To all the soon-to-be mommies out there – I’m sure you receive plenty of advice and you might get tired of people offering up their parenting wisdom to you.  I sometimes did.  Well, here I go making a hypocrite of myself!  Read on, if you dare, but be forewarned…this post contains five pieces of unsolicited advice from a mom who thinks she’s learned a few things in a very short amount of time and wants to share.

1. Establish a routine.  Here’s why.  When you’re accustomed to working, days with a newborn might be a sudden and drastic change, as they’re slow, yet simultaneously chaotic (depending on your baby’s temperament or the day) making it hard to get much done besides keeping baby fed and happy.  If you don’t have a routine, suddenly your baby is staring at you and you’re not sure if you should watch television or wave a rattle in front of her face and then…oh no…she is scrunching up her face and starting to cry…panic!  It’s too late!   Now, if you had a routine, you would have known that now is the time you march upstairs with purpose in your step and have tummy time.  Baby, sensing your control over the situation, is much more relaxed.  Plus, she knows what to expect each day and that is very good for her sense of security, or so books like BabyWise, and my pediatrician, tell me.  For me, a flexible schedule and routine helps me have more “supermommy days” than frazzled, unkempt mommy days!

2. Ignore the breastfeeding skeptics.  It seems to me that the world is full of people just waiting for breastfeeding to fail.  Breastfeeding is hard, but by far the hardest thing about it are all the people asking you questions like “you’re sure you’re making enough milk?” (ok, I didn’t have to deal with that one too much but from reading all the new mom forums I can tell it’s the big question out there, and needlessly so – but I definitely had to deal with doubt – mostly my own).  Let that get into your head and you’ll start to feel like breastfeeding isn’t working out.  I think because there is so much weighing on it (you don’t want to starve your child) you have extra pressure for it to work.  But it will work.  Know that the difficulties, doubts, and questions – IF you happen to be one of the many people who encounter them in the first few days – are so, so normal.  Don’t let the nurses get you in a tizzy about your baby’s weight and so forth.  Breastfeeding will work if you really, really want it to.  Unless you’re an extremely rare case.

3. Keep her name a secret until she is born.  Not only are you exercising your right to keep the naming process between you and your husband, you are also building excitement around the big reveal…you know, like celebrities do.  I didn’t think about that aspect (I was more interested in fending off the many inquiries about her name) until after I had Catherine, and another friend decided not to reveal her baby’s name until her birth.  Now, I am so excited to not only meet her but also learn the name they’ve chosen!  As a bonus, you’ll limit the amount of monogrammed gifts you receive.  I love monogramed things in moderation, but you know, some people get happy with that stuff.

4. Go quality over quantity with baby clothes.  Most people will tell you not to spend much on baby clothes since babies grow so fast.  Instead, I think you should go ahead and splurge on that incredibly soft, adorable gown.  I find I keep putting Catherine in the same few outfits and pajamas – the ones I just love!  And I don’t need many, because she will grow out of them before I’m tired of them.  Meanwhile, I have drawers full of onsies and shorts sets that I never use.  Dressing her in her pajamas each evening is one of my very favorite things!  She’s just so snuggly and cuddly and adorable!  It’s worth it to me to pay a few extra dollars for something special for my baby to wear, when I spend most of my waking hours staring at her.  And if I only buy a few things, then I get my wear out of them!

5. Get some balls.  I know, I know, that was crass.  But I felt it best to be direct here.  So many people will try to tell you what is best for your child.  If you’re a people pleaser and hate to hurt feelings, you might have a harder time.  But you cannot always do what’s best for your baby and make others happy.  I learned this the hard way, and I learned my lesson well.  Never again.  It is my job to stand up for what’s best for my daughter, and that comes before anything else.  When you’re asked to do something you feel isn’t in your baby’s best interest, just honestly and nicely explain why you’re not okay with it.  If that person doesn’t understand, that is not longer your problem.  For example, you might feel like a germaphobe insisting Great Uncle So-in-So wash his hands before holding your newborn…but if you don’t, who will?  (By the way, I never had any problem with people washing their hands, all of our friends and family have been more than willing to do that.  I just used this as an example.)  In conclusion, let me put it this way – I learned that others do not tailor their actions to suit my needs – in other words, their world doesn’t revolve around me.  So why would I compromise my own good decisions to accommodate others?  I don’t.

Well, that’s all for now, gotta go!

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