Actual, Helpful Advice
There is no shortage of information, in this day and age. When I was pregnant, I took advantage of reading a ton, but it was mostly about pregnancy and preparing for baby… not so much about what to do with said baby upon arrival. Sure, there was advice. “Get earplugs, you’ll want to cry it out.” “Savor every moment.” “Prep meals in advance.” But the advice wasn’t very tactical; it wouldn’t really help me when in the weeds.
I was the first of my close group of friends to get pregnant, so I used Google a lot and my mom for insight and late-night questions. But Google can be a terrifying and sometimes inaccurate place, and my mom didn’t remember all the intricacies of a newborn (understandably, it had been a few years).
So, I know there are countless articles with advice out there, but I hope to offer more tactical nuggets of wisdom that I wish I had when I became a new mom. Without further ado…
- Don’t exclusively listen to people. I listened when everyone told me first-time moms deliver later than their due date. So, I was shocked when my water broke two weeks early. They also said, “you won’t need newborn-sized clothes.” They were wrong.
- Speak up during delivery if you need to. I asked questions – literally in between pushes, requested a mirror and asked for oxygen, and was happy I did.
- Double up on crib sheets to protect your crib mattress from stains.
- Use bibs during the day. For a couple months, I didn’t realize you could use bibs to protect clothes from spit ups. I thought they were for meals only. Nope!
- File your baby’s nails. It is easier than clipping, at least in the beginning. Though both options suck.
- If you have a Keurig, use it to produce hot water, fast. Warm baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula inside (testing the temperature before serving, of course).
- The line on the diaper is always blue. Like, somehow they know to pee immediately after a diaper change. It’s sometimes okay to wait until it is really blue to change again.
- You don’t need a diaper changing table. You can change a diaper on the bed, on the ground or on a dresser (what we do most often).
- Baby gas is real, and it’s no fart joke. You can try baby bicycles, rubbing circles on the belly, gas drops or traditional burping, but it can still be a problem.
- Read your newborn books. Sure, there are multiple benefits to reading beginning at a young age, but as a parent, you can weed out the books that annoy you so they don’t become your toddler’s favorite down the line.
- Save receipts for all those precious newborn hats you were gifted. In the hospital, a nurse told me that a baby’s body temperature regulates after a handful of days, so hats shouldn’t be worn indoors after you leave the hospital.
- If you breastfeed, Lansinoh has the best disposable breast pads for leaky breasts; Medela has the best nipple cream for sore ones.
- Formula brands will often send free samples and coupons. You may want to search their websites and sign up to have some stocked pre-baby.
- Clean your humidifier before it gets too gross. It gets too gross too soon.
- Keep two diapers and a change of clothes with you wherever you go.
- You don’t need a mobile over the crib, but have something interesting the baby can look at by the diaper changing pad. Have something special they can hold when they are older. Do not have a heavy, glass picture frame within reach.
There is no single list with all of the best, previously unheard-of advice. But, I hope this list is helpful for those women who have already read their fair share of lists.