Monday, March 2, 2015

To the First Time Mom

Ok, So... ( I feel like I start out a lot of my blogs like that) .... anyway, as many of you know and have heard, once you have a child or are expecting one, every mother on the planet will bombard you advice and suggestions on everything from getting your child to sleep, what is the best formula and even tips on how basically how to have the perfect baby. Every mom (myself included) it seems, can't wait to share her opinion on how to raise your child. Every mother is insistent that her way is best. I remember it being way over whelming when I was pregnant with Max. So much so that I didn't even look up or google things, I stopped asking people questions about labor, newborns and the whole child thing in general. I heard so much advice that I didn't know where to turn. I was confused and went with the ideal that I would just figure out this "MOM" thing as I go. After all, people had been doing it for years so how hard can it be? Although I did hear the advice many times that I should just follow my "Mommy Gut" when it came to making decisions for my child, and I gotta tell ya, as a first time mom, I honestly just thought this so called mothers instinct would kick in like people said and I would just know what to do all the time, because duh, I had  a child now, I knew what I was doing.
Well, I found out quick that I absolutely did not know what to do at all. That so called Mom's instinct was very slight, and I mostly doubted it. I didn't know how to trust myself with this new role I had been given. I was lost.
I started looking into that ever-annoying baby advice that I had so easily cast off while I was pregnant. I searched for anything that could help. It was embarrassing for me to ask for help/advice. It was like I was admitting I was failing at the "most natural job" on earth. Fortunately for me, I have some very honest sisters and a mom who tell all tell me the cold hard truth about raising babies. I am so thankful for that because so many times did I hear the words from acquaintances like " Being a Mom is hard, but it is so worth it!" or " Babies are amazing, you will just be so happy all the time!". Seriously. Hearing vague words like that about babies when you are struggling to not cry all the time because you don't know what the freak you are doing as a mom is.. well... less than helpful...

 Hearing HONEST, TRUE, REAL LIFE ADVICE is one the main things that helped me through the hard times. Not some, Hallmark version of motherhood, but the real stuff. The stuff that sucks to hear, the stuff that only a true best friend, a sister or a mom will admit to you... motherhood is not always pretty, it can be downright depressing.

So, in an attempt to reach other first time moms who may be struggling but afraid to ask in fear of getting a thousand mixed answers or the glossed over version. I asked a few mom friends I know (on a Mothers With Questions Facebook page that my sister and I started so we could go and ask the tough mom questions) what HONEST advice they would give to first time moms or moms struggling with the job. So, if you aren't worn out from endless mom advice here are a few tips I wish I had known before giving birth and hopefully will help realize you are not alone!


Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. You feel like you should be able to "do it all" and know what to do. The reality is mommy does need a break and get some rest to be able to function (although it's a lot less than you thought possible). Also even if you have several children, everyone is different. It always helps to have some mom friends that you trust for advice. You don't have to take any of it, but a fresh perspective is always helpful.
 
 For first time moms I buy some variation of the following "must haves" depending on budget: Tylenol, motrin, baby q-tips, baby toothbrush, Aquaphor (for chapped cheeks), saline, pedialyte, mylocon or gripe water, mam pacifiers, homedics sound spa, and a nose frida. I also like to buy "On the Night You Were Born". Such a sweet book.
 

I also tell moms that when they take baby's blood in the hospital to have them use a heating pack on their heel. This makes the process SO much easier. The first person that took my daughter's blood didn't use it and she screamed and screamed and ended up with a bruised heel. The next day another nurse came in and used a heating pack - not a peep. I felt so awful for day one.
 

 I wish someone told me it was ok to tell people no. So many people wanted me to go places to show them Baby and then people wanted to come over all the time and it was so over whelming to me to try to plan things out I just wanted to be left alone and get used to my new life and get settled in but I felt so guilty like all these people want to see the baby and I'm being selfish not letting them. If I had to go somewhere I literally cried because it stressed me out so much. That only lasted a few weeks but I felt really bad. I wish someone would have told me just say no maybe in a few weeks. And also I learned this quick not to stress out when baby cries. I realize it's a hard one. But I just felt like if he was fed and full. Clean. And there was nothing wrong sometimes babies just cry. So if I knew he was ok I would just hold him and read my book while he cried or put him in his pack and play. I really felt like he cried more when I stressed out. But could be just me. Oh and breastfeeding is really hard! But worth it. But really stupid hard!
  •  
     I would say that there are going to be things that don't go as you hoped or planned. There will be curve balls that are frustrating and scary. But that Gods plans and vision for you as a parent are so much bigger than your own. You may not be able to have the all natural birth you hoped for or breastfeeding as long as you wanted. There are lots of little things that seem big in the scheme of things. They will pass, and all that matters is that you love your child unconditionally and do your best. I'm still a newbie and learning every day that I can't be perfect and that there is grace when I'm not!.
  •  Sometimes your instinct as a mom is better than any people around you advice and books you read- trust your gut! Be flexible! It WILL be hard at times, you will break down and cry often but it's normal(even if you look around and it 'appears' all the moms around you have it together), it's worth it, and focus on all the awesome moments that far outweigh the tough ones! You are strong, beautiful, and capable!
     
  • I felt totally inadequate as a mom when Baby 1 was born and throughout his first year. Definitely fell victim to comparing myself to the "super mom" that exists only in my imagination and on Pinterest. The Lord spoke to that lie of inadequacy a lot during my pregnancy with my second through friends and my time with him. So I'd tell a first time mom that though she won't be a perfect person (because who is?) she will be the perfect mother for that baby. Regardless of how much she enjoys or doesn't enjoy throwing huge birthday parties, or her stance on vaccination, or if she breastfeeds, or if she gives them a LOT of peanut butter and jelly instead of well rounded organic meals... (we go thru an insane amount of peanut butter at our house)... All of these things are not what make you a "good mom." A good mom is someone who loves her children well, and that looks really different for each person because all kids and all mothers are really different. That's what I'd say! Oh and I second breastfeeding being stupid hard
  •  The only thing I can think to add is to not overshop. We ended up with way more clothes than he needed and an annoying amount of toys and stuffed animals. All of the baby gear sounds necessary, but you can probably do without most if the budget is tight. We had a cute jumperoo that Baby only used for about 2 weeks.
     
  •  Be prepared to throw all your plans in the trash.  Babies are unpredictable and change all plans you may have also if she's going to bf then be prepared for hourly feeding the first week or two. .. It's normal!
     
  •  
  • New moms-look into belly binding. I really wish I would have. (I have 3 kids, ages 4, 2, and 9 months). And have a split in my abdominal muscles that I'm still trying to heal. If you have a "mummy tummy" look into Diastasis Recti, might help you
     

  •  When my daughter was born I planned to breastfeed. That first week though was hell. I seriously was considering giving it up but both my mom and my doctor kept telling me that if I could just make it through that first week it would get so much better. They were right. And, don't hesitate to utilize a lactation consultant. I do say this even though my lactation consultant wasn't really good. I ended up learning a lot through La Leche League (can just Google it). They had some great videos online so I guess if you can't get a lactation consultant or you have a crappy one like mine there's always that.....
  • Yes, ask for help with boobie feeding. Its hard and it can really suck and be painful. If it wasn't for the lactation consultants, I never would have made it as far as I did. But on the same side, don't fear formula, your doing just fine if that's what needs to happen or if you make that decision. Your sanity is whats most important... speaking of sanity, don't be afraid to ask for help for yourself. The baby blues and Post Partum Depression are scary and can come on super quick. We all react in different ways to childbirth and that little thing is a blessing but can give massive stress too. You aren't failing as a mom, it takes help to get through those rough patches... they will pass, everything does, but it can seem like the end of the world at the time...
  • My biggest piece of advice is to not let everything you read and hear in trying to do things "right" get so loud in your head that it overwhelms your ability to find your instinct. Yes, it's helpful to listen to advice from mothers who have been there,done that, and consult them when you have questions - but you ultimately get to make the decisions and you will not always know what's right and often times you just have to give it your best guess.
    But the sooner you become in-tune to your "mommy gut" the better off you'll be and the easier all those choices and decisions will be for you. Because ultimately, YOU get to make the choices that work not only for your child, but also work best for YOU.
    The sooner you learn to own the choices you make for yourself and your family, the more confident you'll become about your mothering ability
    .
  •  
     I'd say to not get offended when people offer advice and suggestions. If you like what they have to say, cool; learn something from it. If you don't agree with what they have to say, then just say thanks for the suggestion and let it roll off. There's no time to get "offended" by other people disagreeing with your mothering choices. Who cares what they think? I mean, there's no need to be rude to people offering suggestions either (most have good intentions and are just trying to help), but don't yourself get bent out of shape if you disagree either