My Thoughts Exactly – 5 Pieces of Advice I’d Give To New Moms-To-Be

My Thoughts Exactly – 5 Pieces of Advice I’d Give To New Moms-To-Be

Preparing yourself for a baby can be a scary thing.  When I was pregnant, it was the whole not knowing thing that could sometimes get the best of me.  When you’ve never experienced something before, it can be hard to try and picture yourself enduring it through another’s perspective.

To be completely honest with you, most of the advice I was given during that time never really ended up applying to me.  “Sleep now – you’ll never sleep again”, or “just wait till you’re in labour – you’ll be begging for the epidural”.  Comments were generally very generic and on a whole, pretty negative.  There were very few little gems offered up (surprisingly ones that major websites and apps don’t seem to make much of a fuss about), so here are my top five diamonds in the rough…

1. Breastfeeding is a painful hell at first.  My good friend mentioned it briefly after she gave birth, but I only fully realized it when I went through it myself.  I had the naive idea it would be a natural act that just effortlessly falls into place (everyone will know what to do when we get there right?!).  Not quite.  While I loved every minute being so close to my babe, he had a problem with his latch (making it more like a biting motion vs. suckling).  When you’re getting bitten in an already extremely sore/sensitive zone every two hours, it can be tough to heal an ailing area.  Towards the end of the first week, my nipples were raw and in extreme pain (tears would free fall at every feeding).  Little man was getting enough food, that wasn’t the problem – but no matter how many nurses I confided in, no one was able to help me.  “He’s tongue-tied” they said.  “It can be corrected with a small cut under the tongue”.  No thanks.  The plan when I hit my breaking point ended up being sending the man out to buy a breast pump out of an intense desperation for a little relief (formula was out of the question).  I figured, until I can see a lactation consultant it will at least give my boobies a bit of a break.  No youtube tutorial or corrective technique seemed to resolve anything… until one day, he just started to stick out his tongue and everything felt better.  I admit, I was hella lucky.  Now, one of my favourite things in the world is cuddling up with him in bed and feeding him.  It’s important to be patient and pursue (no one has it easy – you and the babe have to learn together!).  Know that it does get better (to the extreme that you’ll look forward to it and find it effortless).  Keep it up mama!   Tip: Fennel tea did wonders for my milk supply, and is great at eliminating gas/any potential stomach pain little one may be exposed to through your diet.

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Photo credit [Andria Lindquist]

2. You DO need that swing/jumper/seat/crib/playpen/carrier/blanket/toy!  I felt like a bit of a lunatic hoarding so much baby stuff when I was pregnant, but thank the lord I did!  Baby gyms, Bumbo’s, strollers, teething toys, pacifier clips, swaddles… all things I read about in multiple articles of what you don’t really need when it comes to baby gear.  While I’m sure you’d do just fine without them all (potentially at the sake of your own sanity), life with them is really quite splendid.  When I want to cook breakfast – Bumbo or Ergo.  When I want to do groceries – stroller or Ergo.  When bub is crying but won’t take a soother – Sophie!  Little man is overtired but doesn’t want to sleep – swaddles.  Baby’s bored – new colourful toy on colourful/interactive play mat.  Having options not only aids with development (little one can experience so many different things in a day), it helps you go about squeezing a few extra moments out of your day to conquer necessities and pleasures all the while.  Note: These items are not to be used as prolonged distractions or substitutes for good old fashioned love and attention!

3. Your life is not over, your freedom is not lost, and you are not sacrificing yourself!  People used to warn me “once baby comes… (enter something I love that the speaker thinks I’ll never be able to do again).  Yes, caring for someone full time can be exhausting.  Yes, it will forever be them before you.  Yes, doing things require a lot more planning and organization.  So what?  You’ve got this amazing gift that most would kill to have, and believe it or not, putting all your attention on things other than yourself is really quite satisfying.  Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means selfless  - I still love taking my time with my makeup in the morning, getting my nails done, and having coffee with friends - but cleaning the bathroom (as funny as it sounds), has a whole new meaning now.  I want my home to be pristine so that my babe grows up in a healthy environment (you know those childhood smells you love revisiting when you’re revisiting your parents place?).  In short, your perspective changes drastically as an instinct that follows alongside mother/fatherhood.  It’s not that having kids makes your life worth living, it’s that it allows you to see yourself from an outsiders viewpoint.  You want success not to prove yourself to anyone or be a hotshot, but so that you can allow your children the best life has to offer.  Your success equals their prosperity to a said degree.  As for the freedom and sacrifice part, well I think Chris Rock sums it up rather beautifully; “When I hear people talk about juggling, or sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because “sacrifice” infers that there was something better to do than being with your children.”

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4. You don’t need specialty nursing bras or tops, and reusable breast pads suck.  Unlike clothing when you’re preggo, I find nursing tops/dresses to be fairly useless (and that goes for the bras too).  If you use logic and sport tanks or sweaters that allow access via neckline, you won’t need pieces that unclip and complicate (I won’t even bother going into how universally unflattering/expensive they generally tend to be).  What you do need is one of the nifty covers that allows you to watch babe as he eats (I loved Bebe Au Lait before I got the knack of just throwing a swaddle blanket over my shoulder).  Oh, and for the record – when it comes to breast pads, do yourself a favour and skip right to the disposable ones for no leaks, less laundry, and fewer frustration.

5. Save yourself some strife and skip the cloth diapers for the first few months.  I really, really wanted to go the washable route from the start.  Trouble was, buying the amount of diapers to sustain a newborn infant for a day or two is pretty costly upfront.  So, I opted for the next best thing – eco friendly disposables with adorable prints.  Now that I’m three months into the mother game, I realize that I’d be no match for meconium (black tar baby poo that is sticky like nothing else), or the sheer volume of changes I still go through on a daily basis.  My washing machine might actually go on strike if I add another load of it’s daily labour to the list.  The plan?  Snap them up slowly in a one size fits all fashion, introduce them casually into the diaper regime I’ve already got going, and build a beautiful repertoire until mini is potty trained and I’m ready for the next one!

I’m curious to know what advice you’ve been given, what the best piece you have to offer is (or what you think it will be), and what you think of mine.  Keep the convo rolling below…

xox

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