I have two dear friends who are about to become mommies for the first time, and I’m so excited for them! Yes, having a newborn/baby is a LOT of work, and can be stressful at times, but it is SO WORTH IT!! I love Shasta so much that I can hardly believe it! He is an amazing little person and makes me feel like the luckiest mom in the world.
All mothers have something in common: we love to give advice! It can be overwhelming and sometimes annoying, but most of us just want to help because we know how difficult(yet wonderful!) the experience can be. The main thing to remember is that everyone’s experience is different and every baby is different. I didn’t really understand that before I had Shasta and I saw other babies and talked to their moms. It’s TRUE. Some babies are great sleepers and some are not, and it’s not because their parents are doing anything wrong! I wish I could have told myself that before Shasta was born. I was all worried about doing things “right.” So I say to you soon to be moms, don’t worry, you will figure it out, and there are many “right” ways to do diapers, feeding, sleeping, etc.
So with all that said, I want to share with you some advice, and my favourite baby stuff, in the hopes that it will help you. But it may not be your thing or your baby’s thing and that is TOTALLY COOL. The best piece of advice is this: do what works. And you’ll find out what works soon enough!
1. One of my absolute favourite baby items is my MOBY WRAP. It’s just a long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie to yourself in a special way, and then your baby sits in there all cozy like a little baby kangaroo. I am still using it and Shasta is over 18 lbs. It supports him really well and doesn’t hurt me at all.
2. My favourite stroller is the BOB stroller. I think it may be a jogging stroller. It has huge wheels and can get through just about anything! It’s awesome up here in the Yukon because you need big wheels to get through the snow sometimes. I absolutely love it, and am thankful to my friend Carolyne for lending hers to me.
3. Shasta drinks from a bottle, and my favourite ones are the CHICCO kind. They are made of glass which I like. I have three and they are very easy to keep clean, and to warm up because they don’t float as easily as plastic does.
4. Shasta is using GDIAPERS. I like them most of the time, but they do leak quite a bit, and the cloth pads aren’t extremely absorbent so I do a lot of diaper changes. I’ve never used any other kind of cloth diaper so I don’t know if there are better kinds… but I’m not about to go buy any more! I do enjoy cloth diapering though and don’t find it difficult at all. I also use my own HOMEMADE WIPES – I just cut up some old t-shirts and keep them in a regular wipe box with water. Works great. Recently Shasta has developed a pretty bad rash all over his bum so I am letting him go naked most of the time. The doctor that I saw told me her children went diaper-free and they were all potty trained by age 1 and a half. I could handle that. I’m just putting diapers on him when we go out and when he sleeps. Yes, we’ve had a few messy accidents, but it’s not that big of a deal to clean up.
There is a great review on Kitchen Stewardship about cloth diapers if you are trying to decide which ones to go for!
5. Someone gave us a GloWorm plushie thing and Shasta really enjoys it. I like to play the lullabies as he goes to bed or has a nap. It calms him down and usually puts a huge smile on his face. Now he’s able to press it himself which is so cute.
6. Things to put baby in: some sort of infant seat, a bumbo chair, exersaucer, and jolly jumper! The infant seat we had was a rocking fisher price one and it was really helpful when he was a newborn. We didn’t have a bumbo seat, but my parents borrowed one when we visited at Christmas, and it was so cool! I wished we’d had one. He’s too big for it now though. The exersaucer has been great too, and it’s soo fun to see him enjoy the jolly jumper.
7. Amber necklace for teething: Shasta started teething around 3 months. I didn’t get an amber necklace until 6 months, which is when I was willing to try just about anything to help (I wondered if his shrieking was due to teething). I did notice a significant difference after he started wearing it, but that may have just been the placebo effect. I don’t really care either way!
8. Now for the “advice” bit! I mentioned in my post about things I’d learned as a mom that I didn’t really fall in love with my baby until he started smiling and interacting more. I remember talking to my friend Lori on the phone and asking her to pray for me because I didn’t feel like I loved my baby enough. That was when he was about 3 weeks old. If you feel like that, don’t worry, it’s normal, and you’ll start feeling the love soon! It does get easier, and way more fun!
9. Make sure you meet with other moms and friends regularly, and get as much fresh air as you can. Try to get some time alone every day to do whatever you want to do, even if it’s just half an hour.
10. If you are planning to breastfeed and it doesn’t work out, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! I pumped for 4.5 months and though I’m glad I did, it was very time consuming and I’m sure he would’ve been fine if I just gave him formula, which is what I’m doing now. You are not a horrible mother if you don’t breastfeed. I know lots of grown adults who were formula fed, including my husband, and they are FINE.
11. If you have body image issues, which most if not all new mothers do, remember that the other mothers are too busy worried about their own weight/stretch marks/belly flab to notice yours. Speak positively to yourself. I think the most attractive feature a woman can have is confidence. If you’re not confident, fake it. No one will know! Here’s a beautiful quote I saw on facebook a while ago:
12. Gather up some reading materials because you’ll have A LOT of time to read while you feed your baby! I read so many books in the first few months. It was great.
13. A note about labour: no one’s going to give you an award if you have a natural birth. If it works out for you, great, but please, do not feel bad if you want an epidural. I almost named our baby after the anesthesiologist.
There are so many more things I could tell you, but – you’ll figure the rest out. Get ready for an amazing phase of life!