It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since the welcoming of our first child, Ella. It's been a whirlwind, to say the least, but as she's gotten older and the routines have set in, I've had more time to ponder the ins and outs of parenting. Lately, I've been thinking about how I made it through some moments this past year and what I would do to better prepare for them in the future, so I thought, hey, I'll share these thoughts with all those first time moms out there. Below, I've listed some tricks and tips for a number of subjects, so feel free to check them out and, as always, add any comments you see fit.
As you may have read in my many breastfeeding posts, nursing was not an easy task for me. Ella and I had trouble for the first 3 or 4 weeks of her life, but once we figured it out, it was a piece of cake. Here are some things that I wish I would have known though:
1. Pump, pump and then pump some more. When you're on maternity leave, take the time to pump, even if it seems like a complete waste of time, you'll really appreciate it when you've got reserves in the freezer once you go back to work. I was always pumping to the last drop on the mornings before work and wishing that I had taken the time to do it earlier. So, do the deed and become good friends with your breast pump.
2. Get the necessary items: see this post.
Ella was an easy baby when it came to sleep, but I don't think this would have been so without the following:
One and only one: follow a routine and stick to it as much as possible. This will make your life so much easier. When your baby knows when he/she goes to sleep each day they will most likely do it willingly and wake up happy afterwards. Don't fall to the pressures of "your baby doesn't look tired," you're the mom, you're in charge and you know what's best for your baby. Keep the routine going.
When a baby is breastfeeding, I think it's easy to forget about the "extras" or solid foods, but they are necessary.
1. I was hesitant to start Ella on solid foods at six months, but I'm sure it would have been fine to do it at or before that time. She loved Cheerios, cereal and oatmeal and it was good for her. I now feel as though I was probably depriving her of other nutrients and will be more willing to start earlier with our next addition to the family.
I still love cloth diapers! Call me crazy, but I feel that they are easy to use and so cost effective! Here's what you should know though.
1. Be sure to research the best diaper for you and find out how to properly clean them. Check out this post.
2. I chose BumGenius diapers and feel that they are really standing the test of time, though, if I were to get them again, I would get the "newer" version of the pocket diaper with snaps inside of velcro closures (the velcro is becoming less "sticky" as time goes on).
Of course, there is much more to learn through the first year of parenting, but here are some helpful tips.
1. Have play areas in many rooms of the house so your little one can play if you need to, for example, load the dishwasher or dust a bedroom.
2. Keep a baby book. As trivial as it might seem, I have really tried to keep up with Ella's and I love going back to read about the fun things she did or accomplished at certain times throughout the year. My mom did the same thing for us girls and I loved looking at it when I was little and I hope Ella will get the same joy out of hers.
3. Have lots of entertainment at the changing table for your little one as he or she begins to roll around. It's really hard to try to put a diaper on backwards!
4. Let Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles or close friends put your little one to sleep. I was the one and only person to put Ella to bed at night for quite a while and that turned ugly when I finally needed to get out at night. Let your baby get used to going to bed for others because, in the long run, you will need to get away for a bit, or maybe even have a date night!
5. Speaking of that, go on dates with your man! Don't let your little one take over your romantic life altogether. There were many times that Derek and I struggled to connect after Ella was born, but we learned to take time to get out together or simply sit together and watch TV on the couch.
6. Prepare things in advance when possible.
Dinner Time: Get all of your groceries in one trip and plan your meals in advance. This will make dinner time much easier when you get home after work.
Bath time: Lay out your little gals PJ's, diaper, towel and toys before you've got him or her in the bath. It just makes life easier.
Now, of course I will be in the shower tomorrow and I'll think of about ten more things I could have added to this post, but if I kept it going, it would never end. So, be sure to add your comments below. What are your best parenting tips in the first year?
|My big one year old, all worn our after a long day. At least she has some crackers to give her strength!|