Tips & Tricks for New Moms & Dads
This one’s for you, all you new moms and dads out there. I’m lookin’ at you, sleep-deprived mom trying to keep her eyes open at breakfast. I’m lookin’ at you, dad trying to avoid being peed on mid-diaper change. I’m lookin’ at you guys, too, siblings trying to stuff down those feelings of worry that your parents won’t pay as much attention to you after the newest arrival makes his appearance.
That newborn period is so amazing because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But, that can also be pretty anxiety-producing for many. Trying to balance your own needs, the needs of your marriage, older children, your job, and (hey) the newest tiny person. It’s a lot. I’m not gonna lie. When we brought our son home, and our daughter was still firmly ensconced in the NICU, my husband and I put Wyatt’s carseat on the floor, looked at each other, and both simultaneously asked “what now?”
‘Cause really…what now? I think we all underestimate the swing of emotions and questions that come with bringing home a new baby, even if it’s old hat by that point because of older siblings. Each time is new. And, good lord, is it ever a roller coaster ride (pardon the VERY overused cliche).
So, for all you moms and dads, here’s a couple things that were game-changers and helpers for us along the way.
our not-so-revolutionary, yet totally practical, guide to surviving infancy
- BOUNCY SEATS (parents of multiples or parents with children close in age – this is your jam). I never thought I’d be so adept at grabbing things with my feet, or (true story) holding a bottle with them, as I was when I was suddenly caring for newborn twins. I know there are plenty of fancy swings and motion rocker chairs out there for babies, but if you’ve got more than one at one time? Who has the space for more than one of those giant monstrosities?! Enter, the good old fashioned Fisher Price bouncy seats. Seriously, they saved our bacon every single night when we were feeding preemie twins who had serious feeding issues. Bonus – it allowed my husband and I to actually alternate feedings so we could attempt more than an hour of sleep at a time.
- GERBER TRI-PLY CLOTH DIAPERS – ditch those cutesy burp cloths everyone likes to build towers out of…also, why? They’re adorable, and I love pretty fabric as much as the next girl (REALLY – I quilt)…but, they just don’t work. When you have a kid who spits up constantly or, as was our case, has serious gastrointestinal issues and projectile vomits, utilitarian is what’s called for. Enter the old standby, Gerber Tri-ply cloth diapers. They’re SUPER absorbent, really soft, and very easily washable. I still have them in my house, even all these years later. Another fun fact, these same cloths make awesome stain & dusting rags!
- DON’T NEGLECT THE FIRSTS – Keep track of all the firsts and document them in a baby book. Listen, this is completely the pot calling the kettle black. If you ask where my kids’ baby books are I will point you to my trunk coffee table. Yup – my kids’ baby books are stored in there, in pieces. I have yet to compile everything. But, you know what I did do? I made notes of every monthly milestone on my phone and then wrote them out on these adorable (seriously, they’re cute!) baby book month-by-month templates that I created for them. So, while the actual baby books are still yet to be compiled, I at least have those memories recorded and ready to be included in them. Because I like you, please feel free to download the Blank Templates HERE. Print them out on cardstock, trim them. And, go to town; have fun!
- KEEP TRACK OF THE POOP – It sounds totally stupid and ridiculous. But, again, if you’re a parent of multiples or of a kid who might have some health issues initially, this is really seriously important. I know we don’t usually find this acceptable to talk about in polite society, but everybody poops…and it matters! Honestly, keeping track of when our kids ate, how much they ate, when they had a wet diaper, and when they each had a bowel movement was a game changer. It made a difference. I would march into the Pediatric Gastrointeroligist’s office with my “binder of poop” and it helped to isolate problem times and find cause/effect relationships for our one kid who just couldn’t stop throwing up. No joke – our house was basically a superfund site for the first two years because of tiny baby Wyatt and his puke. So, being able to give concrete and specific information about meal intake and eliminations made things easier at doctor visits. If you find yourself in our shoes (it gets better, I promise). Or, if you also share my need for organizational control and information, this is for you. You can download the meal/elimination tracking chart that I created for our own kids HERE. As silly as it sounds, it’s actually fun to look at years later. Our kids get a kick out of it!
- FAMILY COMES FIRST – Last, but definitely not least….remember that family comes first. No matter the demands of your job, your family is where it begins and ends. We’ve all felt those pressures from our bosses, the questioning of sick days to take care of children…the pressure to be at work even when we shouldn’t. But, at some point, the call to sacrifice our families’ needs for our jobs must end. Not that I’m the one to give you permission, but at least you know you’re not alone in that struggle. Your life. Your family. End stop.
You’re doing great! Even when it feels like you’re not, and you’re overwhelmed by all of the newness and uncertainty, you. are. doing. great. Go with your gut. Ask for help when you need it. And, remember, nobody knows your baby better than you. You’ve got this!
Joyful & Honest Westchester NY Photographer
Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Details page for more info.