Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #9

13 of my best new-mom tips

  1. Initiate the baby to restaurants early if you intend to eat in restaurants with them as children. We started Ethan at a couple of weeks old and Jack at a couple of days. They have always been pretty darn good dining companions and have NEVER run around restaurants (my pet peeve).
  2. Breast-feeding is hard. In my experience, it didn’t come naturally to me or to the boys. Make use of the lactation consultants that the hospitals offer you. You will get groped by strange women but in the end it will help you immensely. And if you can’t breastfeed or simply don’t want to, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it. You are still providing for your child if you give them formula. They are not going to grow up stupid because of it.
  3. Always double-make the crib. I always layered one waterproof sheet on the bottom, a crib sheet, then another waterproof sheet and another crib sheet on top. That way, if they puke or the diaper leaks through in the middle of the night, you only have to strip one layer and the bed is already made underneath.
  4. Take a picture of your baby in the same spot every month for the first year, and then if possible every few months or every year after that. You will be shocked and amazed at how fast they grow, and seeing it represented in pictures is that much more shocking!
  5. Never go to bed without checking on your baby and whispering in their ear that you love them. Ethan just told me the other day that he hears me sometimes when I do that which made me just a little bit weepy. Also it is worthwhile for another reason – I was able to monitor Ethan’s sleep apnea a little better because I knew his regular routines.
  6. Before you blow up at something the kids have done, ask yourself a) Does it really matter and b) Was it an honest accident? If the answers are No and Yes, then don’t get mad even if your carpet is ruined or there is a hole in the wall. Yes, our carpets are ruined and yes, there are holes in our walls.
  7. Stand up to those “helpful” strangers who have no qualms about stopping you on the street and offering “great” advice about your baby. Cover him up, take off the blanket, feed him more, feed him less, I mean c’mon! Feel free to nod politely and move on.
  8. Give up on the housework. It’s really not important – what’s important is spending time with your beautiful new human. If you must do something every day, just do the one thing that you can’t stand to let slide. For me, it is having a tidy living room and making the beds. That takes all of 10 minutes. The rest can wait. Until your kids are teenagers.
  9. On the housework thing still, once the kids were old enough to sit in the bath by themselves but not old enough to be left alone in the bathroom, I would use that time to clean the bathroom. The toilet, the mirrors, the sink and counters all got done while they were playing in the tub. Then, I admit, the most the tub ever got was a quick swish after they were towelled off.
  10. If your baby becomes attached to a blanket, go out and buy a second one exactly like it. Rotate the blankets so they both get worn the same and smell the same. You will thank me for this when one of them gets left at daycare or falls off a boat or is packed in lost luggage.
  11. Take time out for yourself and try not to feel guilty. Whether you escape for an hour to grab coffee with friends or just take a long hot bath after the kids are sleeping, know that taking that time is essential for your sanity.
  12. Storage! Our coffee table in the living room has a fantastic amount of storage. The top drawer was colouring books and crayons, the bottom drawer was diapers and wipes, and the huge cupboard held all the toys we kept downstairs. It was so easy to sweep all the kid mess into that cupboard after they went to bed, then I wasn’t surrounded by toys in the evening and I could relax and feel like me again, an actual grown-up human.
  13. I always kept the diaper bag packed and ready. If it wasn’t already in the car, it was waiting by the door. It was one of the first things I did when I got home from somewhere – restock, reload.

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