When our first babies are born, we meet our maternal instinct for the very first time, and sometimes it is potent.
It’s such a beautiful thing, us wanting to do our very best and keep our babies safe. But sometimes it leads to so much anxiety, we aren’t even enjoying motherhood, our support system, and life for what it is and our happiness gets clouded by norms and societal projections and TOO many choices.
I’d love to share what I would have done differently as a first time mom, that I’m now practicing with my second baby, in hopes to help that anxious, expectant new mama or dad that stumbles across this.
-Don’t buy the entire BuyBuyBaby catalog, for the love of god. It’s such a waste of money. Coming from the woman that spent actual thousands on her first born, only to give it all away shortly after his first birthday, never used.
-Birth at home. I already had planned this, however, my midwife transferred me for no good reason during labor. If you feel you and your baby are well, stay home anyways! It would have saved me and my son A LOT of trauma to do so.
-See a lactation consultant if you’re struggling with breastfeeding. Both my boys are tied (lip/tongue). The difference is, with my first, the pediatrician advised me that ties were a myth and it would be unnecessary harm to my infant, and I ended up exclusively pumping for 18 months. Now, with my second, I immediately was able to recognize the same signs I saw in my first, for ties, and while I’m pumping in the interim, I have an appointment set with a pediatric dentist to correct the ties and will have support of a CLC and IBCLC to make sure we are able to latch this time and I can have a healthy, natural breastfeeding journey without being attached to a pump!!!
-Stop trying to keep my baby sterile. When my first was a baby, any and all visitors had to wash their hands and arms, remove their shoes, bring a change of clothes if they were coming from a public place, no other kids allowed over, all the things. I would wash off my baby after every visitor and our house was kept spotless. Now I’m like “Hey literally anybody, wanna hold my baby?!” Those microbes are SO beneficial to their immune system and gut health, don’t deprive them of it.
-Snuggle that precious baby. Stop trying to get them to do the ABC sleep, unless they really like it that way. I lost so much sleep the first few weeks of Noah’s life trying to get him to sleep on his back in the bassinet, pfffttt. Safe sleep 7 bed sharing and breastsleeping (love me some Dr McKenna) are the way to go!! Also please don’t worry about spoiling them and making a bad habit, hold your baby as much as you can… it’s cliche, I know, but they really do grow so fast.
-Take the time you deserve to heal postpartum. If you’re sore and bleeding and not feeling up for going to the Christmas party, please don’t force yourself to go. Set up a meal train well in advanced, prepare freezer meals, save up enough money to order healthy food in, or arrange for a loved one to come stay with and cook for you as their primary role for the first week AT MINIMUM.
-Wear your baby from the moment you are up and moving around after birth. While you do dishes, laundry, as MUCH AS POSSIBLE. It is so convenient to have a baby that loves to be worn, it frees your hands, and saves your sanity from checking if they are breathing every 5 minutes while you do things and they sleep.
-Skip the mutilation and p01s0n. Seriously, how do we expect to achieve health by cutting up our babies genitals and 1nject1ng them with hormone disrupters and animal DNA?! I was so conditioned with my first, that I did both. Now, my second is intact and toxin free!
-If you are not doing well mentally, tell somebody that is safe to tell and get therapy. 1 in 7 reported women experience a postpartum mood disorder, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Just like setting up your baby’s pediatrician appointments in advanced, have a therapist on stand by that has experience in perinatal mood disorders, for YOUR health.
-Get a pelvic floor therapist once you’ve healed up postpartum. Peeing yourself, painful sex and incontinence is not just part of being a mommy.
What would you add that you would have done differently with your first if you knew what you know now?!