The infant stage makes us stop and marvel at the miracle of life; in a short nine months, a whole new person grows all of his or her perfect little parts and then bam: here our babies are. It’s a momentous thing, followed by a million magical moments in which we wonder how our hearts can hold such a big kind of love. Meanwhile, life’s basics–like sleep, showers and social lives–land temporarily on the back burner as we care for our littles around the clock. The first time I had a baby, I think I spent more time wondering why these basics were so hard to come by; I adored my newborn, but worried I might never sleep again. This time, I know how quickly this phase passes, and the “basics” feel more like little blessings every time they come my way. Here are seven everyday things I’m especially grateful for this time around:
Taylor Hengen Newman
A little bit crunchy, a little bit rock n’ roll, Taylor Hengen Newman is an Austin, Texas-based freelance writer, massage therapist, and mama to 3-year-old Kaspar and new baby Otto! She enjoys writing about peaceful parenting, food politics and green urban lifestyles. In addition to blogging on BabyZone.com, Taylor has written for Parenting.com, WorkingMother.com, DisneyBaby.com and other parenting web sites; she also maintains a personal, just-for-fun blog at Alt-Mama.com. Taylor’s passions include cooking, yoga, photography and entrepreneurship. She hopes to inspire others, through her work, to live consciously and creatively, and to enjoy the everyday moments of their lives.
Some of my absolute mommy besties are not necessarily the most likely candidates at first glance; we may have different parenting styles, clothing styles or lifestyles, but we get along like gangbusters and love to hang out, even (especially?) without our kids in tow. These ladies mean the world to me, and keep me sane.
I asked four other moms about how they make mom-friends, what makes those friendships work, and why they matter so much. Check out what they had to say:
British breastfeeding rates, already among the lowest in the world, are declining for the first time in nearly a decade. Now, a government-funded research initiative hopes to reverse the trend by providing shopping vouchers to a small group of moms in low-income areas as an incentive to breastfeed their babies.
I have to hand it to my 3-year-old, Kaspar; since his baby brother’s arrival, he has been more patient than I ever imagined he would be—or could be—especially considering how frequently he was asked to wait before I’m able to turn my attention toward him. Don’t get me wrong—we’ve certainly seen our share of meltdowns since baby Otto’s arrival, but I’ve recently developed some strategies for preemptively keeping Kaspar’s inner threenager calm, cool and collected… most of the time. This, in turn, has kept the chaos level in our home at maybe a medium-low, which is pretty good for nine weeks out, no? Read on for some small changes that have made a big difference in helping our little dude adjust to life at home with a baby in the mix.
Move over, What to Expect—there’s a new book on the scene that every pregnant woman—and new mother—needs on her nightstand. Investigative journalist Jennifer Margulis’ The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line is a fascinating, disturbing and ultimately empowering look into the American birthing system. (Frankly, it blew my mind.) Wherever you fall on the pregnancy, birth or parenting spectrum, this book will make you question what you think you need, want and know. I got to ask Margulis a few of my own questions after reading it. Read on for our candid Q&A.
For the littlest of littles who like to look good without looking like they’re even trying. These are the coolest kicks around.
Having a baby changes everything—especially us. As parents, we possess superpowers: whether or not we’ve slept, had a shower or have any idea what day it is, we can feed, cuddle and care for our babies with intense focus and gentle might. The good news is that our new, mightier selves are here to stay. And the other good news is that we will also, one day, sleep and shower again. As for knowing what day it is? No promises … but things will return to a certain kind of normal—The New Normal—eventually.
I asked five moms what got them there. Check out what they had to say—you’ll be surprised by how simple their answers are!
Last weekend, our family arrived at a party an hour and a half late… except that when we got there, we realized we were an hour and a half early. (At least we got the day right.) I also recently discovered a small but stubborn dreadlock in my hair during the one morning in the span of a week that I washed it. “Lunch,” to me, means eating a hot dog spit-style on a fork while I walk/wear/burp my baby around the kitchen. And it probably goes without saying that I’m sporting my fair share of yoga pants, accessorized with burp cloths and Boppy pillows.
I’m in The Newborn Vortex: where moms of brand-new-littles live by a 24-hour, baby-centric clock, mostly-sleepless, often-shirtless, drunk on the smell of infant breath and utterly captivated by the tiny, dreamy people we’d do anything for. If you’re in the vortex too, and your life’s been a little weird lately, rest assured you’re not alone. (And you’ll be feeling normal again–well, a new kind of normal–before you know it.) Check out the moments that tipped other moms off that they were living, albeit temporarily, in an alternate reality, and share your latest and greatest vortex adventures in the comments. We’re laughing with you, I promise.
When my first baby was born three years ago, I put a sign on his little hospital cart that read, “Breast milk only!” Upon my discharge, however, when I mentioned to the hospital pediatrician that I had breast reduction surgery at 17, she told me–point blank–”Oh, breastfeeding isn’t going to work for you.” The surgeon who’d performed my reduction had said it would, but, as a brand new mom, I panicked. I purchased a canister of formula on the way home and supplemented heavily from the beginning. I did my best to nurse and pump as well, but my supply was minimal. When I returned to work three months later and faced pumping in a phone booth (closet) shared between three corporate floors and without a lock, I gave up on breastfeeding altogether.
I was disappointed not to have had the breastfeeding relationship with my baby I’d hoped for, and that he’d been raised largely on formula, especially when I later learned that breastfeeding can, in fact, work after reductions. (Doctors don’t always know what they’re talking about). Some moms who’ve had the surgery even produce full milk supplies. When I became pregnant again last winter, I was determined that this next baby would be powered by breast milk, once he arrived.
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