Wisdom sharing: Things we have learned, from all-ready mamas to the first-time mamas - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I saw this idea for a wisdom sharing thread on another due date club and wanted to copy it, and the new mom fears thread inspired me to start it now.

So mamas who already have children, share your wisdom that you have learned along your birthing and parenting journey!

******************

My piece of wisdom for today:

Some women have an overwhelming emotional reaction soon after giving birth to their baby. They cry with happiness and joy, they are amazed, they feel something to the core of their being.

Some women don't.

Both are okay.

It's more common than I realized to not have that overwhelming emotion, and to me, the emotional cancerian moonchild, it was quite shocking not to have that response. But then I learned that a lot of women don't get that feeling and they think that something must be wrong with them, that they don't love their baby or can't love them the "right" way. But just because I wasn't bowled over with love didn't mean that I didn't love that little human I helped make and grew inside me.

So be prepared to feel whatever you feel, whether that's overwhelming emotion, reserved tentativeness, deep caring or even a little sadness at the life of a non-parent that you have left behind you. It's all normal.

~claudia
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#2 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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Great idea!

My advice: You are now the mama and you make the decisions. Realize right from the start that everyone is not going to agree with you and the choices you make, but know that your baby is depending on you to make the best choices for him/her.

In that same light, be prepared that you might not be as close to other mama friends as you had thought because you may find it hard to be around them and hearing them do/say things that you can't believe anyone would do to their baby ex. CIO, leaving a newborn for hours at a time, scheduled feedings, etc. I found it extremely difficult to be around moms that did things so drastically different w/o saying something that could be taken as rude or intrusive. I find it easier to keep my contact casual and find closer friends here and more like me IRL.

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#3 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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I've got 2 pieces of advice that really helped me out:

1) It's okay if the only way you can get through the first few weeks/months is by crying with your baby. Don't feel guilty or think of yourself as a bad mom if there are times when all you can do is cry. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world and you will not magically have all the answers or know what to do when your baby is born. But you will find a rhythm and figure things out in time. The "mother lion" will kick in! Give it time and don't be hard on yourself if motherhood doesn't feel like it looks on Johnson & Johnson commercials.

2) The housework will wait for you! You've got to evolve a different standard of clean when you have kids. It's okay if the dishes are spilling over the sink. They'll wait for you and you can do them later. Take care of your family and yourself first and don't be too anal about your house. You'll eventually get back to a place where you can get most of it done again.
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#4 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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1. Find a La Leche League group to attend. There will definitely be some like-minded woman that understand attachment parenting, breastfeeding beyond a year, and co-sleeping, not to mention many other types of parenting issues that Mothering mag. mamas need some form of support for! Just as another Mama said in her response, there will be so many mothers you come into contact with that tell you how they are so happy that their baby is sleeping through the night at 5 months because they "ferberized" the baby. It's so sad and it's easier to stay clear and find a group of women that would never dream of doing this cry-it-out-method.

2. Stock up your freezer with plenty of ready meals -- either cook yourself and freeze in the 9th month of pregnancy or buy a lot of Amy's organic or Trader Joes meals that can easily be popped in the oven for quick dinners that first couple months.

3. Find out if Pea-Pod or Safeway.com deliver groceries in your area. You can order tons of groceries online the night before when you have a spare moment and have groceries delivered the next day! It's only $5.00 delivery fee and worth every penny in the early weeks. They also have lots of organic options now .

4. Last, but certainly not least, make sure you take a shower every day. This may sound rediculous to those new mamas but it is no joke. It happens to lots of women -- we have literally no time to take a shower in the beginning weeks. Either make sure you take a shower at night while your partner/husband is home or take the baby into the bathroom with you in a moses type basket. I had a friend that put up only a see-through shower curtain so that she could "entertain" her baby while showering. There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING that feels better then having that daily shower when you hardly have time to get out of your pajamas!
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#5 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 08:55 PM
 
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Great thread!

Do NOT be afraid of "spoiling" your baby by holding it, rocking it, nursing it to sleep, cosleeping, etc. Phooey to anyone who cautions you against jumping at every little cry! All that love and contact will do is create a loving, gentle, independent little person in a few years!

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
DD-7 & B-G twins, 5
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#6 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 09:01 PM
 
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Okay...

There will come a time, maybe in the first six months, when you're tired beyond words, like bone tired, Death March of Bataan tired, and the baby is crying. Again. And won't stop.

In that moment, you will have a flash where you realize just where that place is in your head where you could be one of those people that shakes a baby or throws it aside, just ANYTHING to make it stop.

You won't do that. You're a good person with enough control over yourself to leave the room until you've gotten peace back in your heart...but you're going to feel like a completely dreadful human being afterwards.

You're not.
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#7 of 16 Old 05-22-2006, 10:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Okay...

There will come a time, maybe in the first six months, when you're tired beyond words, like bone tired, Death March of Bataan tired, and the baby is crying. Again. And won't stop.

In that moment, you will have a flash where you realize just where that place is in your head where you could be one of those people that shakes a baby or throws it aside, just ANYTHING to make it stop.

You won't do that. You're a good person with enough control over yourself to leave the room until you've gotten peace back in your heart...but you're going to feel like a completely dreadful human being afterwards.

You're not.
This is excellent advice. Everyone needs to hear this.

- Some babies have colic, and they cry a lot. It's not your fault. Hold them, love them, let them know it's okay to cry. Sing a song and take a deep breath... stop trying to 'fix' it and just breathe deeply. It'll be okay. One day they'll be two years old and can say, "I love you mommy" and you'll remember those days spent crying and wondering why your baby won't stop, and you'll feel very glad you hugged and cuddled them.

- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Really. This is not a joke, and it will be on the test.

- It's okay not to think your baby is stunningly beautiful when it's born. Generally, newborns are far from the supermodels of cuteness that we see in photographs of infants a few months older.
They kind of look like a squashed, overtired George Bush. But it's your George Bush, and that's what makes them special.

- Breastfeed on demand, co-sleep and learn to nurse side-lying! You'll get so much more sleep than you will when they're toddlers and self-weaned!

- Don't push too hard for them to grow up. Solid food is fun for you, but it's best for their bodies when they can enjoy it on their own (read: can feed themselves), crawling and walking are exciting but exercaucers and jolly jumpers can mess up the natural order and development... they'll all get there eventually!

- Get a baby sling. In fact, get more than one! All that money you save by not wasting it on cribs and walkers you can spend on beautiful baby slings and wraps. They will be the most valuable things you own!

- Don't compare your baby to everyone else's baby. Not all of us got our period exactly 156 days into our 13th year... neither will your baby learn to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, talk and potty learn when other people's children do. There is such a wide range of "normal" for these things that you can barely say there IS a normal.

photosmile2.gifBabs + trekkie.gifCurtis - Parents of Tempest blahblah.gif(08/07/03 autismribbon.gif), Jericho angel2.gif(11/01/05 ribboncesarean.gif), Xan moon.gif(10/03/06 uc.jpghbac.gif), Zephyra baby.gif(06/02/11 hbac.gif). mdcblog5.gif @ babyslime.livejournal.com

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#8 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 01:00 AM
 
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This might help some mamas get through labor...

With my first and only so far, I had a homebirth and was naturally a tad nervous. The contractions weren't as bad as I thought they'd be and what really got me through was focusing on the space between contractions. It was the most blissful, relaxed feeling I've ever experienced. Everytime a new contraction started to build, I just reminded myself that soon I would be back in that in-between place. It helped a lot! If you focus on what you like during birth, you will be able to minimize what you don't like.

Also, get rid of all visible clocks. My labor worked best when I "tranced out" and forgot about time. 10 hours seemd like 2.5 when all was said and done. Concentrating on time is a great way to get psyched out.

that's about it for now,

j
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#9 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 10:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by littleteapot
- Get a baby sling. In fact, get more than one! All that money you save by not wasting it on cribs and walkers you can spend on beautiful baby slings and wraps. They will be the most valuable things you own!.
I would like to second and third this. When my dd was fussy or tired -- and I was fussy and tired too, and we were both "scratchy" and out of sorts, putting her in the sling and walking around seemed to re-ground both of us, calm us both down, rebuild the frayed connection and sync us both. The direct, physical contact helped in ways I can't begin to explain, psychologically as well as physiologically. I am sure that it helped ward off PPD, at least in my case.
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#10 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Okay...

There will come a time, maybe in the first six months, when you're tired beyond words, like bone tired, Death March of Bataan tired, and the baby is crying. Again. And won't stop.

In that moment, you will have a flash where you realize just where that place is in your head where you could be one of those people that shakes a baby or throws it aside, just ANYTHING to make it stop.

You won't do that. You're a good person with enough control over yourself to leave the room until you've gotten peace back in your heart...but you're going to feel like a completely dreadful human being afterwards.

You're not.
ITA! This is good to know. I was completely shocked when I realized that I could be pushed to the point where I could react to a situation by abusing my child. I never thought that could be in me, but I found out I have a breaking point too.

When you get to that point, put your baby in another room. They'll probably cry and scream, but take a 5-10 minute break and bring yourself back to reality so you don't cross the line. I personally believe CIO is okay at these times. Having your baby cry by herself is way less traumatic than yelling or shaking her.
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#11 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jlpolzin
When you get to that point, put your baby in another room. They'll probably cry and scream, but take a 5-10 minute break and bring yourself back to reality so you don't cross the line. I personally believe CIO is okay at these times. Having your baby cry by herself is way less traumatic than yelling or shaking her.
Absolutely! It's just shocking when you get to that point. I remember sitting in bed with a screaming baby one night thinking, "Wow, I can really understand why some people abuse their babies." I was horrified at the realization.

Still now, with a 6 yo and a 4 yo, I take mama time outs when necessary. I think it's important for them to know that I'm angry/frustrated and that I take the time to collect myself and handle situations once I'm calm. The few times I haven't done that, I've yelled and that just made everyone feel worse.

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#12 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 01:25 PM
 
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These are all EXCELLENT pieces of advice!!!

I would suggest finding like minded Mamas to learn from, share with & support eachother, in your area. Weither it is at a LLL group (I highly recommend this regardless) or a playgroup. Search the web, Yahoo groups, MDC's finding your tribe, or start your own. Whatever you need to do, it is invaluable!!!

Also always remember that mothering is a continous journey of learning & growing. You have to make the decision that are right for your family & your family only! But also you can only do the best that you can with the information you have at the time. (2 of the best pieces of advice a good friend gave me) There will always be times when you wish you could go back & do something diffrently. Just use it as a learning experience & grow from it, don't beat yourself up.

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#13 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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Hmm. I have some thoughts on "mama instincts", let me see if I can verbalize them. Before my ds was born, and even after, I read lots of advice, relating to many different topics, that said "Trust your mama instincts, you know what is best for your baby." The trouble was, I didn't feel like I had those instincts! I found myself conflicted about many things - and still do - when parenting my baby, especially when it came to balancing my needs and his needs. What I finally came to realize was that when the time was right for whatever I was considering (should I start solids, should I leave him with my mom for an hour, should I worry that he is doing/not doing ___, is he ready for ____, etc, etc, etc.), I was no longer conflicted. Turns out for me, some of my mama instincts are subtle and easily muddled by reading or listening to too much information, so I've learned when I'm thinking about making a change for him, taking a new step, or trying a new parenting technique, if I'm feeling conflicted, then that is my answer right there - wait! Again, that's very personal, so I'm not sure if it will help anyone else.

Keeping busy with 2 boys & 1 girl ('04, '06, '08)
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#14 of 16 Old 05-23-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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They don't break. You would think this is one of those obvious things that you would know, but when you have this little person who is so tiny and "frail" you think putting that t-shirt on will break them. It won't.

Although you may think "Sally down the street" did it on her own without any help doesn't mean you have to. Take the support offered to you by the people around you whom you trust.

Just because "they did it" (when it comes to well meaning in-laws, parents, friends) doesn't mean you have to. Everyone and there cousin is going to come and tell you all the things you are doing wrong. This is your baby, follow your instincts. Just because they didn't do XYZ that way doesn't mean you should try.

Take a lot of photos. I took a photos of my babe everyday, I treasure those photos.

Its okay if you are not superwoman.
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#15 of 16 Old 05-24-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VBMama
Hmm. I have some thoughts on "mama instincts", let me see if I can verbalize them. Before my ds was born, and even after, I read lots of advice, relating to many different topics, that said "Trust your mama instincts, you know what is best for your baby." The trouble was, I didn't feel like I had those instincts! I found myself conflicted about many things - and still do - when parenting my baby, especially when it came to balancing my needs and his needs. What I finally came to realize was that when the time was right for whatever I was considering (should I start solids, should I leave him with my mom for an hour, should I worry that he is doing/not doing ___, is he ready for ____, etc, etc, etc.), I was no longer conflicted. Turns out for me, some of my mama instincts are subtle and easily muddled by reading or listening to too much information, so I've learned when I'm thinking about making a change for him, taking a new step, or trying a new parenting technique, if I'm feeling conflicted, then that is my answer right there - wait! Again, that's very personal, so I'm not sure if it will help anyone else.
Heck Yeah!! I have come to the point where I have read this and that and the other about eating, sleeping, tantrums, etc (endless list) and i get so confused now!! If I HADN"T read the books I would have missed out on some good info but I think that I just needed general info about babies. Ok its normal to start solids at around 6 months (this translated to me that babies younger than this shouldn't really have solids and I didn't give ds much to try....i wish i had...etc...) I needed to know how much he should sleep but not exactly when or anything!! I think that general observations and info from other current (not your grandmothers advice only) moms is the best and general guidelines (if you don't have a lot of interaction with other children) is all you need.

Also other advice. No baby ever died of crying. I repeated that alot to myself when i needed a break and no one else was there to hold ds.
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#16 of 16 Old 05-24-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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I'm loving this thread, even tho' I guess I'm supposed to have some mamma wisdom by now as we're expecting #3. Everything everyone has said is awesome, I have some small things to add:

"If the baby is happy, do not poke the baby." I made up this rule (I actually say it like this) for DH and all the zillion of well meaning relatives and friends who want to see the baby "do something" or who can't leave a sleeping or otherwise happy baby well enough alone with whatever is making him happy.

"The baby WILL go back to sleep/contentedness eventually." And this was for myself, if someone ignored me and the "poked" baby started crying ...

And last, not a rule but what I really REALLY wish we had done with #1 and #2 and what we are doing with #3. No visitors for the first week. I thought I had to have mom-in-law, mother, any and everybody around to support/feed baby and me. Not true. Honestly, having other people there was a mess and kept me from really relaxing around my babes and gaining my own confidence right from the start. It seems overwhelming at first, especially with the first one ... but really, lay down on a towel, pop out a boob and relax. There isn't that much else to do! (But making sure to take a shower is good advice that will keep you feeling human.)

Looking forward to reading more ... Caroline, you've reminded me to get that freezer stocked with ready meals, thanks!

IBCLC, LLLL, Mom to 3, obsessive baker, where's my coffee
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