By Jane Loves Local
My name is Jane, I’m a new mom and I’ve learned motherhood is not for the weak. It’s grueling. It’s joyous. And it’s the most important team activity out there! Caleb, aka “Puka Shell,” is my one and only kiddo, born this past November. He was the best oops of my life. But the shift from my selfish twenties to my son being the epicenter of everything has not been easy.
I’ve received all kinds of advice and some has proved to be very helpful. With those words of wisdom, and with the aid of some innovative gadgets, I’ve come to enjoy Caleb’s drooly open-mouth kisses even more.
TIPS FOR SURVIVAL
Moms and moms-to-be do not have much time, so I won’t waste a minute sharing the advice that didn’t help. Here is only the good stuff!
*“Don’t change boobs!”
My lactation consultant quickly became my BFF. Breast milk has three stages beginning with a skim-like milk and ending with whole milk full of vitamins, proteins, and fats. Who knew? Babies need to eat a full 15-30 minutes on one side so the breast can cycle through to the good stuff. We had one heck of a gassy (and therefore crabby) baby before we learned this.
*The greatest advice I’ve received so far came from my sister-in-law: “Enjoy every phase.” The newborn phase we are in now is full of sleep deprivation, but it is also full of cuddles with my cutie pie. Each day he grows and learns is bittersweet. I love my cooing chubby-cheeked baby so much. But I also want him to grow into a happy and successful adult.
*“Worst-case scenario, get the car seat.” That was always my sister Katie’s mantra and I’ve found out first-hand it works. When the crying drowns out everything else, buckle baby in and swing them like your cardio depends on it!
*My own piece of advice: set feeding reminders. I did this on my phone. You will be brain-dead so it will seem like you just fed them. But a regular feeding schedule will make the baby happy and help you see that your child cries for a purpose.
*“Drink LOTS of water.” The importance of this advice could not have been more evident both before and after my delivery. Pre-baby, I experienced a false labor with pain because I was dehydrated. Meanwhile, last week I could not produce enough breast milk to feed my kiddo because I hadn’t drunk enough water. It was horrible!
MOMMY SHOPPING LIST
*What time is it? Baby feeding time! Your entire existence is about to revolve around this one activity. Nipple shields will help you nourish your baby and make the transition from boob to bottle a breeze! Initially, I was not enthused about the look of these aids. Then I found out their worth. There have been times that I have crawled on my hands and knees determined to find a nipple shield so I could comfortably feed my baby and soothe his “hangry” screams.
*Dirty diapers aren’t fun for anyone. Make cleanup more pleasant for your baby with a wipe warmer! (I am pretty sure my husband secretly wants one.)
*As your baby’s nervous system figures things out, he will be waking himself up with body spasms. Babies are sleep terrorists. After my son busted out of the 100th Army-strength swaddle by my husband, I knew we still needed these burrito-like blanket wrappings but something had to change. Purchasing the name brand swaddlers may have been our smartest investment in 2018.
*Once you are ready to brave the outside world, a baby car mirror will make driving much safer by giving you an easy view of your child in his rear-facing carseat. It gives you peace of mind when the baby decides that the car is the one place he won’t make a peep.
*Postpartum will be much more pleasant armed with iron-rich vitamins and plush toilet paper. Even C-section moms like me will appreciate the triple-ply toilet paper. Let’s not talk about why.
*If you splurge on one thing, make it a glider. You will feed baby approximately 10 times a day for 20 minutes. That’s almost 30 hours a week! Get comfortable!
*Missing calories can be detrimental to your milk supply. Stashing snacks beside your nursing station will keep you going. Belvita’s Biscuits in Cranberry Orange are my favorite!
The first month home with our little Puka Shell was intense. The desire to constantly check his vitals was overwhelming. During one of the numerous checks, Caleb’s swaddle blanket was over his head. He could have suffocated. I was shaken to the core. He was fine but my heart shattered in that moment. My one job was to make sure he is okay and I failed! It was the scariest, saddest moment of my life. I told my husband I was going back to work, that I would find a nanny who would do a much better job than I. My husband is my rock and together we worked and prayed through the scariness of being new parents. If you should feel like you’re failing, forgive yourself. It is the only way you can be a happy and productive mama or papa.