The world is full of unsolicited baby advice, right?
EVERYBODY had an opinion when I was pregnant.
My family, my friends, the store cashiers, the post office clerk, the strangers rubbing my growing belly without asking.
And I listened.
But no one ever told me what I really needed to hear, so I’m telling YOU right now because I feel like I should…
The best baby advice that every mom-to-be needs to hear:
Let go of expectations.
Your life is about to change drastically, right?
YOUR BABY may be easy going, extremely hard to please, or fall somewhere in between.
YOU may love motherhood instantly, or you may cry and wish you were never born yourself. (You may even do both at the same time. Great, right? Yay hormones!) All bets are off and all is fair game.
A time may come when you feel like throwing your baby out the window is the answer to everything. It’s OK. As long as you don’t actually throw your baby out the window.
Don’t feel guilty if you’re not enjoying all days. It’s kinda part of the deal. If you feel really down, don’t hesitate to ask for help (you’re still rocking this, mama!).
You will probably make a few mistakes along the way. Also part of the deal… Forgive yourself and move on.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms.
You know the picture-perfect new-baby households you sometimes see in magazines or on TV? The ones with a happy baby and a happy mom dressed in actual clothes, with a spotless kitchen and freshly baked cookies sitting on a sterile coffee table?
It’s a myth.
Don’t worry about that.
(Though if you can do all that, kudos! And I have a lot to learn from you…)
Enjoy your baby, and don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s not a life-threatening issue, it IS small stuff. Remember that.
Educate yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or say NO.
Standard MATERNITY CARE in the U.S. is high in interventions and restrictions. It doesn’t support the physiological process of birth, and it does not reflect the latest scientific evidence. Sounds crazy, but it’s the reality.
Routine use of intravenous lines and continuous fetal monitoring, restrictions on eating / drinking / movement, labor induction, assisted delivery, promoted birthing positions, episiotomy, epidurals, and directed pushing can affect women by increasing their stress levels and can interfere with the natural process of labor, often leading to more interventions.
It’s something worth learning about, but do keep in mind that declining some of the standard procedures can be a major battle with the hospital.
Another useful thing is reading up on how various meds commonly used during childbirth affect both mom and the baby (you likely won’t be given the whole truth in the hospital).
NEWBORN CARE is also very intervention intensive these days, but you do have a say in what is being done to your baby.
Standard newborn procedures are: suctioning, immediate cord clamping, vitamin K injection, Hepatitis B vaccine, newborn measurements, eye ointment, bathing, and the heel prick (PKU test).
If you want to delay or decline some of them, make sure the hospital staff knows ahead of time and try to keep your baby with you at all times (accidents happen). Also, all of these can be done right in your hospital room (just ask).
I HIGHLY (!!!) recommend reading these two books:
↑↑↑ Thanks to The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth and Birthing from Within, I was as prepared as possible for my second childbirth which actually ended up as an unexpectedly unassisted (and AMAZING!) birth. (Links are Amazon affiliate links.)
Read your baby, not baby books.
I mean, do read (good) baby books. Obviously, I just shared two great ones, right?
But – also – tune into your baby and trust yourself and the beautiful innate connection you have. It’s way too easy these days to get disconnected from our inner voice and to act out of fear or influence.
Trust me, a mother’s intuition is as real as you and me.
Do whatever works for YOUR family.
You’re supposed to do THIS… You can count on THAT… ALWAYS do this… Don’t EVER do that… THIS is the best… Everybody seems to have some sort of advice. And they mean well.
Every child and every parent is different.
Do what works for YOUR family, even if it means that you might hear some criticism.
It’s OK to do things differently.
Do keep in mind though that this post is being written by someone that broke rules and also got fired from a pediatrician’s office…
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This is my advice from a mother to another in its simplest form.
Take it or leave it.
It’s the kind of baby advice I never got myself and the kind I needed the most…