As you embark on this new magnificently amazingly beautiful journey of Motherhood here’s a few things you should know…I’m not saying I’m an expert by any means but after giving birth and raising 4 kids for almost 12 years I’ve learned a shortcut or two along the way….Of course I could go on and on and ramble with advice 📜but part of being a 🆕 mom is also experiencing and learning on your own. I know you are filled with so many emotions and overwhelmed, but take a deep breath, because the 3 of you will figure it out together!
Here are the first 10 words of advice off the top of my head…📝
1. Hospital Stuff. Bring nail clippers to the hospital ✂️ and some adorable baby clothes to dress your brand new princess up in. 👑Please don’t leave her in those hospital rags, the horror really!!! You know our family Paparazzi will be invading your space the minute she pops out so make sure she’s camera ready for us! 📸📷📽📹🎥And clip those nails right away, her face will get sliced and red by day 3 if you don’t. 🙌🏽🔪
They’ve had 10 months to grow and they are like tiny powerful knives…and speaking of clipping the nails don’t be afraid to just dig right in. Slide the clipper all the way down under the long whites of the nail. You will know where to stop when the clipper meets the pink of the nail. Don’t fear it’s gets much easier to clip as they get older because the nail goes from bendable thin clear sheets to crunchy whites. Very satisfying when you get a good clip… You know what I mean…If you don’t have clippers, and didn’t plan ahead with baby mittens then socks will suffice.
Steal a bunch of those newborn Maggie Simpson pacifiers from the hospital because they are hard to find in stores and because they are big enough for the baby to hold onto. But also simultaneously give her the nuk pacifiers in the first month so she can transition off because those big round Maggies won’t go the distance but silicone NUK pacifiers will and there’s tons of cute patterns to choose from!
And please dress her up in some adorable clothes so you have some ultra cute hospital pics as memories! Trust me it’s worth it you will love them later…📷👶🏻
My 4 kids on their way out! ⬇️
2. Speaking of pictures make sure you take of you and Charlee even when you think you look ugly. 👹It’s a period of your life where you’re not meant to look good. Who cares!!! You just birthed a human. 😱
And she is going to want these pictures to look back on when she’s older and so will you. 🖼Remember it’s not about you anymore. Some of my most fave pics are the ones from the first month of my kids lazily sleeping on me.😴 No one needs to see them on social media but you should have them for yourselves. 💻❎And make sure you take of JR and her and of the 3 of you! 👨👩👧Oh and make sure you take some breastfeeding pics from your angle so one day you can remember what the view felt like looking down on a peaceful breastfeeding baby.
Oh and Take at least one good breastmilk filled boob pic, you may need it as reference for later on…
Always err on the side of caution, no one ever said God I wish I didn’t capture all of the memories! Which means always have your camera or phone ready because you never know when you will need it! Do the monthly photos with the onesies.👚1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣
You can really see the change in the baby when the onesie stays constant with a different month number. Up until about 7/8 months the pics will be pretty easy to take. You will plop her down make her laugh, and snap the pic. From 9-12 months good luck.
She will squirm, not want to sit still, and demand way more tricks to get that effortless smiling pic…don’t give up. 😈They will be worth it at her birthday when you have them all displayed! OMG and please do a professional newborn artsy photoshoot.
The photos will be the most amazing gift you could ever give yourself and your mouth will water when you see them! Take your own artsy pics as well!
Promise you will be totes obsessed and will treasure them forever and ever! Don’t ONLY use your iPhone for pictures, they don’t print well no matter how new your phone is. Invest in a good SLR camera. You will need it for school plays, and sports and birthdays and important milestones. You want to have a good camera so at least you know you have great quality printable pictures! You can get a great entry Canon Slr on Amazon that isn’t crazy expensive! Do it! You won’t be sorry! 📸
3. Diaper changes. In one year you will experience a rainbow of poops. 🌈💩They will start off like sticky black thick tar and will work their way up to long smelly logs.
After about 3-4 days breastfeeding poops will emerge. An interesting sight- like seedy yellow mustard. Something about babies absorbing and breaking down almost every part of the breastmilk and that’s what’s left. In her first week don’t be surprised to find little hard nipple glands, it’s the pregnancy hormones, they will go away. Also just as shocking is her little swollen baby girl parts.😳 As she gains weight and fills out it returns to “normal”. If you ever have a little boy one day there’s nothing like that first week of “welcome to little boys”, as opening the diaper and being squirt in the face. 😵💦
I didn’t think I would ever survive, and I rushed out and bought several boxes of those stupid peepee teepee coverers. I have them still unused in the box, such a first time mom kind of purchase. 💸Another thing I found helpful in the middle of the night was having the diaper ready to go with aquaphor or whatever other ointment already slathered on, folded up and waiting for a 3am changing. Nothing reminds me more of a little baby then my favorite soft diaper- Pampers Swaddlers. This is hands down the softest diaper you will find and when they eventually grow out of them it will make you sad. When Hailey was little they only went up to size 3 now they go up to a 6!!! 🎉In the first month or 2 you’re gonna wonder how you will ever keep up the marathon of changing her diaper every 2 hours, it will slow down and before you blink your eye she will be ready to be potty trained! Another milestone is the diarrhea explosion in the middle of the diaper change! Fun times!
OH! This is an amazing fact that I didn’t learn till my 4th baby. Do you know why onesies have those shoulder flaps? Not to make it easier to go over the babies head when dressing her, it’s for an up the back diarrhea!!! It makes it possible for you to peel the onesie down and off the baby instead of trying to maneuver the dump slathered onesie over her head.💩 Reminds me of a stressful game of operation where you’re trying so hard to remove the bone without touching the sides of the organ but instead with shit and a human face.
4. Hold and cuddle Charlee all freaken day long. Like all day. 👭
Don’t worry about bad habits! Do you know any toddlers or kids going to kindergarten that still have their moms holding them all day?! I know some people would beg to differ. Don’t live with regrets. I heard some kind of rule once…something like bad habits don’t get formed until after six months. Ok I’m making up 6 months, I can’t remember the rule because I chucked it out of the window. There is nothing like those first two months of tiny newborn baby cuddles. And after those first few months they will be wiggly and more awake anyway and won’t want to just lay across your chest.👀
And anyway that’s when you get the best sleeping baby pictures. The ones with the long pretty sleepy eyelashes, and the puckered pink lips, 👄and the adorable little button noses. 👃🏼 Or how about the ones with breast milk drooling out of the side of their mouths as they are in a sleepy breastmilk coma. I loved laying my babies across the boppy fast asleep after I nursed and once they were too long to fit on it I was so sad!
Those are the times when you get to inspect their long fingers 🖐🏻and nails and play with their cute little perfect toes.
Or if you are me, You get to hold their little baby ears 👂🏽and they can’t talk back and tell you to stop…there is nothing like the feeling of them sleeping on top of your own chest and your breathing is in sync.
If I didn’t have a baby in my arms I held them sleeping in a baby sling. They were so content and precious…which brings me to…
5. Baby slings. I’ve used them all. My fave is the one where the baby lays across your body curled in a ball.🏆
I was so nervy I even breastfeed Hailey in it, on line in a store in the mall, on a crowded weekend afternoon and nobody even knew! Not even the cashier! Lol! It was my own dirty secret and I felt so slick! 💁🏽 I did stick Hailey in it when she was 18 months though and it worked perfectly.She was big and could sit on my hip.
Then you can have your hands free to do whatever you need and she can sleep along side you.
As they get bigger they can’t curl up as much so you may need to switch to something else. The Baby Bjorn is also good but when they are little their faces don’t reach over the top and they can’t breath well, try folding it down and away.
I always flapped down and unhooked one side so they could breath, not the safest and the way it’s intended but my hand worked just fine holding the baby in place.
Let JR do his share of baby wearing! For my boys I started to experiment with other wraps, I also like the Moby Wrap!
I’m obsessed with the Medela Freestyle Pump because it doesn’t need to be plugged into an outlet while you’re pumping it just needs to be charged. You can read all the reviews and see why it’s worth the price! If you want to be really lazy, or multitask get this bra and then you can be HANDSFREE!!! Pump as much as you can those first 3 months when your supply is hopefully at its strongest. That’s the time to build up a good collection in your freezer. Aim on storing 1-2 bags a day. I usually stored around 3-5oz bags at a time.
I’d rather defrost 1 small bag at a time so there wasn’t leftover milk going to waste. Since you will likely use those earlier bags first when she’s younger chances are she won’t even be drinking much more than that when you need it. Also those earliest bottles of milk you may pump are filled with liquid gold, aka collustrum!
You will def spill one bottle or bag of liquid gold and that will teach you never to be careless again. 🍼💧💧💧You may even cry over it… I bet you that’s where they got the saying “don’t cry over spilled milk”. It must have been a well rested dad who made that irritating saying up. Nipple pain for me always peaked at around the 3 week mark.😖😨 They need time to toughen up and get used to an unsatiable human using them as pacifiers. I remember thinking each time I’m not gonna make it through. They were bloody 🔴🔴🔴and cut up and I couldn’t fathom doing not ONE more feeding. But I did and I was able to add successfully breastfeeding to my resume. 📃Just around the corner the days will come where it literally feels like NOTHING when they latch and you will wonder why or how it ever hurt! Don’t forget lanolin is your friend, put it on if you feel your nips getting sore or cracked. It’s safe for the babies if they get it in their mouths but I would put it on after you’re done nursing. Your other friend is a formula bottle, when you need to give you’re tits a time out…
7. Formula. You need to cut the crap with Mommy guilt day 1 about formula. 🍼☑️It’s not poison and zillions of babies are formula fed and grow up to be healthy and happy individuals. I love these 2 oz. nursettes from Similac they are so easy to use when they are first born and the perfect amount. You can use these disposable nipples with the nursettes or ready to feed 8oz formula bottles.. It says one per use, I honestly question that. As my babies got older I started getting lazy and would wash and reuse a bunch of times. You can decide for yourself…From what others say the best time to take advantage of formula, if you decide to give 1 bottle a day is in the middle of the night🌃Nothing says bonding like a fun 3 am feeding for daddy and daughter and darkness! Formula is more filling and should hold her longer, however I honestly didn’t see the difference! Don’t be afraid to give formula bottles here and there when you need but if you are committed to making breastfeeding work be careful because reaching for the ready made gets awfully easy and can lead to a slippery slope. Regardless you should introduce a bottle 🍼early on so she will get used to other people feeding her and you can get a break of either pumped milk or formula.
And if breastfeeding doesn’t work out, try again. And if it still doesn’t work then move on. You will be fine.🙏🏽 Acknowledge the sadness, feel it 😭and then be thankful that there is a healthy alternative. It’s pretty easy too and that will be the upside!👍🏽
8. Speaking of sadness. Are you crying yet as you ready this heartfelt letter? 😥Oh how sweet! Wait…you were crying before you started reading??? 😨Ohhhhh yes…that would be the baby blues!😭 No one told you about it??? Oh dear…well here goes…remember the story I told you about how when I begged Craig to ask the insurance company to let me stay in the hospital one more night after I gave birth because I was so sad and overwhelmed. We literally got home and I couldn’t stop crying. 😰Then the very next day, which was either day 4 or 5 my milk came in…and everything was sooooo damn sad.
It made no sense. 😖I thought this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life yet here I was crying alllllll the time. It felt like a huge dark cloud was constantly over me. 🌫Each time with each kid I tried to fight it and each time it reared its ugly suffocating face. It definitely lessened as the months go on. With my 4th I even wondered if it turned into post partum depression or maybe that’s life now with the stress of 4 little kids. He’s 18 months old and I’m still trying to figure that one out. But there’s not much you can do, just go with it and ride the waves and one day the big waves 🌊will trickle out and it will feel like a calm lake!!! True story! Ask your friends I’m sure they also experienced it. If all else fails talk to your doctor, there is NOTHING To be ashamed about, its nature…😍
9. Sleep are you so excited that you got 33 years of it? 💤Well now it’s over.😴✖️ I know you are dying to hear my words of wisdom and great advice on how to get your baby to sleep. OK are you ready? Sorry I don’t have any. 😕 4 kids later and that is still the one thing I never got right. With each new baby I prayed to God that this would be the one that would sleep through the night from the very beginning. Well I had 4 disappointments. Don’t have high expectations that way you can be pleasantly surprised and impressed with yourself if you get one of those “sleepers”. The only thing I can tell you is,I have tried all the different sleep gadgets and contraptions that they sell. 💸💵💴💶💷💰Each time I promised myself that out of the hospital I would get into the good habit of just putting them in their crib or in the bassinet next to me flat on their back with no contractions so they would learn from the very beginning how to sleep on their back soundly. Well each time I failed and it became more about survival then good habits. I tried every single swaddles out there in 10 years!
I tried the Rock n Play, I tried sleep positioners, I tried the wedge, I tried cosleeping, I tried the Graco snugride car seat, I tried the Fisher Price swing and I also tried different pacifiers. The bottom line is I use whatever I can for that night to survive. 😳 I loved all of those items at different stages of sleep deprivation. Trial and error. I found cosleeping the easiest to do. I know i know, they advise against it, just do it the “safest way” that you can.
The bottom line is until you are ready to let your baby cry it out and I would not do that till at least 4 to 6 months then you probably will just have to suffer through it and try to find what works.👎🏽 Nobody can force you to do the cry it out method until you are ready it’s like an alcoholic, unless they want to help themselves nobody can help them… You’ll know when you’ve had enough when you reach that breaking point of exhaustion where you can’t understand how you will survive another night and when you do you will be ready to do the cry it out method.😤 The good news is after a few days of crying it out all is good in the world again and you can expect some relatively good night sleeps…until then good luck!!!🙏🏽 In the meantime prop your elbows up on pillows lined on each side of your body and let her lay right on your chest lengthwise with your hands folded on top of her holding in her position and take a nap! There will be no naps when you have a 2nd baby and toddler!⌛️
10. Since all roads always leads back to pictures for me I wanted to bring up another topic which is the dreaded baby acne. 🔴🔴🔴Time is ticking and you only have about three weeks of clear and spotless baby skin so take all of your precious newborn pictures now. Every single one of my kids had it by the one-month mark and when it came fast and furious I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I would it say it lasted for at least a month or two and it was ugly, gross and upsetting. Which also reminds me of another yucky baby ailment which is cradle cap. Which looks like disgusting dry oatmeal flakes on your baby scalp that you are going to get the urge to scrape off with your nails, I know you. Don’t. 🙄 For my fourth I learned a little too late but it still worked amazing and right away within a few days it was gone. It’s called Bella B Beegone🐝 and I got it on Amazon. You wash the babies hair with it like shampoo and you rub it in and give it a little scrub with a little scrub brush and the flakes will start to loosen up and fall off within a couple days. For Skyler it was all gone by a week and I was so disappointed that I did not try it sooner.
Ok so there you have it…These are a few words of Mommy wisdom that should get you started for your first 2 weeks. 📖You will just plain love life more — everything comes together and becomes better because of one tiny person and your love for them. 🆕👶🏻The first month goes by so ridiculously fast. 💨Before you know it she will be out of newborn diapers and on to size 1. Before you know it you will watch her belly start to get rounded on the sides and bulge…
Before you know it you won’t be able to make a circle around her thighs with your thumb and pointer finger👌🏽 because they will start to fill out…
Before you know it her newborn startling reflex will slip away. Before you know it she will sleep less during the day and have more alert hours😮. Before you know it she will flash you the most amazing and delicious baby smile 😃when you call her name and then that’s when you know you’ve arrived!!!
***Favorite Items*** I have a few baby items that are my all time favorite must haves that YOU need. First of all get rid of any stupid baby bath tub/ bathing apparatus because when you get the Tummy Tub it will change your life. All you do is fill it half way or so put it in your sink and wash your baby. Charlee will never be cold again, there’s literally no clean up all you do is dump the water and there’s no bending down you stand comfortably and wash. It is so safe and mimics being curled in the womb! I can’t say enough good things about it I wish I had it for my girls!
Skyler is 1 WEEK old here, so I had to hold him up a little. After a month or so they much more easily can just sit and relax in it!
The other item that I found extremely helpful was this baby scale. It gave me peace of mind that my babies were growing and getting enough breast milk. Plus it was fun to keep track of their weight gain! I always got the cutest pictures of them in it too!
I had all my kids sleep in my room for the first 5-6 months. For the first 2-3 months depending on how long they got I had them sleep in the Arms Reach cosleeper that fits next to your bed. The 4th side is lower and allows easy access to your baby when you need to pull them out to feed…its VERY useful and it’s safer then cosleeping in your bed and they are still VERY close to you…
Depending on the babies ages I used different sleepsacks, since blankets are a no-no. While they are newborns you want them to be swaddled tight to mimic the womb and to cutdown on awakening startling reflexes. So I used the famous Aden and Anais blankets, because they are long and easy to wrap and because they are breathable and soft and just all around amazing and having several prints.
If you can’t figure out the baby burrito just get a zip one or this one. In the beginning I wanted just boy ones for my boys but then realized no one is looking in the middle of the night and since they have massive diarhea explosions often that first month you want to have a lot on hand. Or I used these zip up sleepsacks for my fussier babies who didn’t want their arms to be restricted. This is still messup proof but allows for slight movement as it cuts down on the arm reflexes that wake them up.
Then when they are a few months old and aren’t swaddles anymore but I still want to add a layer similar to a light blanket I use these kind of sleep sacks from Aden and Anais. Or the ones from Halo. As they grow you can keep getting bigger sizes, and I use these little around 15-18 months.
Ok I think it’s probably time to shut up and hand you the reigns little sister! By now I’ve written a short book! 📖
Ps- The biggest piece of advice is REEEEELAAAAXXXX she will be FINEEEEE! 👍🏽Babies are more sturdier then you think. Don’t sweat the small stuff and please don’t be one of those neurotic first time moms! And if the Paci falls on the floor give it a good blow, 😮💨wipe with your shirt or a quick suck first and it will be good to go! A 4th time mom trick that works very well for 1st time babies!!! Soon enough you will have your own gaggling crew to marvel over…👍🏽👍🏽😍😍🎉🎊👶🏻
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