Once you start venturing out as a new mom, friends, family, and the occasional stranger will shower you with words of wisdom. The advice may catch you off guard and put you on the defensive, but bear in mind that this unsolicited team of advisors usually speaks with your baby's best interest at heart. While you may choose to ignore much of what you hear, you may also be surprised to find some very helpful tips—such as those that follow—mixed in with the questionable ones, which can make it worth graciously nodding your head through the storm of opinions. Read on for some simple-to-swallow advice I received that's great for anyone entering the realm of new parenthood.
New parents experience a wide range of emotions, from an unusual and perhaps unexpected joy to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and even nervous—all of which can be difficult to explain and to commemorate. Journaling feelings and experiences from pregnancy through the toddler years is one way to preserve these days. But what if writing isn't your forte? Try this tip: Purchase or make a holiday card (or make!) for your baby for each holiday and jot down a quick note sharing what amazing things are going on between you, baby, and the rest of the family; also, enclose a special child photo or memento marking those times. The cards can be saved and passed on to your child when she moves out on her own—a beautiful gesture that is bound to be appreciated.
A favorite word of advice that I've followed was to chronicle baby's ever-changing appearance by photographing him next to a favorite stuffed animal (similar in height) during that first week home, and then again every month or two during the first year. It's amazing how much a child's face alone changes—first thinning out, then bursting into smiles, and eventually gaining little baby teeth one or two at a time. And babies' bodies can do as much as triple in size the first year, quickly dwarfing that stuffed animal! For maximum impact, exhibit the photos in one big collage or by taping them into a large mat with multiple openings and dating each photo.
The busiest of moms may want to use a baby's frequent pediatrician check-ups as red flag events. After each visit, make some notes in your scrapbook, journal, or photo album on baby's length, weight, funny new habits, and developmental milestones reached. This will help convey the great joy she brought to you as a baby by composing these little "snapshots" of information.