I think it’s important to reach out to as many people as you can when you are trying to figure out how to be a parent. Some people call this a village, some call it a tribe, but whatever you call it we all know how important it is to have a strong squad. These last few months I have been doing just this, reaching out to anyone and everyone I know for help. Recently, and old friend of mine who is killing this Mom game came to my rescue about a few of the things I needed help getting through. It was at this point I realized, we should all help out however/whenever we can for new Moms. I compiled a list of 10 questions and had her answer them. If you all like this style let me know, I think I will keep bringing in all sorts of people in our Momma Bear Mission blogs. Here are the 10 “Mom” questions answered by a fellow mom.
Did you breastfeed or formula feed? Why did you choose this path?
I breastfed. I always knew this was the route I wanted to go, but made a promise to myself that if it didn’t work, I wasn’t going to stress because FED IS BEST. I definitely took to heart every word that the lactation consultant shared immediately after our little one was born and may or may not have had her on speed dial with a couple (more than a couple) calls in that first month. Looking back, I did stress myself out more than necessary. So for soon-to-be or current first-time mamas, do WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR LITTLE ONE. No two babies and no two mamas are the same. What works for you and yours may not work for her and hers. I was told NOT to introduce our little one to a bottle until a couple of weeks before going back to work/sending our little one to daycare because introducing a bottle too soon could result in rejecting the breast. Well… they didn’t tell me that not introducing the bottle soon enough could also result in bottle rejection. That was a fun one to maneuver! If you breastfeed, did you supplement? We did not supplement but had we been advised to do so by our pediatrician, we certainly would have.
When did you introduce solid foods and do you have any tips?
Cereal at 4mos and fruits/veggies at 5mos. Power to the mamas who make their own baby food. That was not me – Gerber all the way and we did just fine. If your little one isn’t a fan of whatever solid you are introducing, try re-introducing 3-4 days later. Keep at it with those few days of a break in between. I had to remind myself that these foods are new territory to our babes so it takes a couple (a few) tries before they start liking it. Gagging is normal – babes are learning to maneuver food around with their tongue and the texture is obviously different than liquid. If you’re an Instagram-er, I 1,000% recommend following Shannon Tripp (IG: shan.tripp). She’s a pediatric ER nurse with four sweet babes of her own. She has lots of highlights on safety and whatnot. Incredibly reassuring and helpful.
What is a baby item you got that you found to be a waste of money?
Our friends had a baby before us and had this incredible bassinet/rocker that we knew we just had to get. It is great, but not something we couldn’t have lived without. It’s bulky and not easy to move from room to room. We’ll look into other bassinet/rocker options next time. Also – don’t go to Costco/Sams and buy bulk diapers before baby arrives. Wait until you know if your babe prefers a certain type. Some babes don’t do well with certain kinds (i.e. our hospital started us with Huggies and they seemed to work really well so we’ve just stuck with them. We tried Pampers after a while and I really didn’t like the mesh lining so we’ve just stuck with Huggies). Similarly, don’t buy a bunch of one type of bottle/pacifier until you know 1) if your babe will even take a pacifier (our little man never would… now he’s found them in his toy boxes (not sure why they’re in there?) and will walk around with them in his mouth and laugh… jokes on us…) 2) what your babe prefers. There are SO MANY OPTIONS.
What are your three “must have” items for babies?
There are lots, but our top 3 game-changers would be: 1) boppy baby lounger 2) nose frida + saline solution 3) humidifier and/or oil diffuser (check with your pediatrician and do your research before diffusing oils around your babe!) and because I don’t follow rules very well… 4) gas drops
How do you make time for yourself?
I still struggle with this. Mom guilt runs thick with me. I also struggle with anxiety at times so being away from my little one can really trigger not so fun thoughts. This has gotten much better as we have all gotten used to our new normal and becoming more comfortable every day as parents. Being able to do things on my own such as dinner with girlfriends, shopping with mom/sisters and so on isn’t as hard to do. I’m also a working mom so, in all honesty, I’m still in a stage where I just want to be with my little one as soon as the clock hits 4:30.
Did you experience a vaginal or c-section delivery?
Vaginal, but I also promised myself not to freak out should my “birth plan” change at the last minute. Whatever it took to get our babe into the world healthy and happy is what we would do!
Either path, what is one thing no one told you that you wish you had known?
No two birth stories are the same. Take everything “seasoned” mamas have to say with a grain of salt (and sometimes that salt should be on the rim of a margarita…). You’re going to hurt in places “down unda” you’ve never hurt before. Do not overdo it and DO. NOT. stop taking laxatives too soon (you’ll thank me later).
If you could tell expecting Dad’s one thing, what would it be?
The emotional roller coaster is real – buckle up. Bless my husband for his patience because my hormones were in some serious disarray.
What did you find most helpful right after you had your baby?
Talking to other new mamas and some seasoned mamas was really reassuring. I was scared shitless to say the least as soon as our babe entered the world. Don’t ever feel alone or that you are a bother; reach out and ask for help or advice. (But also, for those that are “seasoned” mamas, don’t provide any unsolicited advice <insert salt… on the rim of a margarita>)
Do you have any suggestions to make going back to work a little easier?
It’s tough. Ease into it if you can by starting on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of a Monday and maybe do half days the first couple of days. Open communication with your daycare provider or whoever is caring for your babe is phenomenal. But also know that your provider (in most cases) is taking care of others, too, so don’t be too much of a helicopter parent. Most providers understand how hard it is for parents to go back to work so the frequent texts/check-ins are par for the course. Our daycare provider sent me flowers with a note from our little one on my first day back to work that was so incredibly special (it made me bawl… but still special).
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