My new friend, Hilary just had her first baby. I know she’s still in the hospital because she is a big Facebooker. I just remembered a key piece of advice from one of my mom friends that she told me when I had my second child (and I wished I had for the first):
Put some Epsom salts in the sitz bath. It helps you heal faster.
I love to give advice, but as a little gift to Hilary and some other first time moms I know, here’s some of the best of the best advice from moms that helped me as a new mom:
Hoard/steal ice pack pads and disposable underwear from the hospital. (You can’t buy that stuff at CVS). Disposable mesh underwear? I wish I could wear it every day. (unsure of source, but it was a mom)
Don’t be afraid to give the baby some formula. (from a mom of four who breastfed and supplemented with formula)
If you are a super serious breastfeeder and worried about using a pacifier, think of it this way: the baby can use you as a pacifier or a pacifier as a pacifier (from my mother in law- she said it in a much more classy manner)
Nap when the baby naps. (from husband’s great grandma, which I could never follow because I wanted to empty the dishwasher or watch Reality TV)
There’s something to be said for mother/baby bonding. At the beginning when you have visitors staying with you or family members helping, have them do the housework and cooking- and retreat in your bedroom with your newborn for part of the day, your time together is important. Tell those baby hoggers to hand the baby back over. (from my best friend)
Don’t worry so much about books and what are supposed to do. Whatever you are doing is working. (from my firstborn’s godmother) Well, hopefully it is working. I worried that I knew my baby shouldn’t be in bed with me, but that’s where I wanted her.
The first six weeks: survival mode. Do what you have to do to stay sane. (husband’s friend’s wife) That means: order out, don’t worry about your house being messy or thank you notes not being written or that you won’t be able to get through it- because you will.
You can’t hold them too much. (a neighbor with successful, grown up children) She said this a little wistfully.
Getting the baby on a schedule before six weeks is unrealistic. (child psychologist friend) You will start to freak out about a schedule at some point the first month.
If you cringe when your husband is loud around the baby, or how he holds the baby, or changes a diaper, walk out of the room if you have to. He needs to find his own way and it may not be your way. (a very wise mom from my first baby group) This may seem impossible, as your husband cradles your new baby lovingly in his arms the first week. Wait until you are sleep deprived with a crying baby and he does some weird jostling move with the baby stiffly held a foot in front of him. He’ll figure it out.
Above all, take all advice (from the books, from the relatives, the friends, the old ladies in the grocery store) and do with it what you will. If you have any good advice of your own, share it. You are a mom now, too.