some things cannot be taught. some things you have to just learn by jumping right in. that’s what i did anyway. i wasn’t really around children before i decided to produce one of my own. i didn’t have an “easy” baby and had no clue what i was doing. no amount of What to Expect books could teach me the things i needed to know. so, even though i am sure there are tons of things i have already forgotten, i am going to compile a list of what i found to be helpful things that i wish i had known. for you mothering pros out there, you will laugh or disagree with me i am sure, but not everyone has the time, support, or ability to naturally know it all.
so here ya go. mothering tips from a recent learner.
1. any outfit/onesie/pajamas/whatever that doesn’t button in the front is a waste of time and source of sheer frustration on a newborn. i had all of these cute onesies that had to go over C’s head when she was born and they’d really only make me wanna cuss and her wanna cry. pulling onesies over a newborn’s comparatively large head when they are unable to help you is nonsense. make your life easier and take home the button shirt things they give you at the hospital and buy cute ones for home use.
2. no matter what anyone says, i am a fan of the wipes warmer. some newborns are really sensitive. and some never, ever want to sleep. my child was both of those. and colicy. and had her days and nights mixed up. and cried a lot. she would cry every time she was wiped with a cold wipe and it sucked. and i don’t blame her. who wants something cold touching them when you aren’t really expecting it. no one. once i had my wipe warmer, she was fine. (and eventually you don’t have to use it, but when they’re teeny tiny, save both of you the tears.)
3. put your baby lotion and baby wash bottles/containers in the bath water while it’s warming up. no one wants to be rubbed down with cold lotion, etc. this warms it up so that after his/her bath, you can slather him/her up comfortably.
4. if you can’t breast feed, do NOT stress over it or listen to idiots who have an opinion about you not breast-feeding. i wanted to breast feed and attempted to do so in the hospital. but sometimes, your, ahem, anatomy doesn’t cut it. i am one of those people who that ta-ta’s aren’t exactly shaped like utters or anything close to it. 🙂 i wish i could have. for C and for the weight loss. 😉 but it didn’t work out that way. i knew immediately that i would not be successful at breast-feeding and was already so stressed about making sure she would have enough to eat (and that i’d be able to keep this child alive once we left the hospital) that i was not going to go home and be an emotional wreck (when i was already off the deep end with hormones) and be worrying about my baby getting enough to eat. and she is just as smart if not smarter than some breast-fed kids i know. take that smarty pants! unfortunately, mothers who choose formula for one reason or another are all but bullied at hospitals, online, and by other mothers. no one is superior to you. know it. and follow your gut. my gynecologist even told me that lactation consultants are nut jobs most of the time. and he had delivered every nurse’s child on the labor and delivery floor. just do what you feel is right FOR YOU.
5. speaking of formula, you may have to try different kinds. C had to be on soy. if the baby’s belly is hurting, he or she is gassy, colicy, or constipated, try switching his or her formula. and you can talk to your doctor about that if you need suggestions. AND just so ya know, store brand formula is just as good as the fancy brands. they legally would not be able to sell it if it wasn’t. we used the walmart brand with C because that’s the only store near us and it was the most affordable. when they’re new, you may have to go through 2 large cans of formula per week. it’s crazy. oh, and i did not heat up my child’s formula. i used room temp water by filling up her bottle with water and leaving them on the counter. water straight out of the faucet. and then i bought a formula dispenser from Babies R Us and portioned out the amount she needed. when she was hungry, i poured the formula powder in and shook the bottle up real good. wahla! all done.
6. register for diapers before your baby shower. more diapers, less doo-hickeys. you need much less crap than you think. you need LOTS of diapers. we had enough from my baby shower to get C through several sizes. and once you start buying diapers, you do not have to have Huggies and Pampers. unless the baby has a sensitivity to a certain kind of diaper, use whatever you can afford. for us, it was Luvs. Walmart brand diapers SUCK. they’ll pee right through them. but Luvs work really well and are more cost efficient. and Target brand diapers are good as well.
7. the best “burp cloths” in the world are cloth diapers. just buy a pack and throw one over your shoulder. they’re so much bigger than regular burp cloths and more affordable.
8. you are going to need LOTS of wipes to go with all those diapers. i used the sensitive ones on C when she was a baby because they seemed to do the best job without bothering her skin.
9. if you can afford it, buy or register for 2 car seats if you have multiple cars. or 2 bases for your one car seat. it just makes life easier to be able to buckle them right in.
10. you do not need a travel system. i hated mine. the Snap and Go strollers are a better deal and so much more convenient when you are shopping or wherever. they’re not as big and bulky. and they’re cheaper! you can check those out here —> Snap and Go stroller and they’re super easy to snap the carrier into. you’ll wanna get a different stroller once the baby isn’t in a carrier anymore anyway.
11. if you have a baby with colic, Mother’s Bliss Gripe Water is a lifesaver. It seriously got me through our first few months with our daughter. Love it! you can read more about it here —> gripe water
12. get help if you need it. i had the “baby blues”. it wasn’t postpartum depression, but i was a basket case. i would cry for no apparent reason. i could be standing in the kitchen eating a piece of pizza and start crying. i was exhausted. as i mentioned, C didn’t sleep through the night until she was over a year old!!!!!! she was up every 2 hours as a newborn and had her days and nights mixed up. she also had a condition called Torticollis that we had to stretch her neck to fix which didn’t help. i really didn’t have any help for the first month and would just pray for God to get me through to the next month. finally, i broke down while my mom was visiting and she came over one day to let me get a few hours of sleep (seriously… she came one friggin day) and then my grandmother started coming every other night to help me. she would stay up while i slept for about 4 hours. i felt guilty having her stay up with C so i wouldn’t sleep for longer than that. but it really helped. and little things like, leave the baby with your husband/helper and drive to the store or somewhere ALONE. just take a break when you can. it’s not selfish. you are with your baby all day and night. take the break. and listen to music and watch funny videos on youtube when you can. i was so out of it that i forgot that i had a stereo in the living room and for some reason, i found so much relief from just putting headphones on and listening to music or mark lowry online when i could. i almost felt like it helped me to snap back to the real world from whatever crummy place my hormones had taken me. you’re not crazy. you feel like you are, but you’re not. the good thing that came out of this was that i was able to help a friend who went through it a year later. husband called me because “he couldn’t deal with the crying”. sometimes the men don’t know how to help when that goes down. and sometimes even your friends who are moms don’t know how to help because they didn’t go through it. get help from whoever makes you feel better.
13. Desitin is awesome. in the event that you’re baby gets diarrhea or diaper rash at all, Desitin will clear it right up!
these are some of the “pearls of wisdom” that i gained from starting from scratch with pretty much zero knowledge beforehand. and bonus: C is a GREAT toddler. she was a GREAT baby, too, just not an “easy” baby as you will hear people say.
i hope that these tips will help someone like me or anyone for that matter. it’s a hard job that no one can prepare you for. but it’s truly the best job, too! and i will have a toddler tip check list coming soon so stay tuned!
anyway, love and sunshine! 🙂