Monday, January 10, 2011

Advice to a Mother-To-Be

Yesterday, I co-hosted a beautiful New Mother Celebration, a kind of a baby shower in which we concentrated on welcoming the expectant mom to this new stage in life.  We rubbed her feet and her neck, brought her her favorite foods and recent cravings, and shared our wishes for her birth- an emotional outpouring that had all of us in joyful tears.  It was truly beautiful.

We also each wrote down our mothering advice and insights, which will be compiled along with photos of the celebration to form a memory book of today.  This got me thinking of a whole variety of ideas I wish someone had shared with me before Tye was born.  Here are a few things I've learned along my way.
  • Follow your instinct.  No matter what you decide, someone somewhere will back you up, so go with your gut.
  • As soon as possible after the birth, write your birth story, including all the details you remember.  Though it seems impossible, those details will be hard- if not impossible- to remember in a few short weeks, and you'll be thankful you saved them.
  • Take pictures of your babe nursing, from your point of view. It's a glimpse of a sweet moment you'll treasure later.
  • Mothers weren't meant to mother alone, but in a community, with support. Don't be ashamed to ask for help, or to have friends over when the house is messy, or to simply take help when it is offered. We've all been there, and we're offering because we want to.
  • Find or build a tribe of like-minded moms.  Meet them at Attachment Parenting support groups, La Leche League meetings, or Holistic Moms Network meetings.
  • If you're considering seeing a Lactation Consultant, just do it.  You'll be glad you did, and sooner is always better for your supply and your baby.
  • Don't forget that just because your hug quota was met for the day by your hours of cuddling baby, your husband's most likely wasn't.  Give him lots of hugs, too.
  • Every stage, by definition, has an end.
  • When friends and family hold your baby for too long (you'll know it when you miss her), just tell them it's time to nurse. That's something only you can do, and you get baby back. It's okay to do this every 15 minutes.
  • Have your husband help choose the color of your baby carrier so he will feel comfortable wearing it (our favorites were a ring sling and later the Ergo).
  • When the whole world asks if your baby is sleeping through the night yet, it's okay to smile and respond, "She's a great sleeper," or "We get lots of sleep," even if it's only true because you sleep beside her while she nurses all night long. They'll think you're a great parent- which you are.
Photos from your own point of view remind you how sweet that cuddle actually was.
What is your advice for a new mother?  What do you wish you had known?


  1. Here are a few more

    Don't feel ashamed of yourself if your birth doesn't go as planned. Sometimes it is so hard to see in the moment that everything does happen for a reason.

    Remember to take time each day for yourself, whether it is as simple as go on facebook for 10 minutes, taking a walk, a hot shower or bath

    Bonding over bath time was such a great thing for me. I loved taking baths with Charlotte when she was an infant.

  2. If someone asks you, "When are you going to wean that baby/toddler/child?" feel free to say, "When nursing makes my life harder instead of easier."

  3. Such great advice Em, Alison and Jen!

  4. What great additions to my list!

    Al, I'm enjoying my 10 minutes now :)

    Jen, that's advice I appreciate hearing even now. Thank you!

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