Ahhh that fourth trimester.
In all honesty, being a mom is one of the, if not the hardest thing I have ever done, in my life. But at the end of the day it is totally worth it. I am a mom to three beautiful littles, who are SOOO different and we have had different situations, struggles, and decisions with each one of them. The first year with each baby is so different for each and everyone.
I am horrible at making decisions and being a mom I have to make big decisions pretty frequently that affect myself, my spouse and especially my three kids.
Choices are considered, reconsidered, and finally made then often changed.
What to do and not to do while pregnant
Where to birth your child. How to birth your child. To use pain management or not.
Breastfeeding vs. Formula
Staying home vs. returning to work.
When to introduce table food and what foods to introduce.
How many kids to have & how far to space them apart.
With all these choices we have to make daily, sometimes even more than that I can be sure of several things.
We are making our choices out of love, and doing what is best for our child.
The problem with that is not everyone makes the same choice as you do, which is probably a good thing because that would be so boring.
The first year of a child’s life is so important. You are just getting to know them, and how to care for them in the best way for both the child and you.
Here are 5 tips for from this mom (and a few of my friends) for that important first year.
1. Ask for help-
Ask your spouse or significant other, the world wide web, your mom tribe you have been blessed with, or a relative that has been through it also. You are making a hard choice, and you are not alone even if you feel like it. Parenting is HARD. Asking for help in any situation whether it is for advice or to get some extra help here and there. I personally have the hardest time with this. I am guilty of feeling like as a stay at home mom, I should be able to do it all, because most of the time I am placed in a situation where I have to do it all that I just forget to ask for help when that is a possibility.
As a parent sometimes I forget to see the big picture, just the immediate place we are at, which makes it so hard and overwelming.
2. Do your research-
Whether it is wondering about teething, the mysterious rash, or if their poop looks normal, look into it. Google can be both a blessing and curse. I LOVE looking into products and product reviews before I make a lifestyle change or a big purchase.
I have came across so much helpful advice from different manufacturers websites. his is mainly with different situations you may have or choices you have to make. This slightly falls under the lines of #1 but doing specific research to what product is the best for you and your baby. Checking out websites, checking customer reviews, just be an informed parent. Knowledge is power.
I love when brands are straightforward and helpful. It makes me want to recommend them to everyone. The brand Happy Baby is one of those companies. They have an amazing resource called the Happy Family’s Infant Feeding Resource Center which offers parents (or all ages and abilities) direct – and free – access to Cornell-Certified nutritionists and lactation consultants, the Happy Mama Milk Mentors, as well as educational materials on a variety of feeding topics.
3. Check your budget-
When I say budget, I often first think of money, but I mean both time and money in this instance. When I had my oldest child I worked as a teacher meaning I was on the go all day long, then when I came home I was on the go trying to catch up all day. Unfortunately a person is only allotted so much time a day to get so much done in a day. I spent a good portion of my quick prep periods getting ready for my daughters future meals, leaving my prep work for after school and the evenings. I did the math one day and figured out all extra time I would have if I didn’t get stressed out over pumping and switched to entire formula (not just supplementing).
For me this meant getting extra time to work at school so I was able to go home earlier and spend with my daughter. Plus using formula that was modeled after breastmilk made me even more comfortable with the decision. But, as parents themselves, they know this isn’t always an option. Your baby deserves the best possible nutrition and you deserve to feel confident in how you nourish your family.
4. Check with reality-
Be realistic, be compassionate with yourself and those around you. Just because something worked with your first baby doesn’t mean it will with the next or preceding children, and just because it worked for someone else it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Also remember to be compassionate with those around you. But at the end of the day, you are the parent, it is your call, and you are making the best choice for you and your baby out of love.