Friday, March 1, 2013

{Lessons Learned} by a New Mom

a few things I've learned along the way...

Poor baby didn't know what was coming
when we got in the examination room.
When you go for your kid's first shots, be prepared.  Give him Tylenol before (mostly to make you feel better).  My mom mentioned doing this, but I wanted to see how the Cros would do.  He did well after multiple shots in each leg, but I was a mess.  I felt tears welling up in my eyes as his little legs were tense and bleeding and he cried a raspy red-faced cry.  And the fact that I heard child after child crying as I sat holding him in just his diaper wrapped in a blanket waiting for the doctor didn't help things.

Three sticks in this leg.
Dress him in a onesie so that his legs are exposed for his shots.  And you may not want to dress him in your favorite outfit.  His poor little legs were welling up with blood and I just knew his outfit was a gonner.  The nurse somehow kept it clean, but next time I'll be sure to dress him in one of my less favorite outfits.  Anyway, he was in nothing but his diaper wrapped in a blanket (so bring a blanket for sure!) from his initial weight, height, and head circumference until the doctor checked him out.

Happy Boy!
Your baby will develop on his own.  Don't worry about the milestones too much.  Of course playing with him, cooing back when he coos, comforting when he's upset, and so on is a must.  But as a new Mommy, I was worried about what to be looking out for and what I could help him learn along the way.  I've learned that it's more about encouraging what's coming naturally anyway.  For instance, he smiles... you smile back.  He kicks, you bicycle his legs.  "Growing up" is a lot more natural than I knew.   I think God gives babies this innate ability to develop and progress.  Crosby's latest happenings are that he loves to observe himself moving his legs and hands.  It's like he's just seen them for the first time.  He also notices when he is the only one in the room and Mommy and Daddy have slipped into the kitchen for a minute.  Involvement is key for him now.

You don't have to jump up and change him right after he dirties his diaper.  Chances are, he'll go again shortly, so you may as well not waste time, effort, and a diaper.  I change Crosby at after each feeding, but wait for him to "finish" first.  And you know the old saying "You don't wake a sleeping baby"?  Well, you don't.  If he's asleep and it's time for him to eat, let him sleep.  If he has a dirty diaper, but he's asleep, let him sleep.  I do eventually wake him once it's been an hour after time to eat, just so he doesn't get too hungry.  But not during the night; I let him wake me up.  And thankfully, he sleeps through the night most nights.  He has even gone 9 hours between feedings a couple of times at night.... talk about spoiled!!

Breastfeeding isn't for the faint of heart.  The first week or two are pretty awful.  You are sore and you feel like a cow.  But muscle through it.  After he learns how to latch, you learn how to help him latch, you learn his hunger cues, your boobs regulate and you stop engorging (but hey, you can pump and build up quite a supply during this time), you learn how to time your milk letting down and switching sides, and you learn when he's done, it really is a piece of cake.  I know that sounds like a lot.... and honestly, it is.  But 90% of the time, I know it's all worth it.  It's really just so natural.  I mean, mothers were made to do this.  The milk is perfect for their little tummies and gives them just what they need.  The only thing you have to do is take a vitamin and supplement with vitamin D drops (confession: I forget his drops more than I remember).  It really is easier than formula and bottles in a few ways:  You don't have to get up and prepare a bottle in the middle of the night... you just whip 'em out and voila... midnight snack for baby!  You don't have to worry about it being too hot or too cold.  You don't have to constantly wash bottles (unless you pump).  And one of my favorites:  it's free!!!  And of course, I like to be able to snuggle with my baby as he eats.

Less is more.  Step foot into Buy Buy Baby and your heart rate instantly goes up as your eyes cross.  But don't worry, the smell of baby powder in the air will calm you just the right amount so that you can make it through.  There are a million books, toys, and things that claim to make your baby develop appropriately and be less fussy.  You don't need it all. Just a few basic will do just fine.

Don't bother buying clothes before hand.  Chances are, you will get plenty from family and friends.  And until you know how chunky or tall he is, or how fast he grows, you won't know what sizes he needs.  And he'll grow out of them faster than he'll get to wear all of them if you get too many in once size range.  Also, different brands run very differently.  In one brand, he may wear 0-3 months and in another 3-6 months at the same time.  All that to say... just be sure he has a couple of gowns and our personal favorite- Gerber "Sleep and play" zip up outfits in the 0-3 range to start with and go from there.

When you gain 50 pounds over the course of 9 months (Yeah, won't be doing that next time... too much!!!), don't expect to lose it all in the first 2 months.  I've lost around 30 pounds at the 2 month mark.  Weight loss has slowed quite a bit now and the last 20 pounds will involve healthy eating and being active.  I try to stay grounded in the fact that I have to stay motivated to lose the rest, but also have to be encouraged that I've already lost a good bit.  The fact that I'm in one of my best friend's wedding in June helps just a bit!  Still trying to see my stretch marks as tiger stripes that I've earned, but I'm still working on that part.

Most importantly, don't sweat the small stuff.  No one expects you to be super mom.  Just live day by day and sometimes moment by moment.  When everything seems to be going wrong, just take a deep breath and remember how blessed you are to have your new little one. (Still working on this one!)

to be continued...


  1. Hey there! I just found you from a post on Pinterest.

    I'm a soon to be FTM due in August and I'm scared to death that I won't know what to do. I love how candid this post is. It verifies what a lot of my friends have said.. That it really isn't as hard as you're afraid it will be, and you just learn as you go. I look forward to keeping up with you and Cros.

    1. Hi! So glad I could help calm the nerves! Motherhood really is more natural than you might think. I won't lie... it's challenging, but the most rewarding thing you'll ever experience.:)

  2. You might want to ask your Ped about giving Tylenol beforehand...there is some evidence that it lowers the body's immune response, making the vaccine less effective.

    That's what I'm always learning as a mom....that we're always learning :-)

  3. That's interesting. I'll check into that. Crosby's Ped said that if I'd like give Tylenol pre-shots next time that it was fine, but I may ask him specifically about this now.