One Month Advice

Yes, I am a very new mom and I know that I don't have all the answers. I also know that the things we (Jason and I) do and believe in definitely won't work or apply to everyone. However, I do think that we have learned a lot of valuable things that are worth sharing to other new moms/parents. These things make our lives pretty easy. I like to think that Avery is a really good baby- and hopefully we are contributing to that. One can argue nature vs nuture, but I think its a good mix of both =) Hopefully if you are are a new parent or soon-to-be one, this could help you...but if nothing else, by sharing, at least I will remember what worked and what didn't for our second!

Hospital Advice-

1. The Epidural was SO worth it (for me!!)- Labor is pretty bad, but it's also amazing and you really do forget all of the pain when you see your baby. I know a lot of people are for the natural method, but for me, the Epidural was SO worth it. In fact, so worth it that I got it twice =) I told Jason multiple times throughout those 20 hours...I just don't understand how people can do it naturally. Seriously, if you did, I am AMAZED by you. Also, there is medicine they can give you to help with the pain before you reach the point where you are allowed the epidural. They gave me ambien and morphine before I was dilated enough...so don't be afraid to ask for medicine if you want it!

2. We listened to the advice from a good friend, who had a baby three weeks before Avery came, to put the baby in the nursery at night during our stay in the hospital so we could sleep. It was hard to let her go there when she was so new to us, but we were so glad we did. They brought her in for feedings at night and although we still didn't sleep much there, we slept more than we would have and had a chance to relax some.

3. Stand up for yourself in labor and in the hospital- I really didn't love Northside (aka the baby factory). I felt that it truly was a factory. No one (with the exception of a few sweet nurses) really cared about you or what you were feeling. They seemed SO use to the routine that they just wanted to get through their shift. Don't be scared to always let them know what you need, or you could (and probably will) be overlooked.

4. The most painful part about labor...was right after the delivery ended -No one ever told me this, but this was truly the worst part for me. I am not sure if it was this bad for others. As they were washing and checking over the baby, the doctor started pushing as hard as she could on my stomach. Literally almost pushing it down to the bed/table. It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. After I caught my breath, I asked the doctor what in the world she was doing. She said that she was "preventing clots and hemorrhaging" and that she had to do it three more times every 15 minutes. WHAT?!?! Thankfully I told her how incredibly much it hurt and she only did it two more times. I wish someone would have prepared me for that so I expected it and wasn't so confused.

5. Think twice about having a lot of visitors at the hospital- I was SO thankful and gracious that a lot of people wanted to come meet Avery in the hospital...but I did learn that it is best to wait and have visitors when you are all situated back at home. There is so much going on at the hospital, between the mom getting checked, taking medicine, feeding your baby, recovering, bonding with your baby, etc...and on top of that you are exhausted and really don't feel up to entertaining visitors! Also, mom and dad have just met baby too and are starting the bonding process. When visitors come you want to let them hold the baby, but at the same time, you just met your baby! It's a catch 22! I would advise letting family meet the baby once for a short amount of time and then waiting until you go home for any more visitors. The hospital should be a special time for you to bond with your baby...what is a few more days to wait until people meet baby?? I am definitely doing this for my second! If you do want visitors at the hospital, don't be afraid to set a time limit like 15 minutes and kindly ask people to leave if you need to. 1-2 hour stays at the hospital are very very stressful with everything going on =) I would say after the first week at home, have all the visitors you want!

Bringing Baby Home-

1. Accept help if offered when you come home from the hospital!!- Avery hardly ever made a sound in the hospital. We didn't think the child even knew how to cry...boy were we wrong. We got home from the hospital at 9pm on Sunday night feeling VERY tired and sleep deprived. Jason and I always told each other that we wanted to do the first night on our own with no help. Well we learned that that was easy to say when we didn't have a newborn and were feeling very rested!! I texted my mom so desperate at about 4am that night and she showed up early the next morning and stayed for the next two days. THANK THE LORD- we were able to experience what sleep was like again!! Of course, she started sleeping great when my mom came, but that first night was definitely a reality check :)

2. The "Woombie" has made our nights amazing- A coworker gave me our woombie at a shower at work...I had NO idea what this was. I really didn't think much about it until we tried it on Avery our second night. I really attribute a lot of Avery's amazing sleep habits to this incredible invention. It is basically a really tight swaddle sack with no arm holes and it zips up. It let's Avery still have her hands close to her face, but keeps them down and secure enough to prevent the startle reflex and wake her up. She can also move her feet as much as she wants which is great. Seriously, if you are about to have a newborn, you will not regret buying this. Here is a link to the one we have- http://www.woombie.com/the_deluxe_woombie.html

3. The iPhone/iPad app "Baby Connect" is a must- Seriously!! This app is SO amazing...I don't know what I would do without it. It is $4.99, but worth every penny and much more. It has saved Jason and I from so much stress and has helped keep us on the same page with everything Avery. The app is a comprehensive baby tracking application and it keeps track of everything like feeding times, amounts, diaper changes, bowel movements, sleep times, nursing/pump times, medicine, etc. It has growth trackers, notifications, reminder alarms, etc. You can export it via .csv and it even charts the information on graphs in the app so you can see summaries, averages and notice any irregularities. My favorite part is that you can sync it to other people's phones. Jason has it synced on his phone. He helps me input information and also loves seeing all of her updates throughout the day when he is at work. It is SO easy and SO helpful. When Avery is crying, I automatically check my app to see the last time she ate or when her last BM was :) Also, if you change or lose your phone, all of the information is saved online at www.babyconnect.com. This is definitely a must get!!

4. Newborns really CAN sleep through the night- Yes, our first night was terrible and we were exactly what everyone says...incredibly tired and sleep deprived. We were envisioning our future for the next year or so- and it was REALLY scary! I had never felt that tired and out of it...it was not a good feeling. But thankfully, that didn't last long. We have developed a super great schedule and for the last week or so (Avery is three weeks) she has slept through the night every single night!! Below is a record of how much she has slept the last 5 nights. How do we do it?? Well it starts throughout the day. We feed her what the pediatrician recommends, but at the lower end. We do not give her a ton, but we feed her often. Right now about 3oz every 2.5 hours. At about 6pm we try to keep her up as much as possible until bedtime. We have playtime from 6-8pm where she is usually wide awake and happy. At 8-8:30pm we start bath time...this always keeps her up and she is SO happy!! When we take her out of the bath around 9pm, she gets really cold and starts getting fussy. So we wrap her up, dim the lights, and have our snuggle and bottle time in her rocker. At this feeding, we give her just about as much as she will drink so she will stay as full as possible throughout the night. Usually this is around 4-5oz now. About half way through her bottle, we burp her, make sure her diaper is clean, then put her in her Woombie for the remainder of the feeding. For the second half of the bottle I sing to her and she usually ends up falling asleep. We ensure that she is in a DEEP sleep before we place her in her crib. Most of the time she doesn't move a muscle after she is placed in the crib, but sometime it will take her a second to get situated. And that's it!! Then we don't hear from her or see her again until 6-9am =) Again, I know this won't work for everyone but it works fabulously for us (so far!). I am prayingggg it continues!

5. Nursing/Breastfeeding is NOT for everyone (despite what SO many people might think)- All throughout my pregnancy and even now, I have found that people are SO opinionated on this concept. Quite frankly, I found it very annoying and pressuring. DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU...not your aunt, friend, random lady that talks to you at the mall, mom, etc!! Seriously- if you try to do something you do not want to do or something that just isn't working you will only be stressed out. And it will ruin your time with your new baby. Yes, maybe breastfeeding is better than formula...but not to the extent that it makes you miserable...or causes pain/sickness! Don't listen to people's opinions and whatever you choose, stand up for yourself and your choice! I chose to solely pump. The thought of nursing started to stress me out when I was pregnant and even more so when I tried in the hospital. I like pumping because if gives me flexibility (Jason can feed Avery, it only takes 15 minutes each time, we can bottle feed her with my milk when we are out, she is still getting all the nutrients from milk without me having her glued to my boobs, we know the exact amount she is eating etc)...I haven't felt like it has affected our bonding one bit! In fact, I joke that I would rather her stare at my eyes when I am feeding her than my boobs =) I also am not afraid to supplement with formula when needed (we did this in the hospital too). But again, all of this is just my choice...whatever your choice, as long as it is the best for you, then it is the best choice despite what people might say!

PS- If you do nurse/pump...be sure to get a handsfree nursing bra (http://www.apeainthepod.com/Product.asp?Product_Id=491300336&MasterCategory_Id=MC28)...they are attractive, I know... and some nursing pads =)

6. These are some baby items we couldn't live without- 
  • Wipe Warmer- A lot of people think this was a waste of money, but not for us. Avery LOVES her warm wipes. When they are cold, she gets mad. She probably gets this from her mom, but she just loves being warm! This makes changing her enjoyable...she never cries! http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3557338
  • Snugabunny Bouncer- She naps in here where I can watch her, she loves the music on it and the vibration, and sometimes we even use this to rock her to sleep. It is easy to move and she naps fabulously in it! http://www.toysrus.com/buy/activity/baby-bouncers/fisher-price-bouncer-my-little-snug-a-bunny-v4650-4449502
  • Dr Brown's bottles- We are really really happy with these. I think they really minimize her spit ups...she does spit up, but usually only about once every few days. We also have a hard time getting her to burp...I think this is because the Dr. Browns help significantly to lower the bubbles and gas intake. http://www.drbrownsbaby.com/
  • The Woombie- See #2 above =) http://www.woombie.com
  • Wubanubs- If you have seen pictures of Avery, she most likely has one of these in her mouth or nearby. They are awesome. Due to the weight of the plush animals attached to them, these pacis stay in her mouth SO much better than others. It is also so cute to see her little hands wrapped around the animals. Love these! http://www.wubbanub.com/
  • Plain white Burp Cloths- These are SO necessary to have on hand. We go through a ton of these a day!
  • Snap 'n Go stroller- We have three strollers and this is my favorite. It is SO light and easy for me to take on errands and throw in and out of the car. Her carseat/infant carrier is so heavy for me so I always need this stroller anytime I go anywhere. Her jogging stroller is awesome for rougher terrains and walks and the travel system will be good for when she outgrows her infant carrier- but most of the time, the Snap n' Go is my stroller of choice! We found ours at a thrift store...I would look here first before buying full price! http://www.toysrus.com/buy/preemie-shop/preemie-car-seats/chicco-keyfit-caddy-infant-car-seat-carrier-stroller-06079062950070-11820851
7. It is SO important for Dad and Baby to bond in the beginning- I have LOVED watching Jason and Avery bond. Especially for the two weeks he was home on paternity leave. They have such a great relationship and he is so comfortable with her. I can only imagine how stressful it would have be if they didn't have that time together. I also love that he can help with EVERYTHING with her now and actually feels very comfortable doing it!

8. Take your baby outside sooner than later- I think it is an old-fashioned belief that you have to wait 2 weeks to take your baby anywhere. Yes, probably don't take then in high traffic and germy places, but walks outside and occasional lunch dates and errand running are awesome. For mom and baby!! It made me feel like a human again to get out with her! The pediatrician told us, right when we came home from the hospital, that we could start taking her anywhere. We went on walks every night for the first week and she loved this! She just stared at the sky and trees and then eventually fell asleep and slept great at night!

9. Diaper Bag essentials to NEVER leave home without- 
  • Bottle (or two) on hand (no matter when they last ate)
  • Changing pad (public changing stations are nasty)
  • Diapers and wipes (don't leave the house without making sure you are fully stocked)
  • Pacis (great to stop public fussiness!)
  • Plain white burp cloth (for burping and spit ups)
  • Extra onesie (for spit-ups & diaper messes)
  • Plastic grocery bag (for diaper changes when you have no trashcan)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Your phone/camera for pictures
  • Your wallet (the diaper bag quickly replaced my purse...yes even my favorite Louis Vuitton one!)
10. Remember to Eat- This one might seem self explanatory, but it is one I struggle with the most!! You will be SO busy and more concerned with your newborn's needs than yours...but you have to remember to eat! I didn't eat much for the first few days, so now I hardly get hungry and I have to remind myself to put some nourishment into my body...especially since I am pumping. I am glad I am still taking pre-natals, fish oil, calcium and folic acid...because I know that some days I do not eat enough! I find it is a struggle between remembering and trying to lose the baby weight. But it is important to eat even if you aren't hungry, not only because your baby needs the nourishment, but also so you will be happy and in a good mood to take care of your baby and for your spouse ;)

11. Babys "cry" without really crying! - Jason actually had to point this out to me. I have learned that Avery has "cry/scream", but she isn't really crying. She will sometimes let out a short scream/cry (I mean like 2 seconds) and then she is silent and happy. A lot of times she will do this pattern few times in a row. At first I thought she was mad/sad and about to break down crying...but Jason made me stop and watch her a few times and he was right- she was totally happy and just doing it merely to do it. I think it is to release some energy. Now I just let her continue on with these and wait to see if they turn into a full blown and continuous cry before I jump to the conclusion that something is wrong! Here is an example of Avery's below-

12. Take lots and lots of pictures- Being a photographer, of course I think this is important!! They seriously change SO much in the beginning everyday. I love capturing how sweet she is and how much she changes everyday. I do have to remind myself though to enjoy the moment and put down the camera sometimes =)


  1. A lot of great advice! There are a lot of things I wish someone would had told me before our little one was born!
    Also, just wanted you to know that I love your blog and have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. You can find out more here: http://godslittlegrace.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-very-inspring-blog-award.html

  2. Hi Emily.. hopped over to your blog and think we are seriously the same person. I don't often read blogs word for word, but I'm pretty sure this is EXACTLY what I would have posted. From the opinionated breastfeeding people driving me cray cray, to putting Drew in the nursery at the hospital (some people are SO against this), to Dr. Browns. It was meant to be that I found your blog.. not to mention Avery is a doll. Can't wait to look around more and follow along your adorable little family. Happy 1 month anniversary of being a mommy!

  3. Thanks so much Katie!! And Sarah- do you have a blog?? That's funny that we have had the exact same experiences!!