Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Hey, first time momma. This post is for you.

March 18, 2015

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ainsleynewbornPhoto by Gina Zeidler  http://ginazeidler.com/  http://ginazeidler.com/blog

I’m so very sorry that posting has been so sporadic lately. I really should have just anticipated that I was going to need a full month of blog maternity leave to adjust to life with a newborn and life as a family of three. Of course, I though I was going to get so much more done than I’ve actually accomplished, despite what I had heard from veteran mommas who have much more wisdom about this parenthood thing that I have.

Although I don’t claim to be an expert, in fact I’m very far from it, I do have the benefit of perspective being in the thick of the new momma days and have a few things I thought I would jot down for all you out there who are thinking about pregnancy or are currently expecting your first baby.

1. Read all the books you feel comfortable reading, but don’t feel bad when you don’t remember anything you read in the first few days at home. I felt SO prepared before Ainsley arrived, having read parenting and sleep books galore, but when you’re awake in the middle of the night with a newborn that has their days and nights mixed up, it seems so much more real than the theoretical scenarios you read about. It’s okay, there will be time to go back and read later, and the books will all make more sense when you have a few weeks under your belt, anyway.

2. There really is no time like the present, so do your best to be in the moment rather than living for the next. Joe and I are constantly battling this only three weeks in! I find myself thinking about when Ainsley is a bit older and sleeps longer stretches, but then Joe gently reminds me that we should cherish this stage and not wish for the next because when she is a little older she won’t sleep on our chests with her little frog legs curled under her body and baby cuddles will be harder to come by. Keep reminding yourself that no stage lasts forever, even if it feels like forever at the time.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The nurses in our hospital preached the importance of not sending your baby off to the newborn nursery because of the value of bonding with your baby by rooming in with them. Thankfully some of my veteran mom friends told me differently! Take advantage of the help while you have it, sleep as much as you can so you go home well-rested and ready for the first wonderful-difficult days at home. And when your mom volunteers to care for your baby in the middle of the night while you go back to bed, take her up on that offer, too. You’re not a “bad mom” for letting others love on and care for your baby. You’re human.

4. Be an advocate for your baby, but check the worrying (and Dr. Google) at the door. I heard that once your baby was in the world the worry wouldn’t subside, it would only increase, and boy is that true! I’ve found myself worried over baby sniffles, poop color and tummy fussiness more than I ever thought possible. Since you are your baby’s momma and probably see and know more about them than anyone else, it’s your job to advocate for them when you notice something seems off, but know when to draw the line. Steer clear of Google and call your pediatrician when you really need a question answered. (I’m preaching to myself with this one!)

5. It doesn’t matter how (or what) you feed your baby nearly as much as people will lead you to believe. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding breast milk, formula feeding or a combination of both – the choices are numerous and the opinions are plentiful and passionate. I always thought I would breastfeed, only to find out that for a number of reasons (that’s another post for another time) the best solution for us was to bottle feed breast milk and exclusively pump. For the first few days after making that decision I agonized about the choice and felt guilty sharing that choice with others. But I soon came to the realization that even the best laid plans don’t always work out the way you want them to and that’s more than okay.

6. The first few days and weeks at home are tough. I know everyone will be asking you about how things are going and how your baby is sleeping and how you’re feeling. You might feel pressure to have it all together and say that things are just wonderful and you love being a mom, and that might be true. But if you’re feeling exhausted and mourning a bit of your old life with your husband and crying in the parking lot of Target 4 days postpartum, that’s okay, too. It’s possible to love your new life AND mourn your old life.

7. Find a support group of other new moms to walk with you on this road. I have a handful of momma friends who have newborns around the same age as Ainsley and have also joined a new momma/first-time mom class that meets at our local parenting center for six weeks. It’s SO helpful to connect with other women who are burning the midnight oil with feedings and baby fussiness and just knowing that there are others in your exact same stage of life helps tremendously. Because sometimes in the middle of the night when you’re up with a fussy baby it can feel incredibly lonely and you could probably use the reminder that it’s not just you navigating these unfamiliar waters.

8. Don’t try on your pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks postpartum. Just don’t. Give yourself and your body a little more time.

9. And speaking of bodies, remember that although you’re probably eager to get back into shape and start looking like your old self as soon as possible, your primary responsibility right now is to feed and nourish your baby and to take care of yourself. So focus on filling your body with nourishing foods, plenty of water and as much good stuff as possible. The weight will come off in time, or so I’m told.

10. Take a little time to yourself every single day. Nap while your baby naps, read a magazine for 20 minutes, let your hubby bond with your little one when he gets home from work so you can take a walk outside or a soak in the tub. Shower, wash your hair and put on makeup. Whatever makes you feel like your old self is SO important for your mental well-being, so do whatever it takes to make time for something like that daily.

Madison

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11 Comments

  • Reply DessertForTwo March 18, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I read this with a very eager eye! Thanks for the tips 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you in a few short weeks when I have my little one 🙂

  • Reply Cobo March 18, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    If you’re exclusively pumping, check out freemie.com for a hands-free option-they are cups that you just tuck into your bra or nursing tank. You can just buy the cups/tube on Amazon if you already have a Medela pump. I had a Medela pump and my insurance would cover a new pump for my 3rd baby, so I got my insurance to cover the whole set. I used this at home to be able to eat/work on the computer at the same time as pumping and in a separate room at work to keep my hands free to use my phone. As much as they claim, I would never use it out in public, but it does make it less awkward to be in the same room as a family member or something than if you’re pumping with the Medela horns. I have heard it’s nice for moms who are exclusively pumping to be able to feed their baby a bottle while pumping the next bottle, cutting the time in half. My baby is 4 months and since she usually only uses one side per feeding, I sometimes pump the other side at the same time to save up for when I’m at work. I wish I’d had this with my other babies so I want to spread the word to those pumping mommas!

  • Reply Urban Wife March 18, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    What a beautiful photograph! It made me all teary eyed. You are doing a wonderful job being Ainsley’s momma. 🙂

  • Reply Amy March 19, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Amen sista!! You really are wise for only being a few weeks in and I am glad you wrote what you did. I have a 14 month old (first baby) and I would have benefited from thinking a little more like you early on, although people said these things to me often, I didn’t always follow their advice. You sound like you are already a wonderful mama and are finding good balance with your new family of 3. I follow your blog and love it and am so happy for your family. I just re-read your posts about miscarriage as I just suffered through my first one this past weekend. Thankfully it was a very early MC but still tough none the less. Your posts were comforting to read and its so amazing to see photos of you snuggling your beautiful new baby. Congrats and wonderful post (and gorgeous photo)!

  • Reply Amber March 19, 2015 at 1:51 am

    I exclusively pumped for 11 months with my baby and felt guilty at first, but reaped the benefits like crazy! My daughter wouldn’t latch to save her life and I was producing to feed a village. What really helped my supply was to do it 10 mins every 2 hours at first! So glad my nurse told me that trick before I even delivered!

  • Reply Alicia Lapp March 19, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I love this. We’re expecting our first baby in a few weeks (!!!), and reading these experiences/tips from other new mama’s are so helpful!

  • Reply K Lyn March 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Great post! I’ve been enjoying your blog immensely as I had a miscarriage back in September, but am now 20 weeks pregnant – due on Aug. 1 🙂 Both your miscarriage and pregnancy posts have been so helpful. I’m currently reading all of those parenting books, but had a feeling it would be different when baby comes and you’ve just confirmed that! I’m sure I’ll be re-reading this when the babe comes. Congrats on beautiful Ainsley! Sounds like you’re doing just fine 🙂

  • Reply Lindsay March 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Great post! The nursery thing bothers me so much! After having a baby I am 100% convinced this whole “initiative” is all about saving hospitals and insurance companies money and has nothing to do with what is best for the baby and mother. Our second night in the hospital my daughter was absolutely inconsolable. She had aspirated some amniotic fluid and was coughing a lot of it up, and she was very hungry because my milk hadn’t come in (and never did) and I was so exhausted and becoming extremely depressed. We had a wonderful nurse who noticed this and said “please, let me take her to the nurses station just for an hour or two so you can get some sleep.” I didn’t want her to. I felt bad that I was “failing” and I also felt bad that the nurses would have to listen to her cry for an hour! She just smiled and said “we’d love to, it’s why we do what we do, we love babies!” I got some sleep and she brought her back about 3 hours later. I am eternally grateful she was there! Of course the baby should be with its mother as much as possible, but we have to take care of mothers too and I really feel like that is something that too many people overlook.

  • Reply Valerie March 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I needed to read this post…so, so great! Thanks for your honesty and sharing your wisdom! I’m starting to get anxious at 35 weeks and this helps me keep things in perspective 🙂
    Valerie
    http://www.the-style-files.com

  • Reply Julie Johnson March 20, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Another great post, Madison. My son didn’t really catch on to breastfeeding either, but knowing I had to go back to work and that I wanted to give him whatever I could produce helped to get me on a great pumping schedule. I knew he was still getting what he needed, I was able to save/freeze any extra I produced, and I really grew to love the fact that I knew what my body could do, how much my son was eating, and could therefore plan our day. I’m hoping with our next babe (coming in 9 weeks) I’m able to get on a similar schedule. Im not anticipating it will be easy to not be able to help either child for 20-30 minutes a few times a day, but we will work through it. As you said, each stage and each day is worth treasuring instead of stressing over. It is so true that you will look back on photos or watch your child throw a fit and think, I wish they were just that little sweet babe who would snuggle on my chest again. =)

  • Reply Colette March 20, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    She is adorable beyond words! Congrats!
    They grow up so fast. Mine’s turning 4 and the time’s been a blur.
    Enjoy every minute.

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