My Mommy Tips…by Alene Mathurin
Congratulations on the imminent arrival of your baby! Enjoy every minute of this beautiful journey and celebrate every milestone of your baby’s development. Babies grow so quickly, and soon you will be saying, “Time does fly by.” The tips below will make the transition to parenting easier and more fun.
Mommy Tip 1: You Know More Than You Think You Do
However you may feel, you ARE ready. No matter how much you prepare, you can never anticipate the unforeseen. So you need to be adaptable and open. Great mothers are born while doing their everyday motherly duties. You will be learning hands on, perfecting what you already know, and even challenging what you may have heard throughout your pregnancy. All that matters is that you never compromise the safety of your child. Your development as an effective mom will occur after your child’s birth. This is a learning process with a steep learning curve, but you need not feel anxious. Simply acknowledge your insecurities and remember that in due time you will become an exceptional parent.
Mommy Tip 2: Accept Help
If someone offers you help caring for the baby, take it! Being pregnant is physically demanding. Some days, all you will want to do is stay in bed and rest! Therefore, after the arrival of your baby, if a trusted friend or family member offers to help you, accept that help. This is not a reflection of your being incapable as a mother or of your lack of commitment to your newborn. Rather this is an opportunity for some well-deserved rest, exercise, or “me time,” which will make you feel rejuvenated and eager to continue caring for your precious child. You deserve that! The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child!” is true. If you are fortunate to have close friends and family members around who are eager to help, let them! Remember even super-moms need help sometimes. (A caveat: ensure that everyone who’s making contact with the baby is healthy and uses proper hand-washing techniques).
Mommy Tip 3: Avoid Comparing Your Baby to Others
Avoid comparing your baby to others. No two adults are the same, and the same is true for babies. As long as your child is developing at the right pace both physically and cognitively, don’t be obsessed about what someone else’s baby is doing. If your best friend’s child who’s at the same age as yours is crawling, walking, and talking, and yours has not started, that is perfectly fine. Your child will reach those milestones, too! So many well-intentioned moms put a tremendous amount of unwarranted stress on themselves by comparing their child’s developmental milestones with other children’s. The key is ensuring through your pediatrician that your child is developing at the right pace.
Mommy Tip 4: Avoid Comparing Yourself to Other Moms
Don’t compare your parenting and newborn care skills to that of other moms, either. Embrace your unique set of circumstances as a new mother. As long as you are giving your child the proper care, nutritionally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically, whisper to yourself, “I am enough!” As women, we frequently compare ourselves to others, and this adds to our stress levels. If your friend is able to juggle the care of her child and home simultaneously, and you are not yet there – that’s ok! Move at your own pace, enjoy motherhood, and own your unique abilities.
Mommy Tip 5: Trust Your Instincts
As cliché as this may sound, listen to your gut. You know your child better than anyone else. Therefore, if you notice a potential issue with your baby, discuss it with your doctor immediately. In my thirteen years as a mother and twelve years as a nanny, I have found that listening to my gut instincts has never steered me wrong. While caring for a young child a few years ago, her parents told me that throughout a particular weekend they noticed her picking her nose. They were worried that she was developing a “bad habit,” but I quickly realized that this child I cared for, “our busy body,” was not her usual self and too obsessed with her nose. Following my gut, I decided to look into the nostril and soon realized a pea had lodged itself deep inside. We were all grateful that I took a minute to validate what my instincts directed me to do.
Mommy Tip 6: Do Your Research
You will receive a lot of unsolicited advice, even while at a restaurant or supermarket with your child. I’m sure that you can attest to that even while still being pregnant. Most individuals who are giving the advice have good intentions, but you should research everything that you hear. Never settle for what your circle of friends or influence says about important issues, such as vaccines. Make decisions that are right for your family or advised by your doctor. All families have a unique parenting model and ideas they hold true to themselves. Embrace yours and feel confident in the decisions you make regarding the care of your newborn.
Mommy Tip 7: Stick to Only the Essentials When Shopping for Your Baby
Raising a baby can be expensive. As expectant moms, you will be tempted to purchase every cute baby outfit that you lay eyes on. But be careful: Babies gain weight quickly and will soon outgrow these beautiful outfits. Therefore, narrow down a list of essential items that you need for your baby. Onesies with built-in mitts, sleepers that zip, socks, hats, and so forth should be your main focus.
Mommy Tip 8: Seek Help If You Experience Post-Partum Depression Symptoms
Understand that post-partum depression (PPD) is real, and some new moms may experience symptoms without realizing that they are. PPD has a wide variety of symptoms, and there’s so little awareness or understanding of this condition. Research suggests that PPD affects women in many different ways. A new mom might feel disconnected, angry, or so sad that he or she cries nonstop. I implore you to consult your doctor if you feel overwhelmed and miserable two weeks after childbirth. New moms naturally feel a little worried and exhausted, but feeling completely miserable and unhappy is not natural. You need to build a support network, a group of trusted people in your life that you can call if you feel too anxious. Please seek help immediately if you develop any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Mommy Tip 9: Never Compromise Safety
No matter what you do as a new mother, never compromise the safety of your child. Never leave your child unattended on the changing table. Familiarize yourself with the functionality of everything into which you will put your child, including strollers, car seats, and bouncy chairs. Ensure that the child’s crib remains free from objects that can compromise your baby’s safety and install a sensitive baby monitor in the nursery. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is real. Babies should never be put on their stomachs to sleep. Use Emory boards to file your baby’s nails, as they will grow quickly, and babies often scratch their faces. Never use cotton buds in a baby’s ear. A good thermometer, saline water, and an aspirator (which is often given at the hospital) are a few must-haves.
Mommy Tip 10: Ensure Your Caregiver Is Consistent With Your Parenting Style
If you plan on hiring a caregiver to care for your child when you return to work, understand that there are many wonderful caregivers eager to join your family. The key to choosing the right caregiver is to understand first what your family’s needs are and look for a candidate compatible with your family’s parenting style and value system. Ensure that you hire someone with verifiable references, a valid Pediatric CPR certificate, and the ability to think on his or her feet. While interviewing this individual look for clues about whether this potential caregiver is compassionate, patterns such as frequent job changes, and reliability. Lastly, always run a comprehensive background check.