First Baby Advice

October 26th, 2010 in About Me, Parenting Tips

I went up north to Logan to see my sister for probably the last time before she pops out baby Mason. She was cracking me up with her “interview” questions like…”Vanessa, tell me the thing you were most scared of and most looking forward to with your first baby” and so on.

Ok, but you know what?  Here are some things I wish I had known before.  Some of these I was told, some of them I figured out on my own and some of them I didn’t know and I promised myself I would do them next time.

#1 Comfy Clothes for YOU:Don’t you dare try on pre-baby clothing when you get home or even a couple of weeks after.  And the thought of wearing high panel maternity pants will make you want to barf…because you want *OUT* of those suckers.  Geez, even my husband was so excited to see those go.  Just buy yourself some really loose, really comfy and really easy clothing.  Big warm sweatpants, a size up (or two) in yoga pants, big comfy t shirts and a larger size sweatshirt.  Oh, just do it.  And you know what?  We all just want to smack those women who like to brag, “I put on my pre pregnancy jeans the day I got home!”

#2 Warm Comfy Clothes for Baby: Don’t worry about the “cute” outfits the first few weeks. If it is clean and warm and comfy, that is good enough for baby.

#3 Tell People to *STOP* with the Horror Stories: Women who are insensitive enough to tell a terrified (if she keeps it hidden or not) brand new mama or brand new soon to be mama horror stories should be banished.  I remember asking one family member to just STOP because, honest to goodness, I could not take it anymore.  Don’t listen to the horror stories of birthing or breast feeding or recovery or whatever horror stories.  Your doctor and nurses and those close to you will tell you what you need to know or answer what you need to ask.  Don’t listen to the horror stories.  Just walk away or ask them to stop.

#4 NIPPLES:Hee hee, every time I leave my sister a message lately I work in the word “nipples” and I say it really slow and in a high pitched voice. Because I just want her to take care of those suckers!  Warm washcloths, praying, lansinoh (can I say when I was first pregnant I actually thought people meant Lamb’s Oil and it freaked me out) and just bucking up and going back to the lactation consultant if you need to do it a 2nd or 3rd or 4th time. Oh, and also just let them hang out there if you need to.  Come on, it’s just Lucas. He’ll understand.  You take care of those N-I-P-P-L-E-S and I will promise to stop saying the word.  Nipples. There.  Last time.

#5 Mom Points: There is not a secret tally at the hospital, with the nurses or doctor or your baby’s pediatrician. There is not a secret tally that says, “Oh my gosh, she has asked SO many questions.  She must be a horrible mother.” If you are worried about something, ASK.  If you don’t understand something, ASK.  It doesn’t knock you down on the ladder of good Mom Points.

#6 Really Weird Questions:Ok, there might be some really weird questions that you want to run by someone else before you ask a doctor or nurse.  I mean, come on, you are dealing with a new human’s anatomy and somethings are just *WEIRD.* Hopefully you will have a weird sister out there who will understand the weird questions and can give you the answers.  Or a mom or a close friend.  Whatever you do…DO NOT…I repeat DO NOT…Google It. Because then you will convince yourself you have breast cancer and your baby is within moments of dying.  Then, when you are already so tired you will be wide awake while your baby is actually sleeping because you read something really weird in Google or (even worse) in Yahoo Answers.

#7 Breastfeeding: You aren’t a bad mom if your milk takes a while to come in.  You are not a bad mom if your milk never comes in.  You are not a bad mom if breastfeeding is really, really hard for you.  You are not a bad mom if, after giving it a good try, you learn that breastfeeding is just not for you.  You are not a bad mom if you have a low milk supply.  It is weird the emotional issues that come along with this…man, it is just a weird thing…but know that you are doing your best and none of that makes you a bad mom in the slightest.

#8 Baby Feeds off Your Energy: My mom said this to me once and I felt like shouting out (or maybe I did cause I am a brat), “I KNNNOOOOWWW! I am TRYING!” But I didn’t know and I wasn’t trying as hard as I could.  Some things might be really hard for you.  Remember to take a big breath, maybe let the baby cry a bit so you can hide under the kitchen table and bawl, go stuff a chocolate brownie in that mouth and come back.  Babies DO feed off of your energy and they also bring a beautiful energy into the home as well.

#9 Baby Blues: If you start bawling and shaking the day you are supposed to come home from the hospital because you are SERIOUSLY FREAKED OUT…it doesn’t mean you have Postpartum Depression. If you feel as if you have a “bit” of the Baby Blues or in fact do have them for a while afterwards…it doesn’t mean you have Postpartum Depression.  Although, if it lasts a while or if you are having very scary thoughts…go get help. Lots of women suffer with this and, with help, you can feel better again.  Once again, It Does Not Make You a Bad Mom.

#10 Just be Flippin Lazy, Alright?:First babies are bliss in some ways.  One of the ways is that you can be soooo lazy at times. Take a nap with the baby curled up with you or in a comfy…contraption (man, there are so many of them) next to you.  Just read that magazine or watch that TV show. Your body needs to repair.  You will never have this first baby time again.  Just be darn lazy, OK?  You aren’t proving *anything* by “recovering so quickly and being back at church after one week” or “out on the town with the baby by your side days later.”  Really, it is not a race or something that makes you better.  Just let your body be and heal if that is what it is aching for.

You know…when I went in for Abby’s first pediatrician appointment when she was a few weeks old the doctor looked at me and said, “You are doing a good job.” And when he left the room I bawled.  Because no one had said that to me before and I was really worried that I was sucking everything up.  I am sure this is a line he said to lots of women but…I needed to hear it. And I’ll promise to say it to you.

Ok readers…any advice YOU have to give for First Time Mamas?

Also I want to add…none of the above may be applicable to you.  Because guess what?  Every single mama and baby and experience are so, so different.


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