There is no shortage of articles giving new parents tips on everything from burping your baby to dealing with diaper rash. Trust me, I've read many of them. So it might seem a little superfluous that I, a mother of
only two, should feel qualified enough to offer my own tips. But I'm going to anyway. I'm by no means an expert but I have learned a few things along the way that are worth passing along.Ready? Set. GO...
Ask for discounts
When you get the hospital bill, you may have a small panic attack. I know we did. Even with great insurance and a completely natural birth our bill was still worthy of heart palpitations. The health care system is absurd. But before you freak out too much, call the hospital and see of they offer any kind of discount for paying the bill in full. It might be worth putting it on a card or utilizing a flex spending account when you get hundreds of dollars knocked off the bill. We've received 15-30% off our bills in the past. It never hurts to ask (and ask and ask - sometimes finding the right person can take a few calls).
Accept help, and modify it
Lots of people will probably be saying things like, "Let me know what I can do to help" when you welcome your new family member. Theres no denying this is a kind offer but it's also a vague one, especially because your new parent brain can't comprehend anything past counting the hours of sleep you're NOT getting. Take note of those friends and family members who offer to help and accept their generosity by giving them a task when you think of it. Could you use someone coming over to help you with an overflowing pile of laundry? Ask. Could your older children benefit from some time out of the house? Ask. In desperate need of your favorite Starbucks drink? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY ASK. Don't feel guilty. They did offer.
Don't be afraid to say no
Chances are as soon as you pop out your little miracle there will be half a dozen people asking When will you be home? When can we come meet the baby? When can we invade your space? Ok, maybe they won't actually ask that last one but there will be days when visitors feel more like invaders. As I mentioned in my recent post on postpartum pet peeves, your hormones might be totally off the charts so there will be days when you're just not up for company. And that's okay! If you're having one of those days, know that it is completely acceptable to say no thank you. The baby's not going anywhere, they can come another day when you are feeling up to it.
Don't forget your pregnancy nutrition
This one is more for the new moms out there but important for papas as well. When you're pregnant a lot of attention tends to be focused on your nutrition. Not only making sure you are eating well for yourself but for your growing baby as well. Just because you're no longer eating for two it doesn't mean you shouldn't still work toward great nutrition for yourself. It's far too easy to turn that nutritional focus toward your baby and let your own eating habits fall to priority zero. From the sleep deprivation to the energy you exert settling into your new role as mommy, you might reach the end of the day and realize that you've forgotten to drink a glass of water or eat an actual meal. This is especially important for nursing mamas. You can burn upwards of 600 calories (more if you have a super eater!) just by nursing and if you don't take the time to replenish your fuel supply, you will quickly find yourself drained... in more ways than one. I know a lot of new moms are driven to losing their baby weight but making sure you have a healthy, balanced diet is just as important postpartum as it is during pregnancy. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of the little ones who depend on you.
I invite any other mamas reading this blog to share your own parenting tips and secrets! After all, once you earn the title of mommy we're all on the same team!
Until next time...