As a first time mom I had a LOT of questions. How much should baby eat? What do I do if he doesn’t burp? How do I survive on 4 hours of sleep?
I am pretty lucky to have A TON of mom friends who are able to provide perspective and advice for those first few months.
When I was pregnant I was constantly told I would receive unsolicited advice. My motto has been “tell me what worked for you so I can have an arsenal of tools to try when I’m faced with that problem”. I wanted to hear it all! I was genuinely interested in what everyone had to say. And I’m so glad I listened because some of these tips and tricks really work!!
Here are some of the “ah-ha” tips shared with me during my first few months as a new mom, that I didn’t find in any of my “what to expect” books:
- If the baby is struggling to take a pacifier, put it in your bra for a few hours or dip it in breastmilk. The rubbery pacifier smell isn’t attractive to the new baby. By putting it in your bra or dipping it in your breastmilk, it provides a familiar smell for baby.
- Babies KNOW their momma! Have you ever been in the situation where daddy is trying to console baby but nothing is working so you take baby back and as soon as you hold the baby they stop crying? It’s because they know your smell! Next time daddy try to console the baby give him a worn shirt to put on his chest or shoulder. Baby will smell mommy but allow daddy to do all the work!
- We struggled to get baby to burp those first few weeks. Three tips that helped were 1) Cup your hand when burping the baby. It helps disburse the force and will help get the burp out. 2) After several pats, run the baby’s back from diaper to shoulders. The baby will straighten their back, which will elongate their esophagus, and allow the baby to burp. 3) The best position for burping is holding the baby on your shoulder…but be sure to put baby’s chest on your shoulder.their head and arms should hang down on the other side of your shoulder. The pressure of your shoulder on their chest helps move the air bubbles out.
- I can’t tell you how many times our little boy has peed on us during a diaper change. Wipe a cold wipe along belly button line (just above diaper) to get the baby to pee BEFORE you start to change the diaper.
- Got a wiggly baby during diaper changes? Roll up the onesie and tuck baby’s hands and arms inside to keep them still.
- Remember “3-6-9” when it comes to growth spurts. At 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 9 weeks…then 3 months, 6 months and 9 months babies will go through a growth spurt. This was spot on for us. Baby will eat nonstop, want to be held constantly, and won’t sleep. It is temporary. Hang in there!
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself momma! After you make sure baby is fed, changed, the right temperature, etc…you realize you haven’t done laundry, dishes, or returned any of those texts/calls. Before you do any of that, go through a mental checklist for your health. Have you eaten? Have you drank enough water? Do you need to use the restroom? I’m guilty of trying to clean house, cook dinner and run errands before taking care of myself. I struggled with UTI, dehydration, acne, and poor food choices, before I put my health last. It’s so important for you to take of yourself first!
- When bottle feeding, hold the baby at a 45* angle and rotate the baby’s head to one side (like they are breastfeeding). If they are flat with their head straight, the milk will flood their ear cavity and could cause an ear infection.
- If baby has gas (most babies struggle with gas the first few months due to immature GI system), try gas drops, gripe water and probiotics. Gripe water worked best for us! Also, try moving baby’s legs like a bicycle, or touching opposite hand and foot. This will help the gas move through their system.
- Did you know that some babies should take a daily Vitamin D supplement? No one told us until our first pediatrician appointment. Ask your pediatrician if you should give your baby a supplement.
- To establish a bedtime routine, you should have 3 consistent things. It can be anything, as long as it’s done every night at bedtime. This sends signals to the baby that it’s time to sleep. For us, it’s putting on lotion, brushing his hair, and turning on a white noise machine. After a week or so of consistency, it was SO easy to put Ben to bed. No fussing! Just straight to sleep!
- If you are breastfeeding and trying to increase your supply, try to pump after each feed. Did you know that an empty breast produces more milk? You can let your partner use a bottle (give mama a break – yay!) or you can freeze it for later.
- Join the local mom’s group and Le Leche League group on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot from other moms just by reading posts and their replies. From cold remedies to sleep training, there are so many different perspectives and tricks.
I hope this brings a little bit of help for new moms! I certainly wish I had known these things before giving birth. I’m still learning tricks every day, and will never stop asking for advice. If you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments below. Maybe I’ll post more tricks in the future!