Posts Tagged ‘new mom’

Fun Gifts for New Moms

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Fun Gifts for New MomsSo you have a friend who just had a baby. What do you get her? If you’re like me, this is a decision you analyze. You want to get the perfect gift that will make her feel special but also make the baby feel loved. Here are some fun gifts for new moms.

Let’s start with the obvious. Gift certificates are always an amazing gift. Consider buying a gift certificate for a massage or spa service and offer to babysit so mom can go enjoy herself. A gift certificate for pizza, take out, or her favorite restaurant is also a good choice. When I had my daughter, I would have loved a free meal I didn’t have to cook. If you are a part of a mom’s group, try using the site TakeThemaMeal.com. This site can help you coordinate blessing a mom with a warm, home-cooked meal. You can always do a gift card to Babies R Us or Target, but just remember the new mom may have all she needs from baby showers and family. Be creative and give it a personal touch.

Another fun option for a new mom is giving her some pampering products. Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a great set for the new baby. I received this as a gift after my son was born and I loved being able to pamper him. Consider some Anna Naturals New Mama tea or some Bequet caramels as a sweet gift. Every mom loves being able to indulge in something sweet and also take care of her body after baby.

If the gift is for a mom who you are close with, use your own history or personal touches. For example, you could make a coupon book for a good friend with coupons to save her as a mom. Maybe include 1 free babysitting night or 1 baby-free trip to Target for her. Get creative. Making a personal gift basket is a way to show you care. If mom is nursing, consider getting some nursing supplies, simple items for a nursing station, or even a few burp cloths to go with it. If the new mom has older children around, consider a busy basket for the children. Always include chocolate. It just makes us moms happy.

You can always get your new mom friend something she loves. For example, I am a purse girl, so if a friend bought me a new diaper bag or accessory for my stroller, I would love it. If the new mom loves to read, consider a new parenting book. I loved “What to Expect the First Year.” It was a guide for me with my daughter. Practical gifts always work, too. Diapers, lotions, extra onesies can be added to a gift anytime.

Make the best choice for the new mom in your life and she will for sure feel loved. I can’t wait to have my 3rd baby, and I look forward to getting loved-on!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and loves getting little surprises from her loved ones.

Mommy First: Why Your Well Being is Important

Friday, June 12th, 2015

mommy first: why your well being is importantSomething definitely happens to a lady when she receives that first positive on a pregnancy stick. Emotionally, physically, mentally…whether it’s planned or not, suddenly you may be feeling this overwhelming sense of responsibility to your baby. That’s natural last time I checked.

However, what I see that is somewhat discouraging is when mom’s well being takes the backseat to the rest of her family. This happens more so when baby is out in the world and no longer inside her belly, but it can happen at any time. Women have a tendency to take on the role as caregiver and most of them have a very hard time drawing that line in the sand when too much is too much.

I have many mommy friends: moms of teenagers, twins, soon-to-be mommies, you name it. If there is one message I would love to pass on to them, it’s that the best thing you can ever do for your child is to be true to yourself. So many moms have their children and instantly they are “mom.” The priority is shifted to the baby’s well being (which is absolutely necessary) but mom falls to the back burner. We stop showering regularly, we aren’t sleeping great, we’re nursing and giving life to this little being that we created. We may be experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship issues with our family or husband.  It’s so easy to get lost and forget who you are when in the first few months, you are the support system for this little person you brought into the world.

But you are SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
Read that sentence again.

Before you had your baby, before you maybe got married, before you started a family, bought a house, who were you? You were you…you had hobbies, interests, goals, dreams, passions. Those are the aspects of you that make you who you are.

This is what so many women need to hear. It’s absolutely important to take care of your baby, to provide, to get up multiple times at night, to nurse. But what is also important is that you stay connected to yourself. To be a good mommy, you need to show up for you. You need to love you.

In my line of work I help guide people. I coach them through life transitions. In order to do that, I have to show up for myself first and foremost in order to show up for them. I have to be connected to myself, accept myself and love myself. When I practice my own self-love, I show up for my clients like this, and they get all of me, unconditionally.

When you show up for your child from a place of self-love, you teach them how to love themselves. You teach them how to thrive and self soothe. You teach them that they can have anything they put their mind to if they love and accept who they are as people. When a mom shows up like that, she is laying a very powerful foundation for her child.

We will always be there to help raise our children, to feed and provide for them while they grow. We will always be there to love them, hug them, laugh and cry with them. And when we are able to feel that stability with ourselves, that internal and eternal love we have for ourselves, we pass that on to our babies.

That is the ultimate gift any parent could give, and one of the biggest things your child needs from you.

Sarah van Rijsewijk is the owner of Natural Peace Life Coaching in Glens Falls. She is the mother of one daughter.

Surviving a Baby Who Doesn’t Sleep

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Surviving a Baby who Doesn't SleepYou’re tired. You’re so tired. You’re so tired and before now you never knew exactly how tired a person could feel. You’ve got 3, 4, 5 books on baby sleep piled on your nightstand. You wish coffee worked better than it does.

You’ve got a new swaddle blanket on the way (even though you already have three other types), along with a noise machine and a pacifier that maybe, just maybe, your baby won’t spit out at night. You’d do just about anything for naptime to last longer than 30 minutes at a time and you aren’t really sure how many times you were up with baby last night. It’s all a blur. Sound familiar?

You, my friend, have a rotten sleeper. You don’t have a “bad” baby, as the question “Is she a good baby, sleeping well at night?” would seem to imply. You have a child who, for whatever reason, has a very short sleep cycle, has trouble returning to sleep, and needs the comfort of her parents a bit more than average. Welcome to the club. We’re a small, select group, but we’ve been there and we feel your pain.

Soon, if not already, you’ll hear from friends with babies the same age that their children are starting to sleep at night in longer stretches. You’ll see Facebook statuses about what other moms accomplish during naptime (their kid sleeps 3 hours, of course!). Well-meaning strangers and loved ones will start asking about how your child is sleeping. Should you choose to reveal the truth, you’re opening the flood gates of “Oh, poor thing. My boy was always a fantastic sleeper, right from the start. Have you tried X,Y,Z? I’ve heard that’s what you need to do.” Then there’s the pity face, that sad look they throw at you that clearly conveys the fact that they’re glad it’s you, not them, that has been up for the past 6 (12, 18, 24?) months straight.

Well, I’m here to offer solidarity, not pity. We must stay strong in the face of tiny nighttime terrorists! We must not feel guilt when we order a triple shot espresso every. Single. Morning. We must not worry that we’ve been in the same shirt for most of the week! We need to be open and honest about how crappy nights at our homes are, if for no other reason than to find kindred souls who know our pain!

I’m not going to offer tips. If, like me, you really do have a rotten sleeper, you’ve already tried most of the methods you’re comfortable trying. Co-sleeping? Tried it. Swaddling? Tried it. White noise, warm sheets, rocking/bouncing, boobs/no boobs (or bottles)? Tried it, tried it, tried it, and tried it! Sometimes something will work for a while, until it doesn’t. All you can do it keep trying, keeping going, keep loving that baby.

Lean on your partner, if that’s an option. Lean on your friends, your family, and your community. Be honest about how tired you are and if people ask if they can help, let them.* Do what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t. Yes, this may mean that the dishes don’t get done because you just want to sit and space in front of the computer in the hour you have before you anticipate the next wake up. That’s ok! You’ll get no judgement from me. I’m just over here, working on my third coffee, sending you rotten sleeper survivor support through the internet.

*On a serious note, sleep deprivation is a very serious thing. If you need more help than a laugh from a blog can give, get it. Don’t let your partner find you sobbing incoherently on the nursery floor. I’ve been there. If you can split up night duty, make sure you do.

Kate Cunha is the mom of a rotten sleeper, who, at nearly 3 years old, is finally mostly sleeping through the night. Mostly.

Shutting Down Busybodies

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Shutting Down BusybodiesWhen I was pregnant with my first child, a friend of mine broke her leg. Within a week, she was complaining about how, just because her injury was visible, people asked her all sorts of invasive questions about what happened, how long she had to have a cast, and other personal questions. I couldn’t help myself. “That’s exactly what it’s like being pregnant!” I wailed.

With your first pregnancy, you’re so excited to finally start showing. Shortly after, you realize the downside to having that perfect little baby bump: The questions. Babies bring out the crazy in people. And I don’t mean you as parents. Parents adjust fine. It’s the moms, dads, grandmas, aunts, uncles, coworkers and friends of those parents that seem to lose every social grace they ever learned the moment they encounter a woman with a baby. Here are the questions you get immediately following the birth of your first, second, or later child:

First baby:

  • So when are you going to have another?
  • Are you going to try for a girl/boy next?
  • When are you going to wean him/her?
  • Have you lost the baby weight?

Second baby:

  • Are you getting him fixed? (Oh yeah, they mean your husband.)
  • Are you going to have your tubes tied while they’re “in there”?
  • Are you guys done having kids?
  • Are you going to try for a girl/boy?  (You only get this one if you have two children of the same sex.)

Third baby:

  • How many ARE you planning to have?
  • Are you guys done now?
  • Are you going to get a bigger/car house?
  • Are you going to try for a girl/boy?

People aren’t very creative. I can’t tell you how many times I heard these same questions—both from people I was close to and people I barely knew. The fact is, you don’t ever have to answer these invasive, very personal questions if you don’t want to. Not even if it’s someone who expects to know or thinks they have a right to know. It’s your business and your business alone. That said, it’s easier not to answer them if you have a few responses ready, and that is what I learned to do.

There are basically three ways to shut down a busybody:

1. Give a ridiculous answer. You can make it a joke and avoid having to give personal answers by just being ridiculous.

Q: How many are you guys planning to have?
A: Oh, I don’t know. A litter? A herd? A squeal?

2. Deflect the question.  Turn the question back around to them.  They’ll either react in horror or give you an honest answer because they were really just wanting to talk about themselves anyway.

Q: What kind of birth control are you using?
A: What kind do you use?

3. Politely ask for some privacy. This works better if you are one-on-one, especially with someone older than you. You don’t want to be seen as telling them off in front of other people, but it’s totally appropriate to ask for some space, and it may prevent you from these lines of questions in the future. If you use one of the first two approaches on someone and they keep asking you questions, default to this one the next time.

Q: How many are you guys planning to have?
A: That’s a pretty personal question.

I found that although I was kind of a weenie with setting boundaries before I had kids, I had no qualms about it after. I had a newfound need to protect my family, and that included our private affairs, like family planning, how I felt about having all girls, and how long I planned to nurse my babies.

People generally don’t like when you set a boundary in a relationship because you’re asserting yourself, and that shifts the power distribution. These responses help set boundaries with people who are too invasive, but it won’t work unless you are consistent.

It’s hard, but don’t give up. Having healthy relationships is not only good for your emotional health, but your kids will learn how to solve problems and resolve conflict from you. Knowing how to handle pushy people will help them assert themselves and stand up for what’s right when they need to the most.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

 

Ways to Bless a New Mom

Monday, February 9th, 2015

DSCN2516When you are in the early weeks and months with a new baby in the house, life can feel very overwhelming and isolating. The times that someone showed up to bless our family meant so much to us and helped us get through. Now that I’ve been there twice, I have a better idea of how to really bless a new mom.

Bring Food

Whether it’s a hot meal, a freezer meal, a basket of baked goods, or just some fruits and veggies that are easy to snack on, having food around that she doesn’t have to make herself is a huge help to a new mom.

Bring Coffee

Bring her favorite latte or if she really likes making her own coffee at home, bring a special mug and a pound of quality fair trade coffee for her to enjoy.

Take her older kids

Give her an afternoon with just her new baby. Call and ask when would be a good time for you to pick up her kids for the afternoon. Giving her that much needed time with just her new baby is such a blessing!

Fold her laundry

Many new moms manage to stay on top of washing the laundry, but when it comes to folding it they are falling behind. Show up with coffee and start a laundry folding party.

Tidying toys

If she has older kids then she probably has toy clutter. Having someone show up and clean and organize the toy areas is a huge help.

Clean her house

Wash a sink load of dishes for her, or wipe down kitchen counters. Clean her bathroom, vacuum her floors, or wash some windows. Any cleaning that she doesn’t have to do is a blessing!

Every new mom needs a village to help and encourage her as she transitions into having a new baby. Hopefully these ideas give some good ideas for helping new moms in your community.

For more encouragement for new moms, send them over here!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and a couple rabbits.