Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Mom Tips

Now that I'm two months in to motherhood I was thinking about what I've learned and what I might have found useful to know when I was still pregnant.  I think that every baby is different and it's hard to say that the stuff I have learned would apply to everyone, but I here's some stuff I use and do that works for us.

First off, a lot of diapers have indicators on them that show when they are wet.  Us dummies didn't figure that out til a month in.  It's not a huge deal because I have probably only seen about 4 diapers total that weren't soiled in some way, since Allie usually needs a change and we can even hear her go most of the time (she goes all.the.time.- thank you breast milk for being a natural laxative!), but it was still an a-ha moment when we realized the indicator existed.  Duh!

If you are breastfeeding, a pacifier can be a great tool.  Sometimes you put the baby up to your boob and I swear they forget what the heck they are supposed to do!  Allie has literally put her open mouth up to my boob and just kind of gone "ahh ahhh" like she was confused on what it was for (like almost every feeding!).  I always have a pacifier with me when I feed her so that I can put in her mouth for a few seconds to get her sucking instinct going, then I switch her to the boob and she immediately latches on.  I think it's a cool trick and it works really well for us.

More breastfeeding tips?  Use the Boppy or My Brest Friend- it makes getting the baby in position so much easier.  Also, I need at least two burp cloths when I feed Allie because we make a mess.  I usually put one under her mouth to catch milk and have one handy to wipe her mouth after and/or use to burp her after we are done.  Also, if I have a nursing bra on, I tuck a burp cloth over the folded down part of the bra so I don't get it soaked with milk.

Moving on.  If you are having issues with swaddling your baby's arms in, wait til they are already falling asleep and then try.  I thought Allie wouldn't tolerate having her arms in because at first I used to do it when she was wide awake, and she still doesn't love it, but if I wait til she's falling asleep she tolerates it and I swear she sleeps better/longer with her arms in.  We use both the Swaddle Me ones and the Halo Sleep Sacks with swaddles.

Along those lines, I think it's a good idea to wait til your baby is sleepy, then put them down to sleep.  She usually goes the rest of the way herself.  Supposedly it helps if you don't let them fall asleep on you and transfer them because they later can wake up upset that they don't know where they are.

I recommend having different baby holding devices in different locations throughout the house.  We use the Boppy Newborn Lounger in the kitchen for anything we are doing in there- cooking, dishes, eating at our island, etc...  We have the Rock N Play in our bathroom for when I'm in the shower or blow drying my hair.  We have a swing in the living room and the bouncer seat in Greg's office for when he's paying bills or working on his computer.  Don't get me wrong, we are holding and interacting with Allie A LOT- but for times when you need to set the baby down and/or get a few things done, these things are life savers, so I recommend a few different baby holding devices in various locations.

When the baby is crying, my first thoughts are that she's hungry, needs a diaper change, or is bored (wants me to play with her more or wants to be on the play mat).  If none of those things work and she's still crying, I try holding her in different positions- horizontal, upright on my shoulder, walking around with her while gently rocking her, sitting in the glider with her and talking to her with a soothing voice or singing.  Eventually something will work to calm her down.

You can not have enough zippered sleepers for bedtime.  I feel like these are our must used clothing items.  We used them for daytime as well in the beginning, but now we're actually dressing her in more exiting clothing during the day.  Still, the sleepers are great for nighttime and we even use more than one a night if she spits up on one, so I think having a bunch is a good idea.

Same with bibs and burp clothes.  If you have a baby that spits up, you will learn to put a bib on them as soon as you feed them.  Especially if they are in an outfit you don't want spit up on.  For the same reason, you want a burp cloth handy wherever you are.  I have them all over my house (yes, it's a mess).

If you think you baby doesn't like something, wait a while and try again.  This has been the case with everything from swaddling to pacifier brands to the swing.  Oh and socks.  I said in the beginning we didn't use baby socks, but we are in a definite baby sock phase now that she's wearing pants and other clothing.  So I wouldn't discount anything that you initially aren't using.  You may use it later.

One thing we've been bad about is taking enough pictures with Allie with us.  I take a lot of pictures of her by herself, and even her various cute body parts, but we keep forgetting to take enough pictures of her with each of us or all together.  We need to work on that because I want to have pictures of us together.

Baby foot!! 

I think it's common sense, but I think it's good for the mom and dad to trade off watching the baby to get some me time.  At first this wasn't a priority, but now that it's getting more comfortable we are trying to get back to doing at least some things that our for ourselves.  Greg has been great about this when he's home, letting me go to yoga, run, go to my book club, and shop while he watches Allie.  I also encourage him to go do his radio control plane flying or have a video game play date while he is home.  It's good to get that stuff in there.  Although, I will say that I miss Allie every second I'm not with her, and I went shopping in record time the other day so I could get back to my little family.

These are just some things I've discovered that work for us.  Do you guys have any tips to share?


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