POST:

Parenting Hacks for Early Motherhood | Why Experienced Parents Are So Confident & How to Handle Baby Advice

CATEGORY:

Babies

Date:

September 13, 2018

When I first entered motherhood, I kept watching my seasoned mom friends with almost jealousy. I felt like I must be doing something wrong because it wasn’t as easy for me. Turns out, that’s not true at all. They just had this secret weapon up their sleeves: they knew what to expect.  Not in that, “Oh yeah, babies are hard, I remember this” kind of way. More in a concrete, “I understand that this stage takes exactly two days to pass. I believe it will pass because there was a time three years ago that the very same thing happened and it passed” kind of way.

They have things etched into their memories from early parenting. Things like:

Baby’s initial sleepy stage: 24 hours

Body screaming out in pain as baby learns to latch: 1 week

Breasts engorged and throbbing: 72-90 hours

Fussy period: 2 weeks old – 3 months

Toddler tantrums: 2 years – 3 years

You know, that type of thing.

Now, have people written these estimates of time all over the internet? Of course. But if your baby arrives and you feel like none of that information made a difference, there’s a reason why: it’s because it’s hard to believe those stages really are just a stage until you’ve lived through them. Yep, motherhood is a learn by doing kind of experience.

It’s like running a long race. If you’ve run one before, even if it was years ago, it still feels somewhat attainable in the heat of it.  If you’re a race “virgin” it’s kind of hard to believe you will actually come out on the other side without collapsing. If you haven’t had a baby before, visualizing what’s ahead and asking others about their experiences, plus reading credible information from reliable sources can make those early days easier and can help you become a parenting pro, too. 

Now What About All That Baby Advice You’re Getting?

There is so much advice about babies out there. How to have a strong pregnancy, how to give birth and then, of course, how to take care of a baby in the first months to a year. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and, maybe, a little irritated, you’re not alone. It flustered me at first, too, when my mom would give me parenting advice. She hadn’t done the early motherhood thing in 30 plus years, what did she know? But the reality is, she had the ability to see things about my daughter that I could not. She also was not exhausted like I was. Same goes for friends with older kids – they can be a huge wealth of information.

Being a pediatrician made some aspects of baby care easier for me but not all of them, by any means (by the way, if you want some new mom pediatrician tips I DID learn along the way, click here to get our free guide). As my friend said when I was just four weeks into being a parent, “Don’t feel bad if you don’t always know what to do. You went to medical school, not mommy school! I imagine the things they teach in mommy school are much different than what they teach in anatomy class.”

The Key to Easing Into Motherhood?

Take everything as a suggestion and as an interesting perspective and then filter, filter, filter. Not everyone’s opinion is something you will use with your own child but, if you are open to others’ observations, you will be less frustrated and more successful (you can get our free guide to successful parenting in the baby and toddler years here).

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 | 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.

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 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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