POST:

Parenting Hacks for New Moms | Why Prioritizing Self-Care Makes You a Better Parent

CATEGORY:

Babies

Date:

September 7, 2018

I remember a mom friend telling me she had booked a day of massages and pedicures for herself a month after her second daughter arrived. I felt slightly annoyed. She said she needed it. Really? What a seemingly selfish thing to do. But, in reality, she was doing herself and her family a huge favor. Taking small chunks of time for yourself as early on as possible is one of the best ways to keep yourself from feeling trapped as a new parent.

My Early Parenting Mistake

With my first child, I got myself so bogged down by month three that I stormed into my bedroom after a night of very interrupted sleep and announced that I was going on a week-long trip with or without my husband once my daughter turned one. It was a little drastic but, at the time, totally necessary for sanity. My first child was so colicky, I needed something to look forward to.

What I See Now

Looking back, I see that if I had taken small breaks earlier on – a little trip to the coffee shop, a night out to dinner – it would have made a huge difference in my ability to stay resilient for the long-term. We did take that trip and, when I came back, I remember getting on the phone with my mother-in-law, who was incredibly supportive during those dog days of infancy. I told her, “I just feel so free. Like, if I need to leave for an hour or even a night, it’s no big deal. She’ll be okay and so will I.” I wish I had realized that earlier on.

You Really Do Need Self-Care

Take it from me and from my patients’ parents: You have to take good care of yourself to take good care of the ones you love (including your kids). 

Wanting More Parenting Help?

Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.

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Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).

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POST:

Parenting Hacks for New Moms: Getting Help In Ways That Are Actually Helpful

CATEGORY:

Babies

Date:

August 31, 2018

The Key to Newborn Parent Sanity? Getting Help In Ways That Are Actually Helpful

People always tell you when you have a new baby to get a lot of help. Take breaks, take turns with your partner, let others cook and clean for you, they say.  Great advice, except that it often means, in the end, a house full of well-meaning people giving unsolicited advice and observations for about three weeks while you hold a screaming baby and tried to not completely lose it. I see the same with many of the new moms that come to me in my pediatrics clinic.

A potentially better plan?

Let family and friends come in smaller spurts. Order take out instead of having people cook every meal for you or, sometimes, have them just drop it off and then go home. Take some alone time so you can get the information you need and are really looking for (if you’re looking for expert information on how to do this whole newborn thing, check out our online course, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself, here).

Meaningful help might come from sources that seem less traditional, like a doula or a caregiver. We relied pretty heavily on our nanny when we had our second baby. She was someone I knew would be respectful of our family process, would provide continuity for our eldest and would not stress out easily. It’s not that your loved ones are not important, it’s that sometimes there is an extra layer of complexity to their constant involvement early on. Now that I’ve had two kids and commiserate on the daily with other seasoned mamas and new moms, I’ve realized that this is a pretty universal sentiment.

You’re an extrovert? It makes you depressed to not have a posse around you at all times?

Great. Let ’em help. But, if not, let the newborn period be your first lesson in exercising parenting boundaries: doing what will work the best for you and your family, even if it doesn’t please every single person you know.

Wanting More Parenting Help?

Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.

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Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).

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POST:

Parenting Hacks for New Moms: How to Embrace the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Co-Parent

CATEGORY:

Babies

Date:

August 23, 2018

Struggling With How to Do the Whole Co-Parenting Thing?

Parenting is a balance of responsibilities and, if you’re doing this with a partner, one of you may have more skills or patience for some of those parenting tasks.

My spouse is wonderful at taking the reigns with our toddler. He can make a three-course dinner with grace. He could hold and change the baby deftly during the day when she was young. But, at night, especially once he went back to work after we had our firstborn, asking him to fully participate on an equal basis was like asking a slumbering bear to rouse himself from his cave in the middle of winter.

The choices I felt I had at the beginning? Yell at my partner (over and over) to please wake up OR do it all myself. Both made me resentful, to be honest. Instead, I settled on a more strengths-based plan: If he could just get our infant out of the bassinet and change her the first few times she woke (plus obviously stay up and problem-solve with me when we had a rough night), I would handle the rest of the night shift. In the day, he could do a little more baby holding while I rested and nursed (for more free tips on taking care of a newborn, click here for our free mini-course). Don’t worry, I made sure he did his part!

Why’d It Take Me So Long?

Why did it take me until my second child arrived to realize this was a more workable and, in the end, satisfying plan? Because the first time around, I was way too focused on precise equality and task-sharing, not considering that he would happily take the lead during the day if I would just let the man sleep a little more at night.

Second-time parenting brings its own challenges but at least you have the basics down. When you’re new at parenting, your first partner challenge is to divide and conquer, letting individual strengths drive responsibilities and contributions.

Wanting More Parenting Help?

Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.

new mom, breastfeeding, parenting hacks, new mom hacks

Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).

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POST:

Parenting Hacks for New Moms | How to Fight Back Against Mommy Failure Feelings

CATEGORY:

Babies, Parents

Date:

August 16, 2018

It didn’t take much for me to feel like a mommy failure when I was just starting out on my parenthood journey and I know I’m not alone. The feeling creeps in when we struggle with breastfeeding, when we don’t have all the “right” gear, when we don’t have all the “right” information or when we don’t handle every situation perfectly.

One mom in my office put it so well:

“I handle multi-million dollar sales transactions on a daily basis. I sit in a conference room with other business leaders and can influence their decision-making at the drop of a hat. But getting my toddler to put on her shirt? Somehow, I fail every day at doing that without getting flustered and losing my cool. It’s so demoralizing. I’m scared of what I’ll mess up when she gets older and it really counts.”

Our friends, our parents, social media, our significant others – pressure and guilt can come from all sides, piling on a sense that it’s all or nothing. That good enough is never enough. That only the best will do. That we are mommy failures.

The Real Secret to Successful Parenting

But the real secret to successful parenting is understanding and dealing with our own personal struggles and pain points, not pretending they don’t exist or acting like, if we just smile a little brighter, others won’t notice our humanity. Going to therapy, or to lactation or to our pediatrician for help. Understanding we are not as in control as we think we are most of the time. That sometimes we do our best and take all the classes and read all the books and IT STILL DOESN’T WORK. Taking a look at our own “weaknesses” and fears – these are the things that really make a difference.

What To Do When You Feel Like a Mommy Failure

Stop beating yourself up if you don’t always feel like you are the parent that you hoped that you would be. None of us are. Try your best. Deal with your own issues head-on, get the help you need to support yourself and give you the parenting tools that will allow you to rise above your most challenging days. Your children will thank you for it when they’re navigating their own parenting insecurities years down the road.

Want more solid parenting and mommy advice? Check out our free parenting resources here.

Need a great gift for a friend’s baby shower (or for your own baby registry)? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Yourself and our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Boy, Girl, and Gender Neutral).

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POST:

Parenting Hacks for New Moms | Why You Need to Designate a Soother-in-Chief

CATEGORY:

Babies

Date:

August 10, 2018

Breastfeeding mama? Your partner should be the soother-in-chief if you are the feeder-in-chief. Here’s why: If you are breastfeeding, you have a full-time job that requires rest, fluids, and patience to learn and perfect. You’ll do your fair share of baby soothing as a function of that job. But your partner should take the lead on soothing so you can accomplish your main mission.

Dr. Harvey Karp, in his book, Happiest Baby on the Block, wrote all about what he refers to as the fourth trimester. The basic premise is that babies are not quite ready to be in this world when they come out and that, given their neurodevelopmental immaturity, they are more easily stimulated by and irritated by the stress of the outside world.  Our goal as parents should be to try to mimic the intrauterine environment from which they just came, which is dark, very loud (think blood rushing around and a loud heartbeat), is almost constantly in motion (except when you are sleeping – that’s why babies tend to be more active in the evenings!) and is quite compact and secure. 

The 5 S’s

Your partner (and you) can re-create that same feeling of security by using what he calls the 5 S’s when baby soothing: Swaddling, Side or Stomach, Shhh, Swinging, and Sucking. You can read more about soothing a baby in our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint.

Letting your partner take the lead on baby soothing will help him/her bond faster with your baby and will help you both to see parenting as a team effort, minimizing resentment and building confidence for both partners. But, it still may take longer for your partner to bond with your baby. If you’re in that boat – don’t worry. It will come in due time.

My husband was always loving and in love with our daughter. He played with her and cuddled her every day. But it wasn’t until a year after her birth that he told me, “It was when she started laughing and reacting to me that I felt connected to her. That’s when we bonded.” 

The Benefit of Designating a Soother-in-Chief

Looking back now, it’s true. At about the two-month mark when he started asking me to send him pictures when he was at work and I was home with her. He started being sad when she was already in bed by the time he got home and he couldn’t participate in her bedtime routine. He missed her and he didn’t just love her now, he liked her, too! I’m so glad we made him Soother-In-Chief.

Want more information about caring for new a new baby without losing yourself in the process? Know a new mom or mom-to-be who needs some guidance or encouragement? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Baby and Yourself.

…and check out our Newborn Gift Boxes, designed to give information, inspiration, and a little love to all the modern mamas and mamas-to-be we know.

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