Welcome to Motherhood Mondays! My first post in this series is a guest post by new mom, Helen of I Dream of Pretty Things.
As my daughter Jillian nears 40 weeks old, I can’t help but reflect and marvel on all of the amazing things that have happened since her birth. 40 weeks and 1 day in my womb and now, in what seems like a blink of an eye, she’s 40 weeks OUT of the womb. The past 80 weeks have brought me to my knees with #allthefeelings, including happiness, gratitude, vulnerability, anxiety, hope, disappointment, and the most powerful love I have ever felt for another human being.
The following is my advice to new moms. I hope it helps you along your journey, as it did to me.
- Baby “Stuff” Organization & Management
Repeat after me: “I should save all receipts, not take the tags off of or unbox everything all at once. I will not wash every piece of baby clothing I receive before my baby is born.”
By doing what you just said, you will be better positioned to save money, save space and not be surrounded by things that you don’t actually need.
The world of baby gifts, new gadgets, nursery furniture, clothes, bottles, etc. is an exciting one! As you nest for baby, one can’t help but ooh and ahh over every little thing, because let’s be honest: everything baby IS cute.
But here’s the thing, there’s NO rush to take off every tag, unbox every item and throw out all of those gift receipts. With the exception of essential newborn items, you really can leave things in their packaging. Why? Every baby is different and what worked for your friend may not work for you. In most cases, you can return your new items to the store for cash refund or store credit in the future. For being so tiny, baby stuff really does take up a lot of room and can quickly take over your entire house.
Don’t worry or be upset about large store credit because you will ALWAYS need diapers. 🙂 My advice is to keep your gift receipts in one place and only take things out as you need them. Arrange them in a closet or room where you can clearly see everything you have. Otherwise, they get buried and you end up buying duplicates or overlook something that you can’t use as the baby grows.
Clothes can be tricky. DO NOT WASH EVERYTHING YOU RECEIVE AND HANG THEM UP OR PUT THEM IN THE DRESSER JUST YET! You don’t know in advance how big your baby will be at delivery and how quickly they will jump sizes. My baby happened to fit newborn sizes at birth, but some babies are already at 0-3 months or beyond. Sometimes well-meaning friends will give you clothes that are in sizes that aren’t going to be seasonally appropriate. Save those clothes and don’t take off the tags. You can always return, resell or re-gift to another mom down the road. While you do want to have some clothes washed and ready to go, you do not need to go crazy and wash things for 9 month olds.
If you’re looking for a great resource to get your registry started off, you will want to buy this amazing book, Baby Bargains!
- Family Planning (no, not that kind of family planning) 🙂
No one likes to think about their mortality, but when you’re planning for or raising a child, it’s imperative that you create a directive of care and wishes for your child for your loved ones. You may think it’s a foregone conclusion that, in the event of your death, your assets would go directly to your spouse. Well, yes and no.
It will eventually make it there, but only after being tied up in probate court. Save your loved ones the time and resources by creating a well thought out will so that they can focus their energies on caring for your child and making arrangements for your estate, rather than on the court system and with attorneys.
You don’t need to be an attorney to create a will. Websites like Legal Zoom have great basic wills, etc. that you can personalize with your spouse or partner. Remember to have it notarized and keep copies in a safe place. When appropriate, make sure your next of kin, close friend or family attorney knows that you have a will and its location.
Hopefully, your will won’t need to be relevant for many years to come. However, when you’re a parent, you quickly learn that it’s always good to be prepared and to hope for the best, but plan for the worst!
- Long Term Relationships: You and Your Pediatrician
If you’re like me, you have a wonderful relationship with your ob-gyn, are really feel comfortable with him/her and communication is open and honest. It only makes sense that you want the same thing with your child’s pediatrician. After all, in a perfect world, this person will hopefully be in your child’s life for the next 18 years!
You’d be surprised how many people don’t take the time to interview one of the people who will have a significant impact on their growth and development into adulthood. Don’t rely on your friend or family member’s recommendation alone. It’s important to go visit the practice yourself, observe the environment, examine their billing policies, check out parking/traffic, and, most of all, see if you mesh with the pediatrician (both personality wise and big picture wise).
We received several great recommendations, but I’m so glad Brent and I met with each one in person. We used this question list when we met with each pediatrician and it made our consultations informative and efficient. I also checked each physician’s professional record with the Texas Medical Board.
Ultimately, we settled on a wonderful pediatrician who has a great bedside manner, shares the same beliefs as we do on vaccinations (vaccinate your kids!), belongs to a multi-physician practice, and always has time for my millions of questions.
On-site lab work was also very important to us and our practice offers that service. The ability to stay in one location for lab work and consults AND get the results within minutes is amazing.
- Your Baby and Social Media
While our family has chosen to share images of Jillian on our social media pages, some families we know have opted to keep all photos of their children private until their child can make an informed decision of how they are portrayed in social media. There are pros and cons to both approaches and there are definitely ways to modify either option until you feel comfortable.
Bottom line: Whatever you choose is your right as a parent and has to be right for your family’s lifestyle. Just make sure you’re on the same page and that everyone is respectful of the guidelines or boundaries you create. Either way, don’t assume your partner or spouse shares the same views. It’s extremely important to discuss this issue with your spouse, partner and eventually extended family and friends. In this digital age, photos can be uploaded in seconds and your child’s digital imprint starts before they know it.
If you’re looking for a private photo sharing app, I really recommend Lifecake. It’s easy to use, photos can be viewed by anyone you send an invitation to, viewers can leave comments, and videos can also be uploaded for free.
- Three Cheers for Vaccinations
Vaccinations are a hot button issue in the parenting community, and thanks to the recent measles outbreak, are top of mind to all people, not just parents. I’m not going to dance around it. I believe in vaccinations, will follow the CDC-recommended vaccination schedule, and strongly urge my fellow parents to do the same. No, there is NO link between vaccinations and autism. Is there a risk? Sure, there’s a risk and consequences to every decision we make in our lives. But for me, the benefits outweigh the risks all the way around. Getting your child vaccinated is one of the best things you can do to give your child a great start to life.
For the sake of this post, I’m going to just focus on the DTaP vaccination for now because I think this is really important, especially at the newborn stage. The DTaP vaccination covers pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. Like most vaccinations, its potency does not last forever and decreases over time, so it may be time for family, etc. to discuss with their physicians if it’s been a while. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is highly contagious and can be deadly to newborns. It’s very important that you, your spouse/partner, parents, grandparents or anyone else who will have extended contact with a newborn, receive the vaccination.
No health insurance? Too busy to make an appointment with your physician? These may be some of the reasons your family members don’t want to get the vaccine. Family members can get the vaccine from places like the CVS minute clinic if they don’t have a primary care physician or health insurance (they will pay out of pocket).
With all this in mind, it’s reasonable to expect that some people may not want to get the vaccine. For our family, we totally understood and respected this choice. However, we weren’t willing to expose our daughter before she received her own DTaP vaccinations. What to do? We just politely let them know that Jillian would be very excited to meet them AFTER she was old enough to start getting her vaccinations.
If you would like to see the e-mail verbiage I used to send to family and friends about the vaccination request, please e-mail me at idreamofprettythings(at)gmail(dot)com and I will happily share it with you!
This series will continue next Monday. Don’t forget to sign up for emails to get notified when new posts happen and so much more.