First time Mom regrets… but really, how could you expect anything different.
I don't want to say I have REGRETs, but there are absolutely things I'll do differently next time …
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1. My mom regrets about Sleep
Wake windows and Sleepy Cues
We tried a few of the popular sleep courses, instead of helping, they just stressed me the F out. I wrote a blog about it here. While I didn't like everything in the course, the few bits I did were about wake windows and sleepy cues!
Just google “Wake windows for X month old” and you'll find SUGGESTED wake windows. Play around with these. My daughter is 9 months old and we tried 1.5 hr morning wake windows and she would never fall asleep. Over a few days we extended it to 3 hrs and now she naps (thank god). At 1.5 hours she tends to show “sleepy cues” and now I do a feeding at the 1.5 hr which ties her over until the 3 hrs.
So I'd suggest considering playing with the wake window to see what works for your babe.
Also google baby sleepy cues, these helped SO MUCH in those first few weeks to understand when she was tired.
I rolled my eyes every single time someone said “sleep when baby sleeps”.
YEAH NO SH*T wouldn't that be nice?! But instead, I have to wash the clothes, feed myself, do some laundry…
But really… you actually do need the sleep.
I'm telling you this knowing full well you likely won't listen… But really no one (except your babe) expects anything from you for the first few weeks. Take the freaking time to SLEEP.
If you need to know the why instead of just that you need to do something, TEDtalk about sleep was that for me.
But as someone who can do pretty well on minimal sleep, I can tell you it's not just about the sleep. The newborn phase is completely insane, and you want to be as rested as you can be. Your patience are shorter when you don't get sleep, you're more emotional and you feel a little crazy.
It's also about the hormones… they're already making us a bit mad, we dont need another reason.
It's also also about staying healthy and not getting sick and holding on to extra weight.
Screen time at night?
Use computer glasses… honestly.
So likely once baby is a couple of months old the ONLY time we get to work (or scroll, or watch a movie) is at night when they're sleeping.
But everyone knows screen time before bed is a big no, no.
Well (like most things Motherhood) what we “should” do and what we “can” do are two different things.
So, my solution? Computer Glasses. They are blue-light-blocking computer glasses and I've been using them for a few years now and LOVE them.
When I first heard about blue light blocking glasses I legit thought it was a bit of B.S. but now I cannot work on my computer without them! No eye strain or headaches, and I can fall asleep no problem. Seriously, I cannot recommend them enough.
I have Roebling and Lovelace, they have a nighttime pair that has extra blue light blocking for the night.
Mom regret #2: I'll Introduce a bottle earlier
I hesitate to give this advice. Apparently, there is something called “nipple confusion” where the baby gets a bottle and doesn't go back to the boob.
So I waited SIX WEEKS to give my baby a bottle and at 9 months old she'd still never taken a bottle. We nursed to sleep… every. single. time. We have since night weaned (wow, was that a doozy).
While I didn't mind the breastfeeding… it can be problematic if I need to be away for more than 3 hours. Which honestly wasn't ever really been a problem… #COVID.
Talk to your doctor about your choices. But I think for the next baby, once me and my baby have our breastfeeding relationship established, meaning I have no pain, baby is gaining weight and my supply is in (at least 3 weeks) we'll be introducing a bottle 1x/day so they get the hang of the bottle and Mama can have the option for a freaking break.
Everyone swears by a magic bottle. There is no magic bottle… only a magic bottle for your baby. Bottle Box is a great way to try different brands before committing.
PSA: Newborns do not need that much!
Seriously I have this blog about the must-haves for babies but it's m.i.n.i.m.a.l.
Sis, it's YOU that needs all the things to recover after labor.
3. Non-Toxic Car Seat
Well, I wish I'd known THIS was a thing! There are flame retardants that are put on car seats (that are mostly ineffective and toxic for babe). We didn't change our infant carseat but we are getting a nontoxic convertible soon. She's 10 months and about to be over the 30″ length! We'll also probably keep the infant seat for the second and get them a nontoxic convertible.
4. Food prep before baby
The best gift for a new mom is a DoorDash gift card. Doordash is just a meal delivery service. My DoorDash referral link will give you a discount on your first meals! This was hands down THE. BEST. the gift we got in the hospital after she was born so we could get a nice meal and not think twice about it. And in the first few weeks of the baby being born, it was incredible to be able to order in. Because of covid, I don't even know what a meal train is.
If you do have time to prep before baby (first-time moms can usually make the time) make some premade freezer meals! My friends over at FitFoodieFinds (fellow MN'n) have crockpot freezer meals! This would be so fun to make with your mom, in-laws, sister, friends? Idk your relationship with people! It would even be fun on zoom with another pregnant lady!
I wish I'd done this. Your TIRED, breastfeeding self will thank you sooner than you think! We ended up doing a meal plan, there are a few good options like Daily Harvest (smoothies, soups, flatbreads), Purple Carrot (vegan), GreenChef, Butcher box (organic/free range meats) etc. There are a million options, sign up for one for the first couple of months.
5. More Pictures and Videos, please!
Girl, you will not feel cute. Your belly is probably tucked into some nipple high leggings (my favs are from here lol) or sweatpants, your boobs are leaking, you haven't showered in a few days, your hair is falling out and you may have just gotten spit up on or pooped on… or both. You do not want your picture taken.
Do it anyway or you'll add it to your list of mom regrets.
Mommy Tool Box
You want one of each of the following kind of moms. Why?
Because we all like to get the advice we're seeking. We need someone to tell us to get the epidural, we know who to ask, if we need someone to give us a pep talk about getting a babysitter, we know who to call.
The Modern Mom: she that not only says an epidural is “an option” but a damn good one.
Hippie Mom: She knows all of the natural remedies you can try.
Breastfeeding mom: Preferably an extended breastfeeding mom. She will be an excellent resource to know EVERYTHING you could want to know about breast milk. That it creates antibodies specific to your baby, creates different milk at night and that it can cure cradle cap and clogged milk ducts, and is even good for sore nipples.
Relax Mom: who lets you know that the best time to drink wine is while breastfeeding because it won't get to the baby during that feeding and that maximizes your 2 hr window.
2+ Mom: This mom has more than one kid and helps us as first-time moms let our babies out into the wild without bubble wrap.
Find the mom you want to be like. Sift through your mom-friends and find the mom that you want to be the most like. THIS is the friend you ask for advice most of the time.
What I'll do again next time!
I do have some mom regrets (the 5 listed above) but there are also things that I'm so happy that I did, these are below.
Holy crap did hypnobabies help me in more ways than one!
First, the course taught me so many things about what can happen during labor. I felt very prepared and empowered for whatever was going to happen and what my options were.
Second, it helped me to relax. I was pregnant right as covid hit, it was a wild time when no one knew anything except it was dangerous. Seth wasn't able to come to the last few appointments and it was just him and I in labor and delivery. Couples now have it even harder. Practicing the hypnosis calmed me every. single. time. I practiced. It was exactly what I needed in such an uncertain time.
Lastly in labor, I went into labor not only feeling ready but a bit excited. I was truly ready for whatever and to roll with what came. But when I put those earbuds in when we were on our way to the hospital it took me somewhere else! It was wild. I will 1000% do the hypnobabies course again this is the one I took.
2. Expecting and Empowered
HEYSHAYLA for $10 off your order.
As I said, Covid was being announced in my third trimester. So for the first two trimesters, I was working out in the gym. It was a whole new experience to work out in the gym while pregnant, but it also felt really good. When the gyms closed I had no idea what the hell to do at home or even what was safe and I could not be happier about finding Expecting and Empowered.
Pelvic Floor Exercises. Um, who knew that you were supposed to work your pelvic floor during pregnancy and postpartum? Who even knows how to work your pelvic floor? I mean I know how to do a kegel… but nothing past that.
Expecting and Empowered was created by two sisters, a nurse and physical therapist to show you what is safe each week of your pregnancy.
They include stretching, pelvic floor exercises, and a leg/arm/circuit workout every two weeks. I can't say for sure it was E&E but I pushed for 24 min and felt really great about my postpartum recovery!
Cannot recommend them enough.
I interviewed one of the sisters on natural birth (she's a nurse and has 3 unmedicated births!) and another one will be posted in Jan or Feb 2022. About the importance of working the pelvic floor during and after labor.
This bad boy attaches to the boob that you're not feeding off of to catch any letdown. It caused me to have a bit of an oversupply which I wasn't upset about because I was able to collect extra milk and fill my entire freezer in a couple of months.
However, my daughter didn't take a bottle, and so I donated the freezer full of milk. If you're interested in donating milk or are looking for breastmilk, get on facebook and find a group called Human Milk for Human Babies + your state). Realizing I didn't need all of the milk because we didn't use bottles, I stopped using the Haakaa. I now use it if one size needs some relief and the little lady isn't helping a sister out! I never used an electric pump, just this. Way easier, cannot recommend enough. I'd recommend the one with the suction on the bottom and lid (NOT the flower lid).
Here is a blog I wrote for must haves for breastfeeding.
I also have 3 incredible podcasts about breastfeeding:
1. Establishing supply
2. Common problems and how to overcome
3. Benefits of BF past 1 year
4. After Labor Bathroom Recovery Kit
THIS. There are 10k videos about “what I packed in my hospital bag”. WHERE ARE THE VIDEOS ABOUT “What I put in my postpartum bathroom kit” I mean here is one…. mine. You're welcome.
Trust me, check it out and snag a few of these items. It's always hit or miss because you don't know how your labor will go down, but grab these and return if you don't need them. But if you do them you'll be SO glad you snagged them.
There is also this one that is half the cost, but doesn't have things for the hospital.
5. Breastfeed As Soon As Possible after birth
Our nipples release a smell similar to the amniotic fluid, this means that baby is attracted to them. My daughter launched within minutes after cutting the cord! I have a few other breastfeeding tips here and all my must-haves here. But this was a big one for me. Obviously, if you have any type of emergency during labor this might not happen right away but if you're interested in breastfeeding, try and get baby to the boob as soon as safe for both of you.
6. Go see a Lactation Consultant… reread and go.
Talk to a lactation consultant. I will repeat this, talk to a lactation consultant!
Yo, “breastfeeding is natural” is true in some sense BUT that doesn't mean it's EASY!
I spoke with a lactation consultant before she was born, because I knew one. This was great, but I think it's best when baby is HERE. None of it really makes any sense until you have your baby and your boob and you can see how you and your baby work together.
I spoke to another lactation consultant in the hospital. Ask if your hospital has one and tell them you want to talk to them, they might not come by as standard practice.
The third time I worked with one was at her 2 day and 2 week appointments. My daughter's pediatric doctor is a lactation consultant and she helped me SO much.
Then I made friends with Natalie (who is in the podcasts linked above) and she had SOOO much good information.
I'm telling you, a proper latch can make or break your experience. If the latch is wrong it will hurt SO much more.
You should not have to wince through every feeding.
7. Floor / Tummy Time
When she was just a few weeks only I read somewhere that the more our babies are on the floor (tummy time or not) the better. It gives them the ability to move freely and explore their muscles.
I love Lovevery (more about this below) and they have a great play gym that grows with your baby. We still use this one 1.5 years later as a tent.
I also read keeping them in diapers only or unrestricted clothing can be fantastic for their development as well. This is because they can move around and explore more. Obviously it depends if your kid is the move to explore or observe to explore type.
8. Developmental Toys
Lovevery is hands down one of my favorite things. It's a Montessori Developmental Toy Subscription box. Before I get into it, let me start by saying I've never done a subscription box that I LOVE. Here is a video showing the first kit. There are several things I love about Lovevery toys.
First, they're made of natural materials. Not only does that mean they're not an eyesore, it means I feel really really comfortable giving her something from Lovevery to play with or chew on!
Second, each box that comes in the mail is sent specifically for age and where they are developmentally AND comes with a little booklet explaining how to use the toys to help develop her skills!
9. Elimination Communication
I started Elimination Communication (EC or infant potty training) around her 4-month sleep regression and basically said hell no (our full experience here, and our one year review here). Once we started getting more sleep Seth tried again… so I did too.
We now catch almost every 1st pee of the morning and transitional pees as well, aka after a meal, after the car seat etc.
I could not be more proud or impressed with how well we're doing!
If you're interested in doing it, this was the book/course I read that walks you through it all.
We got our training underwear and potty from this site.
HEYSHAYLA for $5 off your training underwear or potty purchase!
8. Cloth Diaper
For us, the cloth diapers go hand in hand with EC, the hardest part about starting cloth diapering is making a decision on what kind to get and then figuring out your setup. I made a video and blog to explain the main 4 kinds.
For us, all in ones (AIO) are the way to go! All in ones are EASY because they're one diaper no folding, no stuffing. I have all-in-ones and they haven't been a problem until she started solids. One of the flaps sometimes falls into the toilet water while I'm spraying it off and that's really annoying. Blog post about our cloth diaper experience her and one year review here. I might consider pocket diapers but I really did not like the idea of having to stuff the liners.
We do an 80/20 system
We do disposables at night and when we're away from the house for a long period (20%).
As for the cloth diapers, we do it the rest of the time. I'd recommend getting at least 24 (Facebook marketplace is a great find to find a “lot” of cloth diapers). You just want to make sure you're checking the elasticity. If you're super savvy you can fix this yourself. I haven't needed to do it yet.
My OVERALL Advice:
If it's not a problem for you. It's not a problem! AND Do what works (without stress) until it doesn't, then change it.
Thats it! I hope it was helpful and you share it with your friends 🙂