As part of a ChicagoNow series, Letters to a New Mom, I was asked to give my best advice to moms. There is nothing better in my life than being a mother and I've learned a lot in these past eight years. I wish I knew many of the below points when I was a new mom. But, then again, it is never to late to start.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for New Moms.
10. It takes a village. You do not have to do this alone just because you birthed your child. Let family and friends be involved in helping (they want to or they wouldn't ask) and getting close with your child.
9. Get moving. Babies love to move. Wear them in a carrier, put them in a stroller, swing or sway them with your arms. All of this will provide your little one peace and you some exercise (see #5).
8. Nap. I know it is impossible to nap when the baby naps because you need to do the laundry, clean the kitchen, write thank you notes and update Facebook. I'm telling you that will all be there once you are rested. There is nothing worse than an overtired mama. You need your rest so that you can take care of your child.
7. It is okay if you have to feed your baby formula, don't use cloth diapers or let your baby sleep in your bed. Don't be pressured by others.
6. Take photos. It goes by so fast. I know new moms don't want to hear that when they are in the midst of long days and nights. I promise you will be happy to have proof of the special time.
5. Leave the house once a day. It seems daunting and overwhelming, but getting yourself and baby dressed and out the door is always a good thing for both of you. Mom and baby with benefit from the Vitamin D and interaction with others.
4. Don't compare. You will make yourself crazy if you worry that your friends' baby is sleeping, eating, sitting, crawling, walking and going to the potty better and faster than your child. Every baby develops at their own rate and I suggest you enjoy the phases instead of worrying about them or looking towards the next.
3. Alone time. You do not need to be with your baby 24/7. It is normal and acceptable to take an hour or two for yourself without feeing guilty. In fact, it will make you a better mother and allow your child to spend time with other loving, interesting people.
2. Connect with other moms. This was hard for me. I think of it like dating for moms. Make eye contact, smile, strike up a conversation and try to get their digits. You only need one good mom friend. She will be helpful for many reasons for many years.
1. Listen to your heart. We were all born with instinct and know what is best for our child. Follow your gut and your baby will grow into a beautiful human being.
I hope you all have a Happy Mother's Day. I am grateful for my mother (and mother-in-law) for not only helping me, but also loving my children and teaching them by example.
Did I miss anything? What is your number one tip for new moms?
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- Check out my 2014 photo project How Quickly They Change.