Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Notes to and from a new mommy.

I still consider myself a fairly new mom because my son is only 21 months old and, just like him, I am learning something new everyday. Over this period of time I have learned a lot about myself, the baby, of course, as well as about adults who are eager to dish out advice; most well-intentioned and less judgmental than others.

Here are a few things I would like to say to people wanting to "help" the baby and the mother :)

-Keep your advice to a minimum. Offer advice when the mother asks you or when you see the mother doing something that could potentially endanger the baby's health (which is highly unlikely.) Don't blabber on about how you did a certain thing in your days. Gently offer your two cents at the relevant time but only if it will make a significant difference. 

- Inundating the mother with your words of wisdom could actually backfire. You could end up overwhelming an already exhausted individual.

- ASK what the mother (and even the father) need help with- don't assume. Everyone's situation is different. Maybe the mother wants a stretch of five to six hours of sleep at night. Depending on your relationship with the family, offer to watch the baby one night a week by staying over until the mother finds her bearings. If the mother prefers to watch the baby herself but needs help with laundry or cooking then offer to do that and do it graciously.

- Please, please, please offer to help mothers when you see them traveling with children and infants. If they don't want your help they can say no. It's a lot harder to ask for help and hear a, "No," than to offer help and hear a "No, thank you."

- If a mom is visiting you with a small child and you do not have small children to look after yourself then take some burden off of her. If her child gives trouble at night, offer to watch the baby one night. If you work, offer to help on a weekend. I have heard the argument that the mother has to watch her own baby and its her responsibility and that others shouldn't be expected to pitch in. My answer to that is that it's not about responsibility or expectations, it's about helping someone - everyone deserves a break and a new mom more than anybody else. 

- DO NOT expect a new mom to help YOU with something. I know it sounds ridiculous but I have seen it happen.

-It is nice to visit the mother and baby and I am sure they would appreciate the company...for a little bit. All I wanted to do with any down time I had was to sit there silently and do nothing. I just wanted to relax by myself. So don't plan a day long expedition  unless you are going with the intention of helping and not just entertaining. Send the mother for a nap, put the baby down for a nap and sterilize the bottles- that is how you help :)

I had a very difficult time with my son for the first six months because he had severe acid reflux, constipation (which caused gas) and he started teething early. All those led to him being very restless and he would wake up every two hours at night and napped for 30 minute stretches during the day. Nursing was also very challenging for me. To top it all, we had moved to our new house the day before I went into labor so most of our things were still in boxes when I brought my son home. I had never been so tired as I was in the first six months after giving birth. Maybe I needed more help than an average mother because of my particular situation; everyone's situation is different, so ask the mom/dad and help!

Few things new mother's need to remember which might help them deal with their new (adorable) situation a little better:

- People forget how hard it can be to take care of a child- don't hold it against them. You'll forget too unless you make a note of it (like I am doing here.) Even mother of several children forget once the children have grown up.

- Everyone was not created equal- you are a unique individual and so is your baby. Your babies growth process will be different from other babies and the way you handle your child will be different from other mothers. Follow your natural instincts - don't sweat it.

-If you can't handle something at a given time- ask for help, don't feel like you must deliver all the time. Even those around you might not know what you need until you ask.

- Nursing is NOT EASY. It is supposed to be the most natural thing but, in the first few weeks, I felt it was the hardest thing I have ever done- harder than natural labor! It is important that you make it your priority and try and get yourself and the baby comfortable with the process so your baby can benefit from the milk made especially for him/her. However, having said that, you can only do what is "humanly possible," as my best friend said. There are many other aspects to being a mother; nursing is just one of them. Do your BEST and if it doesn't work, supplement with formula and be satisfied with whatever you did and focus on your child's other needs. My other bestie (I know I have smart friends :)) said that in the big scheme of things it is more important how you raise your child than if you nursed them or fed them formula. You are not a bad mother if you didn't nurse your child for a certain number of months. 

If you have a great mom then learn from you mother like I have but at the same learn from your child as well - let him/her guide you on your journey to motherhood. Trust yourself; you are the mother and you know best. You will always put your child's needs first because, after all, there is no ME in motherhood :)  


  1. I love your blog!!! I don't have a child - but I read your post and it reminds me of how I can help others - and it helps me prepare for the future!! Thank you!! I love you!!! ~Sarah :)

  2. Thank you both for your super sweet comments :)