“Hey buddy, what would you like for your birthday?” I asked my soon-to-be 6 year old as we were gearing up for his big party.
“A baby brother!” His response was so straight faced and sincere.
Since he was the youngest of three, he probably figured that both of his brothers had put in the same request so now it was his turn. I wasn’t about to tell him that production had been cut off (literally). Or that babies aren’t manufactured in bulk like in the movies. Boy wouldn’t that have been easier!
The fact is, with my littlest turning six, I feel completely removed from anything baby. However, after being invited to attend the Chicago Baby Show and shuffling amidst baby strollers and pregnant bellies, I vividly remember the angst of becoming a new mommy. Was I going to be a good mom? Would my mothering instincts kick in so I’d actually know what to do with this new little person? What would I need? What would baby need? How much is too much?
First let me tell you a couple things…
- Babies don’t come with instruction manuals. Knowing what they need when they cry is a total toss up sometimes, but momma… you’ve got this! You’re probably going to feel overwhelmed and under-rested and on edge. Welcome to the rest of your life. Not kidding. You will kiss your sanity goodbye, but you will experience a crazy, beautiful life!
- There are like a million different baby gadgets out there. Oh man, you can totally get sucked in. Comparing the technology now to when I became a mom 10 years ago, is like comparing the dinosaur days to futuristically living on Mars. So many new things. So many great ideas. But you don’t need them all. And as I walked down the aisles of the Chicago Baby Show and saw the bewilderment in the faces of all these excited new parents, I couldn’t help but think that I owe you one.
As a three times seasoned momma, I owe all you new (or expecting again) moms a couple great tips that will be tremendous sanity savers for you. I’ll even share three of the newest baby products (complete with affiliate links for your shopping convenience) that will make your new mom life much easier too!
New Mom Sanity Savers
You know that thing you should get 8 hours of, but somehow with a new baby only manage to survive on about 3-5 hours. I’ve been there. But if you can get your baby into good sleep habits and patterns now, it’ll be a sanity saver for years to come.
Newborn sleep tips…
- Allow your newborn to nap every couple hours. Overtired babies often have troubles going to sleep.
- Know your baby’s sleep signs. When your baby starts rubbing their eyes, pulling on ears or being fussy, lay the baby down and allow them to sleep. Put your baby to bed sleepy, but awake. Avoid rocking your baby to sleep to prevent bedtime attachment issues as they get older.
- Distinguish day and night. During the day, keep lights up and bright. Don’t worry about daytime noises. Play and interact as much as possible with your baby. However, at night, keep the lights low. Keep sounds low. Don’t play with your baby at night. Keep a calm atmosphere.
- Start a bedtime routine with your baby. Something as simple as giving baby a bath, feeding, a lullaby and a bedtime kiss is a good start to creating a routine for bedtime.
- Swaddle. Swaddling is like being in the womb which calms babies.
- Play calming noises such as white noise or soft lullabies.
Remember that the more sleep and the better sleep baby gets, the more sleep and the better sleep you’ll get too. Of course, being snuggled up to momma is baby’s favorite sleeping spot. But here’s the next best thing… the Tranquilo Mat.
The mat “mimics the sounds and motions of a mother’s womb using vibrations and white noise to help babies fall asleep and stay asleep longer.” How awesome would that be?! I remember the first night my babies and I slept through the night for the first time. It was like I wasn’t in Kansas anymore (Wizard of Oz reference). So refreshing and wonderful. You’ll get there, momma.
There is nothing as precious and calming as cuddling with your child. I remember back to when I was a kid. My favorite way to get cuddles was curling up in my mom’s arms and having her rock me. I even asked her to rock me well into my teenage years… of course, that only last for a couple minutes as I had well outgrown her lap, but never the feeling of warmth and love that came with it.
You can imagine, with my childhood love for rocking with my mom, how thrilled I was when my mother-in-law gifted my husband and I with a rehabbed old rocker that she had kept in anticipation of us having our first child. That old rocker was the spot I nursed my boys in the middle of the night, where I rocked them to sleep, where we relaxed together. It has rocked us through many a good book, silly song time, and gazing into my tiny person’s eyes. It has rocked away bad dreams and tearful ouchies. It has brought calm to baby and has soothed mommy through moments of mom fears and postpartum depression.
With each creak of that old chair I think of the precious memories it holds and how my boys still crave that creak and the warmth of their momma’s arms.
Moms, if you don’t have a rocking chair, I encourage you to get one. Or better yet, check out the Ready Rocker from RockerMama. Although still patent pending, I was able to preview this amazing take anywhere rocker and it was fantastic! By take anywhere, I literally mean take-it-anywhere… outdoors, to a friend’s house, on a plane, to your bed… anywhere.
The point is, get rockin’ momma. Both you and your little one will love this together time.
KNOW THAT LESS IS MORE.
You’re probably wondering how this relates to babies, but hear me out. Less baby stuff will help you stay sane. The first house my husband and I bought was 1535 square feet (3 bedrooms, living room, family room, dining room kitchen and two bathrooms). It was a nice house. Nice layout. Nice space… until our first child was born. And suddenly, our free space had been devoured with baby stuff. First came the “necessities”. Then came the toys. My husband used to email me scientific articles on how having less toys was beneficial because it promotes pretend play, not reliance on being entertained by “things”. Needless to say the multitude of toys was hubby’s frustration.
My frustration, however, could be found in the kitchen. Our countertops were consumed with bottles and drying racks. Our cabinets were exploding with tiny utensils, small kid-friendly snack containers and sippy cups.
Being a parent is stressful enough without adding visual anxiety to the mix. Yes, it is a proven fact that clutter causes stress. So as much fun as it is to spoil your precious new baby, make sure you have room for all the goods before you go stashing them in your house.
That being said, I have to give major kudos to a company who is streamlining stainless steel bottles so that that as baby grows, the bottle evolves… Pura. Here’s the cool thing… the bottle stays the same, the top changes. So for your growing baby, they would progress from the nipple component to a sippy to a straw. The same bottle can evolve into a flat cap water bottle to one with a sports lid! Not only does it help the environment by not discarding plastic bottles that are no longer being used, but it helps your wallet and it saves space in the kitchen! So you don’t have a whole stash of different bottles and cups in the kitchen… just the toppers. How amazing is that?!
Moms, you have the hardest, but the best job in the world. With some sleep, lots of love and cuddles, and a focus on family you will thrive in this beautiful mess called motherhood!