The One Thing Every New Mom Should Know
When you are a new mom, absolutely EVERYONE is full of advice. From the lady checking you at at the grocery store to your friend who had her first baby a few months before, people are bombarding you with what you should be reading, or doing to care for your bundle of joy. And though it is mostly well meaning, it can be incredibly overwhelming. You are reading everything you can and listening to all the advice and you are wondering if you are even capable of all this. So who do you listen to? What do you do? Answer: You do what’s best for you and your baby.
Revolutionary, right? It certainly can feel that way when several voices claim to have “the right answer” for everyone. And then “the right answer” doesn’t really work for you. You can feel like a failure. But you are not! Truth is: there is no one right answer.
But think about it: your baby is unique. You are unique. Your situation is unique. When you add it all up together, it makes sense that there is absolutely no way there is a one size fits all approach to raising babies. What works like a dream for one person, may be your personal nightmare. Research and ask for advice. But then trust yourself to make the best choice for your baby. The only thing you have to do is keep you and your baby happy and healthy. So whatever path that takes just so happens to be the best thing.
“I can’t believe they are letting us take her home.”
Trust me. I understand feeling completely clueless as a parent. As a parent of 4 little ones, it’s hard to imagine life before them. But before I gave birth to my first, I was afraid to hold babies because they seemed so delicate.
But trust me–babies are made to withstand clueless parents.
When my husband and I were leaving the hospital with our first, I just couldn’t believe they were letting us take our baby home. As I hobbled out of the door, recovering from over 24 hours of labor and an emergency c-section, I did not feel very confident about much of anything. Waving goodbye in the lobby, the nurses noticing the looks of terror in our eyes cheerfully waved us on exclaiming: “Remember, there’s no return policy!
You will become the expert on your baby.
From the moment your child is born, you are learning everything about your baby. You are around your baby 24/7–which is why by about week 2 you are pretty delirious. As your baby communicates through his body and cries, you learn to speak his language. You know what he is saying. From “I’m hungry” to “put me to bed now,” you really do become the expert on your baby because you learn his patterns.
However, you’re most likely not the expert on raising babies. That’s where research and getting trusted advice comes in. Get a solid base of information, and try things out. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
For example, Dr. Ferber’s book How to Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems pretty much saved my life. Sleep deprived and pregnant with my second child, I picked the book up at the recommendation of my pediatrician. Within the first chapter, my mind was blown. I devoured the book, and instituted his method and within a week, my husband and I felt human again and our baby was a happy little delight. But I know other moms who don’t feel comfortable with sleep training of any sort. That’s great! You have to do what works for you, your philosophy, and your life.
Super Simple Parenting Formula:
- Research everything you can. Read the books people recommend. Talk to moms you admire and get their best tips and tricks.
- Then, you do you. No one person has the same set of circumstances or personality as you do. Couple that with your unique and wonderful, never-before-seen baby, and you have a 100% new and unique situation that YOU are the expert at. So you do what’s best for you.
Where to Start: My 3 Favorite Books For New Moms
If you are looking for a place to start gathering information, there are a few books that I found really helpful and general enough that they can be useful to pretty much everyone. They all were extremely helpful books as I was adjusting to being a new mom and helped me figure out what was best for me and my baby.
- The Happiest Baby On the Block: This was a lifesaving book. The biggest question many new parent have (at about 2:00am) is “How do I make my baby stop crying?” This book answers that question with 5 basic strategies to soothe a crying infant. This book is seriously golden. The strategies really work.
- Heading Home With Your Newborn: This is a resource book written by 2 pediatricians who both happen to be mothers. It’s a great guide to things like the first fever, giving baths, and most of the questions that pop up in your first weeks home with your baby.
- The Baby Whisperer: I felt like I learned a lot from this book about how to actually care for my baby throughout the day. I didn’t quite follow everything she said, but it was extremely helpful information in helping me find my own groove with my baby.
Have confidence in yourself, mama.
As a mom, you truly are the expert on your baby. You may feel overwhelmed and inadequate. In fact, I don’t think there is a new mom who doesn’t experience those emotions! But, trust me, you are the expert on your child. You know when he’s hungry, or tired, or uncomfortable because you have been around him 24/7 his entire life. You are inherently the expert on your baby because you’ve been learning from the moment he was born. So, with some great information, you are most capable of figuring out what is best for your little family.
You’ve got this!