Top Mistakes New Parents Make

posted by Andrea | 10/4/2011

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Ever since the magazine industry found out I was pregnant, they’ve all be ganging up on me and sending me every single baby/parenting/pregnancy magazine around. And even though I’m not a huge fan of extra magazines and paper clutter, I always skim through them to see if there is any semi-useful information.

The other day, in the October issues of  Baby Talk Magazine, I found a very interesting article about the Top Mistakes new Parents Make. It immediately caught my attention so I kept reading.

Since parenting is anything BUT simple and organized, I’ve been wondering if I will make these same mistakes… and if there are other mistakes that will also top my list? Below are the mistakes listed in the article — let me know what you think!

Top Mistakes New Parents Makes:
:

1. Cramming the Crib Too Full:

Apparently you really shouldn’t have anything in the crib — which I did know. But what about any type of blanket to cover them with?

2. Not Taking Care of Yourself:

Yup, I’ve seen this before! And even though I swear that I will not be one of THOSE moms who go out with her PJs on and messy hair — I have a hunch that there will be many days when I stay in my PJs all day {while working from home of course!}

3. Comparing Your Baby to Other Babies:

Honestly, is it really possible NOT to do this at all??

4. Letting Dad Take a Back Seat:

I don’t see this happening to us — mainly because I don’t think Dave would let it happen. He is just so excited about this baby, and even though I know he’ll be apprehensive and a bit nervous at times {as will I}, I definitely think he’ll take a very active role in raising our baby girl.

5. Having a Rigid Sleep Schedule and Routine:

Ok, so I’m having a hard time with this one. Maybe the issue here is the word “rigid” — because I’m definitely hoping to instill some type of sleep schedule and routine ASAP!

I’ve already been informed that I need to read the book Baby Wise for lots of great information about sleep schedules, etc. I’ve since put it on hold at our local library and am just waiting for the email saying that it’s in!

6. Not Enjoying the Moment:

I can’t even tell you how many emails, comments, and messages I’ve gotten from other moms saying that this is one of their biggest regrets — and encouraging me NOT to make the same mistake.

I’ll try not to!

7. Trying to be Supermom:

Yup, I could totally see this happening to me — not necessarily because I’m trying to be “supermom”, but because I’m trying to be “superwomen”! I am definitely going to try to relax and “chill out” as much as possible because I have often been guilty of trying to “do it all” and then I’ll be exhausted.

8. Feeding the Baby Too Much:

How much is too much? Wouldn’t that be different for every baby? I suppose this is just something I’ll have to learn on my own!

9. Not Trusting Your Instincts:

I’m a little worried about this because I was never big into baby sitting, and I really don’t like being around other people’s children {Yes, I know that sounds awful, but it’s true}. So I feel like I don’t have a lot of experience with babies and I guarantee I’ll often wonder if I’m doing the “right thing”.

10. Having NO Sleep Schedule:

Praying and hoping that this does not happen to us. And if it does, it will not be because of my lack of trying :)

So what do you think — is this a pretty comprehensive list or do you have others you’d like to add?

Were you guilty of any of these?

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62 comments

  1. Heather @ Work At Home Market

    10/04/2011

    “I’m a little worried about this because I was never big into baby sitting, and I really don’t like being around other people’s children {Yes, I know that sounds awful, but it’s true}”

    ^No it doesn’t sound awful. I am the same way. But, I love kids! I was 15 years older than my youngest brother and adored helping take care of him. But, when it comes to kids at church or at other people’s house…they scare me. Or maybe it’s just the parents that scare me. I’m not sure.

    I think I need to print this list off and keep it for when our turn comes. I’ll probably need the reminders. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Do not worry – either of you.

    You will be shocked at how quickly the “mother’s instinct” kicks in. When you look into your baby’s face, you will know what is right and wrong.

    I adopted a baby and it kicked in for me. God has a divine plan for mothers. He has built our hearts so that they guide us in the right direction.

    The phrase “I’m the mommy, that’s why” has real meaning.

    Trust your heart…your baby will love you even when you make mistakes.

    [Reply]

  2. Julia

    10/04/2011

    Hey Andrea,

    1. Baby wise is the best – read it! It’s a very simple (for me anyway) system of eat, play, sleep. I didn’t really keep track of much else. I just made sure he didn’t sleep right after eating. My son slept through the night at ten weeks – but if he hadn’t then we refer to point 2 (below.)

    2. Keep your eyes on God and the rest of that list is sort of moot. God works out your schedule. God works out our children to help form us (and them!) into being more like him. So every moment you miss or nap they miss is God speaking, and something to be joyful over and not worried about! He is so kind to put these second by second reminders in our lives. Having kids is a reminder of God’s omnipresence in our lives.

    3. I love your blog. Just saying.

    [Reply]

  3. Amanda

    10/04/2011

    There is no right way to do ANYTHING (other than, say, dispensing medication). That is a hard lesson to learn when you are a planner/researcher, used to turning to experts for guidance. Trust your instincts, your faith, or just that – short of the obvious areas – nothing you choose to try will cause permanent damage or harm.

    For example, our son slept frequently in his baby carrier (the thing that snaps into a car seat base) beside our bed for the first three months. He also slept 7 hours at a stretch. Was that a bad thing? Not for us, but I’m sure we’d find plenty of ‘evidence’ it was a horrible idea.

    If you try breast feeding, EVERYONE has an opinion, almost every lactaction consultant I (and friends) worked with had DIFFERENT ones, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if it doesn’t come naturally or instinctively. Keep trying, and try different things. Every mother I know had to work at it. Good luck if you choose it. If not, as a good friend said, “They won’t be wearing signs at highschool graduation that say ‘forumla’ and ‘breast milk’” – don’t feel guilty about your choices, either.

    You’re in the home stretch now, it’s scary but a wonderful, wonderful ride.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the encouragement Amanda — I think you are exactly right.

    And I had to laugh about your breast feeding comment :)
    As of right now, I’m definitely planning to try breast feeding, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it if things don’t work out. I can’t tell you how many people just come out and ask “are you planning to breastfeed?” Like it’s any of their business. Plus I know that no matter how I answer, they will have an opinion and 2 cents to add! I’ll just remember your high school graduation comment the next time someone tells me what THEY think!

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Oh, and on the subject of breast feeding – it is often touted as being cheaper than formula. If you do this as nature intended, it can be. If you buy a top of the line pump, freezing & storing equipment, nursing bras, breast pads, lanolin, nursing pillow, etc. etc. etc. you can rack up quite a bill, particularly if you are an hourly worker and have to clock out to pump. I did it myself, for 11 months, working full time and I’m glad I did, but it wasn’t necessarily a financial win.

    Great (& funny!) reading on the subject of working motherhood and breastfeeding in specific is Milk Memos (http://www.amazon.com/Milk-Memos-Learned-Business-Babies-/dp/B0016BX7AC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317752710&sr=1-1). Great chapter on chosing breast pumps, and really short, funny chapters that are great when you are sleep deprived after the baby comes ;)

    And you can file this with all the other unsolicited advice you are probably already receiving!

    [Reply]

    Kari Reply:

    I’m going to throw two cents in. I started out breastfeeding, but knew I would eventually be going back to work, so I was also pumping and building a stock pile. The lactation consultant (who was wonderful!) and things I had read, told me not to give my baby a bottle for several weeks to make sure we had nursing well established. While some babies might get nipple confusion, I don’t think this would have been the case for my girl. At 6 weeks I attempted to give her a bottle. It was a battle for about 6 weeks until she would finally take one. We tried everything. Next time around, we are going to do a few bottles early on. Maybe just one every few days. Just wanted to throw that out there, because I only had one side of the story when I went into all this!

    Good luck! Motherhood is the best job ever!

    [Reply]

    Abby Reply:

    Just wanted to quick reply with to the whole b-feeding thing. I tried……I thought I was going to be this rockstar…earth friendly….mom, but it didn’t work. I was ok with it, but I had friends who didn’t outwardly say to me that I should have kept trying…but I knew they were thinking that. Bottles were SOO much easier for me and I knew that the baby was full and I knew how much he was getting and I could control that.

    If it works out for you, awesome! If it doesn’t, don’t let people get to you. I feel like breast feeding is so big these days and if you don’t do it something is wrong with you. It’s ok, your baby will be nourished and healthy, as mine was, and it’ll be ok. :-)

    Good luck!

    P.S. I was at the MOMs group that you spoke at last week and I am now OBSESSED with your site! You are so fun and creative! Love it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Abby — I’ve had a few other people share similar advice… and it’s always helpful to hear other people’s side of things!

    Oh, and so glad you stopped by for the MOP’s meeting… it was a fun group for sure!

    [Reply]

  4. Sarah

    10/04/2011

    My biggest mistake was comparing my son to what the books said he “should” be doing. It took me until he was 1 to realize that each child will develop at their own pace.

    Our biggest achievement was his sleep schedule. Granted this probably wasn’t set until he was 3 months or so, but we had our nightly routine and would put him down before he was asleep. He has never cried when we put him down (even today at 2) and sleeps very well. And we never ever brought him in the bed with us because we’ve heard horror stories about that becoming the standard and the child ends up sleeping in the parents bed every night.

    Oh and he was probably 6 months or so before we had anything in the crib with him. It started out with his blankie and at 2 now includes Mickey, Goofy, etc, etc.

    Good luck with everything!

    [Reply]

  5. Katie

    10/04/2011

    Don’t worry – it will only take around 6 months but then your daughter will have fully trained you and worked out your sleep schedule :)

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    Ha! Exactly:)

    [Reply]

  6. Juliet

    10/04/2011

    I read Baby Wise and it did help me with some things, and other things I had to take with a grain of salt. I do like the cycle of eat, play, sleep, repeat . . . however, I had a really hard time following the time table they suggested. I had to cut myself some slack, since my baby was not following in the time tables they suggested, and go with the flow. Hope this helps.

    A book I really loved was “Happiest Baby on the Block” by Karp (I think.) Anyway, this helped me a lot, a lot, a lot!!!

    Enjoy this time . . . it goes so quickly. My boy is 9 and my girl is 3 1/2!! Where did my babies go???
    :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Juliet — we actually just read The Happiest Baby on the Block this weekend — it was very helpful!

    And I totally agree that you’ve got to use common sense and do what is best for your baby {and what actually works}. I’m hoping that by reading a few different books and getting lots of different opinions, I’ll be able to apply that knowledge along with my “motherly instincts” to do what is best for us and the baby!

    [Reply]

  7. Christina

    10/04/2011

    I’m not one to tell people how to raise their children, but you should be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using the Babywise program. Here is more information: http://ezzo.info/index-of-articles/81-timeline/107-babywise-advice-linked-to-dehydration-failure-to-thrive

    [Reply]

  8. Amy

    10/04/2011

    Also read the book Happiest Baby On The Block. It seriously saved us with both of our kids. I think it should be required reading for all parents of newborns.

    You will develop a Mommy instinct pretty quickly. Just remember that YOU know your child better than anyone. Trusting your mommy gut is just recognizing when advice (even medical advice sometimes) is just not right for your child. When the mommy gut is screaming “NO!” pay attention to it. My mommy gut is very reliable and I do not regret following it. I have regretted ignoring it several times.

    Scheduling and order is very important to you, you were probably just born that way. Your little girl may be born very much like you and getting her on a schedule will be a breeze. Or she may be just the opposit. Don’t let the people who brag “My baby slept through the night at 5 days!” intimidate you. They haven’t cornered the market on how to teach babies to sleep, their child was just born a good sleeper.

    People will tell you how much your life will change. You won’t get to sleep, you’ll be lucky to get a shower, terrible twos etc. But what they don’t tell you about is the love. I remember the moment I fell in love with my oldest child. He went from being an abstract alien being in my belly to being the most precious child the planet has ever seen. The love is what makes it all worth it. Words don’t really describe it, but you will know it when it happens. And it’s okay if you don’t fall head over heels in love with her right away too. It’s like any other relationship, some are instant bonds and others develop over time.

    [Reply]

  9. Cara

    10/04/2011

    Hi Andrea!
    Congrats on the baby! I am expecting as well and due on October 25th, I can’t believe how fast it is coming up! In regards to your blanket question, I used the Carter’s blanket sleepers with my first and LOVE them! You aren’t supposed to have anything in the crib, especially when they become mobile, so these were a lifesaver! There are several varieties of blanket sleepers on the market but I prefer the Carter ones because they are the only ones I could find with sleeves, all others are sleeveless. Having Michigan winters I wanted to make sure my son stayed nice and warm, so I would put pj’s on him then zip him up in the sleeper, we never had any troubles with him getting cold at night. I have found them at Kohl’s and the Carter’s outlet, if you have any around you. I hope this helps!

    Best of luck on the baby!!

    [Reply]

  10. Lori

    10/04/2011

    1. Look at wearable blankets, sleep sacks, swaddle blankets. We loved these for our little guy.
    http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2256260

    [Reply]

  11. Tammy

    10/04/2011

    I think the biggest thing we did was work the babies into our family’s schedule. They learned to sleep when we were out if it was their normal rest time (not as well, or for as long, but we didn’t have to be home every day at the exact same time-that’s rigid to me). We definitely used routines and honored baby’s needs as much as our own. If we had a little more going on, baby had to adjust but within reason: if baby was sick, just having a rough day, we recognized it and maybe one of us did the shopping alone that we’d hoped to do together. As for trusting your instincts, no matter how ‘little’ you think your instincts are, it’s about trusting when there seem to be warning bells going off, no matter how ‘logical’ the situation looks on the outside. Whether that is health, safety or something else. Sometimes I just asked myself: is this problem, parenting topic, issue etc something that people have only debated/argued/had a guideline for in the last few decades or is it the kind of wisdom they would have used 10, 100 and 1000 years ago. If in doubt, go with time-tested approaches.

    [Reply]

  12. Tammy

    10/04/2011

    also: way to go American parenting magazine for having a top ten MISTAKES list for already nervous parents!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ha — good point Tammy :) and thanks for the advice… all very helpful!

    [Reply]

  13. Becky

    10/04/2011

    This is a great list and if you don’t mind, I have a couple (ok, a lot) of comments to make.

    1. Use a sleep sack or swaddle your infant. Babies like to be swaddled and will sleep longer (mine did).

    3. You WILL compare your baby to others! Just understand that there is a huge range of normal growth. My first son didn’t talk much until 2.5 – hard for me but much easier now that I have an 18 month old who is quiet too.

    5. I think a semi-rigid sleep schedule is a must! That is after 6-9 months. When your baby can sleep through the night, it’s time to start on a good sleep routine. My kids go to bed at the same time every night and take naps at the same time every day. Ninety percent of the time, that is. In the first months, I let my babies sleep in my bedroom. I fed them when they woke and always kept the room dark (I used the TV for light but a nightlight would suffice). When they woke I changed his diaper (to make sure he’d wake up enough to eat a significant amount – note, this will wake your husband too but soon he’ll be able to sleep through the 2 minutes of crying), fed him, burped him and put him back to sleep in his bassinet. I did this for 3 months or so. Soon he only woke once during the night and I’d go to get him from his own room, brought him to my bed where I’d nurse laying down. Once he was done, I’d return him to his own crib (he didn’t need a diaper in the middle of the night at that point). Also don’t be afraid to let them cry in the middle of the night – once they are a bit older (12 months). I now have two GREAT sleepers (18 months and 4 years). They go to bed with NO problems. I have friends who struggle for an hour plus every night to get their kids to bed.

    8. If you nurse you won’t feed the baby too much. If you formula feed you could feed him/her too much but if you use a pacifier, that should feed the baby’s need to suckle. I think it’s less likely that you’ll overfed a pacified baby. It’s recommended that you don’t give the baby a pacifier until nursing is well-established (10 days). In those first 10 days, the baby will use you as a pacifier but that’s a good thing, it’ll help your milk come in. It’ll feel like you are attached at the boob though!

    9. Having one of your own makes it (slightly) easier to deal with other people’s kids. You’ll question yourself in the beginning but it will get easier.

    [Reply]

  14. Stacey

    10/04/2011

    I swaddled both kids and my daughter actually liked being swaddled til she was about 7 months old. Now we just put one blanket on her (she just turned 1) but we used a sleep sack for the longest time with my son because he moved soooo much when he slept so we were always too worried about it. My daugther just lays there so we dont worry too much about it.

    Both of my kids slept through the night pretty early on so we were lucky there. My son was on a pretty good schedule at about 6 months old (i prob wouldnt worry too much about a “rigid” schedule before that) but my daughter is not so great with the scheduling, lol. Its hard since she is the second kid and she sort of has to work around the rest of our schedules as far as naps go. One thing for certain is that no matter what they will eventually get there so dont worry too much about any of these things in the beginning:)

    As much as i hate it, i am one of those moms who run out of the house in PJs and messy hair. Well, ok i dont wear my PJs but i pretty much just take a shower and throw my hair back and call it good. I wish i was the type of person to do my hair and makeup before i left the house but our mornings are really busy…. Well, ok, i just have really terrible time management skills and i like sleeping as late as the kids will allow and relaxing with a cup of coffee or 2 before we do anything;)

    As long as you and DH do things that work for you, you will be fine:)

    Im not sure how i feel about BabyWise but i really like the Happiest Baby on the Block.

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    Ok weird, when i submitted my comment it changed the order of some of my paragraphs. Crazy!

    [Reply]

    Kendra Reply:

    Happiest Baby on the Block was the only useful baby book we read!

    [Reply]

  15. Sue

    10/04/2011

    You will find your way.. and will be fine.. Just try not to take all the stuff people tell you so personally.. You do what you feel is right. Great saying I was told when my kids were born. “you are the one that has to walk the floor at night to get her to sleep not everyone else so you do what you need to do.”

    She will conform to your schedule, the tempture you keep your house at and all. Tell Dad not to get too upset if new baby only wants Mom.. Gotta remember she is used to your heart beat and smell So she might want you more in the begining than Dad. But over time she will be a Daddy’s girl and you are out the door! LOL
    Sue in NJ

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sue — I figured I would get lots of opinions and advice after we announced we were have a baby — and I didn’t plan to take any of it personally! I figure I’ll just soak up as much information as possible and then use the bits and pieces that work for us.

    I like that you mentioned how the baby will conform to our schedule, I never thought of it that way, but I’m sure you’re right. I always just figured we’d have to work our lives around this baby’s schedule {and to some degree that is probably true} but I like your way of phrasing it too!

    Oh, and I have NO doubt she’ll be daddy’s girl in no time :)

    [Reply]

  16. Jennifer

    10/04/2011

    Babywise is a big help. The comment above about AAP not recommending it is not true. There are people devoted to attachment parenting who bash this book in amazon.com comments, write other stuff on the internet, don’t worry about it. Most doctors will recommend basically this sort of thing. If you think about it, it’s what moms who use formula do, have the baby on a basic routine for feeding rather than snacking all the time. If you are doing good, full nursing sessions, it works the same. I tried the AP/demand feeding thing with my first and it was a disaster. It was much harder to get on track with him a bit bigger, but when we did all of his digestive issues and fussiness cleared up and he was the happiest thing. With my new little girl (one month!) we have started with a flexible routine from early on and it is going so much better. Her weight gain has been wonderful too, back to birth weight by five days and totally thriving – much better than our results with the AP way too. I highly recommend a routine as the kindest thing you can do for your baby, and coincidentally it works out great for you too. I had no plan going into my first – too scared to visualize it all having lost three in early pregnancy before him – and we really paid for it. Read a bunch of stuff so you won’t be stuck diving into it while totally tired. Work together with your husband as your learn.

    Breastfeeding is almost always hard the first time, in the beginning. Just aim for full feedings and try to teach yourself and baby what a good latch looks like from the beginning. Ask for help from the lactation consultant at the hospital, if there is one. It’s harder in the beginning, but SO much easier once you get the hang of it. Plus it’s good for both of you. Formula is fine too, but if you want to nurse, don’t be too discouraged by a couple of hard weeks in the beginning.

    Use a wearable blanket, like a sleep sack or one of the ones that is a swaddler too (miracle blanket for instance). Safe for baby and warm too.

    You will be uncertain, it will be hard, but it’s wonderful too. Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Nickelshoe Reply:

    Since the above commenter gave evidence that the AAP does not recommend Babywise, do you have evidence to contradict that? The AAP does in fact recommend demand feeding: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I almost didn’t say anything because people are so touchy about this, but didn’t want Andrea to potentially write off a good resource. Those guidelines say feed baby 8-12 times a day when they seem hungry. That is exactly what babywise says. The points in babywise are to not assume hunger is the issue with every cry, which is more sensible when you have worked to get baby to have a good, full feeding each time. Not getting enough hind milk is a common cause for tummy trouble, fussiness, and not as good weight gain – and I saw all that first hand when I was constantly feeding my son. Follow babywise – and the AAP guidelines, which are the same – rather than constant demand feeding as advised by the AP line of thinking cleared that up quickly. It’s demand feeding, but not in that sense, and since the term has kind of come to mean that particular way, it’s not really helpful to describe the sort of demand feeding babywise suggests. Babywise quotes the AAP guidelines and book, and is right in line with them. It says to always feed a hungry baby. It just says to be sure to think about what the baby really needs, not just nurse all the time. It’s good advice, in my experience. As long as whatever guidelines you are following are producing good results for you, I say use them. Having found the guidelines in babywise useful myself, I always suggest people really consider them. Many of the people who leave bad comments about the book clearly haven’t read it, and I wouldn’t want anyone to be scared off by that, it’s bad information.

    And I won’t say anymore about that. Good luck Andrea! Praying for a healthy and safe delivery for you and every good thing for baby!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer — I couldn’t agree more!
    Don’t worry, I’m not being “scared off” by all the negative comments… and we’re reading more than one book too :) We’re just taking in as much information as we can and will use what seems to work with our baby.
    I really appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement!

    [Reply]

    Mara @ Super Savings Reply:

    Andrea,
    I completely agree with Jennifer (well said Jennifer!)! We have 5 “babies” (ages 1-11) and have used the principles of BabyWise for all of them and they were all happy, healthy, and sleeping through the night around 3-5 weeks old. They recommend in the book to be flexible with the schedule (which honestly was difficult with our 1st baby since we wanted to do it just “right”), but like Jennifer said it’s about making sure the baby gets fed well each time and then you’ll know if the baby “should” be crying about being hungry or something else.
    I think it makes life SO much easier! If it’s “time” for a nap, then it’s normal to be crying about being tired……if it’s “time” to eat, then it’s normal to be crying about being hungry……but, if the baby’s days are just “willy nilly eat/sleep whenever” you may have to start from scratch every time to figure out why the baby’s upset. (that would drive me bonkers!)

    Personally, we love and wholeheartedly endorse the book — but like with any resource, trust your instincts and the Lord and you’ll do just fine. Take any nuggets you can from it and make it work for your family.

    When I was pregnant with our first, my husband’s aunt gave me my favorite bit of advice…….”The baby doesn’t know if you’re doing everything “right” or not. It just wants to be loved and fed……you’ll figure out the rest.” There will certainly be a learning curve, but you’ll find out that most things are not that big of a deal. From the little bit of time I’ve spent with you, and the heart I can see from you and your husband on here — you guys will be wonderful parents and do just fine! =)

    ~ Mara @ Super Savings

    p.s. even now with my own 5, I still don’t always love to be around other people’s kids — yours on the other hand will own your heart! I remember falling in love with each one (quickly or slowly) and being surprised each time by how much I could love this tiny being!

    p.p.s. personally, I take everything from the AAP with a grain of salt. ;)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Myra — yes, I’m sure being flexible is the key. we are just taking in lots of information right now and will uses what seems to be the best for our family when that time comes.
    Although I’m sure after 5 kids, you have quite a bit of wisdom to share!!!

    [Reply]

  17. Johane

    10/04/2011

    As a mother of 4 I only ever have 2 pieces of advice.

    1. Never buy clothes with feet before the baby is born – my first was extra long and things with feet didn’t fit. Oops! We crammed her into a few items for pictures for relatives, but she only ever wore it less than 5 minutes.

    2. You know what is best for your family and for yourself. Trust your instincts. When you receive advice, smile, nod, and be honest say you’ll think about it. The time it takes for it to travel from one ear and out the other is all the time you have to give to think about something. (Or in one eye and out the other if reading the advice…)

    Keep in mind that your baby is not a little adult. She is an individual human being, with her own likes and dislikes. Don’t try to be rigid, set a schedule yes, but go with the flow.

    You will quickly become the expert in this particular child – more so than the doctors and the authors and your neighbours and your family. Even your husband won’t know as much about this baby as you will. He’ll be a close second though.

    Just remember to breathe – especially when things get overwhelming. Take a moment and remember that tomorrow will come anyway, why worry about it. Be present to the moment, to right this second, (yes, even when your baby spits up for the 100th time today and hasn’t slept for more than 20 minutes in 72 hours and is completely inconsolable unless in your own arms…) Everybody else and everything else can take care of themselves for a minute or a bit. All you have to do is to breathe, take a moment and be in this moment until it’s time for the next moment. When you do, you’ll realize that you’ve got things under control.

    As an ADHD mom of 4 (3 of whom also have ADHD) I can officially say that if my kids and I can do it you surely can! (My girls range from 16-9 and are some of the most respected, well-liked, responsible kids anybody has ever met… Their rooms are horrid, their books a disaster, and somehow they pull in some of the best marks in school! Thank God for His divine hand in this ’cause I certainly had no clue – and I did it mostly on my own to boot!)

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  18. Heidi

    10/04/2011

    Gutsy girl for mentioning Babywise on a public forum! If you haven’t noticed already, there are QUITE a lot of opinions about it! And here’s mine of course! I used the book but it drove me nuts when my first baby didn’t do exactly what it said, because it sounded great to me! I found this blog: http://www.babywisemom.com/ and she fleshes the whole philosophy out a ton. Beware, because the mom who writes it comes across as a bit arrogant at times, but overall the information there helped me a lot. You can join their email group too, and email questions anytime and get almost immediate answers, which I loved in the first few months of my kid’s lives. Wishing you all the best! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for that link Heidi — sounds like a great resource

    And p.s. your sister-in-law is the one who told me I absolutely HAD to read Babywise — hehe :)

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  19. Heidi

    10/04/2011

    Yes, my constant talk about how I love routine and my great sleepers clearly made its way into her mind! I also recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It’s presentation and organization isn’t the best, but the info in it is great.

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    Joanie Reply:

    LOVE this book!!!!

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  20. Joanie

    10/04/2011

    I have a 6 month old son so I am still learning, but…..I do have a lot of friends with kids the same age as my son. I’m not comparing or tooting my own horn or anything, but my son slept through the night at 6 weeks and all my friends are still getting up with their babies. I have tried to keep a strict sleep schedule and I think that has been one of the keys. The other important suggestion I have is this: Once your baby hits 8 pounds, they can sleep through the night. At 5 weeks old, I stopped feeding my son at night. For 3 nights, he would cry at his normal every 3 hour time and I would go in there, give him the pacifier or rock him until he either went back to sleep or stopped crying. I put him back in his crib and went back to bed. After 3 nights, he stopped waking up and slept through the night. He now sleeps from 7:30-6:30, sometimes later. I am sooo thankful that I get a full night’s sleep now! So a sleep schedule is good, but you have to know that the naps are where it’s hardest to keep a schedule.

    As far as a blanket goes, you will probably be swaddling the baby for the first few weeks (Charlie was swaddled until 10 weeks) so they don’t need a blanket. After that, they sleep in a sleep sack that acts as their blanket. My son sleeps with a thin, muslin blanket now and he loves having it up by his face…gives me a heart attack when it’s up by his face but everytime I pull it down, he pulls it right back up.

    I am also ver organized and love a routine so I am looking forward to reading how you organize motherhood. It’s AMAZING!!!!!!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — thanks Joanie! I’m definitely going to try to be an organized mom, but I’m sure I’ll make many “mistakes” along the way! I’ll probably even have days where I stay in my PJ’s all day :)

    We’ve heard lots of good things about swaddling and sleep sacks so I registered for a bunch of those items. Hopefully they will help!
    Thanks again for your tips and encouragement!

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  21. Krista

    10/04/2011

    I agree with the posts about swaddling or sleep sacks. Those are the way to keep baby warm when he/she is little. Before our daughter was born, I took a newborn childcare class. That was really helpful. I didn’t have much experience with children, but was surprised how much comes naturally. My daughter is 14 months now.

    Since it looks like you want to try breastfeeding, I highly recommend finding a local la leche league. http://www.llli.org. I’d even start attending before the baby is born. The ladies in the league are nursing moms who can share the benefits of breast feeding, can give tips on latching, things you may not expect such as cluster feeding, or growth spurt nursing, or soreness.

    I didn’t read baby wise, but I really liked Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Child by Marc Weissbluth. I also recommend joining moms groups, especially ones connected to new moms. It is so good to have encouragement of other moms to help you know what you’re going through is normal/will pass, and give tips on what worked for them.

    Having my baby was harder than I thought it would be, but the rewards are indescribable. Congratulations! I found your blog a few months ago and really like it. My prayers are with you!

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  22. Hilary

    10/04/2011

    Hi Andrea,
    I really like your blog – all the organizing, cooking, simplifying advice is wonderful. Thank you for all the hard work you put into it.

    The book that made the most impact on me as a new mom is The Ministry of Parenting Your Baby by Dr. William Sears. I wish I’d read it before my first labor, but I got so much out of it afterward and then reread it before my second. It’s a thoughtful, God-centered book with rich advice for new parents that helped me learn to trust my mommy instinct and love my babies well in the way that worked for them (and me), and gave me freedom to toss away the “systems” and enjoy their infancy. It’s very good information on nurturing both babe and mama. It may be out of print but perhaps available on used sites. It’s worth looking for.

    I’m an organized person who loves systems and a good to-do list with many checked off items! However, my best advice is to slow down and enjoy your baby, take the time you need to make sure both of you are well cared for, and the rest will all fall into place eventually. So you don’t blog and organize and take photos for a few days. You’re investing in something much more important. Bless you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Hilary,
    I’m totally open to all books and materials right now so I will definitely check our your suggestion. I think I’ve already read one book by William Sears too! I’m hoping that by getting lots of different perspectives and advice I’ll be able to put everything together and pick/choose what information is best for our family and our baby.
    Thanks again for this helpful information and your kind words!

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  23. Stacy

    10/04/2011

    Might I recommend the askdrsears website for sleep advice. Babywise is terrible and the AAP has specifically discouraged it because it has been directly linked to baby’s failure to thrive (aka babies practically starving to death).
    Check out this link: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/8-infant-sleep-facts-every-parent-should-know

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    Gina Reply:

    Babies HAVE DIED on the Babywise schedules. Every single pediatric group recommends not using strict schedules for infants.

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  24. sarah

    10/04/2011

    Kudos on picking a hot topic close to every Mother’s heart. These babies, these delicious lovely sweet gifts can help you check off all of those “mistakes” in a single day if your having a really rough one. Its how kids help keep you humble. Articles like this one irritate me because they miss the point. It isn’t the mistake that is important it’s all in the way you move forward and learn from it and you never know that “mistake” might become a blessing in disguise. For Example: Take the one where you are still in you pj’s at 5pm and your hair looks like a birds nest. My first was born in the middle of a snowy cold winter so there were plenty of days where I rocked the housewife hag look. The blessing – now snow days are our pj day and we stop the rushing, slow down enjoy some unexpected family time. They are our family’s best days.
    Oh and lets not forget that our kids can learn so much from seeing us mess up, fess up and move on.
    Somehow it works out :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sarah!
    I figured this could be a hot topic, but I didn’t expect such a huge response — you should see how many emails I’ve gotten already today :)
    I honestly couldn’t agree MORE with everything you said. Thanks for your non-judgmental opinions and encouragement!

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  25. Emily

    10/04/2011

    Hi Andrea, lovin’ all the comments on this post. I think parent magazines are made to make us more paranoid as parents! :) I unsubscribed to many of them after my first baby was born. Being a mom of two (and baby #3) on the way, I wanted to add my two cents :) I read babywise with both my girls. I like the ideas of it (eat, awake time, then sleep), I liked not having my baby dependent on feeding in order to sleep. The rest of it I felt was too rigid. Like many of the other moms mentioned, you and your baby will find your own sense of rhythm. And each baby is different. (My first one was a great eater and would get full feedings, my second one liked to “snack” and over time she grew out of that and would take full feedings).

    I loved your comment under #9 :) I baby sat a ton, but there is something different about taking care of your own child. Mommy instinct will kick in and you will be an AWESOME mommy to YOUR baby! Just love on that baby girl, relax, breathe and pray. God will pour out His grace in such an amazing way!! Can’t wait to celebrate with you in a few weeks!! :)
    Emily

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    Andrea Reply:

    Aw… thanks Emily!
    Yes, who know this would be such a controversial issue! All of my friends/ family who have used BabyWise basically said the same thing you did — they thought it was a little ridged but they liked the whole idea of “eat, awake time, sleep”. I’m trying to read a few different books from different perspectives so hopefully I’ll have a good wealth of information before our baby arrives. Then I can pick and choose what I feel is best for her.

    Congrats on your future bundle of joy and thanks for the great advice!

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  26. Kendra

    10/04/2011

    Congrats on the upcoming arrival!

    I’m pretty sure you cannot overfeed a baby if you are breastfeeding. And, I kind of think it’s okay to NOT have a sleep schedule. I just feel that babies know what they need and if you just listen to their cues you will be right on target.

    And, yeah, it is impossible not to compare your baby to other babies!

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  27. Megan Camp

    10/04/2011

    I know others have mentioned it but definitely get a wearable blanket for your baby girl (in many different sizes). I’ve used them in winter and summer until my kids are about two and can manage to keep blankets ON them at night. You can swaddle in the beginning. I had two winter babies so I would put them in their wearable blankets and THEN swaddle as well. I had my big down blanket and couldn’t stand to see them in a sleeper and little tiny blanket. They make different weights too. I use a heavier wearable blanket during the cold months and a thin, cotton one in the summer. After a few months, I also gave them blankets to snuggle but they don’t really keep those ones on them.

    I’ve never been one to read lots of baby books as I’ve had lots of experience babysitting and working with kids. However, here’s one piece of advice I learned from a babysitting mom that I’ve kept with me regarding sleep. I love my sleep and I have two children who LOVE to sleep. Many of my friends ask me how I get them to sleep so much. She had three kids and here’s what she said:
    Baby number 1, she used a book (probably babywise) and put the baby on a pretty rigid schedule. It worked for her but her baby hated the crib and would cry at every nap and bedtime.
    Baby number 2. I honestly don’t remember exactly what she did but she didn’t use the book/schedule method. Baby still hated sleeping.
    Baby number 3. This was going to be her last baby and she wanted to treasure the moments with him. At naptime and bedtime, she made a point of snuggling with him and making bedtime something really positive. He has always loved going to bed and would rarely cry when laid down (even by me).

    Obviously, I tried the last method with my kids and it worked great for me!

    I am okay with letting my kids cry it out and they have done that at times. However, my 11 mo old usually cries from the time I lay him down until I walk out and close the door (about 3 seconds). If you make going to bed a comforting thing, your baby will probably do really well. Never use the crib as a place for punishing/discipline. You want them to LIKE going to bed.

    Also, remember the habits you instill in them when they’re young (say past 3 months old) are the ones you’re going to have to break down the road if you don’t like them. If you don’t want a picky baby who has to be swaddled and nursed to sleep, have a dark room and absolute quiet then break those habits when they’re young. Unswaddle them when they start breaking out of it. Make some noise while they sleep (I used to vacuum), leave the shades UP during naptime (so they can sleep whether it’s light or dark, don’t nurse them to sleep (nurse them until they’re close to being asleep but lay your baby down awake so SHE learns how to fall asleep on her own) etc. It’s easy to teach them things when they’re a couple months old…just make sure whatever you teach them you’re willing to do for a LONG time or you’ll have a hard time breaking bad habits. I used to let my babies sleep with me, on me, near me etc until they were about 3 months. At that point, I moved them to their own room (even though I would have loved them to stay near me) because I wanted to start good sleeping habits. Oh, one more…when your baby falls asleep in the car, don’t be afraid to unbuckle them to move them to their crib. Both of my kids (11 mo & nearly 4yrs) transport well and will fall back asleep if I carry them upstairs. I can lay them down at other people’s house’s to sleep and transport them home no problem (which is great when we want to get out and hang out with friends!) I have many friends who can’t come over in the evenings because their kids haven’t been raised to be flexible when it comes to sleep. Your child will adjust to whatever you do with them!

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  28. Dianne@Baking4Six

    10/05/2011

    Wow, that’s A LOT of advice. I think my head would be totally spinning. I have 4 children (14,12,9&8) — taking care of a newborn is much easier than a pre-teen, teenager :) However, it seems that the most advice written about & verbalized is for a newborn, infant, toddler etc… I’m also a teacher just like your husband – and what I’ve learned is that all children are different, but many definitely pick up the “habits” of their parents. :)

    Just as all relationships are different, so are parenting styles – just because one thing worked for one family doesn’t mean that it will work for ALL families/children.

    For example, some children are light sleepers some are not – not to say that you can’t help to change/modify that to a certain degree by adding noise etc… Some children like to eat, some do not. Some sleep a lot, some sleep a little. Some get really fussy at night, some do not. Some are morning people, some are not – some are organized, some are not… okay, so we’re talking newborns here… but I think you get the point :)

    Personally I think the best advice to listen to – is advice like – enjoy your baby etc… The rest of the advice… about feeding, schedules etc… is give and take between you and your child. You have to work with her personality, but fit it into your lifestyle. We have 4 children, so the things I did for our first child were not what I could do for the 4th.

    Lastly just keep in mind that whatever you do decide to do, will eventually become habit for your child and habits are hard to break :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Don’t worry Dianne — I’m just taking everyone’s advice with a grain of salt! And yes, I’m listening to ALL the ladies who have told me to “relax, enjoy my baby, things will be fine, you can do this, etc.”
    Thanks for your advice and words of encouragement!

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  29. Ann

    10/05/2011

    (I left this comment on facebook too because, for some reason, these comments didn’t show up the first time around.)
    My biggest mistake was thinking I was in control and that it was my job to make these little humans submit to my will. I did not use enough respect in my parenting and I would change that if I got a re-do. Read Chick Moorman’s parenting books and start practicing speaking in respectful ways now before your child is born.

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  30. selina

    10/05/2011

    I’m the mum of two the oldest is 7 and I can say hand on heart, that list sums it up. Spot on.

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  31. Jen @ BigBinder

    10/06/2011

    A lot of folks have covered a lot of things in the comments – but one I would add is that you have to stop doing something for your child if it makes you resent them. I know that sounds awful, but there are some people who are determined to breastfeed, or let the baby cry it out, or not let them cry it out, or feed them or not feed solids them by a certain age or cloth diaper or WHATEVER but more important than the benefits of ANY of these things is that what you do for your child, you do with a loving heart. If BF (or any of the above, or anything else..) drives you absolutely crazy and you want to stop, stop. Don’t listen to anyone else. There will be bigger issues that people have strong opinions about when the baby gets older and it’s good practice for listening to yourself as a mother. God gives us a lot of wisdom when we have a baby, we just have to listen to it :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen — great advice! And I WILL take it :)

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  32. Alyssa

    10/06/2011

    I just had to comment when I saw that you’ve been advised to read BabyWise. If you can’t already tell, it’s a hot topic, love it, or hate it. I did some research and found a whole community of people against BabyWise… it might be worth while to look up if you do read the book.

    On the other hand I’ve read the book and I the only thing I liked was their idea of eat, play, sleep. It does make for a better sleeping baby. I did it that way with my first and he slept wonderfully. My second however I nursed to sleep every time and at 14 months she still wakes up around 5 every morning screaming for me to feed her. I will never do it this way again! I loved cuddling and nursing her to sleep, but this messed up sleep thing is no fun!

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  33. Lisa

    10/07/2011

    Please rethink following BabyWise for advice. It’s fine to follow a routine but babies shouldn’t be kept on a rigid schedule, especially if you’re planning to breastfeed. I’ve heard horror stories about babies failing to thrive because their moms tried feeding them on a schedule instead of on demand. Would you like it if someone told you that you could only eat every 4 hours and that you weren’t hungry even when you were screaming that you were? I don’t mean this to sound like a rant but babies know what they need and when they need it :)

    And wearable blankets are the best! They keep babies warm and you from worrying about them at night.

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  34. Amber

    10/08/2011

    I think this is definitely a great list. Im one of those moms that still to this day doesnt have a set schedule. I tried really hard to do it and felt like I about lost it and a friend suggested to just go with the flow and she will get on a schedule on her own. Great advice that I still remember. Some people can keep a baby down to a schedule and others not.

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  35. Janelle

    10/19/2011

    You definitely received a lot of advice!

    I wanted to add another book that was a great resource to me: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg. I used this book along side of Babywise and I really liked the charts that she has in her book. One of the charts describe various things that the baby might be doing while crying – and what that means…crying does not always mean that they are hungry! Anyway, I liked the book and suggest it to you, since you are desiring a schedule.

    My two boys were very different – #1 was “textbook, and slept through the night at 15 weeks! #2 took a LOT longer to sleep through the night. It stressed me out a little bit, but I came to realize that I needed to relax and eventually he would sleep through! (he does now!)

    I pray that you have a wonderful rest of your pregnancy, and a speedy, safe and uneventful labor and delivery!

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  36. sheri giffin

    11/30/2011

    Just wanted to let you know that God gives you the instincts that you need. No babysitting required. Don’t be afraid to trust those instincts when something with Nora is not quite right. No one knows her better than you.

    Enjoy her.
    sg

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