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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!