Wednesday, October 21, 2009

an open letter to new moms & moms-to-be

there is a Word doc buried in my desktop folder that i dig up every now and then. when i hear that one of my friends or one of my sisters or cousins is pregnant, i go searching for this file. it's saved as "Baby Bliss" and i wrote it 5 years ago.

i was pregnant with my first baby when i started writing it. i added to it days after she was born. i added more to it when she was just a few months old, and again when she was a toddler. i added to it when i was pregnant with my second baby, and again when he was just a few weeks and months old.

i wrote it for me, but i also wrote it for others. i don't need to tell you that there are hundreds of books on the subject of being pregnant and having a baby. that's not what Baby Bliss is.

it's an open letter, written as though we were girlfriends chatting over lunch, to new moms and moms-to-be from someone who's been there.

i print it out and tuck it in a congratulations card to my pregnant friends and relatives. i know they appreciate my perspective and shared experiences. moms love knowing what works for other moms. (is it a mom thing or a woman thing?)

please know that this is very informal. take it with a grain of salt. i'm no expert and i'm not supermom. but keeping record of this works for me as a personal memento of these precious moments, and it also works for me as a thoughtful gift to women embarking on a most blissful journey. 

Baby Bliss


1. Register with baby-related websites like Enfamil, Good Start and Similac, as well as Huggies, Pampers and Luvs websites will send you freebies!

2. Go ahead and buy cute maternity clothes. They’re expensive, but you’ll look gorgeous, so you’ll feel fabulous! I liked Gap, Old Navy and Target (liz lange) maternity clothes best. SO CUTE!

3. Use a stretch mark cream daily for preventative measures. I like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter brand. Keep using it after pregnancy for soft, scarless skin.

4. Keep a journal of how you’re feeling and growing. As you get further along, people will talk openly about your weight: asking you how much you’ve gained and predicting that your baby will be “huge” or “tiny”. Just tell them that your doctor says your weight gain is “right on track” and that your baby is growing healthily. Besides, that’s all that matters.

5. Also as you get further along, people (even complete strangers) will not be able to resist the urge to touch that belly. I thought it was creepy. I don’t think there’s a way to keep this from happening. Laugh it off…picture yourself reaching out and touching their belly!

6. Be healthier than you’ve ever been in your life. Another life depends on it.

7. When shopping for the new baby, resist going crazy on the nursery. More than likely, the babe will spend more time in YOUR room than his/her own. Especially if you’re breastfeeding.

8. I do recommend buying a rocking chair and ottoman.

9. I also recommend using a birthing ball before, during and after pregnancy.

10. REMEMBER: every pregnancy is different and every baby is different. People will tell you all kinds of pregnancy and childbirth stories. Don’t let them scare you. And remember this, too, later when someone you know is pregnant. She might not want to hear about your labor!

11. There are so many crazy old wives tales out there. That’s all they are: crazy. Someone once told me that because I didn’t have heartburn, my baby would be born bald. I was not surprised when she was born with enough hair to put in a mohawk.

12. Snuggle up close to your hubby at night. Sleep tangled up together. Sleep in. take naps. Sleep will soon be a thing of the past….

13. …And even though you won’t be sleeping much once the baby’s here, it’s okay, because you’ll be awake holding your baby, so it’s all worth it.

14. Take pictures of your belly and watch it grow. You’ll see you’re not as big as you feel.

15. Read all the books, magazines and newspapers you can get your hands on. Finding time to read is harder once the baby is here. And go see movies in the theatre. That’s REALLY hard to do with a baby, too.

16. Enjoy being pregnant.

17. Don’t be scared of giving birth. No pain, no gain. As soon as the baby is born, all the pain disappears and all you feel is love.


1. You’re a mom now! You may not know it, but you know what you’re doing. Listen to your baby. He’ll tell you what he wants.

2. Let your baby fall sleep with noise (talking, TV, dog barking) in the background. If you train her to only sleep when it’s quiet, she’ll be a light sleeper and wake up at the slightest noise. This is great advice from a dear friend.

3. Be patient…and ask your hubby to be patient. Try not to panic when the baby is crying and you’re scrambling to figure out what she wants. It might be stressful, and you’ll be tired and grumpy, but be patient with one another. Be teammates. Eventually you’ll get into a routine and taking care of the baby will be a piece of cake for both of you.

4. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Forget housework and chores. You need your rest. This is NOT one of those “old wives tales.”

5. Ask for help when you need it. Ask for a break when you need it. If someone offers to help, accept it.

6. Take tons of pictures of your precious baby. But don’t fret about getting them in a scrapbook or album right away. You have the rest of your life to do that stuff – right now, enjoy that baby!

7. Newsflash! Bottles don’t have to be warmed. Most babies will take it at room temperature, since breastmilk is usually room temp anyway!

8. Keep eating healthy. The weight will melt off, but it takes a little time and effort. A postpartum band will help tighten your tummy muscles. (Medela brand, available at Target and Babies R US)

9. People will try to tell you how it should be done. Well, Things have changed. Do things the way that is best for you & your baby.

Baby Things I Couldn’t Live Without:
The Boppy Pillow
Baby sling
Wipe warmer
Baby carrier
Pacifier clip thingy
Vibrating bouncy seat
baby sleep position triangles
Sony BabyCall monitor
Nursing Necklace
Baby Einstein CDs
Mirror for the car
Lots of onesies
Lots of bibs
Baby Einstein interactive play mat
“What to Expect the First Year”
"Goodnight Moon" and GloWorm

Baby Things I Didn’t Need:

Diaper Genie – the refills are expensive, and a regular trash can with a lid would work just fine
Baby bathtub – It was much easier for me to bathe her in the sink or bring her in the shower with me.
Special Baby detergent –any brand of ‘gentle’ or ‘free and clear’ detergent will work great.
Nursing shirts (ugly) & nursing bra (ugly) – I was more comfortable (and felt prettier) wearing a tank top under my regular shirt, so I could just lift up my regular shirt and pull down the tank top and still have coverage on my midsection.
Baby swing – Some babies LOVE the swing. Some babies don’t. Both of our babies boycotted the swing.
Bottle organizer – what? Just put them in the cabinet. Geesh.
Bottle warmer – like I said, bottles don’t have to be warmed. Room temp is fine, or if your tot likes warm milk, heat a cup of water in the microwave and use that water to heat the bottle. Keep. Things. Simple.

and one last snipet of advice from me...

soak it all up. before you know it, your tiny infant will be a crawling baby, then a toddling toddler, then a busy preschooler, and then... well, you get the point. enjoy every single moment - even the tough ones. your baby is a gift from God - YOU were chosen by Him to love on and take care of this precious little one. it's BLISS!

Baby Bliss works for me! Visit WeAreTHATFamily for more Works for Me Wednesday.