Postpartum, Breastfeeding and Parenting Blogs

Quick and Easy Father’s Day Gifts for the First Time Dad or Dad-to-be

Father's Day Gifts
Father’s Day Gifts

Looking for a fast and easy Father’s Day gift for the NEW dad or dad-to-be?

Father’s Day is just a few days away!  Do you need ideas that are quick and easy to give to the new dad in your home? One word: PERSONALIZATION

The most precious gifts I treasure from my girls are their homemade gifts.  It does not have to be perfect or expensive because when I look at it, it makes me smile. I have kept tons of colored pictures and drawings and my husband still has drawings in his office from years past. Read more

How to Overcome Unrealistic Expectations in the First Few Weeks of Parenting?

Get to know what your parenting expectations are so when the unrealistic expectations creep in, you can kick them to the curb!

Part One

Unrealistic Expectations

Have you heard that “your expectations determine your reality?” It is so true especially when it comes to having a new baby at home. Your body, daily routines, sleeping, eating, showering and all your activities are going to change.  It will be a time of transitions and adjustment, not just for you but for everybody in your household.  Embrace it! Talk about it and most importantly, believe that you can do it!

When you don’t know, what you don’t know, how do you know what to prepare for?

Setting unrealistic expectations only makes your job as an exhausted parent harder than it has to be. In all my years supporting families I have yet to meet a mom that is not exhausted, does not want to cry or parts of her body are sore at some point in the first week.  It is normal to have ALL these feelings. If you go into parenting with realistic expectations, the early days of parenting don’t seem so bad.

Parents should expect that

Babies:

  • Cry, sometimes a lot
  • Typically do not sleep at night but love to sleep during the day
  • Nurse a lot, possibly 15-20 times in a 24-hour period
  • Prefer to sleep on a person, not by themselves
  • WILL likely pee on by you at some point
  • Go through diapers and clothes like crazy

Moms:

  • May feel like a Mack truck has hit you on day 3 or 4
  • May bleed through your clothes
  • Breast milk may leak through your clothes and all over your bed sheets
  • Happy one minute, sad the next
  • Wish someone else could feed the baby
  • Long for alone time and a HOT shower
  • Dislike night time because you know you are not going to get enough sleep

Dads:

  • Wonder what happened to your partner(emotionally)
  • Utter exhaustion
  • Miss your partner, crave time together
  • Frustrated because you can’t “fix” everything
  • Not sure how to BEST help your partner
  • Feel helpless because you can’t nurse the baby (there are many other things you can do)
  • Are ready to go back to work

Parenting is HARD! Parenting a newborn is overwhelming.

As a postpartum registered nurse, working in a hospital, community health settings and in families homes made me feel like I had a good handle on what “life” would actually be like when I had our first. Ha Ha, I was wrong!  I had years of knowledge and experience plus my husband and I felt as prepared and ready as we could be.  However, knowing she was all our responsibility, made things a tad more overwhelming and scary. Having my own was very different from helping other families adjust and transition.  As an After Baby Consultant, my job is to stay current on all things mom, baby and family related and support parents in their parenting philosophies. I help them feel prepared for the unknowns, shorten their learning curve and give them the support to feel educated, informed and confident.  As a new parent, I learned that all my experiences and knowledge would only take me so far.  I had to rely on my instincts and trust my gut. Thankful for all the wisdom I gained while helping others as it made my transition easier and my expectations more realistic. You can be the best babysitter, nursery worker, auntie or friend, but when it is 2 a.m. and your baby is screaming while the world is sleeping, you realize parenting is HARD!

Appliances and cars come with instructions manuals, so why don’t babies?

You can read and research everything on newborns, but nothing can prepare you for the first night, week and month of life with your baby. The staff (instruction manuals) are with you at the hospital or birth center for the length of time you are there but once you leave, they do not come home with you. You are on your own. That first night home can be exciting, overwhelming, scary and downright exhausting.  Being in your own bed is heavenly but there is NO call light to push when you have questions or need help. You probably will not sleep much and if you do sleep, it will be with one eye open. Learning your baby’s noises and adjusting to their sleeping and feeding takes time, but you WILL get there. You try a lot of trial and error before you find out what works for your baby, then they change it up again. Not all things work with every baby and that is NORMAL too. Keep trying, talk to other parents and trust your gut.

Unrealistic Expectations

Call me today to talk about your postpartum expectations and we will make a plan together.

Check out part 2 on knowing what unrealistic expectations to ignore.

Baby’s arrival: Topics to discuss before baby arrives Part 2

Baby’s arrival is coming soon….Baby's arrival

Moms and dads transition to their roles as parents in different ways. Responsibilities, lifestyle adjustments, and financial difficulties can ALL add to the challenges that new parents face.

There are many important topics to discuss before baby’s arrival, so take the time and make these conversations happen now. I find the topics listed below to be super helpful for partners to start their parenting discussions.

Be there for each other (teamwork)

Babies do NOT come with instruction manuals, so working together to find solutions to problems that arise is important. Yes, if mom is breastfeeding, dad can help burping, changing diapers and calming. Dad can also do one of the night feedings with expressed breast milk so mom can get some extra shuteye. Life is always better when you have someone else to depend on. Do not be afraid to ask each other for help and be willing to “be ok” if the other partner does something a tad differently than you!

Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success-Unknown.

Create a general plan for who will handle what responsibilities.

Talk about this NOW and often as hurt feelings arise very easily over this. Do both parents work?  Is one staying home? If one parent is home, are they responsible for doing all the housework, cooking and taking care of the baby? Who does the grocery shopping and running errands? If both parents are working, who picks up and drops off at daycare or the sitters? Who gets alone time for self-care first and how often? Again, refer to TEAMWORK, talk and work together to make it work. It is NOT always easy, but soon you will figure out what works best for your family.

Assumptions are the termites of relationships-Henry Winkler.

Discuss finances

This is always a touchy topic – having kids can be expensive. The average cost to raise a child is $233k and families can expect to spend between $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average, to raise a child. It might be a good time to set a budget or at least talk about what finances will be like. Make a list of things that you can back on. Are you going to need childcare? In home with a nanny or daycare? What happens if one partner cuts back to part time?

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship-Benjamin Franklin

Discuss jobs and career

Does your current job offer maternity and/or paternity leave? How long does each partner get and what portion of your income is paid? What will finances look like if one parent does not go back to work? Is that even an option? It is hard for a parent to say, “Yes, I am going back to work after my leave” before the baby is even here. Things change. Careful and creative planning comes into play if one parent decides not to go back to because they love being home with the baby. Can you come up with a compromise?

Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future-Steve Jobs.

Discuss how this will impact your family

It took two of you to make the baby, so that means you will have a minimum of two sets of grandparents who are equally excited about the new grandchild.  Everyone has advice to give, some helpful and some not. Talk to your family BEFORE the baby is here, set some ground rules and make sure they respect your parenting style(s) even if they do not agree.  Ask yourselves, how do you split time between families? Whose house do you spend holidays at? Remember to stand up for your partner if a family member is being hurtful! This is YOUR baby not theirs.

Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song-Unknown

Discuss your parenting philosophies

This is when you go back and think about your individual upbringings. What did you like? Dislike? Is there something fun that you remember about a friend’s family that you wished your family did? What have you seen watching other families? Children? Are you opposed to certain philosophies? Co-sleeping? Attachment parenting? Cry it out? Do you have the same faith? Do you celebrate certain holidays? Traditions?

The Golden Rule of Parenting; do unto your children as you wish your parents had done unto you-Louise Hart

Discuss the impact on your sex life

It is advised to abstain from sex for six weeks or until your doctor or midwife has cleared you. Hormones and libido change after childbirth, sleep deprivation always puts a damper on things and mom may be “touched out” from holding, nursing, soothing or being slept on all day. If the birth was traumatic, mom may be hesitant. Talk about ways to connect without being intimate (snuggle on the couch, hold hands, watch movies, shower together and make time to talk and check in every day). Be patient! Do not forget about birth control, there are plenty of options to try.

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain-Dolly Parton

Plan strategies for self-care

Discuss what you like to do individually and together and then make time for it to happen. When one partner is taking their time, let them have it undisturbed if possible. It is easy to lose your sense of self once the baby arrives and you will feel better when you take the time to care for yourself. It could be: taking a bath, exercising, getting your hair, nails or feet done, hitting golf balls, shooting baskets, crocheting, doing crossword puzzles, draw, paint, journal, take photos, going for a walk around the block, reading a book, playing a video game, unplugging from social media or just going into another room for a few minutes to clear your head.  A short break allows for your mind and body to rejuvenate.

The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have-Jane Travis

BEFORE your baby arrives, schedule a time to talk with me. I will help start the conversations about these important topics and help you set realistic expectations. Baby’s arrival brings about so many changes, get a jump start on these topics today and keep your relationship on the same page.

Disclaimer-I am not taking on the role of a counselor or therapist, I am just suggesting topics to talk about before the baby arrives.

Do I really need life insurance when I need a bigger house and a roomier car?

With all the preparations that come with baby’s arrival, buying life insurance is probably not on your priority list. Maybe it should be?  

LIfe insurance Agent

The end of your pregnancy is nearing and you are excited for your baby’s arrival. You are prepared for the delivery, the nursery is decorated and your bag is packed. Daydreaming about what life will be like with your new son/daughter is happening more frequently. You lay on the couch, flip on the t.v. and see images of children that make you cry. Instinctively you reach down and gently rub your belly, you feel your baby stir inside you. Instant relief. However, the “what if’s” creep up in your mind and you begin thinking about your child and the future…Are you prepared for the “just in case?” Read more

How to talk about potential parenting issues before baby arrives? Part 1

Pregnancy Tips for Parenting Discussions

How to start talking about parenting with your partner before the baby arrives

Part 1

Parenting
Postpartum RN-After Baby Consultant-Breastfeeding-Parenting-Home Safety-Consulting in Tucson

With all the excitement that surrounds your pregnancy; doctors’ appointments, picking out names, creating a registry, setting up the nursery, taking childbirth classes or reading books it is no wonder that parents forget to talk about HOW their lives will be affected after their baby arrives. Parenting starts before the baby arrives.

Read more

How do I get my baby to burp?

How do I get my baby to burp?

Welcome to parenting, the best and most exhausting job ever.  The first few weeks are filled with sleepless nights, feeding, changing diapers, crying, feeding, changing diapers, crying, feeding………..oh and don’t forget about burping in between and after each feed.

A common statement I hear a lot working with families is, “Colleen, I can’t get my baby to burp, what can I do?”  My response is simple, some babies do not always need to burp and some burp automatically without having to burp them. Every baby is different but it is always best to try it and try a few different positions.  It is very common for babies to swallow air when they begin to feed and even more so if they are crying before or during a feed. Read more

Pregnancy and Parenting Advice: Part Two

Pregancy and Parenting Advice In Part Two of this blog, I will discuss some of the topics that solicit advice and help you let the advice giver know that you value their thoughts and want to work together and educate each other for the safest outcomes. You may want to take a more gentle approach with someone who seems truly well-meaning, but a more firm approach with someone who seems to be coming from a place of criticism.

As a parent-to-be or new parent, hearing all the advice can make you feel overwhelmed, confused and often times stressed out.  How do you know what to believe or what advice you should follow? Research is ongoing and constantly changing, so it is hard to stay on top of everything. Times have changed and so have many guidelines/suggestions.  Some well intention advice comes from something that worked real well 20 years ago or even 50+ years ago but is no longer recommended today.  Google is at your fingertips and easy to research anything but be careful about the validity of the sites you visit.  Let’s work together to increase awareness about the postpartum period and how to best support your loved ones. Read more

Unwanted and Unsolicited Pregnancy and Parenting Advice

Unwanted advice

How to Handle Unwanted and Unsolicited Advice

Part One

As soon as you announce that your family is growing, be prepared for advice to start rolling in! From family members to random strangers, everyone has something to say! Some pieces of advice are helpful; some are annoying and others just down right odd.

I wish I could tell you WHY everyone feels the need to dish out advice, maybe it is human nature: people want to share their own experiences with you, they want to prevent you from making the same mistakes or go through what they went through. I think empathy plays a huge role, people feel compelled to help or solve a perceived issue for someone who is in need, especially if they have been in your position.

Hearing all the advice can make parents-to-be and new parents feel incredibly overwhelmed, confused and often times stressed out.  So how do you know what to believe or what advice you should follow? Read more

Scheduling Self-Care

Self-Care

Dictionary.com defines self-care ascare of the self without medical or other professional consultation”

Happy New Year! The hustle of the holiday season has stopped and routines are starting back up again. Some people love to make new year’s resolutions, others do not.  Some people work really hard and accomplish their resolutions and some give up after a few days or weeks. Me, on the other hand, I like to set goals and work towards them. Setting goals pushes me to work hard towards them but allows for LIFE to happen when it needs to and allows me to be guilt free! Read more

Twas the night the baby came home…

One of my favorite family Christmas traditions is either reading or listening to Twas the Night Before Christmas Poem.  I know all too well what the first night home can be like for parents, so I thought I’d try my hand at creating my own comical version.

You’ve dreamed about what the first night home will be like with your new baby since you found out you were pregnant or got the official notice on your adoption and now it is finally here. Let’s face it, parenting can be overwhelming, baby’s don’t come with an instruction handbook and they can’t tell you what they want. Parenting takes strength and determination! Enjoy the adventure.

Twas the night the baby came home and all is a fog

Read more