So here’s the thing. Moms are all going through a journey. And at some point in motherhood, or even parenthood, you’re new at it. You may have dreamed of being a mom your entire life, but it won’t prepare you for what is to come. Lots of people are happy to receive advice from those who have done it before. “I’m older and wiser” and “mas sabe el diablo for viejo que por diablo” are things we’ve heard a million times. Now, I don’t want to say that I give the absolute best advice. We’ve talked about mother’s thinking they’ve all done it better. If you are a mom, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t one yet–get ready. Some pieces of advice will be welcome and they really do make sense.
I think the best pieces of advice I have received have been:
- Don’t get a bottle warmer. So this one makes sense because the idea is you don’t want the baby to get used to only warm milk. What if you are no where near the bottle warmer and the baby is hungry? What in the world happens then?
- Don’t get a wipe warmer because the baby needs to get used to cold wipes. I didn’t even know that wipe warmers existed, but I guess it’s the same as what’s listed above. If I’m out and about and I need to change the baby’s diaper, what then?
- Don’t stress about the stuff you can’t control. I felt like I couldn’t control anything but it was good advice nonetheless.
- Read 12 Hours of Sleep by 12 Weeks. Game. Changer. Santi just didn’t want to chill. He wanted to eat all night long and I wasn’t into it like he was. So, at 12 weeks I read this book and slowly weaned him off his 12am bottle feed and 4am bottle feed. That’s right guys, 12am and 4am–you do the math. I wasn’t getting any sleep. But I did after reading this book!
- Don’t take 15 outfits to the hospital. This is a good one. With Santi, I packed two weeks before and I brought two outfits per day. They were each in individual ziplock bags that were labeled with an outfit description. I was practical…I brought one fancy outfit and one regular outfit. Guess how many he wore? Probably 2.
- Have a routine. Routine is key! This was hands down the best advice I received. Santi’s witching hour was the hour right before Santiago got home from work so a routine of play time, bath, nighttime massage and bottle were a life saver!
Advice can also be tricky because embedded in what they’re saying is something that worked for them and their parenting style. My parenting style is not the same as all of my peers, or as the parents in Santi’s class. A lot of times you receive advice (or give advice–I’m guilty!) that no one asked for, and therefore doesn’t care to hear… Some of these gems are:
- Sleep when the baby sleeps! Oh, this one is a classic. Like, I cannot take a nap in the middle of the day because now I have constant anxiety. Is the baby crying? Are they breathing? Let me just put a finger under their nose to double check? Oh no, I touched the baby’s face! They’re awake!! (Story of my life, guys).
- Breast feed! You’ll drop the baby weight so fast! Um, no. Maybe some people shed pounds like I shed tears, but my body hung on to those extra fat cells for dear life. Also, that’s not a reason to breastfeed, but thanks for the words of wisdom.
- Don’t kiss the baby’s face, you’ll give them acne. Ok, this one came from someone that I love dearly and she really truly believes it. I asked my OBGYN and long story short, it’s not true.
- Go as long as possible without an epidural. It’s really not that bad! You know what else isn’t bad? An epidural!
- Don’t co-sleep with your baby. Is it ideal? No. Is it your business? Also no. By the way, Lina Acosta from Stop Parenting Alone said that as long as both parents are OK with co-sleeping it really isn’t a big deal. It’s a problem when one parent isn’t on board. (FYI)
- Don’t carry your baby all day, you’ll spoil them! Yeah, like my 2 week old baby knows how to be spoiled. Thank you, next.
- Breast is best. This one is like a dagger to the heart for me. Really, truthfully, what’s best is a happy mom. I’ve done it both ways. I formula fed Santi from day 1 and Joaquin was exclusively breastfed for 3 months and 2 days. They’re both healthy, I love them equally and I was a happy and present mom regardless of how I fed them. I wasn’t in the right headspace to go on that daunting journey when I had Santi and I was completely ready with Joaquin, so how can you tell me that what I’m doing for my baby isn’t what’s best?
I think the biggest point to make here is that everyone’s journey is different. I mean, I’ve had two children and my journey with them has been like night and day. You can spend your entire pregnancy planning for the perfect scenario and sometimes it doesn’t pan out. What works for me may not work for the mom next to me. Now, I don’t think I’ve done it better (maybe just a little) but here are some important things I’ve learned along the way:
- Download helpful apps! But technology is the enemy! (Just kidding). These have saved my life. Wonderweeks and Baby Sparks are where it’s at. Wonderweeks helped me determine when my kids would be in “stormy periods,” aka, going through a developmental leap, aka in the worst mood ever. Baby Sparks gave me different activities to do with them during the day that would sufficiently stimulate and tire them (win-win!).
- Be You. Your baby doesn’t need a superhero or a Michelin star chef. They don’t need a mom who is exhausted because she’s trying to make herself and the house look pristine. They need you.
- Don’t take other people’s advice as FACT. Your reality is not the same as anyone else. Also, your reality can and probably will change. I love Dr Brown bottles and when people ask me to recommend some, that’s my go to…but if your baby has reflux and colic, guess what? They suck!
- No one knows your baby better than you. Um, you guys have a connection that no one else gets…cause you grew them in your belly, remember? So when grandma, aunt, friend, coworker, ME, whomever comes to tell you that you’re doing something wrong, you tell them they’re wrong!
- Don’t take yourself or any scenario too seriously. The nights are long but the years are short. Enjoy every moment because before you know it, your baby is going to be walking, talking and making you laugh!