Advice for a new mom

It was quite a whirlwind of a weekend,

which ended with the best little thing possible

me and baby

and a new little family starting to get in the swing of things.

Thank you again to everyone for all of the congratulations and love- we’ve loved reading your amazing comments and tweets, and the the realness of everything didn’t hit me until Tom was putting Baby’s carseat into the car to drive home. Major waterworks over here… I feel very blessed and thankful <3

I’m really excited to get the hang of things now that we’re back home and can’t wait to share the birth story with you guys. For today, here’s a very special guest post my good friend Heather:

Hi, I’m Heather from Heather Eats Almond Butter. Many thanks to Gina for inviting me to share guest post on her blog, one of the first I ever read. Gina, I’m honored! I wrote this post several weeks before Gina’s little one was due to arrive, but by now she should be cradling her beautiful baby girl in her arms. Gina, many congrats to you and The Pilot. I could not be more happy and excited for the both of you, and I know you’re going to make amazing and wonderful parents! I became a first-time mom myself in November of 2010, and I thought I’d share a few things about motherhood that surprised me.

heather-chris-fix

8 months pregnant and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby girl.

MY OTHER VIDEOS

First off, I never thought I would be one of those women who loved being pregnant, but once the nausea wore off around week 14 or 15, I truly enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy, and I don’t think I have ever felt so comfortable in my own body. Still miss feeling those little kicks and hiccups!

As far as labor and delivery goes, of course I planned and planned which everyone told me not to do. We hired a doula. I was going to have a natural birth. The baby would enter into a calm, quiet environment smelling of peppermint and lavender essential oils while my favorite music played in the background. Um, yeah, not quite. Our daughter arrived happy and healthy, but there was pitocin, crying, and an epidural involved. Now I’m of the mindset of get the baby here. A healthy baby is what matters most.

I never realized how sore I’d be the days following birth. There were stitches involved, and let’s just say that for a few days, my husband didn’t realize my Boppy pillow was for breastfeeding. He thought it was some type of donut cushion for me to use when I sat on hard surfaces. All I can say to any woman about to give birth: stock up on the ice packs at the hospital and take lots of sitz baths when you get home!

Breastfeeding – I had big dreams. I’d read all the books. I had my nursing bras and pads all ready. I figured we might have trouble with getting a good latch at first or I might be sore, but I’d never thought I’d have to deal with a low milk supply. However, I did, and after 6 months of trying just about everything, I stopped breastfeeding and returned my rented pump to the hospital. I learned never ever judge a mom for giving her baby formula as sometimes it’s the best option available. Again, do what you have to do to keep your baby happy and healthy even if things don’t go according to plan.

I had no idea how much sleep babies truly need. Of course I was going to be the hip mom wearing my little one all over the place. She would sleep on my chest and life would go on as usual. There would be lots of walks, hiking, and coffee dates with my friends. Again, so much for planning! We do take plenty of walks, and I meet my friends for coffee all the time…just not during nap time. We plan our lives around the nap schedule, and although it’s challenging at times, everyone is much happier when baby gets all the sleep she needs.

There are many more lessons I could share with you, but I’ll close with probably the most important one learned over the first year of our daughter’s life: Things don’t always go according to plan when it comes to a baby, but that’s okay. They’re totally worth it. She is so very worth it!

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Our daughter on her 1st Birthday.

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Thank you so much to Heather for the guest post <3

What’s the #1 piece of advice you’d give to a new mom?

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124 Comments

  1. Lucy on January 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Enjoy your new baby and new family, keep it only the the four of you (baby, mom, dad & Bella) at least for a week, then let your mom(s) and mom-in-law come and help out. Those few precious days alone as a new family can never be made up. Also, do what feels most natural for you and your family, and remember there will be a new rhythm to your family and life, and be sure to ask your and your baby’s healthcare providers all the questions you want/need to ask-being helpful to you and your baby,that is their job. Hold your little one as much as you can!! My hubby felt it was his job as dad and hubby to be as supportive of everything as possible, and he was great, as I am sure your hubby will be!!

  2. Marshall on January 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    1. Sleep when baby sleeps! This is old school advice that I ignored when my daughter was a baby. There will be dishes, laundry, and so much other stuff you may want to catch up on during baby’s nap time but try to get a nap in whenever you can!
    2. Enjoy your baby while she’s still a tiny, precious baby! I couldn’t wait for her to start talking, walking, eating solids, etc. and didn’t focus on how great the infant stage was.
    3. It’s your baby, raise her how you want to! Don’t let anyone intimidate you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. You will get a lot of unsolicited advice and don’t feel bad if you don’t want to take it!

    Congrats again!

  3. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on January 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    #1 piece of advice…you will sleep less than you ever thought was possible and just accept that. No one tells you that. They tell you that you can sleep when the baby does, but in reality, you probably won’t sleep when the baby does because that’s when you shower or fix a plate of food or do anything else.

    Congrats Gina, and, Pilot on the birth of your beautiful daughter.

    And Heather, awesome guest post; so filled with fantastic wisdom and insights. I found myself nodding in agreement throughout.

    xoxo

    • Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks Averie! 🙂

    • Amelia (Eating Made Easy) on January 10, 2012 at 1:15 am

      So agree with you, Averie! Accepting that you’ll be tired (and knowing that it’s only temporary) helps make the newborn phase more enjoyable and less stressful!

  4. Stephanie @ afitbliss.com on January 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I cannot wait to read your birth story and how it went. I also can’t wait to see more pictures of Olivia 🙂

    Since I am not a mom yet (give me like 4 years) you are one of the people I look to for new mom advice. I look forward to more family posts.

  5. Rita @ Healthy Mom, Sexy Wife on January 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Don’t worry about spoiling your baby and hold her as much as you want. Sleep when she sleeps, if you can. Overall, just enjoy every minute. As a mom of two, I know they grow up so fast and before you know they are walking and talking. And while those milestones are great, you miss those moments of cuddling from time to time. It is very rare that my three year old lets me hug him for more than a quick minute and my one year old just wants to get into everything he sees. Enjoy and congratulations again!

  6. Jamima on January 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Congratulations, she is absolutely beautiful! It makes me realize how big my 8 month old is. It does pass so quickly!

    My #1 piece of advice is to take time for yourself still. As much as you both don’t want to leave your little munchkin plan regular mommy & daddy dates. It will be good for all of you!

  7. Sarah S. on January 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Heather said everything so well. I would just add that with my first son I felt like I put so much pressure on him/myself to hit all his “milestones”. Now I just know that every baby goes at their own pace and I wish I would have just soaked up every last minute with him and not worried so much about the milestones. I also agree with being selfish, don’t be afraid to cut visit shorts with people or tell someone when it isn’t a good time to visit, people should understand that you need your time as your own family to settle into your new life.

  8. Kristin @ Wounded Fawn on January 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    As my therapist once told me, “Love is the most important parenting tool.”

  9. Kelsey on January 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Also- crying is SO normal your first couple weeks. But don’t be afraid to tell your doctor if it doesn’t get better…!

  10. Christine on January 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I LOVE this!!!!! Thank you for being so honest about your experiences and being proud to share them!!!!!

    My life revolved around naps for 3 years and I think allowing your child a great sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for them. My girls are almost 3 and 5 and they sleep like champs!

    Thank you again for your honesty and such a great post!!!!

    • Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Christine, I’m all about the nap schedule. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth was our like sleep advice bible, and we have now have a great little sleeper! 🙂

  11. Mena on January 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Congratulations! Life only gets better (honestly, it really does) from this moment onwards. Beautiful picture.

  12. Susie on January 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Congratulations!!! 🙂 Also I’m guessing Tom is The Pilot? 😉

  13. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on January 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Ah, loved the guest post. I think it’s so true that many of us (young women wanting a baby) think it’s going to be so happy and great and things really don’t go how you might expect them. I’m trying to teach myself this a bit more as I get closer to the time to being a mom someday. I’m such a type A “this will happen then” person and obviously that’s not reality. Have fun getting to know Olivia!

  14. Aria on January 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Gina, I’m so so excited for you and your beautiful little family! Even though I’m not a mom yet, I’m hoping to have that happen in the next year or so, and reading Heather’s advice was super helpful and good to know – thanks for the awesome guest post. Can’t wait to hear everything soon – enjoy this time <3

  15. Joelle (on a pink typewriter) on January 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    What a sweet post! And both you and Heather have the prettiest daughters, oh my goodness- so cute!

    • Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Oh wow, thanks Joelle. Olivia is a beauty – those big eyes. I can’t wait to see more pics!

  16. Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Gina, so fun to read through all the other mama’s advice – so much wisdom in today’s comment section. Thanks again for asking me to guest post. I am thinking of you all the time, and I know you’re enjoying cuddling with your new baby girl. Hold her and enjoy it as much as possible – every minute. I so miss when Summer would would sleep on my chest, and I always tell myself when we have another, I am going to hold that newborn 24/7. I won’t care about the house, the emails, the thank you notes I need to write, and the visitors can all wait. Just like everyone else says, it goes by way too fast. Love you!
    P.S. I hope the breastfeeding is going okay.

    • Fitnessista on January 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      thank you again for such a wonderful post, my friend!
      love you <3
      it's going... ok... we're having a specialist visit us today so we can get it down a little better

      • Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Oh good. We had an LC come to the house 3 or 4 times, and I would never have lasted as long as I did without her. You’re doing an amazing job Gina!

  17. Nicole on January 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Enjoy every second. They grow too fast. Sleep when they sleep. A huge congratulations to you and your family!

  18. Sarah on January 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Cannot wait to continue through this journey with you! I have always loved your blog, your macaroons, and your love for fitness. Your new little joy only enhances you and your blog! Lots of prayers and positive thoughts coming your way 🙂

  19. Jennie on January 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Heather I couldn’t have said it better myself. My mother and grandmother always said, “you can’t spoil a baby”. I agree. Hold and love that baby as much as you can. She will grow up in the blink of an eye.

    Jennie
    (mother of 3 boys)

  20. Tiffany on January 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Don’t be afraid to let your emotions flow initially. I cried daily for the first few weeks and I’m blaming it on all the hormones running through my system. Also, the lack of sleep you are currently experiencing does get better. At week 2 and 3, I didn’t know if I could survive the exhaustion, but now we are at week 8 and it is much better, especially because the feeding frequency has decreased at night.

  21. Georgia on January 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Comparison is the thief of joy…. Don’t compare your baby to other babies who___________. It’s never worth it (and leads to fighting, frustration and you name it). Your baby is perfect, gorgeous and amazing. Babies cry and that’s okay. And the poem that babies don’t keep. The washing and cleaning and (fill in the blank) can wait, because a baby is only a baby for a little while. Soak it in!

    • Carrie on January 10, 2012 at 12:50 am

      You said it!! Great advice! I definitely struggled with this when I had my daughter. I worried too much about what other moms did, especially within my family, and realized that every baby and situation is different. What worked for others wouldn’t necessarily work for my daughter.

      Congratulations, Gina! Enjoy this special time.. And as someone else said.. Let the tears flow! I used to put music on and just cry. This often happened when my daughter cried! My favorites : Roberta Flack- “hey that’s no way to say goodbye” and Sade”by your side.” not necessarily about being a mother but so beautiful and boy did the tears flow. It was a special time for me and my baby. 🙂

      • Elise on January 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

        Fabulous advice, Georgia! Don’t compare! Not when she’s a baby, not when she’s in school (at any age), not when she plays (or doesn’t play) sports, etc. Olivia is perfectly Olivia….whatever that turns out to be! Other mother’s will try to drive you crazy. Don’t let them =)

    • Madeline @ Food Fitness & Family on January 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      What perfect advice! I have struggled with this with my 3 month old but I am so much happier when I just let go!

      IE: I was worried that she’d never roll over because it seemed like all the other babies were. Then out of nowhere she did too. I had to learn she’ll do things when she’s ready haha

  22. Sara on January 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Congratulations, Gina & Tom 🙂 She is beautiful! She looks so much like you from those first photos! I can’t wait to read more about your new adventure into parenthood.

  23. Laura@mypurposefullife on January 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I have chills just from reading this post…especially when you talked about putting Olivia (beautiful name!) in the car seat. My heart is so happy for you and The Pilot. 🙂 Heather-I loved your guest post! I am a long time HEAB fan, and it was your pregnancy story with Summer that made me actually decide that maybe I did want to get pregnant one day. Well, it reaffirmed my feelings of wanting a family some day. 🙂 I am starting to love the healthy living blog community even more with all these pregnancies popping up (pun?) because I think pregnancy and child birth are somewhat taboo in our society and it’s really a shame because it’s so, so important to share experiences and information with one another so we can all make the best decisions for ourselves and our babies. I love reading about how all of you women I have looked up to for years are handling pregnancy and children because it makes me start thinking about how to best take care of my body now so that some day I can be the healthiest mom possible. Thank you both for your honesty.

    • Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks so much Laura. You are wise my friend. So many girls never think about preparing for having children up until they decide it’s time. I think you’re so smart to start taking care of your body now. You’re going to be an amazing mom someday!

      • Laura@mypurposefullife on January 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

        Thank you SO much, Heather! I can’t think of a nicer compliment to give someone. You made my day! 🙂

  24. Amanda on January 10, 2012 at 12:16 am

    A little late to the party here but my one piece of advice would be to learn to roll with it. As soon as you think you have something figured out, it’s going to change. And that’s OK 🙂 Olivia will surely keep you on your toes but you’ll love her all the more for it. Promise.

  25. Carrie on January 10, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I just thought of one more piece of advice. It is okay if it is difficult and increadibly draining. There were days of her nonstop crying and I remember being miserable (and likely hormonal and sleep deprived). I would be dying for my husband to come home. I adored my daughter, but there were some hard days. Then I would find myself feeling guilty for not just feeling 100% love and joy all the time. I realized that I love her more than everything but not to be too hard on myself. I needed me time for sure!

    Parenting is both the most difficult and rewarding/amazing thing I have ever done!

  26. Ali on January 10, 2012 at 1:11 am

    LOVE this! Such such amazing info!!

  27. Amelia (Eating Made Easy) on January 10, 2012 at 1:13 am

    You’re so right, Heather — motherhood is a great time to learn not to judge. You never know what’s going on in a person’s life unless you’re the person!

    My piece of advice for a new mom is – breastfeed all the time! More than you think you need to. Just keep that baby girl resting on your chest (even when she’s not eating). The more she’s on you and the more you feed her, the better your milk supply will be in the long-term. Here are a few more breastfeeding tips for the first week or two of a baby’s life (since it’s not always easy and many people don’t get enough help and support!)

    http://momsla.com/2011/05/9-tips-for-successful-breastfeeding/

    Huge congrats, and welcome Olivia!!

  28. Karen on January 10, 2012 at 7:09 am

    1) Prioritize sleep – yours and hers. Young children do best when they really do get all the sleep that they need. So do Moms.
    2) When a baby is very upset and all the comforting stuff isn’t working take her OUTSIDE – a change of scenery can work wonders. I used my porch swing a lot.
    3) Simplify. Simplify everything – beauty routine, housecleaning, plans – whatever it takes so that you aren’t overdoing.
    4) Accept help but only the kind that makes you feel helped (people sometimes want to help in ways that aren’t helpful) – food, laundry, running errands – these are REAL help. Take them!
    5) Let your husband do stuff for the baby – even if he doesn’t do things the way you would. He will learn by doing and he may always do things a little differently than you do but Olivia will be ok.

    Good luck! I love your blog and even though I am past that stage in my life it brings back many happy memories.

    • Fitnessista on January 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      thank you, karen!

  29. Elise on January 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Start saving for college now! 😉

  30. Mandy on January 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Being a mom is the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s some advice from a new mom

    1) I cried everyday for the first two weeks. Totally normal. Talking to my husband, family and friends helped.
    2) It’s okay to want to take a break
    3) The days are long but the years are fast
    4) No one really knows what their doing!

  31. Ali Mc on January 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

    CONGRATS! she’s beautiful and you look amazing 🙂

  32. Amy Winkeljohn on January 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Have LOTS of shows tivowed. You will have lots of sleepless nights, so you might as well catch up on some shows. I watched all of Buffy, Angel, Alias, Felicity, and countless other shows while nursing or trying to get my 3 baby girls to sleep.
    Don’t worry about the house, cooking, laundry, blogging, exercise etc. ENJOY, ENJOY,ENJOY! Stare at Olivia’s little face as much as you can. Let her sleep on you if that is the only way she will sleep! She will soon enough learn a schedule and sleep in her crib, but the first 3-6 months just let her lay on you so you can feel her tiny body on yours, smell her baby breath, and be there for every moment!

    • Fitnessista on January 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      you’re right… that’s the best thing in the world <3

    • Ali on January 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Yes!! I watched The Food Network 24/7 haha, DVR is fantastic! (just like tivo)

  33. Charity on January 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you for this post and thanks to all the moms who gave advice.
    I am going to be a new mom in 7 short months and I will be writing alot of these tips down (cause no way will I remember all the great advice) My hubby even wants to see them so he can follow them to 🙂

  34. Tami Jo Eaton on January 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    OMG Heather you summed the breastfeeding all up. I wanted it so bad, I read all kinds of books, but it just didn’t work out for me. The day some friends came over and shortly after breastfeeding, they commented that she was hungry and that she must not be getting enough. Some of us were just not meant to breastfeed our kids. It crushed me, but what is most important is that the baby is being fed and can therefore thrive. My best piece of advice is to get rid of the books. Babies don’t come with manuals, each one is different. Do what is best for you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  35. Leslie on January 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Gina,
    I just wanted to say congrats!!! I read your blog everyday and have been really enjoying following along in your pregnancy. She is absolutely beautiful! I have a baby girl who’s not quite a baby anymore…she’s three. It goes by so fast, so just sit back and enjoy!!
    Leslie

  36. Zinta on January 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I forgot one thing, and I don’t think anyone has mentioned it. I HATED my well-meaning and incredibly helpful husband for a period. Everytime he’d say something while trying to be supportive (“maybe she’s hungry?” eg) I wanted to stab him in the eyeball. Other mom friends reported the same. DON’T WORRY – you WILL fall back in love with your husband again! Times 100!

  37. Ali on January 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Haha, it’f funny right? You can plan but it may not turn out the way you wish. I try to explain that gently to my friends who are deadset on natural births, that they should just keep an open mind, but everyone has to learn on their own! You seem like an amazing mama. On my way to read your blog now 🙂

  38. Emily on January 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    My advice: Read this post from NeverHomeMaker Baby http://babynhm.blogspot.com/2012/01/falling-in-love-with-ada.html
    It really resonated with me.
    Most importantly, enjoy every moment!

  39. Debbie on January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am

    don’t overdo it….even if you start feeling great…remember, they tell you to take it easy for six weeks for a reason. I didn’t listen to that advice and ended up with a blood clot that scared the crap out of me! I listened after that. And take any offer of help in the beginning and rest when you can…because the offers die down after a while and you will be on your own. Good luck…you will do great!

  40. Madeline @ Food Fitness & Family on January 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    What an amazing post! Can’t wait to read the rest. Your writing is truly riveting!

  41. Megan on June 25, 2012 at 3:14 am

    And here I was working under the impression that I’m the only momma out there that used the boppy as a butt cushion! I thought I was such a genious for that idea! This blog has def made me smile today :))

    • Fitnessista on June 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

      <3!

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