I've only been a mom for a little over 7 months. But in those few months I've learned a lot...and yet, still have a lot more to learn. So I wanted to share some tips 'n' tricks I've learned so far. There's so much to learn as a new parent that any and all information is valuable in my opinion. So hopefully this information will be helpful for others - whether you're a new mommy or just planning to become a mommy in the future at some point!
1) Buy gripe water.
Camden is a super easy baby. But when he was a newborn gripe water was a life saver. I didn't start giving it to him until he was a few weeks old though (approved by the pediatrician, of course!) Gripe water is great when they've got an upset tummy or a case of the hiccups that they just can't seem to get rid of. One word of caution though - once the bottle is opened it says to throw away after 6 weeks - just something to keep in mind (maybe start off with a small bottle of it - it is expensive and you don't want to waste it.)
2) Get a video monitor.
I think this is a given for most people these days. It doesn't have to be a super expensive one - just one that'll allow you to see your baby. Babies make a lot of noise when they sleep. Being able to see the baby lets you know if he/she is really awake and needs your attention. If you didn't have a video monitor you might go in to their room with every sound they make and could possibly wake them up unnecessarily.
3) Swaddle! Swaddle! Swaddle!
I know - I know. Not every baby likes to be swaddled. But I STILL recommend buying a swaddler and bringing it to the hospital with you. If you swaddle your baby from the very beginning I firmly believe they'll take to it. And I don't mean swaddling with a blanket - get a real swaddler (like this one that we LOVED!)
4) Promote good sleep habits and environments the first day you're home (not only at night time but have a nap routine as well.)
For us this meant a few things that I'll outline (FYI - not to brag or anything but my EBF baby was sleeping 10+ hours a night around 5-6 weeks old and was sleeping a good 6+ hour stretch when he was around 3 weeks old...all in his crib!)
- Start a bedtime routine the very first night you're home. For us that means going upstairs, putting pj's on him, turning on the sound machine, feeding him, reading a couple books, say our 'good nights' and 'I love yous' and turning the mobile on. At 7 months old we still have this routine (with the exception of the mobile - we don't use every night but still do use and often we'll sing a couple songs to him after we're done reading before we put him in the crib.) It doesn't matter what you do as part of your routine. All that matters is that you stick to this routine each night.
- Don't be too quiet around the baby when he/she is sleeping (especially important in the very beginning!!) When I was home on maternity leave the TV or music was always on. I vacuumed while he slept. If someone called I didn't talk in a low voice. I'd bring him down to the basement in his sleep cove while I ran on the treadmill and watched a show on my iPad. He slept through it ALL.
- Don't engage with them in the middle of the night. Have a night light or small lamp that you can turn on so you don't need to turn on the room light. Don't talk to them. You want them to learn that the middle of the night isn't party time. Whenever Camden would wake up in the middle of the night, I'd go in, turn on the little night light, change his diaper, nurse him, and put him right back in his crib without saying a word to him. Sometimes, he would need a little extra attention and we'd either pick him up and rock him for a few minutes or just rub his back so he'd settle himself enough to get back to sleep. He has always been GREAT at putting himself to sleep.
- Promote the difference between day and night. We have blackout curtains in his nursery. But during his nap times I make sure the curtains are open. I did the same thing when he was super little and he slept in his sleep cove downstairs for naps - the living room curtains were open and/or a light was on.
- Even though these bullet points make me sound super strict, don't forget to cuddle and love up on your little one. Babies thrive on routine and consistency but that doesn't mean it should be like that ALL the time. I've definitely had many times he napped on my chest and I've rocked him to sleep - those are the moments I treasure more than anything...babies and mommies both need those special bonding times <3
5) Listen to your intuition and do what works best for YOU!
So if none of the stuff I listed above fits your life or what you think is right - then don't do it. It's your baby. Your life. You know what's best for your baby. What worked for my baby might not work for yours. And what works for you might not work for me. And that's OK. So get to know your baby and figure out what works best for you all. Having your baby's best intention as your #1 priority is all that matters. Listening to your gut is THE #1 piece of advice I can give :)
There is so much I have learned and yet still so much to learn! What are some of your top parent tips and tricks?
Hey ~ I'm Renée...just your ordinary, 30-something Accountant, new mommy, wife, runner, foodie, & Pinterest addict! Welcome to my newest adventure...stay awhile...look around...and keep comin' back!