Have you ever thought, “Dang! I wish I had this with my first baby!” I’m sure you have. Then, when you get to the point where you’re done or almost done having kids…it seems too late to buy anything new and fantastic. I know, I know all about it. So, I thought I would share with you some of my all-time favorite must-have products, and must-do tips that I gathered along my 7-baby way … Advice for new moms!
Now, before I get started… Every mom and every child are different. A piece of advice for new moms may be great for one mother, but not applicable to another. And, I truly believe that as mothers, we can trust our intuition more than we realize. So take any piece of advice for exactly what it is… advice. Then, follow your instincts. The beautiful thing about parenting is we can always make adjustments. We can try something different, we can apologize, we can learn, grow, and find new ways to make the mother and child experience even better. Our children are our children for a reason.
Advice for New Moms
Babies Sleeping Through The Night
With my first baby, I didn’t get much sleep. Every time he slightly fussed, I felt like I needed to rock him, feed him, comfort him, kiss him, pet him, sing to him, and tickle his blanket on his face…all at the same time. Unfortunately, he started to like it too much. And, who wouldn’t, right?? By the time morning came, I was a zombie. Zombies don’t make very good moms. Slowly, I started to learn, kid by kid…and by number 4, I found something that worked for me.
While my babies were under 4 months old, I would feed them throughout the night, when they seemed hungry. Around the fourth month, they would randomly sleep through the night (yay!) and the times they woke up, it seemed to be for reasons other than hunger, like habit (boo.) In turn, my habit was to pamper them and continue the cycle. So, at that point I put them in their nursery and started letting both of us sleep through the night. Usually, the first one or two nights they would fuss, but it was never more than a few minutes, and after that…a beautiful slumber, every time. Sometimes they will sleep for so long that I have to wake them up in the morning! True story. My doctor always says as long as the baby is gaining weight at a healthy rate, he doesn’t care how early they sleep through the night. Anyway, both mom and babe seem happier, more patient and functional, when we’re getting more sleep.
A few other baby sleeping tips that helped immensely:
- Always try to put your baby to bed when they are awake. It helps them learn how to fall asleep on their own.
- My babies seem to really love the white noise thing, womb noises or rain also work. From the time they’re newborn, I get them used to sleeping to the sound, and still my toddlers sleep more sound with it. For babies, I love the Cloud B sheep or giraffe. I’ll get the big one for their bed, and the little one to hook on their car seat. My toddlers love the Marpac Sound Conditioner.
- With baby #6 and #7, my sister-in-law taught me a slick trick that ended up with both of those babes sleeping through the night after just one month. Now really, there’s no need to have a heart attack, worrying that the baby is starving to death to the night. They’re not. I even double checked with my pediatrician and family doctor, who both gave me the stamp of approval… as long as the babies continue to gain weight. That was the key. Don’t let Pinterest parenting posts scare you either. You don’t need to stress or over-think parenting. Just go with it, love your babies, and use your brain.So basically, this trick only works if your baby likes using a pacifier. When they are newborns, have them sleep in a bassinet right by your bed. I usually start this trick around two weeks but I know some start earlier. When they wake up fussing in the night, DON’T TOUCH THEM and DON’T TALK TO THEM, but carefully put their binki in their mouth (even if you think it’s “time to eat.”) Most likely they will settle down and you can go back to sleep for a minute. If they fuss again, do the exact same thing. Keep doing that over and over, as many times as they allow you, until they wake up and actually are crying mad. At that time and ONLY at that time, scoop them up and feed them. Rinse and repeat.
- The first night of effort is standard, probably every 2 or 3 hours. But each day, the length of time will get longer and longer and it will totally surprise you when all the sudden you wake up in the morning, after having slept the whole night!Basically, what’s going on here is you are breaking a habit or stopping one from forming. They can go much longer than a few hours without eating and you’ll see the evidence of that pretty quickly. Babies like comfort and that’s usually what the fussing is about… and, that’s great. But, we don’t need to make a habit out of needing comfort all through the night. Babies need sleep too. Now obviously… if the baby is poopie or something, take care of business, and then you can start the process again.
- My sister in law learned this from her mother, who also raised 7 kids. After each of my SIL’s babies arrive, her mother will come stay at her house and help her ‘sleep train’ each of her babies and it’s worked for all four of hers… and they’re healthy and thriving. 😉 This has worked so well with my last two and is definitely some advice for new moms that I wish I would have heard with baby number one.
I never knew there was such a thing until last year. I stumbled across these reusable Softy Straws, and life has never been the same. Kids love straws, they just do. I could never keep my straw supply stocked longer than a week…but, now I’m never without one. When the kids are done, simply rinse and clean the inside with the included squeegee, then stick in the dishwasher (or wash by hand.) I love that these are flexible and a little safer for kids if they end up running around with them.
I have tried probably 30 different types of sippy cups over the past 10 years…and, I always come back to the most simple, super cheap, non-cute, Take n Toss ones…I’m sure you’ve seen them. They aren’t 100% leak proof, they will leak slowly, but I’ve found most do, and the other qualities of these cups make them ‘totally worth it’ to me. I love that they can be used as a regular cup or sippy cup. I love that if they get gross with old milk and I don’t want to barf, I can just throw it away and not cry because they were so expensive. It’s nice that I can send them home with nieces and nephews who aren’t done with their drink and not think about cost or care about getting them back. And, they’re super simple to clean!
A couple other tips about sippy cups:
- Here’s what took me 5 kids to learn (I’m slow)…only buy ONE kind of sippy cup so the lids are all interchangeable. I can’t tell you how many cups I have with no lid or lids I have with no matching cup. Ridiculous. These Take n Toss cups are perfect for that.
- I’ve tried several different sippy cups to transition from bottle to cup. Logically, I tend to buy cups where the spout resembles a bottle nipple or something and sometimes they do okay with those for a little while. But seriously… another reason why I love these cheap cups… my older babies do so good with these. They don’t have to inhale until they’re blue to get any liquid to come out. They taste the drip and start sucking. Oh, and by the way, I usually transition my kids off the bottle around 10 months, BEFORE it becomes too much of a comfort item and I also don’t give it to them in bed. It works great, makes life easier, and saves their incoming teeth.
I used to think only a nazi-mom would lock her pantry door. But, then I realized how absolutely great it is! Now, the boxes of cheerios are dumped out only 3 times a day…when I open it for meals. Oh, and junior isn’t stuffing his face full of Oreos, every time I turn my back. We’ve learned that there are no shelves high enough to hide the junk food, you’ve just got to lock the door. I’m a fan.
When I first saw the Robeez shoes, I thought they were so ugly. But, after I heard rave reviews about them, I tried them out. They are the best! No shoe stays on your little babe’s feet better than these. And, they have grown on me…I find them pretty stinkin’ cute, now. I especially like the slipper type ones for colder weather.
Toggle Bottle and Breastfeeding
With my first baby, I thought the only right thing to do was to breastfeed my baby, exclusively. As opposed to breastfeeding other people’s babies. Just kidding…what I mean, is I had anxiety about giving my baby an occasional bottle. It wasn’t until a couple kids later that I realized that it’s not a big deal if I gave them a bottle of formula (or breast milk) while I was at the grocery store, or eating at a restaurant, or anywhere that it was hard to stop what I was doing and find somewhere to nurse the baby. To date, it has never made my babies stop nursing, made me lose my milk supply, and it hasn’t ruined their lives. And, if it ever started to, I could adjust as needed. I’m proud to say that all of my kids are plenty healthy and plenty smart. But, if the baby just won’t take a bottle, like my current little stinker, you’re out of luck.
Speaking of breastfeeding, if you get a birth control pill, make sure you are on the one specifically for nursing mothers (there might be different brands available.) Okay, this is so crazy to me. But, for the first four babies I had NO idea there was such thing as a birth control pill for nursing mothers, I just took what my doctors prescribed (3 different docs.) Within a couple weeks of taking the pill, my milk supply was drastically less, causing so much frustration for me and baby. I always thought it was just my body finally overcoming engorgement (to an excess) and never realized it was from the pill I was taking. After all, the doctor(s) gave it to me. Finally on baby #5, I got a new doctor (for reasons other than this) and she told me I needed to be on a specific pill. I was like, ‘What?!? I had no idea! After all these years of struggling!!’ Needless to say, now I know and it has made all the difference in the world. It’s amazing to finally have all the milk that my baby needs. Yay!
I think it’s important for little ones to learn that they’re safe and can feel comfortable and rest easy, which is exactly why I try to control the coddling and feeding them unnecessarily. I don’t want them to feel like they are only safe and comfortable in my arms. As much as I loooove holding my babies and I do all the time, I want to give them the gift of feeling peace more often, because it’s not possible for me to always hold them. So, with that said, there are a couple security items that I am a fan of… little things that are soothing, that don’t require me 24/7…
I love binkies (pacifiers) and woobies (or special blankets) for my babes. I swear they just make them happier and sleep more soundly (see the sleep method mentioned at the beginning of this post.) Plus, have you ever tried sleeping on their blankie, bunched under your head?? It’s way comfy. I totally get it. Anyway, even though I usually let my babies try a few different pacifiers, they have always liked the same ones by NUK. It eventually got to the point where I didn’t even offer different binki types, my babies just gravitate to NUK.
And, as far as woobies go (that’s what they’re called in my house), we love the ones that are silky on one side and minky on the other. Ahhh…so soft. All of my kids have had their ‘special woobie’ that is with them constantly, until they’re around 4 years old or older! Every single time, the woobie they choose to be their favorite comes from an Etsy shop called Yatoil. They’re the most perfect size, weight, and so silky soft. I usually have to buy two of the same one so that I can hide one for emergencies (they lose their first one or it gets too worn out.) These Yatoil blankets are also my go-to for baby gifts. That, with the snot-sucker… two of the best things ever! Ha.
Anyway, if you’re worried about eventually having to take away the binky and having it be a big fuss, never fear. Check out this post: Time to Take Away the Binky & Stop Thumb Sucking. In it, I share what has worked for me EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’ve shared the simple trick with my friends, works for them too. It works.
Bumbo Chair in Shower
Have you ever had a shower while your baby is sitting in a bouncer chair outside the shower door, screaming bloody murder?? It’s great, you should try it. I’m usually not giving my babies baths, it’s hard on my back. So, when they are under 5 months, I just put their baby bath right in the shower with me. They love laying in it, as long as I put a wet, warm wash cloth over their belly. But, after 5 months, I’m all about the Bumbo chair. It’s perfect for getting wet and propping up the baby.
* I should probably note that these chairs are not meant for showers or baths. You don’t need to email me to tell me that. And if you do this yourself, you obviously need be smart about it, which you will, because we want our babies to be safe. If you put it in a bath, it will float away. I only use it in my shower because it doesn’t slide on my shower floor at all, there’s not standing water, and I’m standing just inches away from it. You should never leave your baby alone around water… swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, showers, open toilets…
It wasn’t until baby #6, that I discovered StitchFix for maternity clothes. I’m kicking myself for not knowing this parenting tip, because now I don’t need any more! When I was buying maternity clothes, I could only think of two places where they were cute and affordable, Motherhood Maternity and Old Navy. But, I’ve actually gotten several of my most favorite pieces from StitchFix. I’ve used them when pregnant and also when I’m not pregnant. I love that the stylists get better with my picks every time. I’m a little finicky with the things I look for, and if they don’t get something right the first time, they make adjustments. But, they always find the cutest, most stylish pieces. And, you can put your price range in your settings, so they aren’t picking items for you that are more than you’re willing to pay.
Safe & Amazing Cleaning Products
If you’re interested in keeping as many chemicals as possible out of your home, I LOVE Norwex products, like seeeeeriously love. Basically what they are known for is their microfiber cleaning products. The fibers are made so fine (1/200th the size of a human hair), that they pick up everything… more than you dreamed of! Ha! But, really. There are all these experiments that have been done showing that just using the cloths to clean with water, no chemicals, cleans BETTER than any of your household cleaners. On top of that, there is silver embedded in the cloths, so after using, you rinse and lay them out. While the cloth is drying, the silver battles the bacteria, and you end up with a fresh, non-stinky rag.
The products can be a little pricey, but when you consider all you save on cleaning products (only use water!), you quickly make that money back. I literally don’t buy any household cleaners anymore. I just use my trusty Norwex cloths. My favorite is the face cloth that I use to take off my makeup. I don’t buy face wash anymore and it gets my skin insanely clean. Anyway, lots of great reasons to have these… of course saving money, but I love the idea of making my home healthier for my littles! You can read more about the cloths in this post that I wrote: The Best Cleaning Cloths in the World.
I put off using this NoseFrida SnotSucker contraption for a couple children, after it first came on the market, despite hearing about how great it is. Definitely one of the best pieces of advice I overlooked. Basically, it’s like one of those nose squeegee things you get from the hospital, but works a MILLION TIMES better. You actually get the snot out and that’s a super helpful thing, especially when little ones get a cold and can’t breathe very well. It makes them so uncomfortable and it’s really tricky when nursing. The reason I put off using it is because… well, you’re sucking snot. I’m pretty squeamish, so the idea of doing anything like that was a little too much for me. But, then I learned how it actually works and it wasn’t a big deal anymore and it was definitely something I was willing to do for the comfort of my baby. How it works is, you just hold the tip of the sucker in their nose and so short ‘sucks’ on the end of the straw. It pulls the snot right out and you have no need to worry about it getting anywhere near you because it stays just at the tip of blue tip, and there’s still a long straw between you and that. You’ll be fine, I promise. This thing is so great.
Anyway, those are some of my tried-and-true mommy tips, hopefully some helpful advice for new moms.
Love this advice for new parents? Check out more favorite baby products!
Check out these past posts:
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