 2008 at 1:37 am

    26. Sue says:

      When people say “Is there something I can do for you?” ALWAYS SAY YES. And have them come over while you take a nap. Nothing will help you in the first couple of months as much as getting a little sleep will. Sleep deprivation is an absolute soul crushing mind freak, so let people help you. It will make all the difference.

      October 29th, 2008 at 2:02 am

    27. edj says:

      Wow, there’s a lot of great advice here! I don’t have much to add, just: relax. The things you worry about turn out to have had only tiny effects long term (like when to start solids, etc). Relax as much as you can and enjoy that little one.

      October 29th, 2008 at 3:48 am

    28. Lucy says:

      Sitting nursing a baby means that Mum is resting, visitors offer to make you a drink. When the baby is bottle fed, others offer to give the feed, so you can go, and make them a drink.

      October 29th, 2008 at 5:48 am

    29. Damsel says:

      Talk to the baby nonstop, as if s/he were a real person. 🙂 It doesn’t matter what you say, but your voice and tone are incredibly soothing. That baby has been hearing your voice for months and LOVES it, so use it! You could read the phone book for all he/she cares. I got really good at venting in a pleasant tone. I hated my singing voice for my whole life until I realized how much my baby loved it. 🙂

      I agree wholeheartedly with a pp who said to let Daddy find his own way in caring for the baby. That’s so incredibly important for all three of you! (I didn’t do that – I was a total control freak. Yes, we turned out all right, but it was infinitely easier once I just relaxed!)

      There is no RIGHT way to do anything. There is only the best way for you and your family. (I kind of sounded like Yoda there for a second!) Don’t waste energy defending yourself to other people and trying to explain. Learn how to firmly say, “This is what works for us” and walk away (at least mentally).

      October 29th, 2008 at 7:13 am

    30. Tara says:

      I’ll go read the others later, but while I’ve got this in my mind let me share what my mom told me.

      You’ve never been a mom before (and for those with more than one, you’ve never been THIS BABY’S mom before). Baby has never been a baby before. When she cries or is fussy she isn’t doing it to be annoying to you. She’s only doing it to tell you something. (And I later found out that Hilary Clinton was actually credited with this thought, not my mom. Boo hoo.)

      And when someone asks what they can do to help, tell them you could really use some help with catching up on housework. Then when they come, let them work and you sit and hold the baby (nurse if you have to, they can’t argue with that!)

      October 29th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    31. canadacole says:

      Such great advice! I third (fourth?) the advice to let Daddy find his own way. My Hubby was a little scared of the newborn, so I made sure I plopped her in his arms at least once a day until he got over it and I had to start begging for the baby back. And that? Made me love him more and want to make more babies 😉

      Yes to letting people help you when they offer. It blesses you all.

      Yes to enjoying every single moment, babywearing, sleeping when you can, etc.

      Also, don’t let yourself get into competitive mommy mode. Whether your child walks at 8 months or 15 months, things generally even out in the end. Baby milestones are not great predictors of future success or failure, they’ll get there when they’re ready.

      Most importantly, again, trust your instincts. And congrats!

      October 29th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    32. Just Mom says:

      I second what Fern wrote: If you ever find yourself going even a little nuts, ask for help. Talk to your doctor, too, for advice.

      Also, don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the pediatrician’s office every week, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. I wish I had known that … it seemed I had a standing appointment with the pediatrician because a) my son got sick a lot, and b) I was slightly paranoid ;-D. I was working outside the home at the time, and my co-workers would always roll their eyes when I told them my son had an appointment with his doctor. More often than not, it turned out to be a good thing that I did take him in. (I hope that made sense.)

      Enjoy mommyhood. It’s a crazy ride, sometimes, but boy is it worth it.

      October 29th, 2008 at 8:46 am

    33. amyB says:

      My mom looked for fun projects, like home made play doh, edible play doh, and home made apple sauce. I remember those memories MUCH more vividly and warmly than any other trip to the mall, or such.

      October 29th, 2008 at 8:53 am

    34. ruth ann says:

      Things I wish someone had told me before the arrival of son #1:

      Relax!

      If breastfeeding doesn’t work for you – don’t beat yourself up. Just thank God for formula and get on with enjoying the little one!

      If friends or family want to come over and help out – let them!! (I tried to host everyone – doesn’t work when you’re sleep deprived.) This is definitely one time in your life when you’re entitled to some TLC – soak it up!

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:08 am

    35. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      It’s ok to tell someone you’re having a tough time. They might have some great advice you hadn’t thought of or didn’t know. Don’t ever feel embarrassed about something — they don’t come with manuals.

      Breastfeeding might not go well. I only made it 4 months with my first, and wish I’d had the good sense to stop torturing myself earlier but I felt so guilty. We just never got it together. My second baby went great though!

      Also, I had a spewer. And I had to keep her one little neck roll very clean and dry (baby powder), because she was prone to yeast infections on her neck.

      Soak up the lessons. I have learned so much about God through my children. I have a new grasp of what He is like — and that has been an amazing and humbling ride. I am grateful for every minute.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    36. Lucy says:

      It goes by very fast. You won’t think so at the time. I thought it would never end. Now I look back and see that it was only a moment in time. A mere moment. Take advantage of that moment. Each day will never come again.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:10 am

    37. Moriah (Please Pass the Salt) says:

      Yes, the days crawl but the years fly. Enjoy each day and try not to CONSTANTLY be looking forward to the next big milestone.

      Also, those first few days can be overwhelming. Relax, take it slow, you’ll be just fine.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    38. Mandy says:

      Parent your own way! Oh yeah, and teach your child to rest and nap. I honestly believe it helps them be calmer children, tweens, and teens.Children are so over scheduled because we, as parents, don’t want them to get bored or lazy. But, I think it is one of the best things I have done for my girls. They know how to relax and when to relax. At 10 and 12, they still have 30 minutes of quiet time before bed which has always made bedtime so easy for us. Good luch and enjoy every moment, even the most stressful, because it goes by so quickly.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:23 am

    39. Heidi says:

      I totally agree with those who have said “let daddy help.” It doesn’t matter if he does it your way; let him do it and don’t criticize. You are robbing your child and his father of precious memories if daddy isn’t allowed to be hands on.

      Surround your child with as many people as possible who simply love him.

      When baby has cried all day and you can’t remember your last shower, look at baby through grandma and grandpa’s eyes. Suddenly he’s a whole lot cuter and easier to handle.

      Even if you don’t agree with how grandma might do things, if baby will be safe, let grandma watch him often. Grandparents are your child’s heritage; allow them to build memories together. This even goes for in-laws, regardless of any issues you may have. (um…yeah, this was one I had to teach myself.)

      Read, read, read to that baby. From day one, let him hear you reading to him; your voice will soothe him. Dr. Seuss was a winner for us; the rhythm seemed to calm my children. Start visits to the library very early.

      Relax.

      Laugh. A lot.

      You WILL get through those first few weeks. You WILL sleep again.

      Don’t blink.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    40. Nelson's Mama says:

      Kimberly has a lot of good advice from up above!

      If putting that baby in bed with you helps you survive, keep your sanity and get some rest. Then by all means do it. There is nothing sweeter and it all works out in the end.

      Breastfeeding is a work in progress…it took me a good 6-8 weeks to hit my stride with both of my babies. It’s hard to not get discouraged, but if it’s important to you, keep in mind that with some babies it’s not an immediate thing.

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:11 am

    41. Kathryn says:

      Babies need a lot of sleep, and they need routine. Respect your child’s need for sleep. I see a lot of parents out at 8 p.m. and later toting the child around. Sometimes the kiddo is wailing because she’s exhausted. Regular bedtimes and naps make for a well-rested child, which means a happy child and a sane mom. An excellent resource is Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

      Also remember: the baby changes daily. Anything that seems unbearable that moment, just remember it won’t stay that way for long. (I had a baby with colic and reflux and that’s how I got through the first 3 months). This applies to the good stuff too. Don’t miss the miracle that happens in front of you every day by thinking about past failures or future wishes. Looking forward to the next stage, e.g., “I can hardly wait until she’s walking,” means you’ll miss what is happening right now. Live in the present.

      Remember to breathe.

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    42. feefifoto says:

      Talk to your baby about anything you want. I distinctly remember reading aloud an article from the New York Times about the Unabomber when my son was a newborn, but you’d never have know from the tone of my voice. I also used to narrate everything I saw in grocery store aisles. And speaking of supermarkets, when your child gets a little older, make a practice of grazing your way through the store around lunch time. We’d start with a banana and then some turkey from the deli, and work our way through the store to the free cookie at the bakery. Result: a healthy lunch you don’t have to prepare, along with entertainment for a child who otherwise would suffer from ants in the pants.

      Enjoy your baby!

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:48 am

    43. gretchen from lifenut says:

      Congratulations!

      I am due in January as well, but with #7.

      1. Accept offers of help and meals. Don’t be too proud, and don’t worry that it will interfere with your bonding. Having someone hold your baby for 10 minutes while you shower or an hour while you nap will not threaten the loving bond between you. At all. In fact, you’ll be a better mommy if you feel good.

      2. I echo the others who advised to let daddy carve out his own niche and his own way of doing things. It is a gift to both your child and his/her daddy if they get off to a warm start.

      3. Take a class if you plan to breastfeed, or even if you aren’t sure. One of my huge regrets with our first baby was thinking that it couldn’t be too hard to breastfeed, so I didn’t need a class. I was in for a rude awakening. Educate!

      4. Be kind to yourself regarding how fast your body bounces back after birth. You’ll retain water, you’ll bleed like crazy, you’ll still look pregnant for awhile. Rest and good nutrition will help in these areas. Your hair will shed in handfuls about 4 months post partum—guaranteed. You won’t be the same, but that is okay. Your body helped God with a miracle. .

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    44. Pat says:

      Hold your baby as much as possible. He or she will soon grow out of your lap and arms. But when they do, hug them every chance you get.

      Don’t take everything too seriously.

      Breastfeed, even if you are able to do so only a few weeks. One of my deepest regrets in life that I did not do this.

      Laugh and enjoy life.

      Don’t take the baby’s whole wardrobe or all their toys with you on trips. Keep it simple.

      Take trips.

      Sleep when you have the chance, even if you don’t think you have time. Just do it.

      Love your baby and let him or her know God loves them most of all.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    45. kate says:

      Never look at someone else’s misbehaving child and say, “my child would NEVER do that!” because that is the fastest way to get your child to do that.

      And like others have said, your child is like no other–take the advice that works, and don’t feel bad about ignoring what doesn’t.

      And the Ergo baby carrier saved me. Around the house, shopping, walking/hiking–barely used the stroller. You can use it for years (I still use it when necessary for my three-year old), and you have both hands available for whatever you need to do.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    46. Tater Mama says:

      Nap when the baby naps! You need your rest more than you need a super neat house. When people come to see your new little one, they’re coming to see the baby. No one cares what shape the house is in. They care about what shape YOU and the baby are in. Getting as much rest as you can is so important.

      Write things down. My mother gave me one of those Day-at-a-Glance appointment books, where there’s a page for every day. Before going to bed each night, I write down what we did that day. A lot of days look the same, but it’s a great way to keep up with the day-to-day “little” things that slip through your memory. And it is so much fun to read back through the journal at the end of the year, because you’ll find yourself saying, “Oh, I’d forgotten that! That was so cute/funny/silly!” The little things are just as exciting and thrilling as the BIG milestones.

      Throw out the books that tell you your baby “should be doing this and that” by a certain age. You’ll drive yourself nuts. I spent so much time saying, “But the book says….” that my husband hid the book. He finally said, “The book is not his Mama. What do your instincts tell you?” I finally relaxed and am happy to report that our son is alive and well despite having me for a Mama.

      Read, read, read to your baby! I felt kind of foolish at first, but our son loves books, and he’s only two. There’s a great book called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease that not only explains the importance of reading aloud to children of every age, but it has a great “suggested reading” section for every age group. It’s a great resource to have around. 🙂

      Congratulations! Having a little one is scary and exhausting, but it’s the best scary and exhausting you’ll ever know.

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    47. Blogger mom says:

      Perfectionism and motherhood are rarely compatible. Love, laughter, having happy healthy children, and doing a pretty darn good job is perfectly compatible with motherhood. Remember this when you don’t meet those high standards we all set for ourselves!

      October 29th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    48. Kitty says:

      You have gotten so much excellent advise already that I would only add: Relax! Most mistakes you’ll make (and there’ll be plenty) won’t matter in the long run.

      October 29th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    49. Andrea Reynolds says:

      Just wondering how far down this fantastic list you and your happy little pregnancy-hormones were able to get before you had to get a new box of tissues (I only got about ten comments down :). I couldn’t agree more with everything written here. It’s a wonderful collection of some of the best advice out there. And as a mom of four, I know a little of which I speak. And even after four, I still can’t believe how fast they grow up! Sigh….

      October 29th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    50. Pat Trippiedi says:

      What wonderful advice from all and congratulation! Don’t sweat the small stuff, focus on the big picture – taking care of you and holding, feeding and changing the baby.

      If it’s a boy, make sure you cover him – for that quick second before the new diaper is on. Inevitably you will get wet!

      You do not have to just change the baby on the changing table/pad. A nice fold up pad and a stash of diapers, wipes, etc. in the room you’re in most often or on each floor of your home will make your life easier.

      Enjoy, it may not seem so now, but the time goes by so quickly. I have 2 grown daughters (the eldest expecting in April) and an almost 5 year old boy and an almost 2 year old little girl (both december babies). I am much more laid back now. I spend more time playing with them than trying to do it all with my first 2 girls. The time slips by so quickly.

      They really do remember the forts made of couch cushions and blankets and the time spent reading and playing much more than whether the house was spotless or not!

      October 29th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    51. Janna says:

      Never say never (I will never co-sleep, I never bottle feed, etc) as you don’t know what circumstances may change or how your baby will be.

      AM is soooo right about not needing 99% of what BRU has. My children are over 7 years apart, and I was amazed at how little I “needed” the second time around (after I had given all of baby #1’s stuff away).

      A mother’s instincts are powerful – don’t ignore them, especially if it concerns your child’s health. You are your child’s best advocate!

      Oh, yeah. Don’t read any of those books about your child’s milestones, etc. It will only drive you nuts. All children are vastly different.

      October 29th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    52. Carrie says:

      Oh, what a sweet blog post. I love it! I love the part about your eyes lighting up when your child comes into the room and how that makes up for the days when parenting kicks your booty.

      And also, diaper bag, in grocery store? I can definitely relate. 🙂

      October 29th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    53. apathy lounge says:

      If your child is a “power-vomiter” (or spitter-upper) as my oldest one was, it goes without saying that you never travel anywhere without a spare outfit for him/her. Yeah…don’t forget a spare shirt/blouse for yourself. Either that, or prepare to wear a large burping cloth that is roughly the size of a tablecloth. And fatherhood should be the most precious season in a man’s life, too. If it’s not? There’s a problem.

      October 29th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    54. susan (rachel's mom) says:

      Like Katie, I missed those first few months with my daughter (she was 10 1/2 months when we adopted her). I learned one very important diaper bag tip within 24 hours, though — always have a full change of clothes in the bag. During her official adoption process Rachel was wearing a cute top but no pants because of an unfortunate incident as soon as we arrived at the office. One other time I violated that rule because she was fully potty trained (hahahaha). She was dressed to the nines for church and wet EVERYTHING, even her shoes.

      And read, read, read, read, read to your baby. And when you’re not reading, talk to her about everything and anything.

      October 29th, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    55. tom says:

      Babies are tougher than we give them credit for. They won’t drown if they get a little water in their face. And if you call 911 anyway, the paramedics may laugh at you, but you’ll have a great story to tell your child later on in life.

      October 29th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    56. Beck says:

      My unromantic but practical advice – bring some vaseline diaper cream with you. As soon as you see that wittle baby, immidiately put a little bit on their brand new bum – otherwise, that first poop might take FOREVER to wash off.
      (and this is what I tell all new moms. It’s good advice!)

      October 29th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    57. Roxanne says:

      If your baby has a hard time sleeping due to a stuffy nose, skip trying to elevate the bed and just put them in their car carrier (when they are still too little roll or climb out), put the carrier in the bed, raise the side and VOILA–sleeping snuffly baby.

      In the same way, if your baby wakes up when you lay them down for a nap, put them in the car carrier (it’s like someone is cradling them), and rock it with your foot until they go to sleep.

      October 29th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    58. Roxanne says:

      One more thing. . .Dr. Smith’s diaper rash cream is SO WORTH the extra cost–and a much nicer name than Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

      AND. . .much like breastfeeding, if you need a c-section or to be induced (I had to be induced with both and was a little upset the first time around) DON’T SWEAT IT. It doesn’t matter HOW the baby gets here as long as the baby gets here with both of you healthy.

      October 29th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    59. mommy bee says:

      Listen to your gut, and listen to your baby. Don’t listen to the books or the mothers in law or the nosey neighbors (unless you want to, or unless you specifically asked for advice). YOU know what is comfortable for you, YOUR BABY knows what he/she needs. Baby schedules are a product of a harried modern era, not of what is best for baby. Just do what works for you, and nevermind what anyone else thinks. 🙂 For us it’s been attachment parenting–laid back, comfortable, and imo the most respectful of baby AND mom. 🙂

      October 29th, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    60. Sudee in Florida says:

      The part about always having that diaper bag with you is such good advice (extra set of clothes too). Also, they do absorb all they see and hear, and will repeat and/or tell about it at the most inopportune times. Those pictures and videos will be priceless, and you really do need to write down stuff. That breast feeding is not only good for baby, but will help you get back in shape quicker also. It’s a job like no other, and the pay is out of this world (hugs, kisses and “Mommy, I love you”). Enjoy every minute of it. God bless.

      October 29th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    61. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      1 – Buy a helmet. Honor your elders, i.e., Antique Mommy.

      2 – Don’t get all caught up in DOING IT ALL RIGHT. As in, bottle or breast? Veggies or fruits? Cloth or disposable? IT DOESN’T MATTER.

      3 – Refuse to get all caught up in comparing you and your child to your friend who has a child the same age. See #2.

      ****
      Yes, listen to Stretch. Buy a helmet. And wear it. That way it won’t hurt so much when you get beat up about the choices you make for yourself and your child. 😉

      October 29th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    62. Grace says:

      * Do not give your baby honey.
      * Your birth experience will not be like anyone else’s, so don’t let their tales scare you.
      * God has special grace for mothers (Isaiah 40:11)

      October 29th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    63. Howdy says:

      Someone else mentioned this but it’s worth repeating… talk to your baby… all the time…

      And most important… if you keep quiet while the baby is sleeping… Then YOU WILL HAVE TO KEEP QUIET WHILE THE BABY IS SLEEPING!! Your baby will get use to the normal noises in the house and sleep through them.

      October 29th, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    64. Heide says:

      I didn’t always carry a “diaper bag,” expecially for shorter outings, but I always carried a change of pants and a spare diaper or two. Wipes are nice, but damp paper towels will do the trick okay.

      The prospect of labor and birth scares people. But it’s a transition, and in the end a relatively brief one between nine months of pregnancy and years and years with a child. Try not to get too wound up about what kind of a birth you want, accept what happens, and welcome the miraculous: a new life in the world.

      Oh, and I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees diaper ointment.

      Good luck!

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    65. tas says:

      Meg,
      The best advice I was given, and followed all the time was….

      EVERYONE will give you advice, ‘the baby is too warm. The baby is too cold’….etc

      Listen intently, nod (don’t want to upset anyone) and then do what your heart tells you too.

      Hope that helps.

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    66. The Roost says:

      Pray daily that God will help you in your parenting and Pray with your child every night from birth until ……you will know. All the points in the post are SO true!

      October 29th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    67. Faerylandmom says:

      Tons of amazing advice here!

      My biggest piece of advice is more for your birth than being a mom – I really don’t think I could add anything to the wisdom here!

      Hire a certified labor/birth doula. No matter what kind of experience you’re hoping for, a doula can help you feel good about all your decisions related to birth. They come with no agenda other than helping YOU get through it – no matter how you need to do that. They can help with initial breastfeeding, pain management, creating a cozy environment in the hospital, and information about all your different options in the hospital.

      They also give Dads the ability to focus solely on being the one to love you and hug you, be there for you, and takes off the pressure for them to “know what to do” in every situation. Plus, if your labor is long, a doula insures that there will always be someone focused on YOU at every moment – so Dad can take that potty break if he needs to.

      Plus, you can’t beat the statistics showing the benefits of hiring one! If you’re interested, you can go to cappa.net or dona.org and look up lots of info.

      You won’t regret it!

      God bless you!!!

      October 29th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    68. LORI says:

      ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT SLEEP DEPRIVATION MAKES A PERSON DO REALLY WEIRD, SOMETIME AWKWARD THINGS. LIKE FALLING ASLEEP AT THE GROCERY CHECK OUT COUNTER. HEY, IT CAN HAPPEN. THE IDEA OF SLEEPING WHENEVER YOUR BABY SLEEPS IS A REALLY GOOD ONE. WON’T EVER HAPPEN. BUT THEN, MAYBE THAT’S JUST MY EXPERIENCE! THAT WAS MY SHOWER TIME. THAT WAS THE LUXURY THAT I MISSED THE MOST AS A NEW MOM, AND IT’S SO GOOD TO NOT REEK OF BREAST MILK AND BABY VOMIT, THAT IT’S WORTH THE SLEEP SACRIFICE! ALSO, DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO THOSE OTHER NEW MOMS WHO WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THEY HAVE IT TOTALLY TOGETHER. THEY’RE EITHER LYING, OR THEY HAVE SUPER NANNY ON THE CASE.

      October 30th, 2008 at 12:07 am

    69. Everyday Mommy says:

      1. For heaven’s sake don’t beat yourself up about breastfeeding if it isn’t working for you. You’ll have people lining up to beat you up about it. Fed baby = happy baby, breast or bottle. ‘Nuff said.

      2. Sleepless nights don’t last.

      3. Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle, cuddle, cuddle, cuddle…did I say cuddle? You cannot hold your baby too much.

      October 30th, 2008 at 12:29 am

    70. Jeanne A says:

      I have 5 kids ages 11-18 and I can’t think of any really sage advice.

      Except to not take advice to seriously. There are differing opinions about everything. Someone will always think you’re doing great—and there will always be someone with that ‘look’ where you can tell they don’t agree. So do what you want and believe the people that agree with you.

      October 30th, 2008 at 8:44 am

    71. Cara says:

      My daughter will be one year old tomorrow. Yes, a Halloween baby. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. My best advice, don’t listen to anyone. Do what you think is best. Do what works for you. My husband about made me crazy because I didn’t have enough milk to breastfeed and he wanted the baby to sleep in her crib, never with us. Well, guess what, she is fine. She slept with us some, but she mainly sleeps in her crib and all night. I was also TERRIFIED of EVERYTHING from the giving birth part to the what the heck do we do with her part. We made it. You will too!!! It all sort of “comes together.” Use your instinct!!! It will kick in!!

      October 30th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    72. Carrie says:

      I would consider myself to be a relatively new mom, too. Here are a few things I am always sure to tell my newer mommy friends. 🙂

      1. It is okay to be frustrated and to not have all the answers. Just love them because sometimes, snuggles and kisses is all you have to offer.

      2. Trust your gut. Someone once told me that there comes a time where you just toss out all those parenting books and go with what your heart tells you. It’s true.

      3. DO! NOT! COMPARE! YOUR! CHILD! WITH! ANYONE! ELSE’S! It’s hard not to, especially if you have a friend/relative delivering about the same time and the two bambino’s are not meeting milestones at exactly the same time. And, that’s okay! How boring would it be if all babies did the same thing at exactly the same time? Enjoy the uniqueness of your child.

      4. Keep a journal. I am so glad that I have written down milestones, etc. because even though I wanted to believe I would remember it all, I haven’t and I won’t.

      5. Get a second job to pay for the cost of printing photos. 🙂 I seriously cannot stress enough that you cannot take enough pictures. They grow up SOOOOO FAST and my heart overflows with love and joy to look at pictures of my son doing all the things that make being a mom so rewarding.

      6. Measure your belly soon before delivery. A friend asked me when I was about 8 months pregnant if I had measured my belly and I looked at her like she was the devil. But, in all seriousness, now that my pregnant belly is gone (sorta) I wished I would have measured it. 🙂

      Ah, yes, the joys, excitement, anxiety and fear of preparing for your first born. Treasure this time. It won’t last long.

      October 30th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    73. Linda says:

      AM knows do not let her fool you. From her writings (and my own experience)…the main ingredient is Love. Love you cause you to do the right things.

      October 30th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    74. Rivkeleh says:

      First of all, yes, yours IS the most perfect and beautiful child on earth, bar none. Do not feel guilty when you look at other children and think “I’m so glad I got mine and not THAT one.” It’s okay — he’s got someone who thinks he’s the most perfect and beautiful child on earth.

      Second, if you get the Baby Bjorn, get the one with the back support, and then you can go anywhere. We took ours to Scotland with nothing but that when he was 4 months old. It was definitely the one thing that was Worth! Every! Penny!

      Don’t try to win in a test of wills. It took me about 6 months to figure out, and so far over 4 years to still try to remember, that if I try to MAKE my son do anything, it will never work — but if I can ENCOURAGE him to do it, he’ll run to it.

      Don’t look for trouble by labeling your child. He or she is who he or she is. My hubby labels and categorizes, and it drives me nuts, because what was true three weeks ago is no longer true today, and it will change 20 more times before the end of the year. You start closing doors on your child the minute you label them, because YOU stop seeing outside of the box you put them in.

      Echo everyone else about breastfeeding. If it works, hallelujiah. And REALLY TRY, by nursing whenever and wherever you need to. But if it doesn’t work for whatever reason, don’t drive yourself insane about it. You have so much to give in other areas — focus there. It’s not the end of the world.

      Don’t expect friends without children to understand AT ALL what’s happened to you. They can’t. Try not to bite their heads off when they say completely ignorant things you yourself would have said until a few months ago. It’s like suddenly hearing what dogs can hear, and then explaining it to someone who’s never heard it.

      If you think you’ve taken all the photos you can, reload and do it again. Really.

      Love every minute of it. It really does go SO fast….

      October 30th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    75. Emily says:

      Seems like you pretty well covered it. I would add something about reading books every day.

      October 30th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    76. Jill says:

      From me: “Sometimes good enough is good enough. You don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s opinion of perfect.”

      And from my mom: “Losing weight after the baby is just as much about the inches and the pounds.” (Then I said: “Yeah, whatever Mom.” And then 6 months later “Oh my gosh Mom, you’re SO RIGHT!”)

      October 30th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    77. Kim says:

      Spend time during the dark hours of the night trying to not forget. Inhale that smell … their breath … their neck.

      It is truly intoxicating.

      Sleep will come later. These secret meetings are a fleeting season.

      Relish them.

      October 30th, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    78. veereg says:

      My husband told me one week before my baby was born “V mark my words, the day our baby is born you are gonna dole out advices like you were an expert at it”…and belive me…thats exactly what i have been doing since then…blame it on the mommy harmones….:-))…..
      AM how I wish I could write like you….and all the mom comments out there..I am enjoying every one of it.

      October 31st, 2008 at 2:03 am

    79. Jackie @ Family Daze says:

      My advice: Don’t forget to love the baby’s Daddy — This is good for you and the baby!

      October 31st, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    80. Meg @ SpicyMagnolia says:

      Hello, everyone! This is Meg. 🙂 I want to reply to each of your comments to say “thank you”! They all mean so much to me and I’m printing them out to keep. But for those of you who don’t have a blog for me to click on and reply to you personally, please accept my deep appreciation for taking the time to leave a comment; I still feel so encouraged by this post and the comments! I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you!

      November 1st, 2008 at 10:24 am

    81. Jessie says:

      Thank you all for the sage advice…from a mommy of a 5-day-old. I was horrified I would have no idea what to do with a new baby. But it is so right that instincts kick in. And I do have the most beautiful and wonderful daughter in the entire world!

      November 1st, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    82. Megan says:

      Wow…there is so much good advice here! Sure wish I had been told a lot of this stuff 🙂 My best advice would be to cherish every day with your precious baby~the time goes so quickly. Even though my girls are 7.5 and nearly 11, often just the sight of them bring tears to my eyes. Each child is an amazing gift, and I wish you a lifetime of joy with your little one!

      November 1st, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    83. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

      Peaceful sigh. I’m so glad I clicked on this post. I really needed what you wrote, AM, and what all these other Mamas shared too. A veteran(ish) Mama with a new 3 month old still desperately craves this kind of support/reassurance/wisdom.

      Meg – Stay in bed with Baby for the first three or four days and just relax and soak one another up. Seriously. It’s hard to do, but so very worth it for the good it will do both of you. Babymoon as long as you can.

      You will need plenty sleepers with zippers, not snaps. Trust me. Your sleepy eyes and fingers will thank you at 3 AM. And for Pete’s sake, no outfits that button or snap up the back until about 6 months. Baby can’t sit up!

      And. When you use the rectal thermometer, keep a diaper under that bummy and watch carefully for the “push face” so you can be out of the way in plenty of time. Learned that one myself this week. The hard way. But somehow, gettin’ pooped on was still sortof a joyful thing. Motherhood’s weird like that.

      November 1st, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    84. Sunday Sunshine - 4 « Minnesota Mom says:

      […] What Every New Mom Should Know […]

      November 2nd, 2008 at 6:04 am

    85. Krista says:

      Stop Blinking!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 1:18 am

    86. Qtpies7 says:

      I just have to say that I agree with almost everything on that list. I would add pick your battles, though. If you stand firm for a few important things and let the rest slide, you will have more time for sanity.

      I also must observe that you have yet to hit the pre-teen and teen stage or you would have left off the part about letting your child see the joy in your eyes when they come in the room. It is just hard enough to keep the urge to put them back where they came from out of your eyes that making joy shine through is nearly impossible some days!
      Ask me how I know? I only have 4 teens at the moment.

      November 5th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    87. Robbin says:

      When my son was two months old, I lost everything but three changes of clothing, and raised him for the next six months on the charity of strangers. My lessons from raising a child post-Katrina:

      You only need about a twentieth of things you think you need. Seriously.

      You need:
      A safe place to put him down.
      A dry thing to wrap his butt.
      Something to fill his tummy (for us, that was me – breastfeeding rocks when you are on the road constantly).
      And a blanket to wrap him in.

      Hmm. That was pretty much it.

      But love and attention? THAT you should provide in abundance. That is the true sustenance of life.

      November 5th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    88. Jess says:

      Thank you to everyone that posted their advice.As a new mommy I cannot express how helpful your kind words and thoughts were to me.

      November 23rd, 2008 at 4:41 pm

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