My Top 5 New Mom Tips
In exactly 4 days Kayden James Lindner will be 5 months old and I truly cannot believe it! When my mom used to tell me how “time flies” and reminisce about how “I remember when you were … and you would …” I would just roll my eyes. Well, I can now empathize and see myself doing that to Kayden when he is old enough to understand. I am already scrolling through videos and photos of his first few weeks and thinking how long ago that seems. I am no expert on parenting but there are a few things that I would recommend to maintain your sanity in the first few months if you are about to start a family of your own. Here is what helped me:
1. Don’t constantly compare:
For Mom: While it is easy to get caught up in your style of parenting, whether it be on demand feeding or scheduled feeding, breast-fed or bottle fed, realize that everyone’s experience is different and every baby is unique. Be understanding of other people’s methods, there is no right or wrong way to raise a child, so be open when you see other mothers doing things differently than you are.
For Baby: A big lesson I learned through this last few months is to not compare your baby to every other baby you encounter. Sometimes your friends babies will be sitting up before your baby is, or sleeping through the night faster than your little one did, or vice versa. Every baby is different and will reach his or her milestones when they are ready.
Tip: Give the baby books a rest: While I did find some very helpful tips from the baby books that I read when I was pregnant, it became maddening because I was reading too many. There were so many conflicting suggestions that insisted it was their way or the highway that I became debilitated by the conflicting schools of thought. Most moms I talk to have said the same, remember that the babies in those books are the “best case scenarios” for that school of thought and no way in particular is the right or wrong way. Your baby is unique and wonderful and will have his or her own routine.
2. Listen to your instincts and your doctor:
I had no idea how opinionated people were about child rearing. It is an uber sensitive issue and people are always offering their opinion (usually unwarranted) on how to raise your child. Remember that the term “mother knows best” has been around for ages for a reason, trust your motherly instincts and when you don’t know the answer to a question, ask your pediatrician to help guide you!
Tip: When I first met with my pediatrician, I made sure that I could contact her anytime through email. This has come in handy when I have non-urgent issues that I need answered. There have been many 2AM feeds accompanied by a quick email to my pediatrician about everything under the sun which then get answered in the AM. This allows me to get back to sleep knowing that I will get the best answer possible in the morning.
3. Find your zen:
I have read over and over that babies can sense your mood and now that I am a mom I have found that is completely true. If I am stressed out, Kayden tends to get fussy and agitated so I have really tried to manage my emotions by staying as calm as possible. Don’t feel like you need to be supermom all the time, focusing on your baby is a full-time job so give yourself a break when some other duties fall by the wayside.
Tip: Getting out of the house will help you relax and get some fresh air. In the beginning, days would go by and I would barely leave the house. I then made myself include a walk or a drive into my schedule and that did wonders for my psyche. Schedule an outing during nap time, the motion of the car or the stroller usually helped put Kayden right to sleep!
4. Ask for help:
This was a tough one for me because I tend to want to think I can take care of everything myself but it is so important to ask for help. For my husband and I, we are lucky enough to have both our wonderful parents in state who are more than happy to visit and take care of Kayden. Time away from the baby can give you the ability to recharge and feel rejuvenated when you get back to your little one.
I also utilized breastfeeding support groups that were available for free through my health care network and I can’t emphasize enough how much these helped me. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to breastfeeding and overcame a lot of challenges with the help of the lactation consultants in that group. I recommend looking into what support groups your network provides and going to a class or two. Just knowing that I wasn’t alone in my struggle was reason enough to make it there every week!
Tip: For those who don’t have family close or need some middle of the night assistance, Mark and I used a home care agency to find amazing nannies that can be scheduled around the clock. These were a lifesaver when the sleep deprivation was really starting to get to us so please seek out one in your area! If you are in San Diego, let me know and I can recommend a few!
5. Don’t forget about yourself and your beau:
It is important to take care of yourself and your marriage during this time even though sometimes it feels impossible. When Kayden turned 3 months old, I was able to check him in at Child Watch at my local YMCA and workout for an hour or so a few times a week. This was such a sanity saver and it allowed me to focus on myself and my health a few hours a week.
My husband and I will also schedule a dinner date or movie date while Kayden is being watched which allows us to reconnect and reflect. There are so many changes that go on in a household after the baby is born that it is important to make sure you are on the same page and to spend some quality time with the person you started this journey with in the first place!
Tip: Try not to spend the entire date night talking about the baby. Make sure you allot some time to adult topics and events going on in each others work and life.