Monday, August 30, 2010

What I Learned as a First Time Mom

I've been (mentally) working on this blog post for probably close to a year.  Somehow, I just haven't managed to get it written.  Several months ago, when my long-time friend became a first-time-mom, I managed to get some of it into an email that I thought I'd edit but that didn't quite happen either.  At this point, I just want to get it out of my head (I'm running low on RAM) and share it somewhere; it's not going to be a perfectly worded or extremely eloquent (is that redundant?) post but I think I'm ok with that.  I'm certainly not perfect and this blog isn't either.

When we brought our son home from the hospital I had everything that a baby needs.  Somehow, I never managed to think about what I, as a soon to be stay-at-home-mom with a newborn, might need.  In the two and half years since then, I've had time to ponder what I'd do differently next time around.  Now, of course, these lists are based on my personal experiences and, whether you're planning for yourself or gifting for another new mom-to-be, you have to use your own judgement and personal preferences.

A few things I found as a new mom:

  • The whole "sleep while the baby sleeps" advice doesn't always pan out the way you think it will.  My little guy nursed every two hours. Start to Start.  That doesn't leave a whole lot of time in between and I found that during that time I was scrambling for something to eat myself and by the time I got to my bed for an attempt at sleep, he'd be waking up and ready to eat. Again.  What I learned: stock up on one-handed, quick snacks or meals such as cereal bars, nutrition drinks, energy bars, etc.  Look for items that have at least some nutritional value and remember to eat balanced meals as you can.
  • Skip the flowers.  I know the sentiment is nice but, for myself, it just doesn't make any sense.  I have allergies and I have cats that eat the flowers and then get sick.  The last thing I wanted to worry about with a newborn was cleaning up cat sickies on the carpet.  Thus the flowers we received sat waaaaaaay up high out of reach of felines and didn't thrive so well in their forgotten about environment.  (Note: I do/did appreciate the thought. So if you sent me flowers, not to worry.) If you do want to send flowers to the new parents, I might suggest to opt for something more "useful" like an Edible Arrangement.  (In my case, I plan to politely decline flowers in advance next time around.  For those that really like to go that route, I might suggest they instead have flowers sent to my parents' grave sites in celebration of their new status as grandparents.)
  • ACCEPT HELP.  I'm bad at this.  I think I learned my lesson.  Maybe.  We'll find out next time around.
  • My OB/GYN once told me that she told all potential visitors that, if they wanted to come see the new baby (she said learned this by babies two and three), then they must either bring a meal or help tidy.  I never did try that approach yet I've always thought it's a good one.
  • Check out the post Crushing the Bowl of Cherries Myth by Amber over at Beyond Postpartum; I love her suggestion for including the book The New Mom's Companion as part of a baby shower gift.
  • Save yourself some time and utilize websites and services such as Alice or Schwan's for household and food delivery.  If you shop right, you can save time without spending more money.
If you're nursing:
Oh… and for recovery, ahem, “down there” (worth every penny):

Someday maybe I'll polish up the list and even add to it.  For now, I've freed up enough space in my brain to worry about the next project.