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Six Things I’d Tell A New Mom-To-Be

October 18, 2010


These are not listed in any particular order of importance, just some thoughts I’ve had floating around in my head. I would love the opportunity to tell these things to every new mom-to-be that I know. If I don’t get the opportunity, well, here they are. Maybe they’ll just read my blog. 😉

1. Watch The Business of Being Born and read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Why? Because (most likely) everything you know about birth has been greatly influenced by pop culture. Tell the truth, how many times have you watched The Baby Story? How many movies or TV shows have you watched that showed a woman freaking out while in labor?

The movie will help you explore your options in childbirth and give you a better, more realistic understanding of birth. The first half of Ina May’s book is filled with beautiful stories of women giving birth naturally. I honestly didn’t know it was possible to actually enjoy or look forward to your birth experience before I read this book. It taught me that birth doesn’t have to be a major life event that is filled with fear. I hope it does the same for you. (There are other books about childbirth that I love as well; check them all out here.)

If you’re on the fence about this one or think it doesn’t matter, please go read this blog post!

2. Learn all you can about breastfeeding now. Watch this video from Dr. Jack Newman. Actually seeing a woman breastfeed her child is INVALUABLE. Spend the thirty bucks. Get the video. Flip through The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This book will be a great resource for you as you begin your breastfeeding relationship. Poke around some of the breastfeeding websites I link to on the Breastfeeding Resources page. Even go to a La Leche League meeting as you near the end of your pregnancy so you can get to know some moms who can support you later if you need it.

3. You can read all the books you want on parenting, sleep, birth and breastfeeding however, you won’t truly ‘get it’ until you actually are having your own baby and experiencing all of this with your own flesh and blood. Believe me, I know this to be true. We were the last of our friends and family to have children. I had taken care of children (including babies) for YEARS before I had my own. I read more books than any soon-to-be mom should ever read. I had it all figured out. Yeah. Not. So. Much. Your baby is unique and so are you. Your baby may not sleep peacefully in his little bassinet beside your bed. He may scream the second you put him in there and not quiet down until someone (Daddy) is holding him on his chest. And this may last WEEKS.

4. On that note, read one book on infant sleep. I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block (there’s also a DVD). You’ll find some great tips on getting your baby to sleep without going crazy. Yes, you will need tips on getting baby to sleep. They don’t just sleep all the time. They reach a point where they are much more interested in their surroundings than sleeping, even when they’re very tired and terribly cranky. (I do NOT recommend any books by Gary Ezzo. I haven’t personally blogged about this yet but Megan at SortaCrunchy has and I really appreciate her posts, so head over there for more info.)

5. Do your homework. Don’t do things just because you think that’s the way it’s supposed to be done or that’s all you know. Know the reasons behind your actions. Make educated choices for you and for your kiddo(s). What does this apply to? Birthing choices, breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations, diapering, parenting . . . the list could go on and on.

6. Your life is not ending because you’re having a baby. I remember saying to my husband, a few months after I became pregnant, that I wasn’t sure I was ready for ‘this’. He politely told me it was a little too late. Ha! Life as you know it IS coming to an end (take advantage of all that free time now). However, your life is about to get richer and fuller than you ever imagined. Yes, it will be hard, but it’s so unbelievably rewarding.

What things do you wish someone had told you when you were newly pregnant?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. jenn c permalink
    October 18, 2010 10:40 AM

    Great post! I really wish someone had said to me that just because breastfeeding is normal does not mean it comes naturally or easily. I thought it was as simple as latching the baby on whenever they were hungry. In part that is true for some babies that is all you need, and truly for my first 3 it kind of was. What I also didn’t know was that even if the act of breastfeeding comes easy and natural, maintaining a milk supply requires work for many. That is one thing I really wish I had known with my first. I never got engorged, but I leaked like a faucet. Unfortunately I never had a full supply for him, had no support and ended up with the only other choice I knew was available and that was formula. If I knew then what I know now things could have been so different. I am thankful for the 3 weeks we did get and I learned from the experience for sure but it still makes me sad knowing what we missed out on.

  2. Bethany permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:08 AM

    Breastfeeding options–Not me personally, but someone I am very close to wasn’t producing enough milk. She took Fenugreek (not sure of spelling) and nursed every 2 hours for 5 days and now she produces PLENTY! I agree with Jenn that it doesn’t come as easily for some and that many just quit because they think they can’t do it! Isabelle wouldn’t latch on when my milk came in and I borrowed a friend’s nipple shield. It’s a nuisance, but I would rather have dealt with that then switched to the bottle (since that’s easier for babies to suck). I was eventually able to wean her off of it when she was 4 months.

    Hair loss–I know it’s trivial, but my hair came out in chunks and hairs were all over the place from the moment Isabelle was born until she was 4-6 months old! Just having the heads up would be nice.

    Your baby is YOUR baby. You don’t have to let people hold your baby and you are allowed to ignore anyone who criticizes the parenting techniques you choose.

  3. October 18, 2010 12:02 PM

    Christy, these are great ideas to pass on to new moms! Now here is one from a Grandma:

    *It all passes by very quickly. The days may be long, but the years go by fast. You will blink you eyes and then have teenagers. Enjoy this sweet time! Cherish the nighttime nursing instead of cursing it. Rejoice that you get the opportunity to affect the personality development of this little being. Journal when you can because you will forget so much. Mostly…relax and enjoy:)

  4. November 6, 2010 5:59 PM

    I wish someone had told me that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is NOT the be-all-end-all guide to how to raise children!!! I read it cover to cover during my first pregnancy, and eventually abandoned ALL of those methods. They pretend to be neutral but just assume you will do things the mainstream way. Read OTHER books!!

    Oh, and no matter how much you love your baby, and want your baby, you WILL eventually have a moment (or more than one) where you want to scream your head off at them and wish them temporarily away…and this is okay. When they are waking at 4 am for the 15th time that night, you MIGHT tell them to shut up and go to sleep, already. Nothing can prepare you for it or prevent it, and it’s NORMAL and it WILL PASS. 🙂

    • November 9, 2010 10:35 AM

      You are SO right Kate. We think we’re the most awful mom in the world at that moment (and may even be going insane). It’s so good to know that you’re not the only one that’s ever had those thoughts.

  5. Hollie permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:02 PM

    Very good tips!
    And I love Bethany’s advice there at the end that it isn’t a requirement for you to let others hold your baby! Just as I slapped people’s unwelcomed hand as they ALL wanted to touch my pregnant belly (HELLO, it’s STILL my stomach!!!) I also didn’t let just anyone pick up my boys!
    OH and right on Kate and Christy! The best way to counteract the “shut up and go to sleep” moment, or at least delay it is to co-sleep (imo) I got more frustrated with my first who had his own bassinet versus the second who slept with me…. all babies are different though, so I suppose some babies will still scream their full heads off in bed with mom!

  6. Krista permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:53 PM

    I used to work in Maternity at the hospital and the number one thing I used to tell new moms is to just trust in their instincts. I hated it when people came in relying on the nurses and doctors to tell them how to take care of their kids. When I had my home birth, part of what was so empowering for me was not just about birthing naturally, but not having nurses check up on me to make sure I was parenting correctly! When I had my first son (in the hospital) I kept asking my mom a million questions to make sure I was doing it right and she told me that I’m the mom now and I make the decisions! That felt really good.
    Another thing, on that list of books, I think The Official Lamaze Guide should be added. It is a required reading to become a DONA certified Doula and so I had it laying around my house and the last week of my pregnancy I picked it up and it gave me more courage and knowledge to birth my baby. Different “methods” of giving birth (Bradley, hypnobirthing, hypnobabies, etc) give me (personally) anxiety because I worry that I’m doing IT right instead of listening to my own body’s cues. Not everyone is like this obviously, but the Lamaze Guide was exactly what I needed. It just told me what was going on inside my body, why it was happening, the hormones I was producing, and why you feel “pain”. It also talks about all of the interventions and really informs you on all of the risks involved. It’s SUCH a great resource. When I begin practicing as a doula more I am going to give this book as a gift to my patients for hiring me! It’s so great!

    • November 17, 2010 9:43 AM

      I had two hospital births. I have to credit the post-partum nurses with helping my first baby and me successfully nurse. They were incredibly helpful. With my second, I couldn’t wait to get out of that place (which is why I will most likely have a homebirth next time). I wasn’t filling out my breastfeeding chart and they were all over me about it. I finally just started making stuff up so they’d leave me alone. I fed my baby on demand which meant sometimes he nursed every 15 minutes for 2-3 minutes at a time and sometimes he slept for 3 hours before he wanted to nurse again. I did NOT have the time and energy to write it all down. He was having plenty of wet and dirty diapers which is what they should be more concerned with.

      Thanks for the suggestion to add The Official Lamaze Guide – will do! (And I guess that means I should read it too.)

  7. Angie permalink
    November 17, 2010 3:19 PM

    Sort of opposite from a PP, but LET people hold my baby and even ask them if they want to! I was so obsessed with holding him that now I think people are too timid to offer … and now that he’s older I could use the help!

    Also, if you ever plan on going out then introduce a bottle between 4-8 wks. I waited until about 3-4 months to introduce a bottle and it never went well.

    You aren’t going to be the “perfect” mommy but best intentions are the best plan. And you will ALWAYS be the ABSOLUTE PERFECT mama for your baby. He or she knows no different. THey don’t know that Sally down the street mops her floors more often and showers every day. They think you are beautiful, smell good and have a great talent for singing. He or she is your baby for a reason.

    And man, right now I wish I had 4 blueberry bushes the way this kid is obsessed with blueberries. So maybe I wish someone had told me to grow a blueberry bush. 🙂

    • November 17, 2010 9:26 PM

      The blueberry bush thing is cracking me up b/c both of my boys have had an obsession with them. 😉

      I *dream* of showering every day. I’d bet that at least 90% of us (stay-at-home-moms) don’t shower every day (and even hang out in our PJ’s for half the day on occasion). I get fully ‘ready’ so little that when I do my three-year-old thinks we’re going somewhere (like church).

  8. November 30, 2010 8:14 PM

    Thanks for the informative article, it was a good read and I hope its ok that I share this with some facebook friends. Thanks.

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