Friday, September 17, 2010


I started to write out some advice for new moms - things I wish I'd known before I had a baby. Now I am finishing up this list for a friend of mine who is going to have a baby at the end of September/beginning of October.

1. The first two weeks are the hardest. Just keep in mind what everyone says, "It's all about survival." Think about how you could survive on lack of sleep  - you just make it and get a few hours here and there. It really is all about survival. You may not brush your teeth or shower for a few days. It is all temporary, though.

2. Postpartum hormones are very, very strong. You might feel extremely depressed for 2 or 3 weeks. Go ahead and start thinking about who you can call when that happens, and make sure you have some people to talk to. It wouldn't hurt to be thinking about postpartum counseling ahead of time, just to make your life easier. Keep in mind that it is temporary.

3. Don't be in a hurry for your baby to get here. It will get very hard, very soon, so do your best to enjoy every moment of your pregnancy and take advantage of the freedom you have now. Go have fun. Walk the mall, explore a new part of town and get yourself a decaf latte. You won't be going to Starbucks if you are breastfeeding. Eat some spicy Thai food, for that matter!

4. Get all the help you can. Let others hold your baby while you eat or nap.  

5. Eat healthy for a healthy mood. Think of healthy foods you like to eat and make a list - stick it in your kitchen so that when your mom or family or friends come over to help, you can tell them to make you something from your list. For me it was a healthy smoothie. Healthy foods will help with the postpartum icky feelings. My midwife also told me that B-complex and St. Johns Wort are like a zoloft.

6. Get a lactation consultant! Go ahead and plan who you will call when you need help breastfeeding, and surround yourself with pro-breastfeeding people (if that is what you want to do). If you choose to feed your baby formula for whatever reason then don't let others make you feel bad for it. Just be a good mother to your baby. Maybe you had a very hard time breastfeeding, or you physically can't do it - I have a friend with Crohn's and she cannot breastfeed b/c of her medication. But if you will breastfeed, FIND A LACTATION CONSULTANT! I had to see two different ones before things clicked. And it's ok to use a nipple shield if you have to. My baby wouldn't latch on without one. 

7. It's also ok to exclusively pump, if that is the route you need to take. My LC told me that if I wanted to do that, to get a very good breastpump, and she suggested a new Medela Pump in Style. If you go through a LC who sells pumps, you can probably get a good discount.

8. Remember, every day will get a little bit easier. 

What advice would you like to add for a soon to be mom or new mom? What do you wish you had known?