Ask The Audience: Advice For The Mom-To-Be

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Last week, we advised the newlywed. This week, let’s advise a pal of mine who’s going to have a baby who I know reads this site.

The very best advice I can give is this: everyone will advise you about your baby, from your mom to the little old lady at the library to the scary man at the bus stop. Listen politely to what they all have to say, then do what you want. No matter what happens, no matter how fabulous you are, you are going to screw up your kid in some way, shape, or form. So, you might as well follow your heart instead of following the latest parenting fad, or what your grandma thinks you ought to do. Besides, if you follow what your heart tells you to do, you’ll probably do things quite well anyway.

So, Home Eccers, tell my pal what you wish you’d known before becoming a parent. Maybe we can arm her a little better than we all were when we started.



26 Comments

  1. somine on December 15, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I think so good thank you for sharing
    My recent post Alasia Şömine YS 200

  2. One + Twins on February 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    When you make up the crib, this will save you some wear and tear if/when your baby’s diaper leaks or s/he spits up a lot at 3am.

    Make the bed “twice”…

    Put on the waterproof pad then sheet. On top of both of those, put on another set of waterproof pad and sheet.

    This way you just pull off the top “layer” of 1 waterproof pad and the soiled sheet and YAY the bed is made with a clean sheet. Deal with the soiled items in the light of day.

    You can continue this until after potty training is done 🙂

    I agree with everyone on the help advice! When someone asks if they can help…always say yes and tell them what you need…fold a load of clothes, make you a sandwich, hold the baby so you can shower. People love to help. I’m sure you are the first one to help someone else and you feel great doing it! Be accepting that you and your baby deserve help and remember that the other person will feel good to have contributed.

    I didn’t do this well at all with my first child, but I changed my ways once twins came. I realized my first also missed out on more Grandma time when I didn’t accept her “help time”.

    I thought I had to “do it all myself” to be a good mom. Now I know better.

  3. Robin on January 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    you do not need 80% of the stuff they try to sell new parents. a changing table? not necessary, a diaper genie, wipe warmers, baby bathtubs, etc. not necessary. The list goes on and on including a special chair to breast feed in ( your favorite chair in the house is where you will most likely end up anyways)

  4. carol on January 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Make sure you have 5 minutes a day to do something that feed yourself. Remember the rule of oxygen on planes – put your mask on then the child’s.

    I’m a post partum doula, and the above as well as Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block are the best advice besides BREASTFED. It helps prevent ppd, it helps prevent child neglect etc.

  5. Nancy on January 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Things I learned the hard way:
    Bleach is your friend. Babies expend pure protein, and only bleach will get it out. I think this is why most baby clothes are pastels.

    Breastfeeding does result in healthier babies. Yes, it is hard work, but You can do this. My daycare provider used to refer to the breastfed babies as “bulletproof”, because even when the older kids were getting sick around them, they stayed healthy.

    Time can be divided into windows. Baby taking a nap? Your window to grab a shower has opened. Baby just been fed, burped and changed? Your window to go get groceries has opened. When a window opens, go get something done – don’t play on the internet or read the mail.

    Lay a towel or a changing pad on the floor and change the baby on the floor. Babies cannot fall off the floor, but they can fall off a changing table. It is a sound you never want to hear.

    What works well for one child may not work for another child. Each child, even siblings, are individuals.

    Space out those vaccinations. Nobody knows what causes autism, so why take the chance? You cannot avoid vaccinations entirely if you ever want to enroll your kids in school or licensed daycare, but you don’t have to do four or six at a time. And don’t get them done any earlier than you have to.

    When a baby is crying, PICK IT UP! A baby is not trying to manipulate you – it has a problem and it is trying to tell you that the only way she knows how.

  6. Kendra on January 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    My advice…you are the parent. Smile and nod with unwanted parenting advice.

    Remember to follow you gut no matter how silly you think you may be.

    Parent simply. Don’t over think things and pick your own battles.

    Buy simply…babies love a piece of cheese and a tupperware bowl just as much as the $100 toy.

    Don’t forget to be a kid yourself. Dance, sing, laugh, and love hard…with that it pretty much all comes easily.

  7. Soire on January 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

    I just had my third baby 3 weeks ago! And so…

    Eat Well. Buy some pre-prepared meals, or stock your freezer yourself. Dinner those first few weeks is hit or miss.

    Let the house go. No one cares but you. There will be a time for chores, and the first few days/weeks while you find your grove IS NOT IT.

    Snuggle that baby, and sleep every chance you get.

    .. and if someone else offers to do the dishes/laundry/whatever? Say yes. 😉

  8. Taylor at Household Management 101 on January 29, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Give yourself a break with housecleaning in those first few months (or year) and just go into maintenance mode. Now is not the time for projects and extra cleaning, etc. Now is the time to have a very short list of things that must be done to function — like, take a shower, wash spit up baby clothes so the baby has something to wear, run the dishwasher so we have more plates. Stuff like that. You will also not be able to do any of these things at the time you think you should, because you will have this little baby who demands attention whenever she needs (or wants) it. So you just have a short short list of things to do each day, and do them whenever you get a chance.

    Also, make sure you take care of yourself. Take time to eat properly, and get as much sleep as possible (a tall order, I know). But taking care of yourself is important so you can take care of the baby.

    Finally, enjoy this time with your new baby, because it sure does go fast!

  9. Amy on January 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Having a pregnant belly or a newborn in your arms makes people think that it’s ok to get all up in your business. You don’t have to take stupid advice from every random person at the store (although, sometimes you can find support in the strangest of places, like Walmart, but don’t beat yourself up if you get the stink eye from some old woman over something – what does she know? Things have changed since she had her kids back in the stone age). After about a year, I made a rule – I only take advice from people whose children I would want to actually live with. That cut the Greek chorus of advice givers from an infinite number down to about two and a half. And even then, if my gut said one thing and they said another, I went with my gut.

    Trust yourself. Your instincts are good.

    Take a break if you need to – as someone said above, the baby will not implode if you let her cry for a few minutes to shower or get a cup of tea. After my then-6 month old bit my boob while nursing, then laughed at me when I said, “NO NO!” I had to put her in the crib and Walk Away, or I was going to do something I’d regret. You know what, recognizing my need to Walk Away made me a good mom. If you need to Walk Away, put the baby somewhere safe, and do so.

    But don’t walk to the corner store or Detroit or anything – stay nearby, but far enough away that you can’t hear the crying and just breathe for a few minutes. Back yards and garages are good for this.

    Your husband will do things differently. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Just as you can take four different highways to get from here to wherever, and all of them will eventually get you there – there’s more than one right way to do things with a baby. Your baby will actually benefit from Dad’s way. It’s ok. He doesn’t need to do everything the same way you do, and if you let him find his own way from the beginning, he’ll be much more likely to help you with the baby/kids in the long term. Only correct him or give advice when he a) asks for it or b) REALLY needs it. If he does something profoundly stupid and dangerous, of course you’ll correct him. But your instinct will (probably) be to correct every tiny thing he does with the kid, and that’ll destroy his confidence and make him far less likely to help. Be very judicious with your advice to your husband.

    I loved, loved, loved my Kangaroo Korner adjustable pouch, and my second child practically lived in it. It was expensive, but it was so worth every penny. I even bought a second one for summer. The winter one is fleece and the summer one is mesh. I was crushed when she outgrew it.

    Babies don’t have a lot of body fat, so if you’re comfortable in short sleeves, they’ll be comfortable in long sleeves. If you need long sleeves, they need a sweater. If you’re in a sweater, they need a sweater and an undershirt. One notch warmer than what you’re wearing is a good rule of thumb for making sure baby is comfortable. Of course, in the summer that doesn’t make sense, but if it’s 100 degrees outside, just let the baby hang around in her diaper. And feel jealous because you can’t run around in YOUR diaper! 🙂

    It’s super easy to make your own baby food, and MUCH cheaper. Just throw a few peas or whatever you’re having into a blender (I used one of those infomercial Magic Bullets and it was brilliant) or squash them with a fork. Babies don’t need jarred baby food all the time. Keep it on hand for when you’re having something spicy that baby wouldn’t eat, or for when you go out. Think of it as convenience food, and you’ll save a fortune.

    Speaking of food, there’s nothing magic in those special baby cereals (the kind for kids who are starting to pick things up) in the small containers. Buy Cheerios and save another small fortune.

    Same goes for the juice – there’s nothing magic just because it’s Gerber or it has a baby on the label – go two aisles over and buy regular, no-sugar added, organic apple juice, and you may eventually be able to afford college.

    You also don’t need nursery water. I don’t even know what that’s for. In fact, 99% of the stuff that they’ll try to sell you for the baby is just clutter that’s going to junk up your life. You need boobs, about a week’s worth of clothes, a bunch of blankets in various weights, diapers, and a couple of toys (Sassy toys are great, and cheap) to keep the baby busy, and a carseat. That’s it. Everything else is extra, and virtually all of it is unnecessary.

    Most of all, remember, when things get difficult, that it will pass and tomorrow will be a better day. I know it’s cliche, but they really do grow so fast. Those phases that seem endless when you’re in the midst of them will be just a memory before you know it, so relax, give yourself a break, and just enjoy it all as much as you can.

    Hugs,
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  10. Mom of three on January 29, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Rebecca,
    I have three kids , 18, 16, 11. Nope they don’t grow out of it. I have to lock the bathroom door even now or someone will have to tell me something. I think they like the captive audience. 😉

    I used to bathe mine when I took my bath and then hubby would come and get baby and dress them for bed and have his time while I soaked in the tub and had my time. It was so precious because the nursery was next to the bathroom and I could hear them giggling and signing. And I could relax for as long as I wanted to without guilt.

  11. mom, again on January 29, 2009 at 4:26 am

    1. Start as you mean to go on: Build Daddytime into every day. If you begin by doing it all, you’ll continue doing it all until bitterness & resentment force a change. It is important to prevent the idea that Daddy is babysitting from developing. Daddy’s don’t babysit their own children. They Daddy them.

    2. Daddytime means Daddy is actually caring for the baby in some way: feeding, taking for a walk, playtime, bathing, changing, comforting into sleep. It is not baby napping while Daddy does whatever. If there is an very important game, Daddy should be sure to have organized to take his time before or after.

    3. Daddy may not do things the same way as you. How things are done doesn’t matter, any safe method by a loving adult will do, so let him get on with it. Help if asked, but don’t let it turn into you taking over.

    4. At first, Daddytime is when you can shower or catnap. Later, since Daddytime regularly gives you time to use as you wish, you can afford to spend some of it doing chores & errands. But not always, reserve some for yourself. As soon as you are up to it, you should leave the house during extended Daddytime on the weekends, whether you are shoe shopping or grocery shopping doesn’t matter.

    (You may think you have a sensitive, forward thinking, co-parenting, modern kind of Daddy-to-be. But, in my observation of friends, family, bloggers spouses, commenters spouses and my own 2 husbands: even this sort of man easily reverts to ‘I go to work, that’s my contribution!’ and any of us falls into the habit of being the only parent who works at parenting. So, pay attention! The resentment this situation creates is NOT GOOD for anyone.)

  12. Rebekka on January 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I don’t have kids – but my little sister is a professional nanny and has been for years. I asked her once what she thought the most important part of raising a kid was – beyond clean clothes and food and love. She says consistency in discipline. She also says it’s hard because you end up feeling like a broken record, but when the toddlers are doing something they’re not supposed to, it will only get worse if you ignore the problem and then shriek at them when they knock over the china cabinet. They get one verbal no, and if they keep going she picks them up and moves them away from the table/couch/dog/baby/china/fireplace/etc.

    She says that parents tend to be mystified why their kids ignore them, but listen to the nanny.

  13. Rebecca on January 29, 2009 at 12:23 am

    The first time you try and cut her fingernails, you might accidentally get her skin. She will cry and bleed. You will cry and wish you bled. Cutting fingernails is the hardest maintenance task, and I still cannot do it 13 months later. (If you resort to letting your husband chew off her fingernails I won’t tell.)

    Be prepared to lose all privacy. I found a carseat on the floor of the bathroom really handy for both showers and going to the bathroom. Unfortunately, as the baby grows, thier need to be around you constantly doesn’t diminish and you might be forced to sit on a toilet starting at a kid sitting against a wall acting like she is on a toilet. I think they grow out of this (I hope so)

    Get a sling/baby carrying device. It will save your wrists if you have any tendency toward carpel tunnel, and if you are lucky your baby will be ok with sleeping in the sling while you try to cook something to eat. Its also much more handy than a stroller, trust me those things are obnoxious.

    The only clothes you really Need for a baby is onesies and blankets. Sure its good to have extra layers in winter, but don’t buy the newborn size. If you have a 9-10 lb kid you may never wear all of the clothes. If you have a little bit from 0-12 months you won’t wake up one day and realize the baby went from 0-3 months to 6-9 months overnight. Don’t ask how that happens, it just does.

  14. Kacie on January 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    So I’m nursing my 5-week-old and checking out the blogs, and I thought i’d toss in my 2 cents.

    If you have the energy and motivation while pregnant, freeze lots of meals and have your pantry stocked (including toiletries! and toilet paper!). It’s really nice to not have to worry about many meals.

    If you plan to breastfeed (hope ya do!) definitely seek help, and know that it does start to get easier.

    While recovering in the hospital, I didn’t realize how swollen my lady bits would get. Next time, I’m going to take one of those “donuts” to sit on while I heal.

    Good luck!

  15. Diaper Cake Becca on January 29, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Here is my advice:

    Do what your gut tells you to do with your baby. Being relaxed and finding your own way of being a mommy is better than trying to be what someone else thinks a mom should be.

    Dance with your baby. Sing with your baby. Music is relaxing to both you and him/her…..and it is a great thing to do with them throughout their childhood.

    If you have the time and inclination….breastfeeding is good for you, your baby and it really helps you bond. It can be tough at first but it is worth the effort and moments of frustration you may experience in the beginning.

    Being a mom is one of the best parts of life…..a day will come when you won’t remember how exactly your life felt complete without the kiddos.

    Good luck, have fun!

    Take tons of pictures and make sure other people takes tons of pictures of you with your baby. Time goes by so fast.

  16. Jean on January 28, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Throw out clocks at night. Never look at the time it is when baby wakes and don’t count how many times baby is up. I at least felt better rested when I let go of that, even if I really wasn’t.

    If someone you know has a baby now – make a meal for them and drop it off. Consider it points in your own “meal delivery” bank, post-baby.

  17. Angela on January 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Don’t be afraid to try things that have worked for others. Cloth vs disposable, try them both see what works for you. Baby wearing vs what ever else there is, try them both, you will find out what works for your baby. it might not be the “norm” but dont be afraid to try it, your baby may like it;)

  18. Heather on January 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Take pictures!! Okay, let me rephrase that- TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING! That silly shot of baby chewing on baby foot may look silly at the moment, but I PROMISE it will be your favorite in a few years.

    Oh, and take a few minutes each week to do something SPECIAL for you and baby. These special moments always create memories. 🙂

  19. tink on January 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Be flexible! Your baby will have his own personality, issues, etc…

    My daughter had a birthing plan and about 20 different “I’ll never do X with my baby” statements, and which all went right out the window with a premature birth and 2 NICU stays …. Don’t beat yourself up over anything, follow your heart and you’ll be fine.

  20. Ann at mommysecrets on January 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Accept hand-me-downs and shop at consignment stores! When you register for baby shower items, follow the advice in the previous comment, and take a practical mom with you to fill out your registry.

  21. Mist on January 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Be easy on yourself. You WILL make mistakes, and that’s okay. This is the way human beings (including your baby) learn. Just do your best. It really is enough.

    Regardless of what the stores with baby registeries tell you, you don’t need a bunch of “stuff” for baby. If baby is diapered, clothed, fed and bathed (whether it be with a cutesy baby washcloth in a cutesy baby tub or in the kitchen sink with Mommy’s washcloth), then you’re good. Less really is more when it comes to equipment for baby… and toys later on.

  22. Lisa- Domestic Accident on January 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    If someone offers, accept help! I don’t know how many meals and offers for help I rejected with my first two children. By the third, I accepted with gratitude.

  23. La Rêveuse on January 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    If he/she is fed, dry, and not in pain, it’s OK to take a shower even if the baby screams for the entire 10 minutes. You will not scar the kid for life. And you’ll need that shower. Don’t feel guilty.

    Much better to be a happy, clean mom than totally frazzled and stinky and take it out on your cute little screaming monster. (You’ll feel more guilty for that.)

  24. Karen on January 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    The best advice I ever got about becoming a parent was from my uncle: “Forget the books.” I wish I’d listened better. I got a lot of parenting books as gifts and they were full of contradictory advice (OMG the sleep approaches!). It was very confidence-sapping.

    You may want to have one reference on hand for figuring out if your babe is sick enough to call the doctor or visit the ER or some tips here and there. But otherwise, you don’t need a lot. If you know some parents whose style you admire, ask for a recommendation and get one, just one book.

    As to unsolicited advice, “Thanks, I’ll consider that,” usually ends the conversation quickly but with everyone’s feelings intact.

  25. Mom of three on January 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Ignore EVERYONE, but your BABY! Okay repeat after me. Ignore EVERYONE, but your BABY!

    That is the only way to stay sane the first 18 months. After that, ignore the baby and talk to everyone else, that will keep you sane until he’s grown.LOL

    Seriously, just listen to your gut and don’t try and please everyone. We all have our own horror stories, but WE are not raising your baby. You are. He or she is an unique individual that no one else has ever raised before.

    Oh and cherish every minute, it flies by much too soon. My oldest just turned 18. I still see him in my arms nursing and asleep. Don’t tell him that though, as it would totally gross him out. LOL

    Now since you seem to have not followed my first advice, LOL get flannel sheets for the crib. It cuts down on baby acne by absorbing drool. That was the only piece of advice for babies I got that worked.

    Once she’s four, buy only clothes that look good together so she can dress herself and put the swing set in your back yard. The only pieces of advice for older kids I got that worked. (From my two very smart SILs).

  26. Melinda on January 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Sleep when the baby sleeps. That means taking a nap during the afternoon, not trying to clean house. You will appreciate the nap during the 2 am feeding.

    Enjoy “babyhood” because “toddlerhood” comes way too fast. And even though you are exhausted, the first few months really are the easiest.

    And take care of yourself.

    Hugs,
    Melinda

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