By Jennifer Chait
ADVICE: Everyone will offer baby tips galore. Take advice you like, but trust your own instincts, and don’t feel bad about ignoring bad advice; just smile and nod.
BABY CARRIER: A baby carrier means you can wash dishes, call a pal, or make a sandwich with your babe in tow.
COLD CABBAGE: Many note that the mixture of cabbage enzymes and cold can reduce breast swelling and pain. Take a cold leaf and place it in your nursing bra for instant relief.
DIET: If you’re breastfeeding you need an extra 200 calories per day, or about two healthy snacks.
EXERCISE: Exercise will help you relax, shed your baby weight and offers long-term energy. After your health care provider says it’s safe, you can work out for an hour or more, on most days of the week.
FRIENDS: We all need mama pals. Look up mama groups locally or join an online group, such as our SheKnows message groups.
GREEN CLEANING: Green cleaning is a baby issue. Your baby doesn’t need exposure to toxic chemicals around the house. Click here to check out some eco-friendly and green cleaning options.
HOLDING: Babies who are held often cry less and are content; which believe me, will brighten your day.
INFANT SEAT INSPECTION: Get a free child seat safety inspection. Many local fire stations will inspect your car seat or can refer you to someplace that can.
JUGGLING: You can’t juggle it all. Have your partner, your mother, or a friend help with chores, baby holding, and grocery shopping.
KEEPING MEMORIES: Take a few minutes weekly and jot down baby memories and thoughts in a journal. You’ll love to look back at the first day she smiled, sat-up, and rolled over.
LAUGHTER: Peekaboo, singing, silly faces, and puppets are great ways to encourage baby laughter.
MANUAL: A really good baby and child health manual is Taking Care of Your Child.
NAPS: Sure it’d be nice to get the laundry done at some point this century, but you’ll be a better mama with more sleep, so snooze when your baby does.
OUTSTANDING BABY PHOTOS: Learn to take them or find someone who can give you a hand.
PUMP AND DUMP: Alcohol is fine while breastfeeding, but be sure to pump and dump your next serving of breastmilk since alcohol can pass through your breastmilk to your baby.
QUIET TIME: You don’t need to entertain your baby 24/7. This may, in fact, annoy her, making her fussy. Be sure the two of you have some downtime each day.
READING: Your newborn may not understand a story, but she’ll love story togetherness time.
SWADDLING: Learn to swaddle like a pro. Most babies love swaddling because it makes them feel all cozy and secure. Mamas love swaddling, because it can often lull a baby right to sleep. Click here to find out how to swaddle like a pro.
TUMMY TIME: All babies need tummy time. Tummy time helps your baby to develop important motor skills and gives her a new view of her world. Even if your baby fusses at first, still aim for tummy time twice a day, for five to ten minutes
UNIVERSE SHIFT: After you have your baby, you may feel overwhelmed, tired, and like your life will never be the same; it won’t be. Most of the time your new life, while different, will be better, because your amazing baby will be a part of it. However, if you feel excessive anxiety or depression, call your health care provider or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-784-2433.
VULTURES: Vultures are people who swoop in and try to pick up your baby without washing their hand. She’s your baby and you make the rules, so don’t feel bad about asking people to scrub up before cuddling your little one.
WATER: Water is very important for breastfeeding mamas. Aim for at least eight glasses a day to avoid dehydration.
XOXOXO: No matter what you hear, you can never spoil a baby with too many hugs and kisses. Feel free to pile on the love.
YUCK FACTOR: The baby yuck factor is icky, but trust me, dealing with baby poop, spit-up, and snot will get easier.
ZOO EXCURSION: Your local zoo is the perfect mama-baby outing; miles of wide walking paths for strollers, bathrooms equipped with changing tables, and best of all, no one minds a crying baby at the zoo.