Long post alert! All new parents have SOOOOO many questions, and sometimes no one knows what to tell you. Hopefully, this will help and answer some questions, or let you know about something you never thought of before. I have my Top Ten Tips listed with extra tips hidden in the descriptions to make it more fun! I also have more tips listed at the bottom.
**DISCLAIMER!! I AM BY NO MEANS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. THESE ARE MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS ON CERTAIN MYTHS I WAS TOLD NOT TO DO. PLEASE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF YOUR BABY IS NOT AS ACTIVE AS NORMAL OR YOU HAVE ANY SIGNS OF MISCARRIAGE. NONE OF THE SUGGESTIONS I MAKE SHOULD CAUSE THESE TO HAPPEN, BUT JUST LIKE EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY AND YOUR BABY. (Sorry, I wanted to make sure I stated this first!)
TIP #1: VACUUM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE DURING PREGNANCY
By no means am I saying to constantly clean your house because of pet hair or germs, I just mean to have loud noises going on before they are born. While Mo Mo was in my belly, I vacuumed almost everyday, and played the radio a little louder than normal. It shouldn’t not damage your little ones hearing, but it will help to get them more comfortable with loud noises. When we brought Morgan home, my mom was holding her while she was sleeping, and playing with our dog, Scylla. Scylla was racing up and down the hall and my mom was laughing and yelling with the dog, and Morgan slept through EVERYTHING!!
TIP #2: DON’T SHY AWAY FROM A HOT BATH
Pregnancy causes so many muscles to tense and stretch in different ways that they could use a break. Your feet will appreciate it as well. With being Diabetic during the pregnancy, I had one day every 6 days where I had to switch out my Glucose Sensor and my Insulin Set. Those days were ALWAYS bath day compared to showering. It is a great break for your feet, but it also helps your baby get used to warmer temperatures. It is getting colder out here in Washington State and most of us are wearing multiple layers before stepping foot outside. For Morgan, she just needs a onesie, no socks and a blanket. She is so warm naturally (not sure if it’s from the baths or because I hate being cold) that she will sweat in her car seat if she is in it too long or if she has too many layers. They say to put one extra layer on your child compared to the amount you have. She is usually 2 layers short and is fine.
TIP #3: SHAKE YOUR BOOTY
They say to be cautious about the amount of activity you do while pregnant. If you workout weekly, even just once a week doing some weight lifting or just taking a 30 minute can help you keep swelling down and potentially help you lose weight faster after pregnancy. Don’t do any serious weight lifting or strenuous activity during pregnancy if you haven’t done it before. I was working out every day and lifting heavy weights that the doctor told me I could continue if I wanted because my body is used to it. I was not hurting my baby. Again, everyone is different, so if you are working out regularly and your doctor doesn’t ask, ask them if you are safe to continue or if you need to modify it. I worked out every day until morning sickness really kicked in and I had to severely slow down to almost nothing to keep my food down.
TIP #4: BASSINETS CAN BE LIFE SAVERS
We didn’t think we would every need one because we bought a crib that is one of the ones that turns into a toddler bed and has an attached changing table. We have only used the crib once for a nap time test run. The day we brought Morgan home, my husband went out and bought a bassinet and I swear it is WORTH EVERY PENNY!!! With her sleeping in the bassinet, we were able to have her right next to me through the night like in the hospital. It was so much easier to care for her since I had a cesarean section. Still tough to sit up but it was way better than if she was in the room across the hall and I would have to crawl to her. The one we bought I have linked HERE and it has 4 wheels with casters on them. They are a little annoying because if you walk to close, you can lock them by accident. We keep joking about cutting them off because we never lock them. James would move her in the morning and put her in his room if he woke up before I did. We had to feed Morgan formula because her blood sugar was a concern after birth, so I wasn’t fully needed for feeding times. I highly recommend a bassinet, they also make great changers in case you have a blow-out situation or just don’t want to go into their room to change them. Extra tip, have diapers and wipes in every possible location that you will need to do a diaper change. We keep them in her pack and play changer in the living room, in our bedroom for bed time, and in the diaper bag. Extra extra tip, get a back pack diaper bag. They have so many pockets and are big enough to hold your purse too! This is the one we BOUGHT!
TIP #5: SHARING ISN’T CARING, IT’S SELF HELP
I know that name is a little weird, but it’s the truth. Sharing how you feel, what you’re thinking, what is going on in your head is probably the best medicine Postpartum you can take. Never EVER be afraid to express how you feel about your body, your strength, your relationship with your partner or your baby. I have to admit I had Postpartum Depression, but not the scary type everyone talks about. I felt like a terrible mother because it caused me so much pain to move after birth, I couldn’t tend to Morgan as quickly as I wanted. I thought I was failing as a mother for the amount of time she spent crying while I was crying to move to her and my husband had to get her for me. I couldn’t go up and down the stairs because of swelling in my legs so I was very upset about my body and how I felt like I couldn’t change it. I cried myself to sleep a few nights, and some nights I barely slept. Not because of her crying, but because in bed, with her in the bassinet, she was in arms reach and it didn’t cause me pain to get her. I was constantly eating and causing my blood sugars to go haywire and that caused me to severely neglect my diet all together and ate whatever I wanted. Through all of this, I was venting to my mom and James and I felt like a bad wife because I was piling my problems on him. Sometimes, it’s not the best to vent to your partner, leading to the next tip…
TIP #6: STRONG MEN HAVE A BREAKING POINT TOO
James and I didn’t realize it was possible, but men can experience a form of Postpartum Depression as well. Just as they can have sympathy pregnancy pain, he was going through stress and emotions that made it hard for him to be excited to go to work. We started having moments of snapping at each other and almost arguing about the stupidest things that would never bother us before. Trash needing to go out, dishes in the sink, formula being left out, it was very tense in the house. We watched an episode of “Adam Ruins Everything” that talked about pregnancy all together. When they started talking about PD, a light bulb went off. We talked and he made the decision to talk to someone else. Not that he didn’t want to talk to me, but as much as you want to spend every minute together, in situations like this, you need someone else. He was apprehensive about airing whats going on because he felt he was losing pride and giving up, but he was actually gaining ways to help himself as well as being able to vent and relax. Never be afraid to ask for help. You can always message me if you need to vent or have something to get off your chest. I’m all ears and hope I can help, even a little.
TIP #7: SO MANY WAYS TO ENTER THE WORLD
Natural birth. Water birth. Cesarean section. Medicated birth. Un-medicated birth. Labor and Delivery birth. Home birth. There are so many ways to give birth and most of us choose one and stick with it. But what do you do when that birth plan falls through? As I state in my “My Pregnancy Story”, I was planning on an Epidural Medicated Vaginal birth. That is not what happened. I was not prepared in any way for a cesarean section birth. I didn’t look up the risks. I didn’t know the best ways to heal and help my self at home after birth. I didn’t know much of anything other than the stories people tell of how the procedure goes and what they do with your organs. I was horrified when I had to sign the consent form for the surgery, James and my mom had to calm me down while I was bawling. The tip in this section is to RESEARCH EVERYTHING!! Take notes from online research and from doctors. Ask your doctors what happens with each birth. Ask how things go and if you should have a specific type of birth compared to another. When you look into different maternity wards, ask all the questions on your mind. Don’t be scared to ask them, the doctors may have more knowledge than you think. It is better to have the information and not use it. If possible, have your partner or someone who will be involved in the birth go with you to an appointment and have them ask questions about what they will be doing. Better safe than sorry.
Now that the scary stuff is done, lets get to the fun stuff again!
TIP #8: IT’S OKAY TO GET CARRIED AWAY SHOPPING
Go crazy buying clothes and toys and different decor for their rooms! They may not be old enough to use the toys yet, but you can help them get curious. We have a walker that we have put Morgan into for the last couple months and she’s learned how to move it, she’s not even crawling yet and almost has walking figured out. We just bought a bouncy station that is for 6 months or older, granted she is almost 6 months, but shes “too young” to play with it. I still place her in it with a blanket behind her to fill the back of the seat and help her sit upright. Clothes are the worst with girls. Not because they are bad quality or anything, they are just SO CUTE and there are SO MANY OPTIONS!! The tip here, is BUY BIGGER SIZES. Just like with getting toys for older ages, don’t get a ton of newborn sized outfits. They will go through them quickly because of spitting up and accidents. Your baby may not even be small enough to fit into newborn, so all those clothes are going to waste. When you find that super cute onesie, or that adorable long sleeve shirt and matching pants with a penguin on the butt, get them for the time of year that it is appropriate to wear and will be the right size. We have (what I consider) a lot of baby clothes for the first 3 months, but we were able to have her wear everything, without making changes multiple times a day. Don’t get me wrong, the “I’m new here” and “Worth the wait” outfits are adorable and you should definitely get them if you want, but maybe get them in 0-3 months size if possible and have your newborn photos done in it. We had Morgan in a “The Princess has Arrived” when we brought her home and did Newborn photos in a “Daddy’s Princess” onesie. I love the pictures and can’t believe how big she is now. (Sorry, proud momma moment)
TIP #9: RUB DUB JUST SPLASHING IN THE TUB
Whether it’s everyday, every other day, or once a week, bath time is something you can’t avoid. When you’re getting information on birthing locations, you can ask if they will give your baby a bath to show you have to bathe them safely. We were offered a first bath by one of our nurses and we jumped at the opportunity to learn. She was in the middle of bathing her when she had an accident all over the bin and towels she was using. She cleaned up everything and mistakenly threw away the little scrubber brush. The point of that story, ask the nurse if you can keep the brush. We haven’t had one until recently. Babies are born with Cradle Cap, which is some scab looking skin on their head and the scrubber helps remove it. We essentially are starting from scratch. Another grooming tip, CLIP FINGER NAILS WHILE THEY ARE NAPPING!! It is safer, easier and calmer than when they are awake. I didn’t know this and when I first clipped her nails, I actually clipped her fingertip. She was screaming in pain of course, and I was overcome with guilt and remorse and kept saying I was so so sorry. She’s all better now and doesn’t have a scar or anything from it, and hopefully she wont remember. Another tip, get bath toys when they are born. Any kind of floating, colorful toys in the tub will also help peak interest in toys. Im going to link the tub we use HERE! We have an oval tub and it fits perfectly. I prefer to get in the tub with her to keep my back from hurting and to keep her in place because she loves to kick the water around. Bath time may be Morgan’s favorite activity and she proves it every time. She needs pretty warm water, warmer than what the “elbow test” would deem safe for babies. I learned my lesson after the first bath of too cold water. She was upset the whole time, screaming and crying. The next bath, I turned up the heat and she smiled and giggled and started kicking, so she now enjoys bath time.
Last but not least. I consider this to be the best tip of them all…
TIP #10: BABIES ARE LIKE RUBIK’S CUBES
With all the stories and tips I have talked about so far, we get to the last and best tip I can give anyone. Your baby will be different from my baby and everyone else we has had children. DO NOT LET SOMEONE DISCOURAGE YOU ABOUT WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD. As long as your baby is meeting checkpoints with doctors and developing in some ways, you are doing a fantastic job. I felt I was being ridiculed by the lactation experts in the hospital after I had Morgan because I was having trouble pumping, and had to feed her formula. They kept saying “hold her this way” don’t put your hand there” “your husband has to massage this area to help” and I just couldn’t get over the feeling of being a bad mom. She is strictly formula, growing how she should and developing at her own pace. Just because your baby isn’t sitting up at 4 months, doesn’t mean you are failing or they are behind the curve. BABIES ARE BABIES! They don’t know anything other than you, your partner and maybe a toy or blanket. They will learn when they are ready. If you are concerned that they are behind, ask your doctor. Again, your baby is different from my baby, you will learn just as they do. Don’t give up, don’t get discouraged and always ask your doctor if you have concerns about anything.
I know I was all over the place, but as I was typing, James and I kept thinking of more extra tips for you guys.
#11: It’s okay to not fall in love with your baby right away, let it grow. Just as your love for your partner needed time, so may your love for your baby.
#12: Co-sleeping isn’t a bad thing as long as you are safe about it. We have been co-sleeping for the last few months and we don’t use a “co-sleeper”, Morgan has slept through the night since we have been doing this so it may help you with nap time too. Again, be smart and safe about what you do.
#13: Getting in the tub with your baby makes you easier for them to see and shows that they shouldn’t be scared of the water. I always sit in the tub with Morgan, wearing shorts and kneeling down, or when James bathes her, he is wearing pants and I am outside the tub.
#14: Buying bulk wipes and diapers are great but make sure you don’t buy to many small diapers. You will use the diapers and wipes, but get them at a frequency that you are able to make the switch to a different size without having unopened boxes around the house. We go 1 box at a time to keep this from happening. Costco and Sam’s Club are great options!
#15: GET BOY SHORTS!! They are super comfy and stretchy. For Cesarean births, they are great for the recovery time frame as they are not tight or sit right above your scar. The ones I had went up to my belly button, which made it easier for my scar to heal.
#16: If you like an outfit, GET IT! Don’t worry if it looks to boyish or girly. We got a super cute blue sweatshirt, pants and onesie set that has a bear face on the butt, bear ears on the hood and bears all over the onesie. I looks very boyish, but its soooooooo cute on Morgan. Don’t worry about other’s opinions on the outfit, they should be thankful you put clothes on them at all.
#17: Nap when they nap. I know there are 100 things to get done in the house, but you are exhausted and need sleep too. Taking naps while they nap, however short they are, can help you relax more. When you lay them down for a nap, make sure they are in an area you can see them, hear them or have a monitor set up. Nowadays, there are a ton of camera monitors available that work in every room of your house.
#18: If you have a dog, when you come home after birth, play with them as much as possible to tire them out before introducing them to your baby. It is safer for your baby as well as them to not let their excitement out in a potentially hazardous way. Speaking of dogs, DO NOT leave your baby alone with them. They may not be mean towards them, but they could step on your babies feet by accident. We love them as our children, but they are still dogs and almost unpredictable.
#19: You and your partner are a team. Even when it doesn’t feel that way, you are working together to teach and raise your baby. Don’t ignore their suggestions and let them help when they want to.
#20: Don’t let google be your babies doctor. You are the parent. You make the decisions. Google will give you answers but it may lead you to the wrong answer.
#21: Just as you should always call your doctor, don’t call if your baby coughs once or twice. It could be spit. If they sneeze, it’s not automatically a cold. If they persist or get more intense, call your doctor.
#22: Don’t go too crazy with the amount of food you eat, but don’t starve yourself. Eat until you are full, just as you normally would. Try to make healthier choices and look for deals at grocery stores for salads and fresh produce. They have them weekly!
#23: Get your baby a soft, fluffy blanket for nap time. It can be any size, but make sure not to put too much of the blanket on them so they don’t cover their face. I made a blanket for Morgan using thin plush and Sew Plush fabric and she falls asleep within minutes.
#24: Don’t follow a schedule unless absolutely necessary. If you have to work and use a babysitter/daycare, it is helpful to them to have an idea of when feeding happens and nap time. If you are a stay-at-home mom like me, you have the option to not follow one. Baby will eat when they want to eat, sleep when they wanna sleep and play when they want to play. You will learn the different behaviors as you learn how to mother your baby. It is easier after about a month, I promise.
#25: As long as you have a bed/crib for baby, you don’t need to get anything super expensive or combination furniture. We splurged and got the combo crib/changer but you may not even use the changer.
#26: Pack and Plays make great storage areas. You can get one that has an option to be a changer/bassinet and use the bassinet area to hold toys, your diaper bag, you can keep diapers and wipes in there as well. It also is helpful when cleaning the room to pick up floor mats and keep them away from vacuums or roombas.
#27: You can never use too much diaper rash cream. You should use a generous amount to help them heal from the rash. They have spatula type applicators you can purchase, or you can get a box of latex (or latex-free for allergies) gloves and apply the cream in a cleaner manner and get in their hip area without getting it on their legs outside the diaper.
#28: Always wash your babies clothes before the first wear to eliminate the potential of allergy. You can use baby detergent for the initial wash and monitor your baby to see if they have any rashes from the clothes. We use normal detergent because Morgan has shown no signs of irritation or sores from it. Also, look at the tags and follow the cleaning instructions EVERYTIME! I can’t stress this enough. I bought a super soft furry vest for Morgan and didn’t fully read the instructions on drying. It needed delicate tumble, but I put it in for normal cotton temperature. It is ruined. I feels like carpet from the heat and the fabric moving quickly with other clothes. Don’t be like me.
In the end, you are in charge and you can handle this. You are stronger than you know, and you know you had a baby. I hope this has shed some light on some things you didn’t think of before.
I would love to hear what you think of these tips and tricks and if they work for you! Leave me a comment and I give me all the details!!