How do I shower alone with a newborn?

5 March 2015

So many moms have asked this question over the years, I thought I would collect some answers here that I have heard from moms group (and some I have tried myself) and see if they help out some new mamas.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...or rather let them join you! If the timing just doesn't work perfectly, consider bringing baby into the shower with you with some of these helpful ideas.

First of all, your baby doesn’t care if you shower! This is primarily for YOU…remember the other important person at home ALL the time? Babies use scent to identify parents and guide themselves to the breast–and it provides immense comfort to them. So don’t do it for them, do it for you! (For babies, the stinkier the better! No so much for our self-esteem.)

Secondly, timing is everything. E V E R Y T H I N G. The obvious choice is to wait for a partner to come home and shower in peace hoping baby will go easy on them. But if you are doing it on your own, here are a few things to aim for:

  • Mornings are happier times for most babies. Afternoons/evenings can bring out the worst in babies, so you might want to avoid those unless you know your baby takes a long solid nap then and you can count on that. So aim for the early hours.
  • If you want your baby to sleep through your shower time, feed the heck out of them, burp and play actively with them if they aren’t sleepy yet (tummy time works great here) then get them to sleep until they get the droopy arm stage. A relaxed body often means you can transition baby to a bouncy chair, bassinet, or even a towel stack on the floor in the bathroom. This is your time…get in there and start conditioning that hair!
  • If you are hoping that your baby will happily occupy themselves while you shower; feed them, burp them, change if they need a new diaper, and put them down on the floor of the bathroom to play while you RACE into the shower.  Do not wait. Don’t fold laundry. RUN into the shower and start shaving your legs…do not get distracted!
  • There is only about a 20 minute window that an average baby will play by themselves (and many times this requires a direct sight line from shower to baby, so plan accordingly) so you don’t want to waste time thinking about cleaning the bathroom. Get in there and get shampooing!
  • Also if you are one of those moms with an easy baby who just patiently waits for you to return even when you are deep conditioning, stop reading this blog. Go buy some girl scout cookies or something…because I am not feeling the love for you right now!
  • If you think you can play with your baby enough to keep them going, make sure there are things they can reach themselves if they are of holding toys age. A play mat can be really useful here, but other things work as well, and you can always keep a stack of toys in the shower with you and throw one out every couple minutes…I’m sure moms have tried this!
  • If your baby just won’t have it, and you are way past what you think is a tolerable stink factor, take your baby with you into the shower. There are carriers you can use that are designed for showering/being in water which will free up your hands enough to wash the important bits. The Wrap DuO by Wrapsody Baby is my favorite: https://wrapsodybaby.com/product-category/wrapduo/ and the Second Skin Swaddle is even faster to put on: http://preciousimagecreations.com/product/skin-to-skin-carrier-swaddle/.
  • If you have a bigger baby and a large decently clean shower, you might find putting down a towel and letting baby hang out with you inside the shower the easiest way to keep them occupied and still get those hard to reach places squeaky clean (on baby too). Some moms swear this is how they start the day so well, with a happy baby and clean hair!
  • One word of warning; babies being held in naked mama arms often want to nurse. Then they often want to poop. Although the shower is convenient for cleaning it off, it is sometimes easier to just not snuggle them while you are doing your clean routine. Make faces or sing songs, but know that a snuggle comes with strings…messy ones sometimes.

Who has more I can add here? How do you manage to get that long relaxing shower in the midst of mothering a tiny human? Or if you don’t get that long one in, how do you manage those capri-length shaves and lightening fast hair washing? Send me your tips, and I will add them here. Send to Kimberly@abcdoula.com. We will tell the world so more moms can catch a glimpse in the mirror as they walk by and think, “Yep, still got it!”

Top 10 Things you can do for twin parents

5 March 2015

These are actual quotes from moms of twins who responded to the question, “What did you most wish people would do for you without being asked?”

Bonus points if they don’t have to ask you first!

Two (or more) babies is so cool...actually so cool that you don't get much else done. Here are a few ways to support families with their hands full.

  • Bring them food/fill their water bottle without being asked
  • Clean the house, change the sheets, do the dishes (things that obviously need to be done)
  • Mow lawn
  • Taking photos of them cuddling their babies (no selfies!)
  • Wash or fold laundry
  • Be prepared with resources for postpartum counsellors
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Encourage moms to get to moms group; provide resources
  • Grocery shop
  • Offer to stay with babies so mom can get a short break (coffee shop, errand, anything!)
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Take the mom’s side against her mother in law!

(The mother in law comment wasn’t the only one mentioned in that category, I just left it all under that heading!)

I will add one they probably don’t even know to ask for: Just tell them they are doing it well. Celebrate all the things they are already great at. Remind them that they are the perfect mom/dad for these babies. They might not believe themselves, but they will believe YOU.

Having a cesarean? A doula’s perspective…

27 February 2015

So many of our clients have had cesareans (including me!) and when they call us from the hospital to set up their postpartum care I have 2 main things I warn them about (based on hundreds of clients struggling with these particular issues). For all the people I can’t call, I offer you these:

#1 Take the stool softeners. I know this is intimate and I haven’t even met you yet, but this is pain-saving advice that women have echoed, no SHOUTED with regret about afterward! Every time they offer you a pain med, request a stool softener. EVERY TIME. They won’t give it to you if you are taking too much, but I don’t know what the ‘too much’ level is when you are talking about not pooping for a week. Seriously.

Surgery stops digestion in its tracks, and then the narcotics given—that BTW make a huge difference in your pain, so find one that works for you ASAP—can constipate you in the worst way. I have some horror stories I won’t share about waiting outside the bathroom holding a baby while the mom cried on the toilet for hours. Really. It’s not pretty. Ask the nurses/docs for stool softeners!

Unexpected cesarean? Follow your instincts to love your baby and add these 2 tips for a happier mama!

#2 A word for partners and family. Day 3 is often a very hard day for moms after a c-section. Her milk will be coming in, her body will be starting to feel the pain that she experienced with the surgery, and she will be really exhausted and crashing from not sleeping much those early days (because most of us are on hyper-alert after birth unless we are heavily drugged).

If you can just know that she will be extra emotional (we call it the roller coaster) and that it is mostly hormones and totally normal, it can make that adjustment so much smoother. I tell partners this because sometimes they get a little scared at how irrational moms are acting, and it is so normal that we forget to tell partners to expect it. And since dads and partners have to hold everything together in those early days, it can be helpful info to know.

I’ll tell you a secret: as a postpartum doula I am especially excited when mom starts to get weepy, irrational, anxious, snippy, and overwhelmed because I know that plentiful milk is very close and breastfeeding is going to feel a lot more successful VERY SOON!

One last word: having a cesarean does not mean you have failed somehow. It does not mean you can’t breastfeed successfully. It does not mean you won’t be the best mom for this new baby (or these twins/triplets). It does mean you grew a whole baby (or several) inside your body and now you get to raise those babies! It also means that you will likely need more support early on as your body recovers and you get your mobility back. Ask for help. Allow others to take care of you for a few weeks. Call a doula. She can help in so many ways. You won’t regret it.

Am I doing this right?

18 February 2015
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As a brand new mother, I asked myself this far too often. I made some different choices than some of my family and friends, and didn’t want to rock the boat–ok, some of my friends are snickering at that last comment, but really, as a new mom, I REALLY didn’t want to disappoint anyone!

Yes indeed, a pasty 'day after birth' day! Even now I look back and wish I had done more skin to skin!

But the questioning…always with the questioning.

Am I breastfeeding right?

Am I holding him right?

Is this the right thing to do when he cries?

Should I be co-sleeping?

Are cloth diapers really worth it?

Is attachment parenting really worth all this work?

Am I neglecting my husband?

Am I screwing things up for this kid?

Did you ask yourself any of these questions? One of the reasons I love being both a doula and an educator is that I get to set families up to talk through some of their decisions before baby arrives, and then I can be there to validate what they choose after they consider the tiny-but-vocal voice they hadn’t considered yet. Because once the baby arrives, I am no longer an expert on THIS baby.

I can only tell couples a general idea of what works for the thousands of babies I have worked with; but no one knows exactly what will work best for this baby but them–the ones that knew baby from the very beginning of their family. Can a doula help shorten the learning curve? Absolutely. But do they know the RIGHT answers? Not anymore.

Now that ALL the parenting questions are your responsibility, it is easy to question yourself, try to google at 3 am and get feedback from a thousand voices on your FB moms group. But what I love about postpartum doula work is that I can take all my knowledge and quietly believe in a family…until they believe in themselves.

And when I tell them their instincts are right on, they often start to believe.

It takes months and even years to quiet the parenting questions in your head and heart. And I’m not there yet—my kids are still growing and challenging me all the time! But I can often see what new parents can’t see. I see the heart to nurture and love a child that no one else shares for this particular baby. I see couples coming together on topics they used to disagree on, for the benefit of their tiny baby.

I see parents learning to recognize that tiny voice inside their heart that says, “I am doing this right for this baby.”

And I agree with them.

The last 5 minutes says a lot

13 February 2015
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14 years of postpartum doula work has reinforced one thing I learned early on. The old cliché that ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ really is true, especially in doula work. We can be the most educated doulas in the world, offering the best resources that really will change our client’s life, but if they do not feel our heart that honors their instinct about their baby, they won’t be able to hear or receive what we offer.

Those early days can make you feel really inexperienced and overwhelmed, but when your doula tells you are actually doing great, you start to believe it!

One thing I have learned is to really make sure those last 5 minutes count towards building confidence in my clients. Not that I don’t focus on building them up the entire time I am with them, but specifically those last 5 minutes before I go, I make sure they know that overall things are going better than they feel like they are, and that I have great hopes that things will improve very quickly. Which is true, but of course families can’t see it in the midst of their chaos. So I am sure they don’t always believe me when I say,

“Your baby is lucky to have you as parents”

or

“Things really are off to a great start.”

Parents of brand new newborns can usually not see past what they are going through, especially in those very early days where oxytocin is high but other more familiar hormones and sleep are pretty much gone. This is normal, and as a doula sometimes I am the only one who believes that everything will not only be ok, but actually pretty great in just a little time.

Everything we do as doulas is nurturing. Everything we say is intended to help parents recognize their own instincts and affirm them as being fully able to care perfectly for their baby. That means every cheese sandwich grilled, load of laundry folded, sitz bath run, soothing tip given for better sleep, and changing station set up for more efficiency, we are thinking of what will make our families feel competent and capable. But it only takes a minute to recognize how well things are going and how much better they are going to be. Choose those minutes at the end of the visit to show you have seen them at it, and it is all good.

So postpartum doulas, take a minute before you gather your stuff and head out the door, to really recognize your client’s abilities, your observation of their bond, and how much hope you have for them as they recover and get to know this amazing newborn. There is nothing like the affirmation of an expert that you are going to be great at this. It may be the only thing they remember from your visit, but they will probably remember it forever.

We have come a long way BABY…

11 February 2015
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My blogging vacation is over! To start things off again, I offer you a guest blog by a brilliant colleague of mine with decades of experience serving babies and families: Margi Deneau-Saxton.

Margi wears many hats as an RN, postpartum doula/trainer, patient educator, and more, but she treasures the role she gets to play as a mother and grandmother as one of her most precious. Here she is cuddling her newest grandbaby Lyla.

Involved in the magical world of infant massage since the early 90’s, and having been an “unknowing” practitioner on my own children beginning in ‘68, I was confronted with the surreal environment of the newborn nursery when I accepted a nursing position on the postpartum unit at a local hospital 1999. Orientation made me witness to the typical first bath – a literal scrubbing of these “non-sterile little creatures”, leaving them red, raw and bawling. Determining not do this, I introduced a more soothing experience and one that did not seek to expunge every bit of vernix. (There were many other things in this medical setting that left my own heart raw and bleeding.) I practiced the magic of massage–behind that key-coded door–soothing my charges through procedures, helping them avoid long stays in their isolettes under the blue light therapy, and rendering a calming, comforting brand of care. I became known as “that weird nurse” and I was looked upon as strange…but also strangely appreciated. I relished the times I was able to teach mothers about their newborn’s unique need for touch and show them how their baby responded to them. I developed a quick educational piece that I called the ‘Bedside Baby Talk’ sharing with moms my techniques. Thankfully, the winds of change were sweeping into the Southeast. I was able to join with a small group of reformers who brought about a major revolution to our hospital. I call it a revolution because it was not accepted readily; there were turf battles and some staff even lost their jobs due to noncompliance. Still, the acknowledgement of the infant as a person–not just a by-product of birth–was finally addressed. All the nuances of skin to skin care (STS) were recognized and deemed valid. Mother Baby Couplet Care arrived in 2004 and by 2009, we no longer had a Newborn Nursery. Most exciting to me was my surprised exposure to a bit of Japanese research published in 2011. It literally validated my experience with touch and the newborn. My retirement in 2014 has brought with it the opportunity to share this information about these newborn touch techniques in a one day workshop giving caregivers and ultimately, all parents the ability to answer the needs of the newborn in a gentle, nurturing way.

If you are interested in attending one of Margi’s trainings in the SE (someday we will get her to come to the west!) connect with her on FB.
Or find out more about all of her services and trainings on her site: www.mothernurture.net.

Hopefully more of my wonderful colleagues will have a chance to share something soon, and I have a lot more to say as well! Postpartum doula blogs are back! Make sure to follow us to not miss anything particularly helpful or scrumptious…

“We didn’t have dinner.”

30 August 2013
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In our flip-flopped family of a stay at home dad and a breadwinner wife who works days, overnights and weekends, we try to make evenings sacred and prioritize dinner time where we all sit down (or at least the kids attempt  to sit down), say grace, and share a meal together talking about our day.

Recently on a night when we had an evening event, my husband picked up fast food on the way for the kids. When I later asked my 7 year old what she had for dinner, she replied, “We didn’t have dinner.” “Then what did Daddy feed you?” I asked. “We just had tacos Mommy, but we didn’t have dinner. Dinner is when we all sit down together, not Taco Bell.”

I was touched. With all the guilt that I feel going to work all odd hours and not being the stay at home mom that I expected to be, this warmed my heart that my child already has memories of dinners shared with the family where we all sit down together.

Hoping that sentiment was shared by my son, I asked him recently what he liked best about going to Nana’s (who is a great cook, and routinely does special things with my kids although she lives 5 hours away). He said his favorite thing about Nana’s house, even over Christmas (!), is “having everyone together and eating meat!”  (This coming from a 12 year old boy who loves new Legos at Christmas as much as life itself.)

Both my husband and I grew up in families where our mothers stayed at home and made a warm dinner for us every night. Although our family structure differs considerably from this model, we have tried to give our children the stability and security of a nightly dinner together to reconnect, bedtime routines that involve reading stories, and tuck in times that are some of my most precious times. I am glad that my children see the value in this time together, too.

Client favorite: Refrigerator Quiche

29 June 2013
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This is what it looks like right out of the oven, but it only lasts a few minutes puffy like this.

This is a quick doula meal I can make just about anywhere. Most families have eggs, and an assortment of tired looking veggies that were meant for something but got overlooked by a new baby in the house. This is a great way to build a whole meal out of a rag tag team of odds and ends, and give a new family something beautiful to eat that lasts beyond one meal.

Veggies and seasonings (vary by season). You can add meat as well (bacon, sausage, bits of ham, etc) but often we don’t have those items on hand, so whatever is available becomes the ingredient list.

The most common arrangement I make is to take an onion and a red pepper, sauté in some olive or coconut oil, seasoned with salt and pepper until caramelized, then deglaze just slightly with 1 T water/broth. Mushrooms are often a hit as well, but you can use anything; cooked broccoli, potatoes, asparagus, etc. I use greens as well, but I don’t precook them.

Mix the egg portion while you cook the veggies:

6 eggs (you can use a higher ratio of yolks to whites for mamas who are building blood as well)

1 pint cottage cheese or ricotta

1 c milk, soymilk, or almond milk

1 ½ c shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc)

Tomatoes for topping, sliced to ½ inch thickness

I take a baking dish (pie plate, casserole dish, etc) and grease the bottom and sides. Add the sautéed veggies evenly to the bottom. Add any raw greens you want (I use baby spinach) and pour the egg mixture over the top evenly.

Top with sliced tomatoes, pressing them into the mixture with a fork, to get a bit of egg on the top (bakes in nicely this way).

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 min, then 20 min at 350 to finish off. Done when the middle doesn’t jiggle, or is browned the way you like it. It will come out of the over puffy and amazing, but settles in just a few minutes (get your camera out fast!). Makes a lovely potluck dish as well, and reheats great for leftovers (so essential for those postpartum days with a newborn). Can be eaten warm or room temp, although a few moms admit they eat it cold out of the fridge when desperate!

On the Edge…

4 May 2013
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The postpartum sleep crash in the early weeks can take mamas by surprise. This is not a mama I referred to in the blog; she just provided a great picture of the exhaustion of early motherhood!

I don’t mean to be self serving. Just can’t help but mention how many families lately are TIRED. Not your average, ‘let’s take a pick me up nap in the afternoon or have some coffee ASAP’ type of tired. I mean bone weary, decisions blurred, logic failing, body achy, emotional basket cases tired.

As doulas who offer overnight care, gentle sleep consults, and of course a host of handy mom-helping services, we often hear the worst stories. (Like the moms who freeze their purses and call us because they can’t find their keys! True story–and not just one!) But lately I am hearing stories about  moms who put off their need for sleep long enough to really feel like they are having a breakdown. Like losing their mind, and not just for that moment when you ‘forget’ you had a baby and then suddenly realize you have been a mother for 3 months (not uncommon!). But the kind that feels desperate, clinging to any kind of support they can possibly trust.

We get these calls, but I am sure only a small handful of the moms who experience this. We assume that partners, grandparents, friends, or co-workers are getting the bulk of them. And hopefully those are the folks that are helping these mamas find solutions by providing some good sleep support for them, or at least a listening, empathetic heart.

But I am going to suggest something; moms are worth getting more sleep support. Partners, don’t be afraid to suggest that not only do moms need more sleep, but you are going to take the baby for a few hours and provide mom the opportunity to do just that. Grandmas, you can offer to stay with a baby whose mama is on the edge. Friends can even come over one afternoon and hold, cuddle and play with baby while mom crashes in the other room.

You don’t have to interrupt breastfeeding to get sleep support. Babies can be brought to mama to nurse while mama barely wakes, having the caregiver do everything but feed the baby and leaving moms in bed. Moms can pump a little milk earlier in the day and take a long stretch of sleep while partner bottle feeds baby at midnight. And baby can be well attended to by a Grandma or other loving caregiver while parents snuggle and have some relaxing pillow talk without worrying it will wake the baby before getting a few solid hours of sleep at the SAME time. Babies stay bonded to their parents; they just have a better rested parent in the morning who is more creative with their play, and enjoys the process of early parenting more because they got more rest.

I know all the arguments. I know babies do better sleeping near their mothers at night, especially if they are a breastfeeding pair. I am a lactation consultant; I support breastfeeding with an almost religious sacredness. But Motherhood is supreme to me; feeding is only a part of mothering. And here is what happens when I hear from moms who let the tiredness go too far.

Had a mom hospitalized against her will this year so she could be medicated to sleep for 4 days while she gathered up her self care and went back to full time mothering (successfully). This is an expensive way to catch up on sleep, and one that carries a lot of stigma. Needed sometimes, but a pretty hard experience for everyone.

Had another mom who woke up recently and couldn’t make decisions or figure out what was actually ‘real’ and what felt like was just in her mind. She was scared…but thankfully, she had heard the story of this other mama, and told herself that she would be better if she just had some sleep. She was right. After some partner support, some doula support, and some wonderful family members helping out, she got rest, found her sense of reality, and went on happily back to mothering her little one full time.

So when I see moms week after week putting their sleep needs last on the list, or I see a breastfeeding mom who is so dedicated that she is losing beyond her pregnancy weight, hasn’t taken a shower in a long time, and cries every time someone looks her in the eye…I get a bit more serious. Serious about advocating for mom’s needs. (Babies never get neglected in the families I see; they typically have multiple people who love them who are happy to help out anywhere they can.) I write this not to help motivate others to rescue moms who are over the edge (although by all means, jump in and help when requested!) but to help PREVENT other moms from hitting that wall.

I want moms, partners, and anyone who loves them to TAKE THE INITIATIVE. Ask the mom if she wants more sleep…then figure out a way to get her more sleep! Not by changing the baby’s behavior (not so easy actually!) but by changing the support mom has available.  But having mom catch up on the weekend mornings by sleeping in; I know Dads and partners like to do this too! Negotiate…

I only share this to avoid the breakdown that I am all to familiar with. I know early parenting is tiring, and that is a badge we often wear for much of our kid’s early lives. But no one gets a medal for parenting until you are wasted tired and possibly not making safe decisions behind the wheel, or picking fights when you don’t even mean to! Please, just find a way to get more rest. If you have to take medication to shut off your brain if you are experience anxiety, allow yourself the guilt free experience of brain rest.

Yes, of course we provide this rest almost every night of the week. But if you have been in my classes or groups, you know I am going to encourage you to GET ALL THE FREE HELP YOU CAN before you hire anyone. Families figure this stuff out, and can get through it safely most of the time. Just don’t neglect yourself…sleep is important. And YOU are important. Not just because you are a mother to this baby. Because you are YOU, and well loved by many.

Top 10 Things I Learned from Moms Group

27 January 2013
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The long awaited top 10 is here! Jordann graduated recently with a twist: a top 10 list of all the things she acquired on her journey through the first 6 months (coming to moms group almost every week). She is our guest blogger, and shares some good stuff!

I am going to take them 3 at a time (not to make you wait, but otherwise it might be a bit too long to read in one sitting with a squirmy baby).  Check out more wisdom from this mama at www.intuitivemamablog.com.

  1. It’s okay to stop reading the books.  A mother with a two year old and a newborn said this during group once and it was shocking and liberating at the same time.  I don’t have to read the books and I can just trust myself to know what to do?  Learning to trust our mama intuition is a hard step but absolutely necessary.
  2. Showering with your baby is easy and good for everyone.  A close-to-graduating mama once got up and demonstrated how easy it is to shower with a baby.  It seemed like a simple thing to figure out without a demonstration, but there was something so helpful about seeing this pretend shower scene.  You just take the baby in the shower, make sure you have a good hold (in case the soap makes her slippery) and there you go!  The baby becomes very familiar with water splashing in his/her face, which then helps later when swim lessons start.
  3. Bat Wings.  Kimberly made up the name, so I give her full credit.  Bat wings helped our sleep tremendously.  When baby was unable to get her hands out of the swaddle, she actually slept.  Here is a video demonstration:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6Yki68oV4RU.

[A quick caveat about the bat wings. I don't recommend this technique for brand new babies. Bat wings are for babies who sleep well in the swaddle, but get their arms out. Usually we see this working better after the first month.

The you tube link shows a couple from one of my classes using this with their 3 month old. Great for that age. Not so good for tiny babies who are not gaining weight quickly. Better for chunky Houdini babies who have tired parents. (There is a variation for smaller babies who are eating well; I need to get a you tube video up on that!)]

4. Week 7 is Hate-Your-Husband-Week (HYHW).  I heard this during my first week at Mom’s group and didn’t believe it could be the case for all moms.  Maybe it isn’t the case for all moms, but it sure was for me.  Everything became increasingly frustrating in our relationship during week 7.  What got me through it was remembering that it was normal and it was likely going to be a temporary feeling.  And sure enough, it was temporary.  My husband is a great man and a great father.  One day, maybe there will be some studies showing that there’s something biological about HYHW.

5. You do what works until it doesn’t work and then you change it!  There is nothing more anxiety-producing than talking about sleep patterns with someone who is a diehard Babywise-believer.  Or knowing that you let your baby cry-it-out while conversing with an Attachment Parenting mama.  But thanks to this motto from mom’s group, I calmed my anxiety by repeating this to myself over and over, “I will do what works for me, my baby, and my family until it doesn’t work any longer.  At that point I will try something else.”

6. Don’t try and make a happy baby happier.  I didn’t learn this one at Mom’s Group.  My friend with three older children passed on this gem.  When Baby is content playing by herself, why do I always feel the need to give her a new toy or move her to a new place?  Just let a happy baby be!  This is the time to go make your bed, answer an email, or nourish yourself with an actual meal that doesn’t come in a wrapper.  Let go of the guilt of not interacting with your child 100% of their waking hours.  Don’t try and make a happy baby happier.

7. You don’t need a title for how you parent.  Before I had our baby, I asked a co-worker, “So did you do Attachment Parenting or Sleep Training.”  She answered back, “Huh?  I guess I never put a label on what I did.  I just did it..”  WHAT??  YOU CAN DO THAT??  Who knew!?!  And this is the type of attitude I experienced at Mom’s Group.  Every mom is just trying to figure out the best way to take care of her baby and it truly isn’t necessary to put a label on it.  It goes back to that mama-intuition thing.  If you feel that it’s right, do it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-keith/new-moms_b_1850227.html)

8. This next one comes from a great article passed around the internet.  “All the seemingly divisive decisions — pain meds in labor/newborn sleep arrangements/feeding — are often phrased as moral imperatives from both sides. Screw that. Take care of your kid. Do what works.” I wanted a natural birth and it did feel like a moral imperative.  I ended up with an experience free of complications, but I asked for pain medications toward the end of the birth.  I struggled with that decision for weeks afterwards.  When I showed up at Mom’s Group and heard all the different birth stories it made me realize that I am one lucky mama to have a healthy baby with no complications at birth.  And now when I talk to other pregnant mamas, I have to remember that everyone’s story is going to be different and it does not need to be approached as a moral issue.

9. My husband and I are going to parent differently at it does more harm to try to “correct” his parenting style than to let it go.  He does a whole lot better with #6 than I do.  He can catch up on sports, answer emails, and clean the house while the baby plays happily by herself.  And he doesn’t have an ounce of guilt.  And sometimes this drives me crazy.  I want to give him all kinds of suggestions of things her can do with her (ie read a book, tummy time, etc.)   But in the end, I have to remember that a naggy wife and mom is going to do a lot more harm than letting him parent the way that he wants to parent.  So I just have to let go of control.

10. And the last one…Get in the photographs.  Yes, we’re all in very unfamiliar bodies at this point in our lives.  Yes, we have NO time to do our make-up, fix our hair, or put on a cute outfit.  But we must get in the photographs.  Our children will cherish these photos of their mamas and they’ll never see the faults that we see.  So put that camera on self-timer and take a few #selfieswithbaby now and then.   Or how about NOW… go grab that camera!

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