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Any "i wish i had known that" for a soon to be new mom?

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Initial post: Mar 27, 2009 10:43:30 AM PDT
I am going to be a first time mom, and was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice?
Especially any of those "oh I wish I had known that earlier" tips?


Posted on Mar 27, 2009 12:50:31 PM PDT
QuinnKate says:
Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! When my daughter was brand new, she would fight her swaddle either until she got out on her own, or I let her out. Baby would wake up as soon as we put her in the bassinet, wake up several times a night, no one was getting any sleep... Miserable!

We got a Swaddle Me blanket from Kiddopotomus. It's awesome! She can NOT get out of it and sleeps, well, like a baby. I nurse baby, rock her until she's drowsy, wrap her up like a mummy, then rock her a bit more. She's out like a light. I think it works because she feels very warm and secure, plus she can't wake herself up with her startle reflex.

You can get these on Amazon. BEST $10 I ever spent!

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 1:28:47 PM PDT
QuinnKate says:
Ooh, ooh! I thought of another one!

Planning on nursing your baby? It's totally worth it - the bonding, the convenience, the savings. Only thing is, no one really tells you how hard it can be to learn, for both of you. All I ever heard was how it was supposed to be natural and your baby is born knowing how to do it, all these rosy stories from women whose babies caught on right from the beginning. For some moms and babies, it takes time. Lots of it. First we had trouble with the latch, then baby kept falling asleep while she was eating, and I had no idea how often she would need to eat.

To complicate matters, my little one hadn't regained her birthweight by two weeks, then by three weeks. I thought she was eating well, but that really scared me. My doctor wanted me to supplement with pumped milk and formula from a bottle, which I did. She steadily continued to gain weight, and made it back to her birth weight. Still, it didn't make sense to me that she hadn't regained birth weight when she seemed to be eating so well. It turned out that when baby was born, they cleaned her up, weighed her, then she had a monstrous meconium poop. Plus she probably fluid overloaded from all the IV fluids I had (I was induced ten days overdue). My husband and I figured her birthweight wasn't quite accurate and she was probably gaining weight just fine. Our lactation consultant concurred. Of course, I was juggling boobie and bottle by the time we figured this out. I think the bottle was one of the reasons she didn't become a very efficient nurser until ten or twelve weeks of age.

This is a success story, though. My baby is five months old now, healthy, happy, and nursing like a champ!

In short, be patient with nursing, and don't freak out about the weight. Just keep in close contact with your baby's doctor. My doctor's office was just fine with me bringing my daughter for weight checks a couple times a week, no charge. They just wanted my baby to be healthy and me to feel comfortable.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 3:17:02 PM PDT
I completely concur with patient with nursing and keep trying. Even if you can't nurse 100%, every bit of mother's milk is a benefit to your baby. I had to supplement with formula but my baby still got some of my milk everyday for about six months and she has never once been sick (nine months now) even though she has a big brother that brings home every germ known to mankind. I certainly wish I had been able to provide her with 100% of her milk, and I did everything possible to do this but it was not meant to be.
Also, swaddling does work for most babies. Just look at all those sleeping babies in the hospital nursery. The Kiddopotomus and the Halo swaddle sack did not work for my daughter but the hospital blankets worked like a charm. I "borrowed" a few blankies from the hospital. While in the hospital I had several nurses show both myself and my husband how to do the professional nurse swaddle. It is escape proof. My baby would almost go to sleep as soon as she felt that secure blanket around her. She slept through the night at about one week old (yes, really). In the morning she would still be wrapped up tight and happy as can be. A neonatal nurse friend of mine recommended the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and most of the methods in that book really work on most newborns. (The four S's: Swaddle, SHHHHH, Swing and Suck)...yes, suck...I did not want my baby to use a pacifier but I found that the pacifier was able to sooth her so much when she was a newborn. It helped her sleep and helped her relax enough for burping. Many babies get fretful when you interrupt the feeding to get them to burp. It is really hard to get a tense, upset baby to burp. The pacifier worked like a charm to relax her and allowed us to burp her every time.
Again on the try it and don't use your pretty baby blankets. They are too soft and slippery to hold a good swaddle. That is why the hospital blankets work so well...they are almost a rough cotton. You could make your own from thick cotton material.
I also recommend taking lots of video for everyday occasions. I wish I had more videos of my baby as a newborn. I always put it off because I did not want to capture my messy house, bed, nursery, the I know better. If you wait for the house to look perfect to start taping then you will never capture those precious moments.
Congratulations on your baby and enjoy every minute.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 4:41:37 PM PDT
Cpenderg says:
I've nursed my daughter for 13 months now and I am so glad that I have. Be patient with your child, remember to always pick him/her up whenever he/she cries (For the first 12 months they are learning trust).

The swaddling thing didn't work with my baby, she wanted to be held close, but she wanted you to dance with her. All babies are different you just have to find out what works best for you. Good luck!

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 5:46:22 PM PDT
You will go through a LOT of diapers filled with poop. Like every 2 hours for the first few weeks.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 10:59:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2009 11:06:31 PM PDT
Aisling says:
Swaddling for sure and a cozy front baby carrier. You can still get around and do things as well as have the little one close where they want to be. An Ergo carrier can be nice or even one of the Snugglies.

As said before stick with the breast feeding. My daughter has only been sick a few times and with the price of formula is just easier to stick with it. Plus I have not had to deal with bottles or have to worry about weaning her from one and you have a portable source of warm food in the early months. She is going on 19 months and still breastfeeding a bit and I love the time we have together for that. I found that if we didn't give her a pacifier she didn't get attached to it. It may have just been her. She didn't want much to do with them and seemed perfectly happy nursing when she wanted to.

A baby massage class is great fun as well. You get to learn great de-gassing baby techniques and calming ones as well.

A bit thing is you don't need much at all to care for a baby! There are so many things out there and if you're not careful you will end up with a houseful of things the baby will never need or use. Basics are best and go from there. For example you don't need a changing table if you have a dresser that is low enough and you can put one of the changing pad things on it. Hit up your local freecycle and craigslist for things. That way you don't spend much especially if you find out you don't need it.

Enjoy the moments. You may not get much sleep (I still don't) or have time to keep up with things (let the house work go for a bit!) but take time to cuddle and play and enjoy every moment you have. It goes fast!

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 11:56:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2011 10:16:05 AM PDT
Connie says:
I never knew about baby gas. When baby is crying for what may seem like "no reason", there's a good chance his/her tummy hurts. Babies do not cry for no reason, no matter what people say. Try laying baby on his tummy across your lap. The pressure pushing against the belly is soothing. The best help my pediatrician gave me during my baby's EXTREMELY fussy first months was to tell me that some babies just have "an immature gut". Nothing helps except time.

Also I never knew all the ways breastfeeding is a challenge despite how natural it is. Be prepared for everyone to give you disparate advice which they will assert is the only right way to approach breastfeeding. Listen to it all but just be aware there are lots of different approaches and philosophies.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 4:26:42 AM PDT
Amanda Hoff says:
My baby is 8 weeks and all of this is great info. Breastfeeding is absolutely the hardest thing I've ever learned, but so worth it. Get the lanolin ointment, fight through the soreness, learn the lay down feeding position, most of all, don't feel pressured by anyone's advice, especially the lactation consultants. Do what you feel works for you and baby, even if it's not what "they" say. My baby only poops once a week and this is perfectly normal. Rare, but normal. Don't buy too many size 1 diapers because they're not in them for long.
The gas is a big one that I didn't know about. Once I started treating it she was way less fussy and slept longer. Mylicon has been a lifesaver.
EAT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL. They won't let you eat once you get there in case you need to go under, and it could be a long time before you can. You need all the energy you can get.
Good idea for a post, I wish I'd done it! Good Luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2009 7:09:12 AM PDT
For me it was the little things like having enough bibs and burp cloths. My husband and I were changing her outfits 5+ times a day until I figured out the bib thing. I thought they were for later when she was eating solid foods. Even when nursing her she'd have milk spilling around her mouth. I literally bought the cheapest bibs I could find and put two on her, one front, one back and it saves me having to change outfits during the day. Good luck.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 12:17:27 PM PDT
I had lots of cute outfits in newborn size that I never used as my DH spent most of her first 3 months wearing a onesie and a blanket!
Keep a note pad next to your bed for the first few weeks and write down the time you fed the baby and which side if breastfeeding, plus diaper changes, nap and wake times, it helped me when I was so tired and couldn't remember if I'd just done something or not.... or they sell a gadget called "itzbeen" I think that does the same thing electronically.
Do whatever it takes to get some sleep, whether that's having the baby in bed with you at night, or the in the same room - just be safe if you do co-sleep.
Accept any offers of help from friends and family, if they don't know how to help, bringing over meals and taking the baby for an hour while you nap are lifesavers!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2009 1:36:17 PM PDT
Libby says:
Congratulations! One thing I found is how painful the recovery period would be, and I gave birth naturally (vaginal birth with no meds). For me, Recovery was worse than labor! I hated having this wonderful baby and not feeling well AT ALL, let alone feeling completely exhausted. I did not realize I would get NO sleep in the hospital. Also, I had a great breastfeeding baby - a natural! However, I am a very fair-skinned redhead and the nurses warned me that it would be painful. I had the lanolin and everything, but the pain was severe. Ended up with mastitis and after about 10 weeks began to pump and by three months I was exclusively pumping. Don't feel like a bad mommy if you can't breastfeed, but it is worth trying your hardest. And if you have to pump or give formula, so be it! You don't have to explain yourself to anyone and it doesn't mean you love your baby any less!
Another thing-you don't need a million blankets, a nice crib set (you will not even use it!) and I loved the breathable crib bumper - who knew my baby would love to sleep with her head buried in the bumper! Get rid of the pacifier at 6 months and read BABY 411. It is an awesome book!!!! Good luck! And enjoy every minute!

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 1:48:08 PM PDT
Dojo Grande says:
Itzbeen timer thingy was very useful. Breastfeeding wasn't possible with our baby but the bottle worked just fine--so don't let anyone stress you out if you end up not being able to breastfeed. Best wishes! They grow so fast you won't believe it.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 5:12:59 PM PDT
S. Ray says:
I'm a mom of 13 month old twins. First: 1) Swaddle - we used receiving blankets

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 5:13:51 PM PDT
S. Ray says:
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Posted on Mar 28, 2009 5:32:19 PM PDT
QuinnKate says:
I hope I didn't offend with my comments about breastfeeding. Just want to add my word of support to others'. BF isn't for everyone - it's either physically or emotionally impossible sometimes. If it isn't possible, *don't* beat yourself up about it! You are still a good mom and your baby will still be healthy, beautiful, and perfect either way.

Sorry to keep making new comments, but I keep thinking of more "I wish I would have known" things as I read others' posts. My baby is still new, but I'm amazed at all the things I've already forgotten!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2009 6:00:44 PM PDT
zinfandel says:
buy the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" of the few good books out scare tactics

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 9:54:27 PM PDT
I'm going to agree with all the breastfeeding comments. Join a supportive online forum for breastfeeding, research on, find a lactation consultant if things aren't going right. It's such an important thing you can do for your child and they enjoy the bonding so much.

I didn't realize how much doctors/nurses will go against "breast is best" 'advice even if they claim to be pro breastfeeding. I had a nurse insist on a pacifier for my son every five minutes. Another nurse tried to get me to supplement with formula because he wasn't eating often enough for them (his pedi wasn't worried).

It's normal for your breastfed baby to cluster feed - you'll feel like ALL they do is eat for a few days at a time, but it's them going through a growth spurt and upping your supply. I think the first ones hit around three weeks and six weeks, then two months, three months, six months, etc.

Also, co-sleeping makes nighttime feedings a piece of cake! My son never cries at night because I wake when he starts to stir, help him latch, and we fall back asleep.

Gripe water, mylicon, tummy time, back rubbing, and pressure on the baby's tummy all help with gas.

Keep baby meds you plan on using on-hand. It is frustrating running to the store with a screaming baby to buy mylicon.

Buy a sling or baby carrier. Your infant might hate to be put down and you'll be relieved when you can babywear and have two free hands. Might not seem like a big deal but if you spend the first month eating one-handed and taking the baby into the bathroom with you, you'll be so thrilled to have a carrier. There are pouch slings, ring slings, mei-tais ("asian style baby carriers"), and wraps (like the Moby).

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 2:27:20 PM PDT
Pam says:
1. Breastfeeding gets easier (for most people). It's worth sticking with it if you can.
2. Buy absolutely as much stuff secondhand (or handmedowns or loaners) as you can, because you use it for a short time and you don't even know sometimes if subsequent babies will want/use the same equipment. (e.g. my 2nd child refused all bottles, went from breast to cup). Especially for baby carriers, you don't know what you and your baby will like til you try it.
3. Not all babies like to be swaddled, but it's definitely worth a try. The things with velcro closures worked great for us for the first two weeks.
4. The little bed-nest devices were very helpful to us at the beginning, but again, just for a few weeks (thank goodness we were able to borrow one).
5. Exersaucers are lifesavers when the baby is between sitting and walking stages.
Gotta go! Good luck!

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 2:50:27 PM PDT
thanks for all the great tips!!
I definately want to breastfeed if at all possible.
We have been talking about the secondhand stuff. Everyone says babies are sooooo expensive--well they are to an extent, but I think most people tend to overdo it.
I do want a sling/carrier thing for the baby--especially since we do like to go hiking and walking places where strollers would not be feasable. Anyone had good experiences with one of those front-facing carriers? I would like to have the child in front facing forward once she reaches a few months old. I heard the ergo carrier is great, but it seems to only face inward.
We have decided the one thing we will definately buy new is a carseat.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 2:52:22 PM PDT
Jezebel says:
Experts are learning just now how important it is to hold the baby close, and many compassionate parents are adopting ancient ways of mothering that involve holding the baby or having the baby held ALL the time, and certainly not forcing the baby to sleep alone. One person spoke of "trust", and it has everything to do with trust - trust for her mother and for the world. A new baby has no way of orienting herself to the experience of being alone. She cannot say "this is my room, my crib, mommy is in the next room and will see me in a few hours, and this is safe for me". In Western Civilization, we take for granted that babies cry a lot and that they simply suffer. Believe it or not, in some cultures, babies almost never cry. Holding your baby all the time and taking her to bed with you will give her an outstanding foundation - as was done before Western Civilization placed a taboo on human touch - and she will be stronger, happier, and believe it or not, MORE independent and able to reach out for life on her own. She will be attached, of course, but will not forever be seeking what she did not get when she was an infant. What she carries with her from infancy will stay with her like an "inner mom" and give her courage, strength, and security wherever she goes. There is a wonderful book called "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff (I am sure there are very cheap copies on Amazon), and in this book the author writes about her experiences living with the Stone Age Yequana Indians from South Brazil, the things she saw that convinced her that we have it all wrong in modern civilization - breaking our children's hearts from day one, with things like ignoring or later on hitting, and wondering why they turn against us in adolescence. Parenting is of course more than just holding your baby and responding to her basic physical and emotional needs, but it will give you a wonderful start, and by cementing your bond, it will turn you on to your own instincts, which will guide the choices you make in years to come and can create healthy patterns in your relationship with your child. I wish you and you baby much happiness!

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 5:33:44 PM PDT
Sage Shopper says:
Even when the baby is first born, smile and talk to the baby. Even though he/she can't smile back (yet) you should do it. Mums often dont naturally do that until the 2nd baby comes around .

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 7:20:39 PM PDT
NYCPickyMom says:
Remember to trust your instincts and don't get all worked up about advice people give you. Everyone has a different way of doing things and every child is different. You will get to know yours and what works best for you. Trust your natural instincts.
and TALK, TALK , TALK TO THAT BABY. I got made fun of once in my doctor's office for talking to my 2 month old and my doctor scolded the My daughter talked early and has incredible communication and reading skills to this day.
One thing I avoided was tummy time and that was a no no. My daughter never crawled and took forever to walk. Start with the baby on it's stomach when your holding it on you. It will help develop those critical muscles needed. Throw a blanket on the floor when they're a little bigger, and prop them on their tummy on a boppy or similar pillow or on a baby play gym.....anything. Don't be scared to put baby to play on it's tummy....but make sure you are there.

Good luck and don't worry! The one thing you will never know until it happens is how much you can love someone more than you love yourself. Everything will fall into place.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 8:31:55 AM PDT
Breast feeding is wonderful and can be really hard. I was really very stubborn about it...otherwise I don't think i would have lasted. I had no idea it was going to be as difficult as it was--I had pain for almost 3 months. It was hard to get latched at the beginning, daughter was kind of a sleepy baby. But...I stuck through it, it got easier, and I ended up going until she was about 22 months old. (World Health Organization says if everyone would nurse for the first 2 years we'd have less health problems)--I know this isn't for everyone, but it was great for us.

Co-sleeping. I was freaked out at the concept and we tried to keep her in a cradle in our room. It was miserable, she didn't sleep, I didn't sleep, it was hard to try to have to walk and pick her up in the middle of the night, etc. We finally bought a co-sleeper--and I wish I would have had it from the beginning. (If you don't know--a co-sleeper is basically a playpen with a platform in it and one side that lowers--so the baby is right next to you--but in it's own bed.) You can nurse and put the baby down without having to get up. It's awesome. I'm due in may with #2 and I am so excited to have this from the beginning.

Biggest thing--every little thing that happens is just a stage. (Both the fun things and the stressful things). You get through them...once you get a routine or think you know what you're doing--baby will change! It's an adventure--the best.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2009 8:31:58 AM PDT
HAND-ME-DOWNS! carseat should be new, but everything else is up for grabs. It is very easy to check recalls. I used a beatiful bassett crib that was 10 yrs old, but sturdy and safe. Clothes, another poster commented about newborn size, don't waste your money, like they said. the baby might fit in that size for 3 weeks tops. Several moms told me not to bothewr with a baby tub, just one more item to find a spot for when not being used, the kitchen sink is fine, and when they are small there is a large sponge you can lay in the bottom of the sink. Craig's list is a great resource for many items. Also consignment shops specializing in baby have strict guidelines for their consignors, so you can get like-new for a lot less.
Everyone will offer their unsolicitated advice wherever you go. Be prepared to get it, just smile and nod your head. Trust your instincts, you will know what is best for your individual(s). Most of what you hear will be severely outdated,and some down-right cruel. Don't expect your baby to sleep through the night ever, it will be nice when or if it happens.
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Initial post:  Mar 27, 2009
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