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.


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

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!


Our daughter on her 1st Birthday.


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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  1. Kara on January 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    #1 piece of advice: Enjoy your baby. Those dishes in the sink can wait, those arm exercises can be done later, EVERYthing can wait when that sweet baby is sleeping on your chest. The newborn phase doesn’t last long, so enjoy every minute 🙂

  2. kathleen @ the daily crumb on January 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    this is beautiful, heather! thanks for the wonderful guest post and many many many congrats and hugs to gina, the pilot + olivia 🙂

  3. Nori on January 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Congrats!! The baby is beautiful and I can’t wait to see more pics <3

  4. Jenna | The Paleo Project on January 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I’m not a mom yet, but I find myself extremely pulled toward these pregnancy/new mommy posts lately. Maybe its because I’m 24 and I love children. Maybe it’s because my bio-clock has been ticking since I was like 11. Either way, I just read this post from (never home) maker about how she’s been struggling with this “falling in love” aspect of her baby. That overly emotional flood of love that so many new moms talk about. After reading it, it kind of made me think about how different we all are, and how promising it is that we are free to blog about it. Whether it’s just your life, your love life, your eating life, or your motherhood life, I’m glad you’re all able to express your story, the way it happens to you. Okay, that’s all. Happy motherhood, Gina! Xo Jenna

  5. jen c. on January 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Put your husband to work!

  6. Mallory on January 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Heather that post was beautiful! I agree 100% and had some of the same experiences when I gave birth in March. Gina great pick for a guest post, congratulations to you and your family! Much love from New York!

  7. Sarah @ See Sarah Eat on January 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Great advice, Heather 🙂 I think it’s good to be prepared and to plan a little but also good to be flexible and realize that not everything is going to go the way you expected. Gina, glad to hear you guys are doing well and hope you get settled back home. Can’t wait to hear more about everything 🙂

  8. Ivette on January 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Enjoy every second, I know it can be a little stressful at times, but they grow up so fast and there is so little time that they will be babies. Oh, and take tons of pictures, of all her firsts.

    • Ivette on January 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      btw… wanting to know how Bella is adjusting? 🙂

    • Lauren on January 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Take not only pictures but video as well! 🙂

      • Candice on January 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        I second it on the video! She may not be doing much now but they change soooo FAST and I cry now when I look at the video of my baby at two months old and can hear his little coos that are long gone now.

        • Carrie on January 10, 2012 at 12:54 am

          Definitely!! I look back at the baby videos all the time. I take them on my iPhone. Though not the best quality I can look at them anytime I want. I wish I had taken more in the first few weeks!!

  9. Melissa on January 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    CONGRATS, Gina–she is gorgeous! I LOVE this post, Heather!!! And I’d add in there: there is no right or wrong, only what’s right or wrong for YOU and Tom. You know best. Even as a day-one mom … you know your baby best. And if you need help … ASK. So grateful for the LCs at the hospital!!!

    #2 — never say “never.” In my whopping one year as a mom, that’s a lesson I learned. Never say “never” — and be flexible to change. Like pacis … I’d been anti … but Maya used one the first year, It wasn’t a crisis! The world didn’t end! Like Heather, I’d not wanted to use any formula if we could help it, but when our ped said my shrinking baby NEEDED more to eat at the 2-week mark … you can bet we gave her some and began supplementing since I, too, had low supply — even though she had a great latch. Now, Maya is juuuuust right. It’s all a gamble … but it’s the best ride of your life, bumps and hiccups and all! ENJOY!

    • Kimberly @ Healthy Strides on January 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      YES! Everything I said I’d never do, including the paci and formula, I did. I had to learn that my happiness and that of the baby’s should not be sacrificed because I was stubborn. Also, don’t forget about your own happiness. It’s so easy to get caught up in doing everything for the baby that you forget about yourself. I remember feeling insanely guilty for leaving for 1.5 hours to get my hair cut. I deserved that hair cut and time away to feel like a human.

      Congratulations and best wishes!

  10. Jackie @ MomJovi on January 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    #1 piece of advice: nothing lasts forever. This is a very good thing and a very bad thing. It’s a very good thing when you have a baby that refuses to nap anywhere but in your arms. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the secrets to getting her to just take one teeny tiny nap in her bassinet so that you can shower or go to the bathroom without holding her (oh yes, this will happen many, many times). But it’s also a bad thing because all too quickly, your sweet, sweet newborn will move on to her next phase of development. And one morning you’ll wake up and discover that she’s no longer a baby but an actual little person. It’s exciting and a little sad, all at the same time. So try to not figure out the “right way” to do everything. Because as soon as you nail it, something else will take its place. Just try to enjoy the ride as much as possible and inhale that heavenly new baby smell! Can’t wait for more pics! 🙂

    • mary on January 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Beautiful advice above, and Heather’s too! I totally agree about formula use and the nap schedule ruling your life (for the next several years)!

  11. HealthyNaff on January 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Heather, thank you so much for the post. I have a 8 month old, and had a really really hard time with nursing, it just didnt work, I had such a low supply. A lot of tears were shed, but in the end, I had to do what was best for the baby, and having a sane mamma and food was it!

  12. Alyssa @ Life of bLyss on January 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I’m no mom, but I am an aunt. And my mom continually told/tells my sister..

    “It’s YOUR baby and YOUR family. Everyone has advice, but you need to do what feels best to you. In the long run, that will never be wrong.”

    Enjoy your little bundle of joy. 🙂

  13. lauren on January 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    So simply and well said Heather. I agree completely, it is good to have a rough plan but babies will teach you how to adapt, accomodate and adjust to a whole new life. Congrats to Gina and all the new moms. It’s a lot of work but so worth it.

  14. Lara on January 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Awww this made me teary. I love both you ladies, Gina and Heabie, so this post feels like I’m getting baby advice from good friends 🙂

  15. Kris @ spabettie on January 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Heather forgot a BIG one – take as many fantastically beautiful photos of the new one and family as possible – HEAB definitely has this one down! 😀

    LOVED seeing one of my favorite people here Gina – hope all is going great for you all!

  16. Marie on January 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Great post, Heather! I kept nodding my head as I read. I would say take as many pics as possible and savor each moment because the time goes by lightning fast! Enjoy your new baby! 😉

  17. Kelsey on January 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I read TOO many books and came to the conclusion that EVERY baby is different. Not one plan/method will work for every baby. You will know your baby best. And as repeated- nothing lasts for ever; the good & bad. There are so many phases in just their first 6 months of life. Enjoy each one!


  18. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on January 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Great guest post Heather!! And Gina, you and Olivia look gorgeous in that photo. Congrats again to you and your family. Can’t wait to watch her grow up!

  19. Kelli on January 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I loved this post because I honestly felt like I was the only one who couldnt sit had hemmoroids(sp?) and had a baby who cried more than she slept! Anyway I think the #1 advice I would give is its not going to be easy but looking backk almost 7 years ago all I can think of was the wonderful feeling of giving birth! Congrats

  20. Laury on January 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Great guest post, Heather! The soreness was a huge surprise to me too. I never ever imagined how much pain I would be in AFTER the birth. I still have a huge bag of (unused) icy maxi pads we stocked up on in the hospital. Sitz baths are a savior!

    Gina…I am still grinning ear to ear seeing an update from you! My #1 advice is just to soak up and enjoy these first few weeks. It’s all about you, Olivia, Tom [and Bella too 🙂 ] right now. Take care of yourself. Don’t worry about blogging, cleaning, exercising (if you are anything like me I couldn’t even think about that for 5 weeks).

    I thought the first 3 months were the toughest, yet most precious. Everything is SO new. You have no idea why she cries a lot of times, you’re still recovering, but at the same time you just lye there with her in your arms and it’s like nothing else in the entire world matters. It goes by SO fast! It feels like yesterday I was coming home from the hospital and we are starting to plan Ella’s 1st birthday this spring! Crazy!

    It only gets more and more fun…she will amaze you every single day.

    Another word of advice…especially in the beginning. Learn the art of nursing lying on your side. I was SO incredible sore those first several weeks and that was a savior!

    Love you, girl! My heart is melting for you and your family right now I am beyond happy for you. I wish you the best! Love her up, she’s gorgeous! I can’t figure out who she looks like more. I would say you but I def see Tom in her too!


  21. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength on January 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Beautiful post and I totally agree with so much of what you said. I had a major realization yesterday about nap time. We tried to go to church during nap time and it was just a BAD idea. My son needs his morning nap. Really needs it. 🙂

  22. Morgan on January 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Nice post HEAB! My #1 advice is that the baby came into your life and not the other way around!
    I congratulated you on FB, but wanted to say it again. She’s beautiful!

  23. Sandy on January 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Remember that you are not alone, you don’t have to be superwoman and do what feels right for your family. Congratulations to you and the Pilot. Thank you for allowing us to ride on this journey with you both. I look forward to watching you all grow.

  24. Jessie @ Graze With Me on January 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    My advice? Get your baby on a schedule BUT not for the first couple months. At first, let your baby set her own schedule but PAY ATTENTION to her cues! Our daughter was so cranky every night between 6-8 pm every night and it ruined dinner time for me and my husband. Around 2.5 months I finally started a bedtime routine at 5:30 every night and by 6 or so, she would be asleep for the night! Plus, she also started sleeping longer. Now, at 3.5 months old, she sleeps for a 10 hour stretch every night. Behold the schedule!

  25. Mary on January 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    So glad to see a post..I’ve been checking all day! How is the nursing going? Remember….drink water, drink water, drink water. And then drink MORE water. Don’t worry about whether she is getting enough…for me, it came easier when I didn’t think about it (ie. watch tv, read, daydream about something happy, and how much I love my baby). Be confident that your body knows what to do. Love to you!!!

    • Mary on January 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      BTW, you look so beautiful…and Olivia is absolutely angelic!

  26. Jessie @ Graze With Me on January 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    ***jeez how many times did I just use the phrase “every night”. Sorry!

  27. Dynamics on January 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The best piece of advise I can offer is to NOT make your house quiet. Cute little Oliva will learn to sleep through the noise. Sleep is so precious to use. So many people suffer from sleep issues. Learning right away to sleep with all kinds of noise, people talking, music playing, etc is a good thing. Congrats again Gina, Tom and Bella! AND grama and grandpa!

  28. Kate on January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Awesome post, Heather! I’m a new mom to a ten week old and I learned many of the same things that you did. My daughter is a horrible sucker and I had to supplement with formula when she hit 2 weeks old because my supply had dropped so low. I had to pump exclusively to get it back up and now she only nurses once or twice a day and takes the rest of her meals from a bottle because despite working with 3 different lactation consultants, she still can’t nurse effectively or efficiently. My daughter also has severe GERD and throws up after every single feeding, and has even spent two days in the local children’s hospital. Totally not the way I had pictured things going, but I am so happy to have a beautiful and (mostly) healthy baby!

    I also learned that if you think something might be wrong with your baby, insist on getting help. Also, breastfeeding is not always easy or even possible in some cases, and the most important thing is to make sure that the baby gets the nutrients he or she needs–even if that means a bottle and/or formula.

  29. Meagan on January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Remember that newborns are just weird. Their skin flakes, they get acne, spit up, poop (…or no poop!), they cry and you don’t know why…they’re hard to figure out. The next three to four months will be a challenge. I always chanted (usually at three in the morning, no sleep, spit up drying in my hair): “This too shall pass, this too shall pass.”

    Then, in the way motherhood is, it passes…and then you miss it.

    Then you try for number 2 😉

    She’s beautiful. 🙂

  30. Jennifer on January 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    #1 tip: listen to advice BUT do what is best for your baby and family. As well as enjoy every moment!

    • Dynamics on January 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Love this comment!!

  31. britt on January 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    beautiful photo of you and the new baby girl!

    i loved this post! i had so many expectations of how things would be that definitely didn’t go as i thought. and some things i never even thought about happened that i never would have thought i needed to plan for. sleep training and nap schedules somehow got past me. i just thought he would sleep when he slept. now i look back and think about how silly i was. lol! i think she gave some awesome advice!!

  32. Wendy on January 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Congratulations! I completely second Kara’s advice! Time flies and before you know it, she’ll be walking and talking and then off on her own. I can’t believe my own kids are now 11 and 7! And don’t sweat the small stuff – poop happens, so just go with the flow! Enjoy your time with her and get as many naps in as possible! 🙂

  33. Caroline Walberg on January 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    What a sweet, beautiful picture! Your face says it all 🙂
    Enjoy this time-it goes by so, so fast. You can never take too many pics or videos-you will treasure them forever. Soak it all in and love and smooch her as much as possible! Sleep when she sleeps-as hard as it is try to and not do stuff around the house.

  34. Liz on January 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Double bonus — two of my favorite bloggers in one post! I have no children, and therefore no advice, but I do send my best wishes as you add this new phase of your life!

  35. jenny on January 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    My #1 advice for any new mom is to love, love, love your baby. Sometimes this means temporarily (or sometimes permanently) sacrificing some of the things you love, but your baby is totally worth it!
    #2 Sometimes being a mom is really difficult. This is normal, it doesn’t mean you’re lacking in maternal skills, and you’re definitely not alone!
    #3 Research as much about childcare, parenting, vaccines, ect. as you can. Be an informed mom!
    #4 You are the best one available to raise your child, but many others will try. They will disagree with your parenting methods, give unwanted advice and even be judgmental, but know one knows your child like you do.
    #5 Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice. (I’ve gotten some good ideas from people I kinda of dislike in general, so be flexible.)

  36. Chris on January 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    You look beautiful!!!
    As a mom of two (14 & 18 yrs). It has amazed me how fast it all goes. When I look back, yeah there were some really tough times. But there were a lot more great times. My boys are happy, strong, & healthy. Lesson – Enjoy it.. it goes so fast!!!

  37. Lauren W. on January 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Gina, you look so beautiful and happy!!! So glad to hear both you and baby are healthy…and can’t wait for what is to come. Congratulations!

  38. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on January 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    My best advice: Go with the flow. If things don’t work the way you’ve planned, don’t worry about it. As long as you and baby are healthy, that’s all that matters! And don’t ever feel guilty about any decision you make!!

  39. Wendy on January 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Congrats Gina! Olivia is so precious and you look great! I just saw this link the other day about baby language and I thought it was interesting. I wish I knew this when I was a new mom. 🙂

    Enjoy motherhood – it goes fast!

  40. Zinta on January 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Oh, how happy I am for you guys! I had been checking your site pretty religiously for updates on your little one’s arrival, and once you posted your iphone photo I checked every hour or so for news:) My own daughter is 20 months, and I am now 22 weeks with our second. I think the very very best advice I got when my daughter was a few weeks old was to NOT WORRY so much. A very good friend of mine told me that was the one thing she wished she had been able to let go of – fretting over the baby eating too much, not eating enough, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough etc – she said she wished she had imagined the first four months as the fourth trimester, and just let everything BE, and trusted in the rightness of her body and her baby. As a result, I did a lot of laying around in bed cuddling my baby, letting her sleep when she slept and not getting too fussed if she was up in the night. I think I was pretty relaxed, and she could sense I was relaxed, and I believe we have a pretty chill almost-two-year-old as a result. Enjoy the next few months! Your job is to love up your family, everything else can fall to the wayside for now:)

  41. maria @ a life to Bragg about on January 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I agree with number 1, Kara’s advice. Enjoy every precious moment while you can. Caleb is only two months old and already so much has changed and I long for those newborn days back. Just stare at your baby in amazement and soak it all in 🙂

    I’m sure you read my first month post and from that I also learned that you’re HER mommy, no one else is her mommy. They may have gone through the same thing but it’s your baby and only YOU will know what to do with her. Trust your maternal instincts, they’re there for a reason. I wish I had known this when I had a million people telling me all the things I wasn’t doing right when I was actually right about my baby all along.

    I hope you read this, had I known this before I would saved a few sad tears for the happy ones instead. And I want you to enjoy every wonderful moment with Olivia!

  42. Karen on January 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Oh man… I just can’t wait to see more pictures of you & your baby girl!!

    So exciting… 😀

  43. Michelle on January 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    My best advice is that the beginning is hard. Sometimes really hard. You’re exhausted, emotional, and stressed. There’ll probably be times in the not so distant future that your baby will be crying and then you’ll start crying because you cant figure out whats wrong and you’ll begin to think to yourself, “I’m not cut out for this.” I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to feel like that. It’s normal. It takes some time to get to know your baby and what her cries mean.

    No one ever told me this. And I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it because I really felt like I was a bad mom. That kind of feeling will emotionally drop you to your knees. So if you start to feel like that, just remind yourself that it’s ok, youre both just getting to know each other, and it gets soo much better!

    • Michelle on January 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Sorry to be the Debbie-downer on here, but like I said, no one ever told me that stuff. And I think if someone had, I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself.

      Congratulations again! She’s truly beautiful!

    • April on January 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I ditto this!

      • Kelsey on January 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

        Great advice!

    • Carrie on January 10, 2012 at 1:10 am

      Absolutely! I remember feeling those exact things and thinking I was the only one who had felt that way. I ended up corresponding back and forth with a friend who was in a similar situation (fussy baby) and it was amazingly helpful to have those virtual chats via facebok!

  44. Dusty @ Running to Healthy on January 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    My advice: Do what is best for your baby and you. Advice will be given, even when it is not wanted, but remember you are the parent and you know what is best for your baby.

    • Sara on January 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      One of my friends had a revelation when bubs was about 2 months old. She looked at me and said ‘you know what, I’m the mum here and I don’t have to do what anyone else says’. She was tired of mother advice and mother-in-law advice. All very helpful but finally she realised that just being ‘the mum’ put her in the position of ultimate authority. You have to seize your power!

  45. stephanie on January 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, I could give so much advice, but I’d say my #1 is sleep whenever you can! Laundry, blogging, showering, phone calls, etc. can wait. You’ll be a better mom! Enjoy this precious time with your little one! I’m so excited for you.

  46. Sara on January 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    #1 advice: BE SELFISH. It’s nice to have visitors but it can be a great stress when they turn up unannounced, the baby is just settling for a sleep and the house is a mess and your hair is all ‘standy uppy’. Do what it takes to keep your sanity. Hire a housekeeper one afternoon a week, put a sign on the door that says ‘baby and mum are sleeping, please call back later’ (my neighbour had one that said ‘we are sleeping, if you knock I will kill you’). Your priorities are your baby, you, and your relationship. Everything else can work around that.

  47. Beth on January 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    No kids yet, but I have heard from many – don’t forget to still have date nights!

    Hope you and Tom are enjoying this wonderful time. So excited for both of you!

  48. Janine @ ThePurpleGiraffe on January 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    No kids yet, but just wanted to say you look beautiful. Congratulations again!

  49. Jeanne on January 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Congratulations! I wish you and your family the best.

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