Advice for a New Mom

I was recently informed that my blog has gotten lowbrow.  Some people don’t like to read about g.i. distress.  Well excuuuuuse me.  I’ll try to bump it up a notch.


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We recently welcomed our third child into the world.  He is darn cute.  We’re adjusting to being a family of five, which has been tougher than I thought.  But that’s another post for another day.

I want to impart some words of wisdom for new moms out there.  Things I’m learning and relearning, even on this third time around.

1.  When people offer to help, take them up on it.  With baby one, I remember getting offers for help, but I also remember not knowing what I needed.  Everything was sort of a blur and when people asked how they could help I had no clue how to answer.  So, here are a few ideas:

  • Ask a friend to pick up that one thing that you need from the store.  If you have to run out between feedings for a bit, don’t make it just because you need more trash bags.  Ask your friend to pick up the trash bags for you.  If you have a hankering to get out, make it for a trip to Barnes and Noble to read magazines and drink overpriced caffeinated beverages.
  • Ask a friend to hold your baby while you a)take a nap/lie down and rest, b)take a walk around the block, c)run out and do that one thing you don’t want to haul the baby around for.  My friend Megan came over when my latest was a few weeks old and held down the fort (with all three kids!) while I ran to the library for a half an hour.  So much more enjoyable to do that without the big old baby carseat bumping against my leg, not to mention not having to chase a toddler and preschooler. Also, that whole “sleep when the baby’s sleeping” thing?  Easier said than done!  When you have a newborn, it is like an alarm clock that is ticking away and you never quite know when it’s going to go off.  If your baby is fed and diapered, hand him off to a friend and go lie down.  Let your friend deal with the “alarm clock” when it goes off, while you rest a little bit.
  • Accept a friend’s offer to bring you a meal.  Our baby is two months old and I still have not made a meal.  Seriously.

2.  When you have your baby with you for errands, forget about parking close to the store.  Park next to the shopping cart return area.  Take my word for it.  So much easier.

3.  If you dress your baby in a cute outfit that you want to show off, put a cloth bib on him.  Take it off right before you arrive at your destination.  Spit up is on the bib, not on the outfit (for the next few minutes, anyway).

4.  Don’t save those cute outfits for “special occasions”.  Put him in them every day.  Otherwise, you’ll pack up his 0-3 month clothes and realize he only wore your favorite outfit once.  Bummer.

5.  Have a good water bottle on hand.  I never drink as much water as when I’m nursing.  So much water.  Water all the time.  I like a water bottle, instead of glasses of water, because when I knock the water bottle over during that middle of the night feeding, it doesn’t make a mess.

Anyone else have a tip for a new mom?

Update.  This one came to me a day or two ago:

6.  Let your spouse figure out how to do stuff on his own.  Watch him use 50 wipes for one diaper change and bite your tongue.  Especially if you’re a stay at home mom, remember that you have approximately 40 more hours a week of practice in the art of cleaning up a nasty diaper with a single wipe. 

If it really pains you, send me your address and I will mail you $5 for allllll of those wipes he’s wasting.  It’s not worth it to get on his case, unless you are desperate to have the title of “The Only One Who Can Possibly Change the Diaper Correctly”.  For that you get- guess what?- the privilege of changing all the diapers AND resentment that your husband isn’t helping you out with anything. 

So just let him do it, and do it his own way. 

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15 thoughts on “Advice for a New Mom

  1. I love #2 (Park close to cart return) – that makes so much sense. Passing this list along to a friend who is expecting her first baby!

    • Our hospital has a new moms’ meeting that I went to after our first was born. Someone said this tip to me, which had never occurred to me, and I never forgot it. It does make sense, doesn’t it?

  2. yep, there is a method to the madness… i love your candid perspective and enjoyed the brief read… it is refreshing to hear it from another momma!

  3. Great ideas, super true and applicable. And may I add one? Never take them on errands. Budget enough to pay a sitter once a week to keep your kids while you run all the errands. It blesses everyone- the strangers your shop next to, your kids, and you. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy my two hours of getting all our errands taken care of each week, I have it down to a science and it’s so much quicker doing it alone. No one is crying, having to pee last minute in the nasty CVS bathroom, or begging for something you don’t want to purchase.

    • I see a lot of wisdom here. I would have a hard time deciding whether to allocate that money to errands or to my own down time. But either way- a really good idea.

  4. *Always keep two things in the house- chocolate of some kind and alcohol of some kind. Try to partake of the latter only after the husband (or some other adult) is in the house.
    *I second (or third) the park next to the cart return. I always do!
    *I also second leaving them at home while you grocery shop. It’s sometimes lame to think of that as the only break you’ve had during the week, but it’s seriously better than the alternative.
    *Never underestimate the power of the shower.
    *Read while you’re nursing. Like an actual book.

    I feel like I had another one that came to mind recently but I already forgot it. So maybe that’s another one- write stuff down, because your brain will never be the same.

    • i always feel lame realizing my night out without the kids is spent at the grocery store. but it is much better than the alternative, if i have a big shopping trip to take care of.

  5. With baby #2 I learned to cut myself some slack. So what if big brother is hunkering down for far more television watching than one would care to admit in ‘mom cirlces’ so you can take care of baby #1 (and hopefully yourself) for a few minutes? Sometimes you have just have to let some stuff slide to keep your sanity.

    I was also very proud when I figured out #2 on this list…probably should have spread the word then :)

  6. I read a long time ago that if you try to go out to eat with your newborn ask for the check and a to go box in advance, just in case. I would also recommend surrounding yourself with as many mom friends as you can. Katherine, I’m very much looking forward to a post about life with three. I need to know what I’m getting into here!

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