or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Archives › Pregnancy and Birth Archives › Due Date Clubs 2009 - 2012 › November 2011 › What you wish you had known....Advice for 1st Time Moms
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What you wish you had known....Advice for 1st Time Moms

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 

Hi Nov Ladies,

 

This is somewhat of a selfish request, being a first time mom myself...I was hoping the current mommies out there could share any nugget of wisdom, advice etc to help us 1st timers out.

 

belly.gif

post #2 of 105

This is easy! There are many, many things I wish I had known but the king of them all: I wish I had had the faith to trust my own instincts! You know yourself and you know your baby better than any one else. Don't take any advice before running it through your instinct filter. You will know what is right for your family!

Beyond that, I wish I had started out with a ring sling (taylor made) and had just started out with my baby in my bed/Arm's reach cosleeper. Oh, happiness.

 

I mostly wish I hadn't gotten all hung up on the "shoulds" and silly details and had just gone with the flow and my gut more. Do that and your golden!

Oh, and one more thing! Don't stress about nursing in public. The frustration of trying to hide yourself away all the time builds up pretty quickly and makes you crazy. Just do it, no one is paying attention. And who cares if they are? Not your hungry babe!

post #3 of 105
Thread Starter 

Willsmom,

 

Great tip on following your instincts, I already had one run-in with that as I was researching doulas early on....VERY early on and came across one that would take 1 week to call me back etc...I am glad I followed my gut and sought out another option and now am meeting with a wonderfully responsive group of ladies in a couple weeks.

 

I think when you are pregnant and a mom you have to keep your eye wide open to yellow and red flags!

 

Regarding co-sleepers that is a great suggestion....however we have a low platform bed....I wonder if I could find one that would work with a bed low to the ground....

post #4 of 105

*There's a learning curve on breastfeeding.  Once you make it past the 6 week mark, it gets easy.  It's NORMAL for it to hurt a bit, in spite of what any professional might say. 

 

*Soothies (gel nursing pads) saved me!  I like them so much more than nipple cream.

 

*Purchase a couple different carriers.  Each baby is different and each person likes different things.  I prefer the Moby for 0-6mo and and Ergo for 6mo+, but I also have a tube sling and a Mei Tai that I'd use (like when my Moby was in the wash). 

 

*Some babies nurse every 10 minutes, also normal.

 

*Trust your instincts. 

 

*Touch is one of the MOST fundamental needs.  Our society doesn't put most stock in this one.  There are many people that think a baby needs a clean diaper, but shouldn't be held too much. 

 

 

post #5 of 105

Every parent starts out with a list of "I will never's".  If you don't eventually do them all, you WILL do most of them (Right now, your probably thinking, "no, because I would NEVER ______").   Don't feel guilty.  Your child is going to be just fine if it watches TV or eats chocolate cake before its 1. 

 

DO NOT feel guilty about putting the baby down if that is what you HAVE to do- there is no shame in taking a mommy-break when you are losing it.  I think the biggest one for me, and this is going to sound terrible, but its so very true for any mother who has ever had a baby with colic- don't feel guilty if someday you understand how it is that somebody could shake their baby.  You have to make the difference between you and those people be the ability to put your baby down and walk away- EVEN IF THAT MEANS THEY CRY ALONE FOR A LITTLE WHILE.  I would never harm my child, but boy do I now understand how somebody with less common sense and patience could. 

 

 

post #6 of 105

My dh built me a a custom co-sleeper.  A basic co-sleeper built around a changing table mattress is really a pretty easy project.   Or you can simply use a crib mattress on the ground pressed between your bed and the wall.  Or if you have a large bed, you might not need a co-sleeper at all..  :)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter is Better View Post

Willsmom,

 

Great tip on following your instincts, I already had one run-in with that as I was researching doulas early on....VERY early on and came across one that would take 1 week to call me back etc...I am glad I followed my gut and sought out another option and now am meeting with a wonderfully responsive group of ladies in a couple weeks.

 

I think when you are pregnant and a mom you have to keep your eye wide open to yellow and red flags!

 

Regarding co-sleepers that is a great suggestion....however we have a low platform bed....I wonder if I could find one that would work with a bed low to the ground....



 

post #7 of 105

This is very true and I've thought the exact same thing.  "Wow, I could see how a person could shake or harm a baby"..  Sleep deprivation and a crying baby is a very tough combo. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Every parent starts out with a list of "I will never's".  If you don't eventually do them all, you WILL do most of them (Right now, your probably thinking, "no, because I would NEVER ______").   Don't feel guilty.  Your child is going to be just fine if it watches TV or eats chocolate cake before its 1. 

 

DO NOT feel guilty about putting the baby down if that is what you HAVE to do- there is no shame in taking a mommy-break when you are losing it.  I think the biggest one for me, and this is going to sound terrible, but its so very true for any mother who has ever had a baby with colic- don't feel guilty if someday you understand how it is that somebody could shake their baby.  You have to make the difference between you and those people be the ability to put your baby down and walk away- EVEN IF THAT MEANS THEY CRY ALONE FOR A LITTLE WHILE.  I would never harm my child, but boy do I now understand how somebody with less common sense and patience could. 

 

 



 

post #8 of 105

Yes... the number one thing is to question advice and the status quo and allow yourself to be open to new things and ultimately do what you feel is right whether it is "normal" or not.  The path of pregnancy, birth, and parenting is full of people trying to tell you the right thing to do, it's full of uncertainty, ups and downs, and it's full of social pressures and family expectations. 

 

Here are some things I was happy I had looked into while pregnant and some things I wish I had known about the first time around:

 

*Prenatal testing pros and cons- what to decline, alternatives to the glucose tolerance test, alternatives to antibiotics when dealing with GBS

*Risks and benefits of doppler and ultrasound, use of fetoscope

*Birth options- place of delivery, care provider, doulas, who is in the room

*Birth protocols- what things I wanted during the birth, what I did not, what I could decline/request (FHT monitoring, internal checks, etc.)

*Normal birth process- what to expect in normal birth, myths about "the rule of 10," urge/no urge to push, latent phase of labor, etc.

*Research on interventions and complications- pros and cons, ways to avoid, etc.

*Breastfeeding- what to expect, common issues and how to overcome them, where to get immediate support/phone numbers, La Leche League meetings, helpful items to have on hand, myths about supplementation, realizing that it's okay to nurse in public without covering up (for me, it took being surrounded by other bfing moms to finally let go of my inhibitions)

*Diapering- how to cloth diaper, what to have in my stash, common issues and how to overcome them

*Elimination Communication- It's not crazy!  It's easy, has many benefits, and you can do it part time!

*Basics of newborn care- what you need to do and what you really don't, things to actually worry about

*Pediatricians are not all alike- interviewing until you find one that really meshes with your values

*Vaccinations- pros and cons, making an informed decision BEFORE baby arrives and you get pressured

*Circumcision- pros and cons, making an informed decision BEFORE baby arrives and you get pressured

*Sleeping arrangements- understanding the different options, pros and cons, remaining flexible to do what works

*Baby Carriers- trying out different types, having several on hand, knowing how to use them, not getting stuck on the idea of one particular carrier

*Parenting groups- finding them ahead of time, getting connected with other parents who share your values BEFORE baby arrives so you have support to fall on when you need it, so you can get advice from like-minded people who have been there and done that, and so that you can get out of the house as soon as you feel ready

*Parenting Philosophy- reading books not just on pregnancy, but also on parenting while you still have the time, feeling out what kinds of things sound right to you, learning tips on how to soothe a fussy baby, how to create a safe and open environment for your crawler, how to discipline your toddler, where you stand on cry it out, etc.  And of course remaining flexible to try new things and be open to new ways of thinking when one way isn't working.

*Baby-led Weaning- a way to introduce solid foods

*Just how awful teething can be and ways to deal with it (Motrin, not Tylenol under age one!)

*Baby Products- what you absolutely need, what's handy, what works and what doesn't, what you don't need

*Don't be afraid to ask for help or accept help when it's offered (like meals, laundry, holding the baby while you shower, etc.)

 

Now that I've totally overwhelmed you....  ROTFLMAO.gif  You can get a lot of these answers, suggestions, advice, recommendations right here on MDC!  Ask away!!

 


Edited by Jaimee - 5/6/11 at 8:53am
post #9 of 105

all that baby gear we are told we HAVE TO HAVE..... umm, nope, really, you NEED very little.  :-)  All baby cares about is mama's milk, loving arms, dry pants, and being comfortable.  Most likely you'll need a carseat, and you'll want to make sure you have a safe place for baby to sleep. 

 

You can probably live without the swing, bouncer AND exersaucer, though having one of them around can come in handy at times.  And a stroller, too, can be nice, but it can also just end up being a pain in the tush - I often opt for a baby carrier instead, depending on the excursion.

 

Oh, and the most important advice, that I wish I had listened to.... sleep when baby sleeps.  Your little one is going to be the most amazing, beautiful creature you have ever seen, and you're going to want to stare all day long, even when he/she is sleeping.  Only stare for a few minutes, then go to sleep, or you will be extra sleep deprived!  I speak from experience!

 

post #10 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Every parent starts out with a list of "I will never's".  If you don't eventually do them all, you WILL do most of them (Right now, your probably thinking, "no, because I would NEVER ______").   Don't feel guilty.  Your child is going to be just fine if it watches TV or eats chocolate cake before its 1. 

 

 

It's SO true and becomes even more true with each kid I have!  Seriously my first never had sweets or watched TV until she was well over a year of age.  Number two, well, he ends up getting dessert when his sister does and he watches TV when we do...  I wonder what will happen to #3.  Hahaha!

post #11 of 105


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Every parent starts out with a list of "I will never's".  If you don't eventually do them all, you WILL do most of them (Right now, your probably thinking, "no, because I would NEVER ______").   Don't feel guilty.  Your child is going to be just fine if it watches TV or eats chocolate cake before its 1. 

 

DO NOT feel guilty about putting the baby down if that is what you HAVE to do- there is no shame in taking a mommy-break when you are losing it.  I think the biggest one for me, and this is going to sound terrible, but its so very true for any mother who has ever had a baby with colic- don't feel guilty if someday you understand how it is that somebody could shake their baby.  You have to make the difference between you and those people be the ability to put your baby down and walk away- EVEN IF THAT MEANS THEY CRY ALONE FOR A LITTLE WHILE.  I would never harm my child, but boy do I now understand how somebody with less common sense and patience could. 

 

 

 

 

thumb.gif Awesome advice!! Guilt is horrible... don't give yourself bad mommy guilt. Do what you have to do. 
 

 

post #12 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachdoll View Post

all that baby gear we are told we HAVE TO HAVE..... umm, nope, really, you NEED very little.  :-)  All baby cares about is mama's milk, loving arms, dry pants, and being comfortable.  Most likely you'll need a carseat, and you'll want to make sure you have a safe place for baby to sleep. 

 

You can probably live without the swing, bouncer AND exersaucer, though having one of them around can come in handy at times.  And a stroller, too, can be nice, but it can also just end up being a pain in the tush - I often opt for a baby carrier instead, depending on the excursion.

 



Yep, I second this! With my first two, I had a bouncy seat, a changing table, and a cradle. Neither of them had a room. The first, we couldn't afford any baby gear, the second we didn't want it. This time, we will get more stuff and do the whole nursery thing just for fun. Probably won't use it! My point is, you don't need stuff... all the baby needs is you!

post #13 of 105


This is soooo important. That mommy guilt can be a huge factor in PPD. Do not beat yourself up about doing things differently than you thought you would. As long as you're taking care of your baby, he/she doesn't care if it's all sunshine and rainbows along the way. It doesn't even have to look pretty. Do not feel guilty about that! I see so many people start out with that list of things they'll never do and drive themselves crazy trying to stick to it. Just go with what works for you and your family. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Every parent starts out with a list of "I will never's".  If you don't eventually do them all, you WILL do most of them (Right now, your probably thinking, "no, because I would NEVER ______").   Don't feel guilty.  Your child is going to be just fine if it watches TV or eats chocolate cake before its 1. 

 

DO NOT feel guilty about putting the baby down if that is what you HAVE to do- there is no shame in taking a mommy-break when you are losing it.  I think the biggest one for me, and this is going to sound terrible, but its so very true for any mother who has ever had a baby with colic- don't feel guilty if someday you understand how it is that somebody could shake their baby.  You have to make the difference between you and those people be the ability to put your baby down and walk away- EVEN IF THAT MEANS THEY CRY ALONE FOR A LITTLE WHILE.  I would never harm my child, but boy do I now understand how somebody with less common sense and patience could. 

 

 



 

post #14 of 105

I just wanted to say this is all really good advice! I especially agree with not listening to everyone else's shoulds! Your mother thinks you should give your 3 month old cereal so he'll sleep, your husband thinks you should have the baby at X place even though he isn't researching other options, your pediatrician says your baby should be sleeping in the crib or he'll "never get out of your bed" and on and on and on! Ugh! Just do what feels right to you - you're the baby's mom and what you want is just as legitimate as what anyone else wants!

post #15 of 105

This is all great advice! About PPD, know the signs and symptoms and if you think we have it, ask for help. About the nursery, DH and I spent SO much time getting DS' room ready for him while I was pregnant and then DS didn't end up sleeping in there until he was 18 months old. Don't dwell on things that you think you should have done differently, as long as your child is being cared for, that's what's most important.

post #16 of 105

I would even add here that not only you should know the signs and symptoms of PPD, but your partner, and perhaps another close friend or family member should know as well. I know from experience that when you are deep in the depths of PPD and anxiety you may not have the motivation to seek help on your own. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treegardner View Post

This is all great advice! About PPD, know the signs and symptoms and if you think we have it, ask for help. About the nursery, DH and I spent SO much time getting DS' room ready for him while I was pregnant and then DS didn't end up sleeping in there until he was 18 months old. Don't dwell on things that you think you should have done differently, as long as your child is being cared for, that's what's most important.


It's funny, because we took a lot of the "less is more" approach to baby gear, and I'm glad we did, but we ended up lacking in a few things that we found we needed. Which was fine, we just got them after, but it was stressful to be thinking and sorting it out with a 3-day-old babe. Things we didn't have enough of: newborn-sized sleepers (everyone said don't get any, just use 0-3 month size, but our peanut was swimming in the 0-3 month size, and we were grateful to get a couple smaller ones, even if she grew out of them in a month.), a contoured change pad mattress (we planned to just use a waterproof pad wherever in the house, but we found we really needed that contoured pad on top of the dresser) and a bouncy seat (we chose this as our place to put her down since it vibrated, and she was a kid that needed to be held and moved at all times, but took up less space than a swing.)

 

Make as much food ahead as your freezer will hold. Seriously. More than just a few days' worth, if you have the space. And make things you can eat with one hand, and try to avoid too many soups, you just end up dripping on the baby. And make lots of healthy snacky foods too, like whole wheat muffins with nuts, because you will want them in between meals in those first weeks of breastfeeding. 

 

And one last thing I wish I knew: don't rush starting solids. My girl just wasn't ready, even though I thought she was. Learn the signs of readiness, and make sure they exhibit ALL of them before venturing into that territory. 

 

Great advice everyone, listening to your intuition and not letting mama-guilt get the best of you are absolutely the best advice you can get as a new mother.

 

post #17 of 105
DDCC to say that 11 years ago I wish I'd known that, unlike in all the birth videos, some women don't react to the first sight of their newborns with ecstatic cries of love. Some women take a few weeks - or more - to really feel that love and connection with a baby
post #18 of 105

I've learned after 6 years and 3 kids to "never say never." There are no absolutes in parenting. As soon as I was feeling all proud and smug about XYZ (how great my baby sleeps, how well my toddler behaves while grocery shopping, how my kids gobble up healthy veggies), something happens that throws it all off and I remember (again) that this is all trial and error and your children will ALWAYS surprise you. Don't take their habits, behaviors, etc. too personally, because they are beings unto themselves and they will carve their own path (and I don't just mean older kids, I'm talking about babies, too). I also stressed WAY too much in those first few months about everything, I believed there was a "right" way to birth my baby, to nurse, to sleep, to feed him solids, etc. The reality is, I did many different things right and "wrong" with all three of my kids and they are all their unique selves, healthy, happy, good kids. And yours will be too - whether you "succeed" at co-sleeping or nursing for an extended period of time, or whatever. 

 

PS - make sleep a priority in those first few months. Whatever it takes - get some good stretches in there now and then. I know a lot of people say don't introduce a bottle too soon, but I have yet to see a baby reject nursing for a cold bottle. Pump or do formula for one bottle a night - let DH get up and feed the babe and let you get a good 6 hour stretch in there. (oh, yeah, don't heat it up - they still eat it, but it's less appealing!) Sleep deprivation is the worst part of new parenting and if you can strike some kind of balance there then you are WAY ahead of the curve. Sleep makes you actually enjoy those first few months!

post #19 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by berry987 View Post
I know a lot of people say don't introduce a bottle too soon, but I have yet to see a baby reject nursing for a cold bottle. Pump or do formula for one bottle a night - let DH get up and feed the babe and let you get a good 6 hour stretch in there. (oh, yeah, don't heat it up - they still eat it, but it's less appealing!) Sleep deprivation is the worst part of new parenting and if you can strike some kind of balance there then you are WAY ahead of the curve. Sleep makes you actually enjoy those first few months!


While I totally agree with making sleep a high priority and that it's a great idea to remain flexible to find different ways to do this, I would strongly caution a first time mom against bottle feeding at night during the first 6-7 weeks postpartum.  This is the time when your milk supply is being established and most especially at night.  Substituting a feeding at night could permanently damage your supply.  Since you're a first time breastfeeder you don't yet know how your supply will be to know how a bottle in the night could affect it.  There was another first time mom posting just a few weeks ago about doing this very thing b/c of how tired she was and her supply had diminished quite a bit to the point where she started supplementing with formula.  She got a lot of advice to ditch the bottle. co-sleep, and make nursing a priority.  A few weeks later things were better, but I believe she is still struggling a bit with her supply.  It's such an added stress and a mess of emotions when you feel like you are unable to feed your baby.  So, just a word of caution for those first 6 or so weeks.  :)

 

post #20 of 105

I very much agree with Jaimee. I really wouldn't chance it and mess with a bottle that early. You really do not know how it will affect you and besides, if you sleep through that night time feeding you will probably wake up engorged and soaked in milk. It can be extremely challenging and frustrating to latch a baby onto an engorged breast! Since this is your first, you really can sleep when the baby does. And they sleep CONSTANTLY during that first month especially. Personally, I never felt the extreme early exhaustion people warned me about--and I think that is b/c I learned to nurse lying down (immediately) and tried to sleep when the baby slept. I wouldn't plan on doing much of anything during those first 6 weeks except for recovering and learning to take care of your new baby.  It will give you guys the best start!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: November 2011
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Archives › Pregnancy and Birth Archives › Due Date Clubs 2009 - 2012 › November 2011 › What you wish you had known....Advice for 1st Time Moms