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Advice for New Moms: Pewter + Sage

I'm pleased to welcome Sarah of the blog Pewter + Sage as this week's guest blogger in the Advice for New Moms guest post series. Sarah is a new mom herself, having just had her sweet baby girl Maura just three short months ago. In addition to her new role as mommy, Sarah is also the owner of her own business, where she makes beautiful custom stationery for weddings and just about anything else you could think of. If you haven't checked out Maura's birth announcement yet, be sure to do so here; it's absolutely gorgeous.

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Hi! Odi et Amo is one of my favorite stops on my daily blog list, so I’m super excited and honored to be included in this Advice for New Mom series. Congratulations again to Averill and Dave! Can’t wait to meet your little guy and see his awesome nursery. I’ve only been a mom for 3 months now, our little girl Maura just turned 12 weeks on Friday! Sometimes my husband and I still look at her and think “We have a baby?!” It is an amazing feeling, a crazy ride, a tremendous blessing. My “advice” is a bit random, just some things I’ve been jotting down ever since Averill asked me if I’d like to participate. Hope it helps!

{Maura's Nursery}

If you get a chance before you give birth, go out and purchase some cute thank you notes. Maybe even take some time and put your return address and stamps on them. Trust me, you will need these once your little one arrives! I don’t think we will have to buy Maura any clothes until she is like 2 years old! Our family and friends and neighbors have been so generous and I have been writing a lot of thank you notes. You will not have much free time taking care of a newborn and anything like this that you can have done ahead of time will be a huge relief. On this same note, if you plan on sending out birth announcements, try and get as much done on those as you can too while still pregnant. Oh, and complete the nursery as much as you can. The two additional projects I decided to do in her room after she was born are still unfinished!!

I highly recommend setting up a changing and sleeping spot for the baby downstairs (if you have a 2 story home), this makes things much easier during the day. We have a hand-me down Pack ‘N Play from our friends in the living room where Maura loves to take naps. As terrible as it sounds, her downstairs changing spot is the kitchen table! And it turns out this is one of her favorite places to be, she is so happy just laying there smiling and playing with us. So, go with what works for you. You will figure out what that is as you go.

Keep all your receipts. Both for any gifts you are given (if they are smart enough to include a gift receipt) and for anything you buy for the baby yourself. A lot of stuff I thought we would want or need (even when we closed out our Babies R Us registry after she was born) I have not ended up using. This way I can take them back and put that money towards other things…like diapers!

If you are like us and want to/plan on having more kids, try to get your big ticket items (like the car seat, stroller, high chair, swing, bouncy seat, play mat) in neutral colors. This way you don’t have to get another version of everything if you are blessed with both genders.

If you are going to try breastfeeding, I highly recommend nursing tanks. I have four Gilligan and O’Malley nursing tank tops (2 white, 1 black and 1 gray) that I got at Target for $16.99. I wear one literally every day. With a cardigan (or zip up hoodie). Cardigans are my other best friend.

I know everyone has a different philosophy on sleeping but here’s my two cents. Try and get your little one to sleep in their crib at night as early as possible. Both you and the baby will get a better sleep. We planned on having Maura sleep in the new Pack ‘N Play we registered for in our room for the first few months. However, she didn’t really go for it. Figures, she likes the hand-me down one we have downstairs but not the new one we have upstairs! So, in desperation one night, we put her in the crib. And she slept fine! We could still hear her on the audio monitor (a must have) and I could still get to her quickly for the night feedings. We sleep better because we are not sitting up to peer at her and see if she is still breathing every 5 minutes and I think she sleeps better because our tossing and turning doesn’t wake her up either. Sleep is a rare commodity in the beginning, so try and get as much as you can! And trust me, it will get better.

It’s all about attitude. I learned this the hard way. Maura had colic for a few weeks (thankfully it has passed now) and it was really tough. At times I broke down and cried in her room in the middle of the night when she would not go to sleep and all I could do was count down the minutes of sleep I was losing because each second that ticked away brought me closer to the next time I would have to be awake to feed her. However, once we took her to pediatrician and she told us it was probably colic, it was much easier to deal with the crying and the sleepless nights and frustrating feelings. Once I looked at the situation differently, it was easier to face. I mean, here was this little thing, uncomfortable and not able to help herself. Completely dependent on me. For everything. The poor little baby. I’m her mom, this is what I do. This is why I’m here. So I changed the way I was looking at things. And everything got better.

Make the most of this time. Three months have gone by so quickly, I can’t believe it! I mean, this time last year I wasn’t even pregnant yet (though we were working hard at it!) and now I have a daughter! Amazing. Take lots of photos, record video, keep a journal of your baby’s milestones. Just spend time together. This is such a special time in your life, enjoy it.

If no one minds, I’d like to also offer the following “advice” for labor and delivery as this was one of the main things that I stressed out about and feared during my pregnancy:

-Go in with an open mind. (Whether you plan on delivering naturally or have decided to go with the drugs, whatever your birth plan, even if you don’t have one – stay open-minded, try to go with the flow and don’t worry if things don’t go exactly as you had envisioned. You might not react the way you thought you would to the pain, you might experience symptoms you didn’t think you would, you might be more of a warrior than you gave yourself credit for. Just do what’s best for you and your baby.)

-Expect the unexpected.

-Try to make the most of your hospital stay. Even though we looked forward to going home as a new family, I actually really enjoyed the 2 days and 3 nights we spent in the hospital after Maura was born. The nurses were so helpful; ask them as many questions as you want (they know what they are doing, we didn’t!!) Our hospital offered classes we could attend and videos we could watch; I learned a lot. We did make use of the nursery at night. I would highly suggest this, even though it’s a bit heart wrenching to see your new little one wheeled away in the bassinet for a few hours. It helps for you to get some sleep; you’ll be a better parent if you’re well rested. Even though I was exclusively breastfeeding, they had Maura on what they called an “Out on Demand” schedule at night – whenever she woke up crying and hungry they just wheeled her back to our room. I would feed and burp her and then I could call the nurse to come back and get her when we were done.
-As funny as it sounds, take as much stuff back with you from the hospital as you can!!! The large stretchy underwear they give you to wear is actually a godsend; try to steal a few pairs! Our nurses were super nice about giving us stuff to take home, they loaded us up with bag after bag of Vaseline, baby bath soap, pacifiers, diapers, pads, even formula just in case we wanted to try it. Don’t be ashamed –those first few days at home are hectic and it helps if you are not running out to Target or CVS at the last minute for something you might need.
Thanks for having me! Congratulations again to Averill and any of you out there who are also expecting!

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