No Makeup Required readers asked for advice on being a new mom. A first baby brings a love so deep only known by a mother. A little anxiety, fear and guilt along the way are normal too. We asked our panelists to narrow their advice to three nuggets. Here are those nuggets for you!
First and foremost sleep! I always tried to sleep at least one of the daytime stretches that my babies were sleeping. Second take a million photos! They change and grow so quickly and it is always fun to look back on those first few months (they will LOVE them later). Lastly I would say don’t be afraid to get out. My first outing was to a mall and I headed straight for the Nordstrom women’s restroom. They have great couches and it is filled with moms and tiny babies. Getting out helped my moral even if it was only one stop. Heidi – 30 something
Motherhood is a crazy place, filled with elation, panic, frustration, ecstasy and simple wonder. Every woman approaches it differently, based on her own life’s journey. There are a few things to keep in mind, no matter what path you choose.
The first thing to remember: there are so many decisions to make as a parent, so many different directions to choose from, and so many variables to contend with. Every set of parents travels a unique roadway. It is great to get advice from experienced parents, but ultimately you need to trust yourself. Myself, I really wanted to breast feed my children but had numerous road blocks thrown in my way. So listening to all the people go on and on about how bottle feeding was horrible for an infant — ya, that didn’t help me so much. But those other people didn’t have to deal with my circumstances, and I let it go and moved on.
Second: there is no way 2 adults are enough to raise a child. If you hit a road block, get physically exhausted, have a child that faces unique challenges, please reach out for help. If you are blessed to live near your family, it’s sometimes worth it to put up with lectures from the mother-in-law if it means you get to take a nap. If you don’t live near your family, find a parenting group. Any sort of community where you can bounce questions off each other, vent frustrations and occasionally trade babysitting so that you can get your hair cut in peace. They come in different forms, but keep your eyes open for what your local area has to offer. You will be a better parent for it.
Thirdly: Your only job is to love your child unconditionally and get them ready to be a healthy, self-sufficient adult. They don’t need the latest clothes, or the fancy preschool, or a spot on that exclusive select sports team. If that happens along the way, great. But you just need to pay attention to their unique self, do your best to guide and protect them, and then watch them fly. They will constantly surprise you with their ingenuity and capacity for strength. Amy C. – 40 something
The best advice I got about a newborn came from my mom. She had been a nurse in the baby ward at the local hospital and she showed me how they got the babies to sleep in the nursery. At about 10am your baby has probably already been up for a few hours and may be getting tired. This is a perfect time to nurse them one more time, give them a nice warm bath and clean diaper and nightie, swaddle them tightly so they feel safe and then put them down for a nap. This helps your baby to begin to get into a routine of napping when they are full and clean and warm. Then you have a bit of time to relax-and make sure you do-because when they are up-you’ll be amazed at how little time you will have. Ann – 50 something
2. Ask for and accept help offered
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps
Helene – 60 something
1. The most important thing is to immediately set up a schedule you can work with and STICK TO IT! Although the “on demand” philosophy sounds wonderfully maternal, you will regret it in later months if you let the baby dictate your time. You will be amazed at how easy scheduling is and how much more relaxed the household will be.
2. Do NOT let your baby sleep with you. It seems easier, especially if you are nursing, but is a difficult habit to break. Your baby needs to learn to comfort him/her and you and your husband will need all the sleep you can get. As the child grows older and learns how to manipulate (yes, the little darlings do!) it will be difficult to put a stop to it.
3. Do not be afraid to ask for or take advice and help from moms, grandmothers, sisters, friends, etc who already have children. A new life is an awesome responsibility, and all the book learning in the world will not replace practical experience. Forgive yourself for not knowing everything and enjoy each stage as it comes along.
Marge – 70 something
1. Trust yourself.
2. Trust yourself.
3. And, trust yourself.