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Motherhood 101: The First Year

The summer of babies is upon us.

I thought I’d start compiling a list – for me to revisit and read when I’m in sleep-deprived psychosis, flying off the handle at every little thing, weeping over the dirt on my floor, and telling the cat that I’m going to sell him because he’s such an obnoxious freak of nature.

And for the other new moms out there who are at this very moment yelling at their pets and spouses, wondering if they will ever feel normal again.

I’ll start with the very practical.

1. Don’t be quiet when the baby is sleeping. Do not tiptoe or whisper or do anything equally stupid.  Train that little bug to sleep through ANYTHING.  Live your life at normal volume – vacuum, watch TV, talk on the phone, open and close doors.  Just keep living.

2. Don’t “save” the cute clothes.  They grow so fast.  Put them in your favorite outfit as often as you can – because before you know it you’ll be an weepy mess, sniffling as you put it in the attic, regretting every time you “saved it” and went with something that was “okay to get dirty.”

3.  When your brand new little one starts crying in the grocery store (or in church, or at a funeral), don’t worry.  It’s not nearly as loud as you think.  You will be so worried about being “that mom” with the screaming kid that you’ll get stressed and sweaty over what sounds like, to everyone else, an innocent, raspy little newborn cry.  Wait ’til they’re 2.  Then they are as loud as you think.

4. It is much easier to take the whole mattress out of the crib to put new sheets on it – then just plop it back in.  You’ll break a sweat, pull six muscles, and curse trying to cram your hands between the mattress and the crib slats.

5. Your body has done a nearly impossible thing – give it some grace.  It might not ever look like it did when you were 19 (a moment of silence, please), but it grew, accommodated, nurtured, and birthed another human being.  Anatomically, it’s staggering and nothing short of miraculous.  So rest assured, soft is beautiful.  Motherhood is beautiful.  Your body stepped up to the plate and did the most important thing when it mattered.  Give your body some grace. (And with some hard work and a year or so’s time, you can get back to a slightly softer version of normal – new normal.)

6.  A long time ago, I was visiting with my Grandma Harness and we were watching my cousin Daniel.  He was just a tiny infant at the time and throwing quite a fit.  After patiently changing him, feeding him, swaddling him, burping him, and singing to him, he was still in a tizzy.  Grandma laid him lovingly in his bouncer, looked at me and said, “Isn’t he so adorable?”  I looked at screamy, red-faced Daniel and just laughed nervously, to which Grandma replied,

“You know, Kate, sometimes babies just cry.” 

This from a nurse, and a woman who raised five healthy, happy, successful children (incidentally baby Daniel was my aunt’s fifth child, too).  My gentle Grandma’s words helped me so many times to look at Madeline affectionately instead of desperately, lovingly instead of angrily.

7.  I overheard my mother encouraging a tired new mom, and I never forgot, “Don’t waste a minute worrying about whether or not you’re ‘doing it wrong.’  You can’t.  However you hold him is “how mom holds him.” Your baby knows your method of doing things.  You cannot change him wrong or soothe him wrong.  The ultimate comfort is mommy – and you’re it.”

8.  Don’t let anyone lead you to believe that motherhood is easy, that infants are easy.  That is BULL. HOCKEY.  There will be moms of elementary school kids, perpetually irritated moms of apathetic teenagers, and sweet elderly ladies that will coo over your baby and say things like, “I remember when mine were that little.”  “Enjoy it while it lasts.”  “I wish I could go back.” 

It is all very sweet – but they only say it because they’ve forgotten what it feels like to sleep in 40-minute-intervals for 6 months.  Women who look at two-year-olds and sigh dreamily have TOTALLY FORGOTTEN what it’s like to live with a two-year-old 24 hours a day.

There are mommy bloggers out there who write enthusiastic, chipper posts about cloth diapering and the magic of breastfeeding, and they are all liars – at least liars by omission.  Breastfeeding is magical, but it ain’t for sissies.  It hurts like the dickens for a while, it’s exhausting, it’s enormously inconvenient.  You will hear people say that babies are blessings, a heritage from the Lord.  That’s true, but don’t for ONE SECOND think that you’re a terrible person for wanting to set your “blessing” out on the front porch for the night because he just. won’t. stop. crying.   Don’t let the glowing mothers psych you out.  Know that they, too, are just trying to put their best foot forward.  They’re trying to encourage you – give you some perspective and some hope.  But let’s be straight for two seconds: Motherhood is the most precious, wonderful thing I’ve done with my life to date.  It’s also the hardest.

9.  Advocate for your baby.   Just like before you were a mom, you will be obligated to attend work, school, church, and social functions.  You will have people counting on you to be somewhere, like a wedding or a funeral or some other once-in-a-lifetime thing.  And there WILL BE times when these expectations clash with the needs of your baby.  Trying to find an achievable balance feels treacherous, and like a lose-lose situation.  You either disappoint people you care about, miss out on special occasions, risk being misunderstood and possibly whispered about – or you suffer the agony of knowing you didn’t do what was best for your baby.

I remember the tightrope feeling well, as Madeline was born just before Christmas.  Relatives whom we wouldn’t see again for a full year “needed” to hold her.  I “needed” to be at a variety of church, community, and family functions.  I remember Madeline being passed around the room from one adoring person to the next – and when she started to cry, each person would take a turn trying to comfort her.  I only got a turn when Madeline was SO worked up and miserable that she’d become totally inconsolable – then it was time to pass her to mom.  I remember sitting in a back bedroom with my hot, over-stimulated newborn, nursing her and whispering to her that I was so, so sorry.  That it wasn’t fair – that it was simply too much and I didn’t speak up for her.  I’ve been bummed about missing the occasional wedding or party, but that’s the kind of thing you bounce back from pretty quickly – c’est la vie.  I’ve deeply regretted it, on the other hand, every time I didn’t advocate for my baby.

I’m not saying be a shrew and hole yourself up in your house until your kid is 6 – but you’ll know when it’s too much.  You’ll know because you’ll feel like you’re about to die.  You will know when being home in your baby’s safe, familiar place is more important than anything else going on that day.  Your baby cannot speak up for herself – so you must advocate for her.  It’s okay to look all the expectations and obligations, disappointment and disapproval in the face and say, “No.  We need to go home now.”

10.  And finally, rest assured that every other mother’s house has been as dirty as yours is, probably worse.  I’ve recited the last stanza of a poem called “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton to myself a thousand times.  It calms down my racing mind long enough to make me sit still – and be fully present for my daughter.

…The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

 

And that’s all I got.  Except for pray a lot and take all the help you can get.

Veteran moms, what would you add?  New moms in the trenches of 1st year, what have I forgotten?

  • Laura Hunt-McCormick

    My mom gave me this advice about marriage but I have found it to be true for every facet of life:
    “Do the very best you can with what you know and just pray about all the rest”

  • Rev

    I’m going to save this list and pull it out when the time comes that we start having kids.  Thank you  :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1060540259 Danny Songhurst Guitars

      As a proud papa of two amazing daughters, 3 & 5, I must say, THIS RULES!

  • Becca

     ha i love your post! I have to admit that on #4 when you talk about “ferberizing” i did not know this word (but I am familiar with the concept). I read it and thought you said “ferbreezing” and I was thinking, do you think your baby is stinky or something? haha

    anyway, i would add to your last one also to make sure you have a camera and  video camera because pictures are cute but it’s so fun to look back on how they move and what they sound like.

  • christie

     hi kate, i’ve been following your blog for awhile now. (found it via brooke’s blog) and i just had to tell you i LOVED this post. my baby girl is turning a year old on saturday and i could so identify with your words of wisdom. i love your honesty.. it is refreshing.

    also, i never even considered taking the mattress out of the crib to change the sheets. ingenious. that chore is enough to make a saint cuss a blue streak. :)

    • Jabitterman

      Thanks Kate!
      Christie, your mother-in-law told me to check out your blog, and I found this.  WOW!  My first baby  is 6 weeks old, and after a day that did not go at all as planned, this was a gift from God.  I felt like it was addressing every thought that ran through my head today.  Thanks for being such an encouragement!

      • christie

        glad you could be encouraged, amber. :) i’ve found blogging to be a welcome outlet to the world in my new stay-at-home-ness. hope you guys are doing well!

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  • Pamela

    This post is incredibly brilliant albeit one point: number 4.  
    You claim to use the Ferber method, but Ferber never actually intended for parents to leave their children crying alone.  If I understand what you posted, it sounds like you allow your child to cry in their crib by themselves to teach them how to self-soothe.  If I misunderstood what you posted, please forgive me. 

    It is scientifically proven that allowing a baby to cry alone causes short- and long-term negative affects on babies.  Babies are too young to learn the life lesson of self-soothing. They don’t soothe themselves, they just give up on receiving sensitive care.  Often, babies just want to be held and know that there is a caregiver there for them. It’s how they learn the life lesson of trust.  Being held in itself has so many positive effects, including positively impacting physical growth and development.There are countless known reasons to not leave a baby to cry it out. Through scientific studies,  one known effect is that allowing babies to be left alone to cry it out allows for extended distress, which causes the release of cortisol, which damages and can even destroy neurons. Further, infants are incapable of self-regulating their emotions.  Responsive care allows the body and brain to prepare for calmness. If babies are allowed to cry it out, they learn to shut down in the face of extensive distress. These are just two of the countless negative effects that can come from the practice of letting a baby cry it out.Here’s a recent scientific article on the topic that explains it better:http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out?page=3 

    • first time mom

       I’m not sure which number you’re referring to here, I didn’t see any mention of the Ferber method.  I’m due in Sept. and I will not be letting my newborn cry anything out on his/her own if I can help it.  My husband struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder which means he has issues with abandonment among other things.  I’m terrified my child will inherent the disorder, it is not easy to deal with for either one of us. So, I’ll be comforting my child whenever I feel s/he needs it.  But that’s just me. I will do my best not to compare my mothering skills or my child to others. This is my first and I’m so happy to have come across this blog.  And although I have my fears, I am so excited and happy to be having this baby! 

      • Diane

        As the mother of 7, Now ages 25 and down, I have to say all these things are so spot on!  I was NOT a “perfect parent”  On my first, I was shocked when my mother in law took my over-stimulated, very upset baby, and let her cry a bit on her own while I de-stressed myself. She said it was “exercising her lungs”.  And it worked.  The crying allowed her to deal with her stress.  It wasn’t for hours.  Just a few minutes.  From then on, when one of the babies started crying and weren’t hungry, weren’t tired, clean diaper, and still crying, I left them for a bit to “cry it out”.  They are all teenagers or older and are secure, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  They have stable relationships and minimal rebellion issues!

        • Pamela

          One example doesn’t falsify an entire scientific study; there are always exceptions. And this study doesn’t mean that every baby that is let to cry it out will be horrible teenagers and adults. It’s just saying it is shown to cause these effects in varying degrees in a statistically credible amount.  Also, babies are not emotionally capable of dealing with stress.  That part of their mental capabilities don’t develop until later.
          And kudos to you for being a mom of 7! I have SO much respect for you!! I’m glad that your children are all healthy & secure individuals!

      • Pamela

        The author has changed this post since I made that comment. Number 4 was originally about the Ferber method instead of making a crib.
        I don’t know how heritable Borderline Personality Disorder is, but I do know it’s not 100%! Remember that biology & genetics are NOT destiny, and that God is in control ALWAYS!

        It sounds like you will be an amazing Mommy! Your little one is so blessed to have you! I’m excited for you & I hope all goes well! :)

    • Lydia

      Although I think that Pamela makes some very good points, and I essentially agree, I wanted to point out two caveats:

      1. Be cautious of popular press articles like the one cited above.  Journalists for magazines like psychology today, parenting, and newpapers face a nearly impossible task of summarizing a scientific study of which they are NOT an expert in and also boiling down all of the details into a short, easy to read, article with a clear take-home message.  As a result, many of the details are lost and the findings of the original article are often misrepresented.  Therefore, be cautious of strong claims made in articles like this.  For instance, rather than taking the message of “never let your child cry it out” it is important to take the message of “in general and when possible, it best to not let your child cry it out.”  Letting your child cry it out every once in a while is not going to ruin them for the rest of their life.  If parents go into this new adventure with the goal of never making a mistake or never letting their child cry it out “ever,” they either need to gear up for failure (because no parent is perfect and there will likely be times when you need a break) or hire a team of several professionals to take care of their child around the clock and collectively make decisions about their development (and, even then, perfection in unlikely). 

      2. I am sure that no one would argue, as is indicated by the original list above, that parenting is hard.  So, I am going to refer to #12 added by Julie (above). There will be times that parenting is so hard you can’t help but just fall apart.  Times when your child has been screaming for what seems like forever and you feel like the most helpless being in the world.  During these times, I don’t think it is the end of the world to let your child cry it out for a little while so that you can get a much needed break.  After all, a stressed-out, crying, tired completely and consistently responsive mother probably isn’t any better than a mother who occasionally lets her child “cry it out” for a little while so that she can get a much needed brain break and return to her child more refreshed and with a clearer mind.   

      So, yes, I agree with Pamela entirely that the research supports the notion that habitually letting your child cry it out is currently not the most scientifically supported practice and should be avoided when possible.  However, I think it is important also to approach these scientific findings with a degree of realism (**I am not saying that Pamela isn’t doing so, just pointing it out).  It’s important for new parents to know that there will be times that they can’t do everything perfect and they shouldn’t feel like they have failed if they have to let their child cry it out.  Parenting is stressful enough without the pressure to do everything just right.

      Lydia
      Child Psychology, M.A, Ph.D. (2013)

      • Pamela

        I couldn’t agree more! It’s important for Moms to have a breather every now and then. It’s ok to not be perfect. One cry isn’t going to scar a baby for life! The research is referring to continual, habitual crying it out.

        Also, the article I posted may not be 100% perfectly reliable, but it was one that I found that gave an easy to understand explanation. I’ve done research on this topic and the points made in this article are very valid and are even cited in textbooks now.  There are more reputable articles out there, they’re just not the most fun to read.

        • Lydia

          Of course, popular press articles are VERY important for getting a lot of information out there quickly in an easy to read format.  No parent has time to plow through all of the original 20+ page articles that cost $35 a piece.  I’m just saying that it is important to take extreme views with a grain of salt. 

          I agree that this particular article was a good one.  It cited original articles, using many to back up its points, and came from a fairly reputable source.  I only suggest caution, as a general practice, with these kinds of articles.

      • Patricia Palko

        I agree entirely with your comments Lydia. Being a mother, especially a first-time mom, it’s tough as nails. Its been one of the greatest, yet the most challenging accomplishments I’ve made in my life (I  have a MA degree in Counseling and am a School Counselor & Licensed Associate Counselor so we are in the same field). Often times, you go into it with a plan and all of these wonderful ideals, yet to be crushed when things don’t go as planned such as wanting to breastfeed, but can’t due to supply, exhaustion, poor latch, etc. 

        My best advice would be to do what works best for you and your baby, after all, you are mom and mother typically knows best. Other moms can be extremely judgmental and hurtful, or what I like to call them, “mother superiors”. This will not end unfortunately, b/c the competition will continue as our children grow older. We, as moms, need to learn how to be more supportive of one another, less judgmental, and to not let others affect our parenting styles. If you co-sleep or cloth diaper or put your child in front of a tv while you clean your house, etc., that’s your preference and to heck with anyone who would beg the differ. Don’t let others get the best of your emotions, bottom line. Motherhood is hard and you will not get a “gold star” or reasurrance from the rest of society, so don’t go looking for it. However, when you see your precious baby smiling at you and is content for the moment, that’s your “reward” for the day.

        As long as your child is healthy, loved, and safe, that’s ALL that matters in the end. F the haters and be proud of yourself. You are doing a great job, even if you don’t believe you are!

        To the soon-to-be new mommies out there: welcome to the club, its one heck of an experience and journey, but its worth it.

        Lastly, the newborn stage isn’t forever. It goes by so fast so hold your babies as often as possible!

        Trish

      • Dana

        Thank you for your educated opinion Lydia. I am not a child psychologist, just a mom of 3. I let my children “cry it out” in a measured way when they were older. The age I let them do that was dependent on the child and their needs. This was one of the best things that I made for my older babies. There is a reason Super Nanny does it! :) It can be a loving move for a parent to make.  

    • Forhim76

      Hope this doesn’t apply to babies with colic…cause mine screamed from 5PM to midnight every day….and I held and rocked her almost all this time…but sometimes had to put her down for a couple mins so I cud go cry myself…

      • Pamela

        It doesn’t apply to the occasional cry, and it sounds like you’re being a great parent!  Your rocking and holding teach your sweet one that he or she can trust and depend on you – good job! And of course it’s okay to put the baby down for a few minutes to cry.  The article I posted was more related to parents letting a child cry habitually without responding to the crying.  Sounds like you’re a loving parent! Stay strong! God is holding you and your baby in His hands!

    • mom to 3

      tell that to the woman who shook her crying baby and it died of shaken baby syndrome. Maybe if more mom’s felt it was okay to put them down while they are crying to take a break themselves, such tragedy wouldn’t occur.

      • Addie

        Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what Pamela meant to do. Go up to that ‘woman’ and tell her she should have held her baby at all times any time the little one cried or even looked upset.  You missed the point entirely. 

    • Lburdbandmom2011

      Studies or no studies, I have *never* regretted those times I scooped a crying child up to soothe him or her back to sleep. With all the worries a mom has about doing it “right”, if your baby stops crying when you pick him up, that one little bit of positive reinforcement means the WORLD to a stressed out mom. My husband wants to get rid of the rocking chair I used with all three of mine, but I will keep it ’til I die because of the memories.

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  • Super_torres

    What a great post. My 18 month old will be nearly two when our second is born and boy I could have used this post last year. I especially appreciate the anecdotes about your mother and grandmother AND the advice about not believing anyone who says its easy. I really needed to hear numbers 1 and 2 back then. Thanks for a great post. I’ll keep those things in mind goingforward.

    Ps I saw nothing about crying and sleep, but that post about the crib sheet is so true.

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      Yes, those darn crib sheets!  Thanks for reading!

      • Carla

        I read this post when it was originally posted and noticed (do to some comments below) that you recently edited it, particularly point 4. Why did you change it, if you don’t mind my asking?

        Still an amazing post!

        • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

          Haha, thanks! I did edit it a bit!  The reason is because a had another post of mine (about advice for teenagers) blow up, and I thought that this one was similar enough (in theme) to link to it.  I wanted to make it closer in style to the teenager post, so readers would grasp the similarity and to make it more readable.  

          I took out the long-ish intro, bolded the first line of every point, and edited my list down to 10 points instead of 11 or 12.  The ones that got the axe were by process of elimination: the ones that remain I just couldn’t bear to part with!  I also edited a bit of my commentary in places, to make it shorter, but some of the stuff (mostly in #8 and #9) just couldn’t go, so it’s still on the long side. :)

          Thanks for reading! :)

          • Carla

            Thanks for clarifying! I didn’t know if you had changed your mind on the points that were edited out (the one I remember was the one about the Ferber method). Kate, you’re an amazing blogger! Congrats on your recent success!

    • MommaRae

      I enjoyed reading all these comments and the article. I stay home with two little ones and I have really taken “time” with them and soaked up every moment from the hospital to now and I STILL feel like it wasn’t enough. I can’t get enough of them . .. they are never too much and I don’t need a break from them . . . . it’s all about setting aside our selfish behaviors and desires for someone else. If someone reads all the reply about nursing vs bottle feeding . . . please I beg of you . . . if you WANT to nurse then DO IT and find help . . . be proactive . . . find an encourager of nursing and seek out what you need. Do it for the child it doesn’t last a lifetime and believe me you will wish you could do it over again despite the pain, obstacles, and discouragement from others. IT’s a bond that is sooooooo very special that only mothers who have done it know. It’s not something you can explain!  IT doesn’t make you better, but if you decide to do it you will experience something so precious between you and that child . . .  :) I didn’t have a “mom” to go to for advice, encouragement, etc . . . but I knew it’s what I wanted to do so I seeked out help from the lactation nurses, doulas, chiropractor of mine and got it done and loved it.  BENEFITS: of course it’s better than formula no one could argue that, it teaches you a lesson in sacrifice and selfishness that nothing else can!   DO IT AND LOVE IT !!!  You CAN!

  • tab

    love it, thanx :)

  • Renley1

    Where was this when I was raising my 6 kids. I’ve spent so many years feeling guilty about my mothering-skills and still am. I have teenagers now and some days I want to put them to the curb and yet I love them immensely on others. I’m a grandmother now so I will pass your pearls of wisdom along to my daughter to read and hope this will help her. Thank you!

  • http://www.jmpagenkopf.blogspot.com/ Julie

    I would add:
    11. Don’t judge other mothers, or yourself against other mothers.  We are all just trying to do the best we can with the information we have and feel to be true.  Shots vs not shots, organic vs non organic, breast feeding vs bottle feeding, cry it out vs comfort, spanking vs not, …the list goes on and on.  
    12. You are going to mess up; we all do.  You might drop your kids on the floor on accident (they bounce by the way, on carpet).  You might forget whose day it is to pick them up at daycare.  You might say something they repeat at the most inappropriate time. You might let them watch TV too early or too often.  The bottom line is you will NOT make the RIGHT choice EVERY time.  Your kids will love you anyway.  They need to have something to tell there therapist.  :)

    Carry on Warrior moms, only  a few more hours until bedtime.  

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      Your number 12 – so good!  I have so many wonderfully embarrassing stories about stuff like that!   And awesome warrior reference!  I read that article a while back and shared it here – oh my gosh – it made me laugh so hard.  :)

    • JE

      Awesome!!

    • MC

       As a current med student and future pediatrician I HAVE to disagree with the no shots. If you aren’t immunizing your child then ultimately you’re doing him/her harm.  Out of all the new medical technologies we’ve developed, vaccines still save more lives and to deny your child that based on falsified research that immunizing causes autism is dangerous.

      • JC

        From someone who is a current med student and future pediatrician, I would expect nothing else.

      • B J

        So, just how many children have died due to not receiving a vaccination? How many die because they DID get one? It is every parents right to assess  those kind of risks and make an informed decision. Vaccinations are not guaranteed to give a child immunity to the disease they are being vaccinated for. Why should a parent risk the health and well-being of their child for something that “might” give them immunity.  Vaccinations contain toxins and are also made from aborted fetal cells…..sounds so great and healthy.

        • KL

          Vaccines do NOT contain aborted fetal cells.  Really?  It is information like this that gets spread around by people who have no clue what they’re talking about and now we have children dying from the mumps and pertussis.  The vast majority of the population has been being vaccinated for generations now, and we’ve all somehow managed to make it.  Now that parents are somehow convinced that vaccines are causing autism (that study was proved to be fabricated, by the way…look it up) this country is again in danger of experiencing epidemics that are largely preventable.  If it weren’t for vaccines who knows how many more people we would have lost to devastating diseases like Polio.  I, for one, am not willing to risk my child’s life because of some trend I’ve been hearing about all over the internet.

          • SLN

            The Chicken Pox vaccine and I believe the Rubella as well were both cultured from a cell line that was created from the stem cells of an aborted fetus.  It is true, look it up.  And yes, I asked my pediatrician about it and they confirmed it.  This has been widely covered up by the Pharma companies and does need to be brought out into the open so other options become available.

          • Lilli

            Fact: The vaccines were developed from a cell line from 2 aborted fetuses in the 1960′s.

            Fact: I’m pro-life.

            Note: It makes me sick when people say things like vaccines are made from/created from aborted babies.  It gives the pretense/impression that the vaccine that a mother gives her child today has something in it from an aborted baby.  It makes it sound SO horrific – how could any mother with a heart support abortion so that her baby can have a vaccine?  There were ONLY 2 abortions done 50 years ago. Please, everyone, stop blowing this out of porportion.

          • lindseychristine

            “There were ONLY 2 abortions done 50 years ago. Please, everyone, stop blowing this out of porportion”

            Fact: you’re an idiot. With technology so readily available it breaks my heart that people lack the ability to produce proper sentences, including but not limited to correct spelling and/or grammar.Secondly– this is one of the most contradictory things I’ve ever heard anyone say. Especially given the fact you access a medicinal treatment produced by the very thing you are against.  You can’t have it both ways, and certainly?  You saying stop blowing this out of proportion (btw, that is the correct spelling of it) lets everyone realize you fully understand that it is in fact, a big deal… and you are publicly announcing to the world via the internet that you’re a hypocrite.

            Here’s a fact:  I’m pro-choice.

            Guess what?  

            It doesn’t make me pro-aborition.  

            In fact, it makes me pro-family, and pro-education, in the truest sense of the word.  Not pro-have-a-child-with-inadequate-means-and-resources-to-raise-one because I’m pro-life.

            I bet your anti-social programs that help those struggling with the tools and resources to help cultivate a better life for themselves and their child that you were so pro-life on?  

            I always thought it was interesting that those who are pro-life are usually pro-social reform and pro-lifer are usually against it.  Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

          • Guest

             alright a) the opening remark was highly uncalled for.
            b) for someone who is being such a stickler for a simple spelling mistake, did you proofread your last two questions? they do not make sense.

          • Jaygee

            This board was about encouraging others. Not calling names.

          • CK

            Really? You blast someone else about using proper grammar yet your own reply is full of grammatical mistakes. “You saying stop blowing this out of proportion ”. Please proofread your own post before you start pointing out other’s mistakes. 

          • ME

            Funny. For one being such an English Nazi, I found SEVERAL mistakes in your un-called for and down-right RUDE response. Absolutely NONE of what you had to say did any good for anyone. You, my friend, are a bully.

          • Amy

             Don’t pick on someone for mistyping “porportion” when you then type “aborition”. It completely invalidates your reasoning behind your uncalled for assault.

          • Lilli

            PROPORTION. Happy?  I made one typo, not a spelling error. I’m not an idiot.  There was nothing wrong with my sentence structure. 


            It doesn’t make me pro-aborition.”

            …notice anything?

            “btw”.

            It breaks my heart that people don’t make the effort to type out full words.

            Now that we have that straightened out, I don’t even understand your argument. 
            “I bet your anti-social programs that help those struggling with the tools and resources to help cultivate a better life for themselves and their child that you were so pro-life on?  
            I always thought it was interesting that those who are pro-life are usually pro-social reform and pro-lifer are usually against it. ”
            In the first part, you used a question mark, but I have no idea what your question is.  Further, what anti-social programs are you talking about?  In the second part, you seem to imply that pro-life are usually pro-social reform and usually against it; this seems contradictory.  However, maybe I simply don’t understand what you’re trying to communicate.

            You got one thing right, though. Your response was definitely “interesting”.

          • Lindsay

            “You can’t have it both ways, and certainly?  You saying stop
            blowing…”
            Why is there a question mark following a sentence fragment?

            “…proportion (btw, that is the correct spelling of it)”
            What is btw? The last time I checked, btw wasn’t a real word.  It’s internet slang, not correct English grammar.

            “It doesn’t make me pro-aborition.”
            Aborition? Abortion, BY THE WAY, is the correct spelling.

            “In fact, it makes me pro-family, and pro-education, in the truest sense
            of the word.”
            The truest sense of which word? Are you referring to “fact” or “pro-family, and pro-education”? You need to work on clarifying your sentences and using singular and plural forms of words correctly.

            “Not pro-have-a-child-with-inadequate-means-and-resources-to-raise-one
            because I’m pro-life.”
            In correct English grammar, one does not start a sentence with the word “not”.

            “I bet your
            anti-social programs that help those struggling with the tools and resources to
            help cultivate a better life for themselves and their child that you were so
            pro-life on?”Why did you use a question mark? There is no clear question in this statement.”I always thought it was interesting that those who are pro-life are
            usually pro-social reform and pro-lifer are usually against it.”This sentence contradicts itself by claiming that pro-life individuals are both for and against pro-social reform.  Also, “lifer” is not a word.These are just a few of the MANY grammatical errors you made in your post.Now, could you please remind me why Lilli is an idiot? Was it because she made one minor, accidental error?

          • YoungProudMommy

            So some one doesnt want to vaccinate there child because, more than likely a young girl or a woman who cannot afford to take care of a child and does not want to ruin there life, gets an abortion. And they use the stem cells from that fetus to make shots that can protect a life if not billions of lives. I cant understand how that is suppose to be wrong. I dont even believe in abortions but what can i do? There will always be women out there who get abortions because that is there choice. So why not make the best out of that fetus that would have been a beautiful child to help protect all the other beautiful children that are lucky enough to live their lives. Things are nothing how they use to be God has helped us modernize our world for a reason. To help us learn new things and discover things that were never thought of many years ago. Maybe that was Gods plan for the Fetus’ that were used (if they do use them), to help protect other people on our planet. Thats what they were put in our lives for. Life works out much better thinking positively.  And i cant even tell you that they do use stem cells from aborted fetus’ because i have not read enough to believe or not believe it for myself. 

          • Gina

            Actually, they don’t use current abortions to make vaccines.  They used 2 abortions in the 1960s to develop vaccines. 

        • Shanonia

           take a trip to a country where vaccinations are not readily available and talk to a family whose 3 out of 5 children have died of measles and then you can talk to me about children dying from vaccinations. You have NO IDEA what risk you are taking and thank god for you that other people have the common sense to vaccinate. They are the ones who are protecting your child, not you. toxins and fetal cells…that is the kind of ridiculous propaganda that causes nothing but harm. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism.

          • kat

            not vaccines per se, but the act of vaccination in SOME individuals:

            Julie Gerberding, CDC Director, 2008:

            “Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism”

          • Dez

            i live in a country where vaccines are not readily available.  and guess what, they don’t have food allergies!  or autism!  or ADHD!  they give their 4 month olds peanut butter with rice.  GASP!  before they came out with the measles vaccine they had already seen a decline in the disease b/c of hand washing.  in fact, many of our diseases could be eliminated with proper hand washing.  when i was a baby we got 6 vaccines.  now they want to give my children 35 before they are 4.  no thank you!  b/c while a little MMR might not have hurt anyone in clinical trials…they didn’t inject MMR polio rotovirus Hib and flu all at the same time like they try to do at the peds office.   not that i believe MMR doesn’t do anything… people need to be informed of what is being put into those vaccines.  if you decide to still vaccinate, that is your choice.  but don’t act like those of us who decide not to are stupid.  we are all well read.  we didn’t come to this decision on a whim because we thought it would be fun.  we came to it b/c the information out there is to big to ignore.  

          • Kat M

            We don’t vaccinte kids because measles or mumps is horrible.  We do so because they can cause sterility in males after the fact.  We vaccinate against rubella in part because if your daugher isn’t vaccinted, and gets it when she is pregnant, you may kill your unborn grandchild as a result.  All because you chose not to vaccinate your child.

          • Joy Ricks

            For the record, I vaccinated my children. However, I find fault with your logic that by not vaccinating your child it puts other children at risk. First, if an unvaccinated child comes in contact with a vaccinated child, then shouldn’t the vaccinated child be immune? After all they did get vaccinated. If they are not immune, then they are at risk regardless of whether or not they were around an unvaccinated child.  Secondly, if an unvaccinated child is around another unvaccinated child, then both children are equally at risk because they are both unvaccinated. Seems to me that the only child at risk is the unvaccinated child, who would be at risk anyways.

          • Joy Ricks

            Previous comment was not directed at any one person, but to all who say not vaccinating puts other children at risk.

          • Gabbinggandhi

            Since different people come in contact with different agents in the environment, and as they are individuals, they will have different  reactions in their respective immune systems. Also, viruses can be contracted at different stages of their life cycle causing them to be either more active or not. If you have an unvaccinated child who has a very low and/or compromised immune system and they contract a virus at a mid stage from another unvaccinated child who has an extremely active and healthy immune system, it could cause major problems for your child. The child with the active immune system may not even be aware he has a virus at that point as his immune system has it in check. So, no, no one is EQUALLY at risk ever… The same can be said for the argument for and against vaccinations all together. There will always be negative or adverse reactions when dealing with health and vaccinations as we are all what? yes, individuals… But if it were not for Edward Jenner and Miss Sarah the milkmaid we would not have the first vaccine for Small pox via cow pox. And be sure to thank Mrs. Phipps for allowing her son James to be the case study for the project for without his forward thinking her son would have died of small pox.

          • Guest

            Its true the unvaccinated children mostly spread it to other unvaccinated children.  The risk comes when a baby who is too young for the vaccine is in a park with a 5 year old whose parent decided not to vaccinate. Thats where the real issue of being a danger to other children come into play.  A lot of times we rely on heard immunity to keep babies healthy (i.e. the rest of the people they encounter not carrying the disease) – but that only works if the rest of the “heard” becomes immune.

          • Kirstensmassage

            Don’t you mean “herd”?

          • http://www.lohtown.blogspot.com/ Erin @ Lohtown Life

            It’s not only the children whose parents choose not to vaccinate who are at risk – there are also those who are too young to be vaccinated (eg babies catching whooping cough or measles from older children).

          • Katie

            In addition to the reasons everyone else posted, not vaccinating a child allows the bacteria that causes the disease to spread and gives it a chance to mutate to a form not preventable by vaccine.  Once the mutation has happened, it can infect any children  or adults, even if they have the vaccines.  By vaccinating children, you don’t give the bacteria as much of a chance to live and mutate.

          • Glynis

             Dirty pool to make sweeping assertions like that about your country, without giving the name of that country, so people can determine the accuracy of said assertions.  I can now not prove that you are inaccurate using real facts, but must now only use statistics and common sense. 

            You said, “i live in a country where vaccines are not readily available.  and guess
            what, they don’t have food allergies!  or autism!  or ADHD!”  Poppycock !  First of all, your language choice says that there are NO instances of ANY food allergies, nor ANYone with any level of autism, nor ADHD.  None, nada.   Have you ASKED EVERYONE?  Heck, no.  The only real statement you can make about your country is that “YOU haven’t encountered anyone who ADMITS they have these afflictions, therefore you assume that there is NO ONE with them anywhere within your national borders.”  Ludicrous !  I can prove this inaccurate just by your intended slur on vaccinations as the cause of these afflictions.  Your own words say that “vaccines are not readily available”.  Therefore, they ARE available, and logic/sense says that SOME people within your borders have used them within the past two generations (yours and childrens).  You imply that vaccines cause those afflictions, and sense says some people in your country use or have used them, ergo, there MUST be come people in your country with ADHD, food allergies,  and autism – IF it is true that vaccines cause such things.

            One more thing, in this unnamed country of yours that isn’t evolved enough to have an adequate supply of vaccines (for the people who want them), is HIGHLY LIKELY to also not have great health care or access to health care.  Therefore, the incidence of DIAGNOSED autism, ADHD, and food allergies will give the FALSE impression that they happen far less than they are really occurring.    It’s like saying a person is not insane if they haven’t gotten a diagnosis from a doctor that they are insane.  Doesn’t mean they ain’t nuts.

          • momtog

            I don’t think this is what the mom who wrote the original piece had in mind when she asked for additions.

          • Calm down ladies…

            Holy cow I totally agree with you. Kate did an AMAZING job putting comfort down in to words, yet all these women had to start bickering about different opinions. If you are going to complain and argue, go on myspace or something. I admit I dont know Kate, but can guarantee this isn’t what she had in mind when asking for more ideas. We are all sleep deprived and have hard days, I KNOW, but calm down and give each other a break.

          • M J

            If vaccines are not readily available in your country, then who was offering you the 6 vaccines when you were a baby and is now offering 35 vaccines to your children.

        • Kat M

          As a microbiology student and future nurse, and mom to two boys…  If you don’t vaccinate your child, you are putting my child’s health at risk.  Vaccines do NOT contain fetal cells.  If you are going to be that ignorant, please do so in your own home, don’t spread incorrect information around, and don’t send your kids to the playground to make mine sick.

          • Marissa

            I hate to say this, but if your child is vaccinated, and a child next to you is not, your child is safe….because they are vaccinated.  Just because another parent chooses to avoid vaccinations, does not put a vaccinated child at risk.  That’s the whole point of vaccinations.  And I say this from experience….my cousins did not get any, I got all…

            shocker…we all lived and are all very healthy.

          • Katie

            Wrong! Take a microbiology course, please. Stop spreading incorrect information. Not vaccinating one child DOES put others at risk for multiple reasons.  For example it allows the bacteria that causes the disease to spread and gives it a chance to mutate to a form not preventable by vaccine.  Once the mutation has happened, it can infect any children, even if they have the vaccines.  By vaccinating children, you don’t give the bacteria a chance to live and mutate.

        • Emma

          That is VERY convoluted logic.  If you want to know how many children died from not getting a vaccine, please visit a third-world country where vaccines are unavailable.  The numbers of children who die from such diseases are heart-breaking.

          Further, if you don’t vaccinate your child, not only are you putting your little one at risk, you are also putting every other child at risk. By not getting the vaccine, you are taking a TREMENDOUS risk for your child contracting a horrible, preventable disease.  That risk is worse than the risk of a minutely possible side effect from a vaccine.

          Vaccines ARE healthy.  Don’t think for a minute that you’re not risking your child’s health by not vaccinating; you’re taking a large risk.  Don’t think that your decisions affect only your child either; they effect every other child yours is around and your child’s children.

          Please, stop spreading misinformation.

          • Kirstensmassage

            Are there no statistics on how many children have died from vaccines? Somewhere the information is stashed and hidden for fear that society will stop getting vaccinated. How can a child who isn’t vaccinated “contaminate” (as if they are filthy) a child who is vaccinated? How does that hurt anyone? The vaccine should protect the vaccinated child just fine. Why not allow people to choose for themselves? Is it really that dangerous? If so, why not get on people about smoking? Cigarettes “contaminate” the air we breathe and cause innocent people to get cancer and immunity illnesses. If that isn’t more dangerous than refusing to get immunized, I would expect some serious problems to be slathered all over the media by now about the horror that is occurring because of immunization refusal. It’s true, we live in a filthy world. People choose to be filthy in a variety of ways that create problems for the rest of us. But really, is it possible to make the world a perfectly clean place? Even immunizations cause mutations that occur in response to them. Nature is powerful. It’s going to respond to us to keep itself that way. By the way, I’m not against immunizations.

          • Guest

             1. Data about adverse reactions from vaccines, including death, are reported here: http://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index
            This information is available to the public, not “stashed and hidden” away.

            2. Whooping cough – a vaccine preventable disease, has been declared “epidemic” in Washington State, and is most certainly “slathered” over the media there.   http://www.kgw.com/news/local/Officials-call-it-a-whooping-cough-epidemic-147253795.html 

          • Katie

            Oh so wrong. 

            First, the information is not stashed away, it’s open for public access online.

            Second, it DOES put other children at risk for more than one reason.  The main one? It allows the bacteria that causes the disease to spread and gives it a chance to mutate to a form not preventable by vaccine.  Once the mutation has happened, it can infect any children, even if they have the vaccines.  By vaccinating children, you don’t give the bacteria a chance to live and mutate. 

            Please, educate yourself. Take a course in Microbiology. Stop spreading false information.

      • Jaygee

        I think you really missed the point of what Julie was saying. She was simply laying out a list of hotbutton issues and how at the end of the day every mother needs to stop judging. It is really sad that this debate started in the first place.

    • Lorene Agresti

      Thank you for your article. I wish I read this before having my LO. It was tough the first 6 months of his life. I thought he had colic, but today I believe it was me that needed to adjust and let go. We both cried a lot those first 6 months (me and LO, not me and DH – ha). In addition, I fought with the decision to go back to work fulltime or stay at home fulltime. I loved my career, yet had the opportunity to stay home and raise our LO. While on maternity leave, I would get depressed of the idea of of being a SAHM and I would feel bad knowing that if I did return to work, I’d leave him with a nanny all.day.long. I did find my happy medium though. I work part time for the same company and have a part time nanny for the 2 days a week I dedicate myself to work :) All turned out well and I have a very happy and healthy baby today.

  • Josette79

    Great advice! I only have one point I’d like to add to. With the right support, I don’t feel that breastfeeding is a huge inconvenience. In fact, I very much enjoyed not having to worry about getting up to make a bottle every 2 hours, heating it to just the right temperature, washing and sterilizing them…breastmilk is always ready and always the perfect temperature. You don’t have to stress that you didn’t pack enough bottles for the trip. It does hurt pretty badly for the first couple weeks, but if you stick with it, it becomes painless and pleasant. It’s healthier for both mommy and baby. Studies have shown that breastfeeding will actually raise a child’s IQ by 10 points! Breastfeeding may not be for everyone, but I just don’t want moms to be afraid to even try it. You just have to be patient, and remember that both you and your baby are learning together. It will take time so just stay calm, and you CAN DO IT!

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      Yes, thanks!  I nursed both my kids and at first I had a love/hate relationship with it, but it soon turned into a purely LOVE relationship!  I miss those sweet snuggles!  

    • Sarahjcrew

      I appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help other moms, but breastfeeding isn’t as east for everyone, and it can be horribly inconvenient, even with support. Luckily it has been for the most part easy for me, but I faced many challenges along the way, and it was the posts like this one about being “best for baby” and “raises their IQ” and “keeps them healthy” that drive me over the edge. It makes moms who can’t do it feel like they are hurting their children. Babies on formula are healthy, happy, and smart. Breast milk is a superior food, but if a mom chooses formula instead, her baby will be just fine. Take it from me, a woman who has one of the best immune systems of anyone I know, and a graduate degree, who just found out from her mother that I was formula fed!!! Moms just need to do what they can to stay happy, healthy, and sane!!! And trust me, we have enough people telling us that breastmilk is best, we don’t need to be reminded at every turn!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021422284 Samira Roseblood

         I agree I did breastfeed for the first 3 months only to stop because of birth control and she got teeth so fear of biting it wasn’t too hard for me though she had a little bit of an issue with it she was lazy and couldn’t get a good latch so she wanted to be fed all the time rather than wait the two hours they say to wait in between it was also inconvenient to find a place to avoid the public eye as I am a shy person and most of the people here though they want you to breastfeed would rather not see it and look at you with disgust if you don’t find a secluded area a blanket helps but if they know that’s what your doing you get weird disgusted looks I would definitely do it for my next one though as it is also a little cheaper than the $25 a 16oz can of the special formula my daughter had to have because she was allergic to the milk proteins in regular formula I don’t look down on either choice my daughter was only breastfed the first 3 months then we went to the expensive formula and she is still a happy healthy kid thats all that matters do whats best for you if you work and find breastfeeding too difficult or inconvenient choose a formula that gets your child the right nutrition for them and provides you with the convenience of here daddy you take over when you are working or just too busy or tired if you have the time and want to try it choose breastfeeding either way just make sure your kid is healthy

        • Ian735

          There’s a key with a little dot, down to the right of the space bar. It’s totally awesome.

          • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.durapau Danielle Durapau

             lmao. i was thinking the same think, Ian735! but i didn’t want to be “that person”. thank you for being “that person” for me. *winks*

      • Kelly

        I SO appreciate that you wrote this! Let me tell you why…..

        I totally understand what you are saying about women who CAN’T breastfeed feeling inferior when people tout all the “blessings” of breastfeeding and how it’s best for baby, and they’re smarter, more well adjusted, blah, blah, blah…. Care to guess why? Because my precious bundle of joy was adopted! Think there was any chance of me breastfeeding him? I have heard stories about possible meds to make someone lactate or whatever, but come on. Isn’t that taking things a bit far? And….FYI, my little formula fed guy is now 5! He’s as happy, healthy, and smart as any other breastfed kid, if not more so.

        I’m sure it can be a wonderful experience if it works for you, but women really need to lay off other women who can’t do it, or are uncomfortable doing, or just plain dont want to. As mothers we all do what we believe is best for our baby and that should be praised, not condemned!

        • Christie

          Thank you and well said Kelly. I have gotten many disapproving looks as I bottle feed my baby, she is adopted as well. (Just got back from family court today! It’s done, it’s finalized)

        • JP

          I support whatever you can do to do the best for YOUR baby.  My friend got married in her 30s and they adopted two little babies (at different times).  She took the supplements and had an amazing milk supply!  I do not think its taking it too far, but that’s just me.  From tiny little boobies … (actually they were humongous while lactating … now they’re tiny little boobies again!), I breastfed all three of my children, my goal was for 12 months.  The first one stopped nursing at around 11 months (I got a severe sinus infection and was TOLD by my dr. to stop nursing so I could take a super-antibiotic–yay!). The second one I breastfed for about 7 months, and the third WEENED HIMSELF (actually just took the boobie-juice from a bottle one day a week while I worked and that’s all it took–the ease of artificial nipple flow became his preference).  *I* literally MOURNED the loss of closeness with my babies after nursing.  IT WAS NOT THE SAME giving my babies a bottle at arms length.  That being said, I’m still an advocate for doing whatever is best for YOUR baby and whatever is best for YOU (secondly, by the way).  

          P.s. FORMULA is crazy expensive.  And so are diapers.  My Mommy-friends who cloth diaper (I could never do that, nor do I want to, except maybe to save landfills) and breastfeed exclusively … a lot of them do it because they are POOR. Not all, but some.  Let’s not forget that.  My husband and I had a joke that we were “formula and diaper poor” … we’re currently 2 down, 1 to go.  

          • JP

            In case anyone cares,  I failed to finish the thought about my third weening himself … he weened himself at just 5 1/2 months.  Ultimately, all three of my babies wound up on Formula after my milk supply dwindled.  But I’m still in the camp of Breast is Best (because its true!), but I give myself a break … I’m NOT A TERRIBLE MOTHER because I “finished” out giving them canned, processed formula, aka breast milk alternative produced in a factory (also please compare the SUGARS when choosing a formula)… they all know their abcs, hardly ever have snot running down their faces and they love to play creatively.  

          • Anne-Marie

             I too am in “Breast is Best” camp and breast fed both of my babies. Unfortunately, with my youngest I had to return to work very early on and while I tried my best to express, sitting in a bathroom stall trying to fill a bottle just didn’t work for me. I managed to feed him in the morning, evening and night, but definitely not for as long as I would have liked. Didn’t make me less of a Mom. Just disappointed me. I missed the snurfle snort glup. You just don’t hear or feel that with a bottle :)
            My friend had a baby the day after I did and had THE hardest time breastfeeding. It went way beyond the first few painful days. She had expert after expert try to help “It’s the latch, use a warm cloth … blah blah blah” It never did work for her and it broke my heart to see and hear her lament her “failure” thanks to statements from other “friends” and family. We moms need to have each others’ backs, not be bringing each other down.
            Hooray for all of the birth, adoptive, step, whathaveyou kind of moms there are out there who just try every day to do their very best for their kids.
            In the end, that’s all that really matters.

          • Sarah

            I can’t take anyone seriously who says “boobie-juice”… *giggles*

          • DR

            Yeah…well, let’s just say that I didn’t think I’d make it to 3 months of breastfeeding and now my son is 2 years and 3 months old.  And, yeah, he’s still getting some “boobie-juice” before bed.  I have surprised myself as I was 35 when I had my son (only child at this point) and never thought I’d nurse him for this long.  There is some weird, primal urge that doesn’t make me want to stop…not until I have to go out of town for 3 nights and he “forgets” about my boobs.  :) The overnighter trip is coming up and, JP, I can tell you that I’ll BAWL about losing that bond.  However, this boy is just about potty trained (only needs diapers at night) and I will NOT be bawling about having extra cash for something besides diapers!!  (I live in Australia now and OMG, Huggies are 1.5 times more expensive here…but are still the best diaper.)  Motherhood is such a roller coaster – scary, exhilarating, fast-paced, and sometimes gives you a headache.

      • Martinez

        I have two kids and one was exclusively bottle fed and one exclusively breast fed. I think there are both pros and cons FOR ME :) I loved the ease of always ready breastmilk and disliked having to get a bottle ready in the middle of the night. But I also loved being able to whip out a bottle and feed, my daughter on day long outings, instead of retreating to the car to breastfeed (and I’ve already had other moms scold me saying I should be “proud of something so natural” and don’t understand that my milk would not let down unless I was Completely comfortable).
        My pros and cons are different from other moms’ pros and cons.
        My bottle fed daughter is doing great and I no longer feel guilty that I wasn’t able to breastfeed her like I did with her baby brother!

      • Guest

         Sarahjcrew, while I breastfed my daughter for 13 months (she never once drank formula because she refused it), found my experience very easy (even though I worked therefore had to pump) and rewarding, I don’t believe that mothers who formula-feed are failures. What bothers me is that you seem annoyed with the research that says breastfeeding is best (which it is for innumerable more reasons than you named). Don’t get made at the facts – it makes you seem unreasonable and insecure about formula-feeding your child.

        • Lindsay

          What Sarahjcrew wrote was perfect.  If you think she’s unreasonable or insecure, you missed her point entirely.

      • guest

        My daughter was born with jaundice couldn’t latch on, and she needed to be fed every couple of hours to push through it.  I pumped exclusively for 2 weeks so she could she could be bottle fed with breast milk.  My nipples were literally raw.  By the time she did latch on?  I ended up getting mastitis due to the pumping.  I had a fever and was in bed for 2 days.

        Parenting isn’t about our sanity.  It’s about making sacrifices to make sure you can do everything you possibly can to give your child the best life possible. 

        I get really sick of people excusing their personal convenience. It is literally months out of your life to do this for your child.  It is your responsibility.

        This is a natural biological thing that occurs in your body.  Your body literally makes it and tailors it for your specific child.  From satiation, to hormones, to brain development to immunity and everything in-between and beyond.

        Human beings have the unfortunate ability to talk ourselves out of doing what’s best because it’s not convenient or too much work.

        In America over 20% of our population is obese.  We know exactly why — you eat right, you exercise and …  you feel great.  You look great.  You live longer.  You don’t?  You get fat. You are obese.  You will have a shorter life.

        Fast food?  It’s not “real food”.  From the “meat” to the “ice cream” it is certainly not real.  You can get sustenance, and you can get strength but in the long run?  It’s creating all sorts of issues in your body.

        I would imagine you could formulate the rest of this comparison.

        I don’t think people are lazy, but I think that people get really caught up in themselves without understanding that you made the choice to bring a life in the world and then when it came down to it — you chose to deny your child the best thing nutritionally for them because it was inconvenient or too hard.  

        First world problems.  So sad.

        • Becky

           YOU are an incredibly inconsiderate, insensitive “human being.” I don’t think I need to say anymore.

        • Masseyfarmer

          I’d like to say something about your comment, “parenting isn’t about our sanity.” I think our sanity is pretty important. I won’t deny your point that we need to make sacrifices for our kids, but if I’m starting to lose my sanity from holding my 4 month old for 15 hrs out of a 24 hr period every single day, then I am, wisely, going to find someone to watch my child for a few hours. My sanity is necessary to be able to give my child the best care I can possibly give.

          • Louise

             I believe we can do much more than we assume that we can.  The power of positive thinking is real.  It all comes down to are you willing to go the extra mile for a greater good than your own wants.  You can do it!  You can achieve just what you think you can. Decide what you think is the best thing you can give your child, then do it.  Prayer helps immensely.

          • Liza

            Exactly! Also, psychological studies have shown that an excessive level of stress hormones in a pregnant or breastfeeding mother can affect the baby & cause severe psychological issues in the child.

        • MrsAndisMom

          I have to disagree slightly. I have a friend who COULD NOT, physically could not, produce milk for her daughter. It happens as “natural” and “biological” as anything else.

          • jennifer

            i have to agree with you. I’m a Mother of 3 wonderful children. I tried with all of them to breastfeed. I physically COULD NOT produce enough or any milk at all. I wanted to so badly that i felt asthough i let my baby down. I tried tons of different ways to produce any milk i could. It just didnt work out for me.

        • C Kelley312

          thanks alot. as a mom who desperately wanted to breastfeed her baby and was not successful, you make me feel like shit. it’s people like you that make us depressed because we couldn’t provide fully for our children. believe me, I tried and tried and cried when it didn’t work. something was wrong with my nipples and milk production and instead of me and my little man getting upset because it wasn’t working, I switched to formula. I hope he’s as smart as you claim breastfed babies are. I didn’t quit because it was inconvient, I simply wanted to bond worh my child and I wasn’t because I was so damned determined to make it work so people like you wouldn’t look down on me. way to go

          • Tracy

            C Kelley312,

            I couldn’t do it either. Don’t feel badly. Do the best you can with what you have, that’s all we can do. All three of mine, ages 13, 10 and almost 4 were formula fed. All three are extremely bright and have always been EXTREMELY healthy.  My boys have never had an ear infection.  My daughter, who is 13, has only had 2 or 3 and didn’t get the first one until she was 3 years old.  My 10 year old has only been on antibiotics one time in his ENTIRE life and my almost 4 yo has never been on antibiotics.  My daughter has only been on antibiotics the few times she did have an ear infection, for one case of strep throat and one case of pneumonia and she is 13 years old!! Don’t listen to all the hype.  Breast feeding is natural and probably the best food for our babies, but thankfully we live in an age where there are alternatives when they are needed.  My kids needed that alternative.  I wish they hadn’t, but they did.

            Honestly, I’d really like to know just how “they” were able to determine that breast fed babies have higher IQs.  There is no way to measure such a thing.  It is all speculation and assumptions. We don’t know what IQ a child is going to have, so how can we say it is higher or lower that it would have been if breast or bottle fed.  It just doesn’t make sense.

            You are doing fine and no one has the best interest of your child at heart more than you do.  Just do the best you can, that is all your child needs.

        • From Jersey

          I have two friends, one JD and one PhD, both of whom are thin and healthy, who were never able to produce enough milk despite many months of trying with docs and lactation consultants. Some women just cannot do it. My mom also could not produce enough milk, although it was the 70s and people were quicker to abandon trying. I was a formula baby and got a perfect score on the GRE, so we’re not too much stupider!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=718727612 Kimberly Leavitt Abalos

             I totally agree with you. My little precious girl that is about to be 3 got RSV at 9 days old and was in the ICU for a week. During that time, she couldn’t nurse and breathe at the same time. I started pumping and using a bottle. After doing that for a week, she wasn’t nursing as much. I pumped and nursed, but at about 3 months we had to add formula, too. By six months, it would take me 6 days of pumping to make one bottle. I finally gave up and stopped. I was only doing it at that point to prevent people from judging me. She is so smart, knew her alphabet by 18 months, can count to 15, knows all her states and a lot of their capitals, and now learning the countries around the world. I am not worried about her IQ.
             I breastfed/pumped with my first daughter completely until 6 months then supplemented the extra with formula until she was 11 months then stopped pumping. I never had the glorious feeling while nursing. It hurt all the time. Even with all the help with lactation consultants, doctors, and nurses. She is so healthy, smart but most importantly, both my girls are loved beyond all else. 
             I know that breastmilk is best, I believe that as long as you have given it your best shot then if you have to stop, for WHATEVER reason, then do it. Do what you feel is best. If MOMMA ain’t happy, then ain’t nobody happy.

        • Lisa Ames

          I am agreeing with Kimberly.  My nieces are both THE SMARTEST girls on the face of the Earth (that is of course until my own little Ella Kathryn is born). 

          As a soon-to-be-mom, I am struggling with a lot of these posts.  I am only staying home from work for 8 weeks (because I have to work to be able to pay for this amazing bundle of joy that will change our lives).  I am torn about whether I am going to breast feed or not.  Not because I am selfish but because I am afraid that when I go back to work (as a high school teacher) the 22 minutes I have for lunch may not be enough for me to pump, eat, go to the bathroom, and run any other errands I can’t run any other time of the day because I have 30 kids in my room at all times. 

          While I am a believer in that breast feeding is how God originally intended for mothers to feed their babies, I also recognize that he blesses someone with the intelligence to know what agents need to be put into formula.  My husband and I are both fairly smart people who value education and like my brilliant sister and her kids we will stress education with our daughter.  What bothers me so much about so many of these posts are the condescending attitudes that if I choose not to breast feed I am not doing what is best for my child.  I am scared to make the decision not to breast feed because I don’t want to run into any of you women on the street and have you judge me because I chose a different route for me and my child.  It won’t terrible parent as it doesn’t make any other woman a selfish or terrible parent.

          • Becky

             As has already been pointed out elsewhere in these comments: someone (unfortunately) will always judge each and every decision you make as a mother (just as every parent judges each and every decision you make as an educator!) Luckily, as a mother (and not as an educator), you can tell people to shut up and mind their own business  :-)  

            I’m about to be a new mother, and am worried, too, about how much time I’ll have for pumping when I go back to work. I’m trying to not stress about it, but it’s hard not to! I try remembering that I was formula fed (breast milk apparently made me sick! So yeah, it’s not always best!) and I think I turned out okay!  ;-)

            So, long story short, don’t worry about what other people think. And if someone has the audacity to actually confront you over your decision, that’s not a person whose opinion you should value anyway  :-)

          • MrsAndisMom

            Hang in there. You and your husband are the ones who have to live with your decisions not the Ubermom looking down her nose at you. I couldn’t pump more than 2 oz at any time no matter how long I sat there mooing. It hurt and made it painful and difficult to nurse my daughter who was premie and weighed less than four pounds. I was TOLD (by the hospital and her pediatrician) to give her the high calorie formula in addition to my nursing.  People gave me dirty looks. I ignored them because It wasn’t about them. It was about what was the best decisions my husband and I could make for OUR family. 

            On the other side, I had a WONDERFUL supportive group of moms at my church (some were strictly bottle feeders, some strictly breast, some were like me a mix) and they cheered me on and supported me in whatever decision I made.  I hope that for you that you find at least one mom who will be real with you about the things she has faced.

          • meg

             What happens when you have a baby is that people offer a lot of unsolicited advice, some of which made me feel really guilty.  For example, a friend emailed me a few days after we brought our baby home from the hospital.  Our daughter had spent two weeks in the NICU due to premature birth. She said that she didn’t take her child out at all for the first 4-6 weeks.  I felt so guilty b/c I had taken our baby out to an Easter dinner when she was 3 weeks old.  All of this goes to say that you are the mother and you know what is best for your baby and your family.

          • guest

            congrats on your upcoming bundle of joy! please don’t be scared of what others will think. that is the number one peice of advice i give to new moms; there will always be people with their opinions and judgements, but as long as you do what works for you and your family, as long as you feel you are being the best mother you can be, there is no room left for judgement.
             i have two healthy boys, 7 and 4, and another baby on the way. while  i was lucky enough to be able to stay home for a year after each of my boys was born, and lucky enough to have a good experience breast feeding, i don’t think it’s the only or best way. when it comes to breastfeeding, the only fact i agree with is that it’s cheaper. everything else is opinion on the matter!
            my older son has sever food allergies to wheat, eggs, nuts, oats, barley, rye, lentils, beans… he was diagnosed at 3 months of age by blood tests, after otherwise unexplained bleeding rashes and vomiting. and i decided to continue to breastfeed, which meant cutting all of the offending foods out of my diet. it wasn’t easy, and even breastfeeding was extremely painful. adding to that, my family and friends werent’ supportive, saying that i should make it easy and formula feed. i wasn’t sure what the effects would be since he has all the allergies, i couldn’t afford the special allergen free formulas, and even when i tried it, he hated it. i did what i had to, as a mother.
            when i had my second son, i had the vaccine battle with everyone. i vaccinated my oldest on the reccommended schedule from the pediatrician. with my second, i had read so many articles that “possibly” linked vaccines to food allergies (and autism). were they sound articles and research? who knows. but it was enough to get me to find the dr sears vaccine book and make my own educated decisions. i ended up deciding to vaccinate on a delayed schedule and omit some of the ones i felt unneccary for our lifestyle and where we live. the dr nustedder (sp?) book scared and outraged me, i felt it was his way or the highway with that one. the dr sears book tells you what ingredients are in each vaccine, what the side effects are of each ingredient and a ton of other info i was unable to find in any other book in an unbiased format.
             people, although most of the time they are trying to be “helpful” make it hard to stand true to your gut feelings, especially when you are a new mom and your hormones are still raging and you’re not sleeping well. life changes, so cut yourself some slack and grow a thick skin :) finally on my third pregnancy, i can say i don’t care what people say. i smile or not, and ignore. wishing you the best of luck with your baby and in motherhood!
            ps, when my son had the bleeding rashes i also tried the cloth daipers. i couldn’t handle it. does that make me a bad mother? NO. does it make my carbon footprint bigger? YES, and i’ll own it.

          • Vilijas

            @73bfe4eb33a2ab0ca751bab1a4a44f99:disqus – you should check with your district about time to pump. This may not be something that they advertise, but I know in my district there are daily allowances for new moms who have returned to work to get coverage in their classrooms so that they can pump. Check with HR and possibly your union rep (if you are represented in a union). This is something I learned of recently and something I plan to take full advantage of when the time comes. I too am a high school teacher and was relieved to find out that a co-worker has enough time during lunch to go down the street to her daughter’s day care to feed her baby. Best of luck to you.

        • Meg

           I agree.  My daughter was born at 34 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the NICU.  I wish nursing her was easy, but since she was so small at birth, they had to give her a bottle immediately to help her gain weight.  Now she’s thriving, at over 3 weeks old, and putting on a lot of weight with the help of the bottle.  I pump all day long but I’m sure there will come a time when my supply won’t keep up with her appetite.  All that matters is that we do our best and the baby is healthy, even if that means bottle feeding and formula. 

      • DR

        Ha!  I also have graduate degrees, a good immune system and was formula fed.  No clue that I wasn’t breastfed.  :)   But, that said, I have endured breastfeeding and got through the incredible pain of the first 5 weeks and have LOVED the convenience of it.  Of course, it’s not convenient when Daddy gets to sleep because only one of you has boobs, but other than that…awesome.  But, hey, here are two women who weren’t breastfed that are totally fine!  :)   Gotta just do what works for you and not worry about the stigma.  Me?  I was just too stubborn to quit breastfeeding…although I did consider it…

      • Lindsay

        Both my twin brother and I were breastfed. Mum’s choice, she managed with two easily despite being in a fire and having 45% burns including on her torso (This happened a year and a half before I was born). Breastfeeding hurt her because of the scars but she did it for us because she believed it was best. However, my other brother, who was born a year later, refused to latch on. My mother tried desperately to get him to take the breast but he would not! She had managed it with two babies whilst undergoing treatment at a burns unit yet couldn’t do it with one! Let’s face it, some babies are just pesky and picky and will not latch on no matter what you do. I merely came across this website because I was looking for some advice for a friend, I have enjoyed the reading of comments and opinions. As someone who is yet to be a mum, my opinion stands that breast is best and I will immunize my children. I am pro jabs and pro boobs!

    • Emily

      I’d hate to be smarter than I already am, lol

    • Stillnursingnumberthree

      I agree with Josette79 about the support.  It does not have to be about IQ and other standards that make some mothers fail bad if they don’t continue breastfeeding.  It is difficult getting started with breastfeeding for both mother and child (it is easier with subsequent children, but it takes time with each child to develop the nursing relationship).  But once the breastfeeding relationship is established it can be one of the most fulfilling relationships you ever have.  I nursed each subsequent child longer than the one before it and I cherish the closeness I’ve shared with each child.  It takes a lot of support to get started and it can be quite painful and time consuming in the beginning.  But the pain only lasts a couple of weeks and the number of feedings start to decrease in frequency and length after a few months.  Forget what experts say and follow your heart on this one–it is about the relationship.  Consider if breastfeeding through the difficult times is worth the relationship you will foster before calling it quits.  If you feel that there is a better way to bond with your child, then I would think that you could stop breastfeeding without any shame, ridicule, or whatever negative impression mothers who don’t breastfeed seem to be held up to.

      • Janeen

         With my first, the pain lasted almost 15 weeks. I was taking ibuprofen (and sometimes Tylenol as well) around the clock that whole time just to be able to BEAR nursing. I have no idea why it was that way, I went to lactation consultants NUMEROUS times only to be told in the end that I should just maybe put her on formula to which my response was, “Not an option.” It was absolutely horrible. It did go away. I did finally find a group online where there were a couple of moms who had gone through what I had and was told that it WOULD get better but that it could take as long as three months. By then, I was about to that point so I was able to hang in there a little longer and lo and behold, it did finally get better. But it doesn’t always take “just a couple of weeks”. And it CAN get worse. I not only had pain at the onset of latching but I also had thrush and later on, I had what is known as nipple blanching when the nipple would suddenly go white and a searing white hot pain would go through the nipple if I got chilled at all. So I didn’t even have to be nursing to have the pain. I made it through mostly because my husband wouldn’t let me give up but I remember resenting him at the time for it too and threatening him with a vacuum cleaner hose to show him just what it felt like! Fortunately, nursing with baby number two was MUCH easier! But then I had nursed her older sister until ten weeks before she was born so there wasn’t much of a break.

        • badstory-goodending

          That is so amazing that you stuck through all of that! You are a hero! I also had those kind of problems and chose to pump and had to supplement with formula. It was the best option for my family because a) I NEVER at any point produced enough milk to feed my children b) I leaked constantly. I would just finish feeding the babies (or pumping for 30 mins on ONE side) and 5 mins after finishing I was slowly leaking again. Baby wouldn’t be hungry and you can’t keep a pump attached to your boob 24/7 to catch it all so a lot of milk was wasted in cloths or whatever else I stuffed in my bras. I tried tight fitting bras, pushing on my nipples with my hands to stop the let down, and nothing worked. Also everytime I just let down I was in tears sobbing from the pain just from that. My nipples were bleeding and bruised just from pumping. It was all over a horrible experience. Please people do NOT make a mother feel bad for choosing formula, you do not know what she went through to make that choice and you don’t have her body to know what is wrong. I was told in the hospital by a nurse that “good mothers breastfeed” when I said I didn’t want to breastfeed, that I wanted to pump. I have no idea what the big deal was. If a baby is getting the milk THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT. End of story. 

          • Alauna

            I think that I also had Reynaud’s, my nipples would go white and the pain was excrutiating.  I had an extremely hard time with breastfeeding.  I developed candida in my breasts after a round of antibiotics following complications after my son’s traumatic birth.  I somehow fought thru it for almost 8 months.  I finally got improvement with an intensive probiotic and some homeopathics.  I went on to nurse my son til he was over 2 years of age.  I think part of it was I wanted to ensure that he remembered a postive nursing relationship rather than the stressful painful version we endured for the first part of his life.  Now that he is weaned I miss it.  It is a very special relationship.  Kudos to all those mom’s who fought thru coutless challenges to nurse their babies.

        • Akbonita

          Janeen- you sound like you have Reynauds of the nipple, an extremely painful condition I have too. It is highly treatable with a medication (nifedipine) that is safe while BF & pregnant. It’s only very recently been recognized and most people have never heard of it. No one in my la leche league group had or circle of women, but as soon as I describe it someone always knows someone who had the same symptoms. Reynauds was previously thought to only affect the other extremities, but your nipple is an extremity! It is primarily brought on by cold and also stress, nipple blanches completely chalk white (all blood has left it) and you’ll experience severe pain that is often like a hot poker like feeling or being stabbed.

          • Ange

             Oh my goodness! I am glad someone finally gave me an answer. For the first 3-4 months of my daughters life (she is now 3 1/2) I had this. My ob checked for thrush as did our pediatrician, we didn’t have it. They just assumed I was experiencing (as did I, being a first-time mom) normal nursing pain. I would stand with my back to the shower, clutching my breasts for as long as possible to not experience the pain. I was so terrified for my son to be born because I was afraid it was going to happen again. Thankfully, I really did just get the normal breastfeeding discomfort (and after that initial reaction, this definitely was just discomfort for me) that a little extra nipple babying took care of.

        • Schoonersam

           Yup, sounds very familiar.  I started out with vicious engorgement which made it really hard for my daughter to latch (which of course compounded the engorgement), and then had the thrush… for a really long time.  The only thing that helped was to always have some light pressure on my nipples – I literally wore a bra 24-7 (or a belly band – turns out those things make good halter tops post-partum) for over 9 months!  The pain of breastfeeding may last only a few weeks for some, just like on day one of the second trimester some women feel great, but pre and post natal is different for everyone.  We do what we can…
          Love the vacuum cleaner hose :) !

    • doing the best i can

      Breastfeeding isn’t the best option if it makes mom stressed, unhappy or resent baby. The best thing for baby is a positive experience… so whether it is formula or breastmilk… or any other controversial choice. A happy mom is the aspect that has the biggest effect on baby.

      • Lydia

        To “doing the best i can” . . . this is EXACTLY what I was thinking and you put it so elegantly.  Diddo! 

    • Rivka

      I will go on record that, in my experience, breastfeeding is a HUGE inconvenience. After being unsuccessful at nursing it was a huge relief to bottle feed and I found it amazingly convenient. Sorry to burst your bubble but you don’t HAVE to sterilize anything that goes in baby’s mouth. We never sterilized for either of our kids, and they have never been sick with an infection (only cold viruses from other kids). Also we never bothered to warm up the bottle to “the perfect temperature” – they quickly developed a preference for cold milk. Also “every 2 hours” is not a reality for bottle feeders, as they go longer between feeds – 3 to 4 hours. Plus with formula we were able to continue our kid-free date night once a week, which has helped keep us (and our marriage) happy and refreshed. So for my family, bottle feeding has been THE BEST.

      • http://www.ipandora.net music2myear

         Completely agree. Kid’s'll get along with what you give them. Our first was *easy*, sleeping 5 hours his first night (much to the nurse’s consternation), always eating well (my wife breastfed) and growing like a pumpkin in the garden. Second one was intent on doing it all her own way, coming out awkwardly (via c-section due to transverse layout and risk of prolapse at the end of the pregnancy) and then having trouble breastfeeding beginning around 4 months. At 6 months we switched to bottles and it was amazing. Now expecting our third in a couple days, my wife is completely willing to keep formula and bottles around. She’ll try to primarily breastfeed, but hey, life needs living, and sometimes what is best for the mother’s sanity is what is best for the child, whether or not they appreciate it at the moment.

        Either way, my wife’s an overcomer, a winner, and one beautiful momma. :)

      • Mollyfee

         I don’t think it’s very good advice to tell ppl you don’t have to sterilize…  And every baby is different so while yours may have slept a long time between feeding doesn’t mean another baby that is fed formula will…  However I’m glad that you were able to be a happy mommy/baby combo after finding out that you couldn’t breastfeed… 

        • Hillychele

          My son was sleeping threw the night by doctors standards at 3 weeks old. And has ever since. A friend of mine though breast feeds and her son still wakes up every two hours and he’s almost a year old. I think formula does keep them fuller. But I would have loved to have breast fed. I wasn’t able. And we also didn’t sterilize everything. My sister had a doctor to tell her that if the pacifier hits the ground give it back to your child. The more ” germs” they get the better their immune systems before. So every true my son has been sick 1 time in two years of his life and he’s around kids all the time with fevers or throwing up or what not. It’s because I didn’t turn him into a germaphobe.

          But remember this is my opinion. We all have them.

          • Mama2Hapas

             My daughter started sleeping through the night at 3 weeks, and was  only breastfed.  Formula keeps them fuller only if they can’t digest it, and ultimately that can cause major problems with allergies in the future.  There’s more to breastfeeding than convenience or supposedly higher IQ’s. 

          • Emily Rice

            Sleep is more about the child than the food. I breastfed my kids exclusively for at least 6 months, and they were both sleeping through the night (11pm – 4am, then right back to sleep from 4:15-8am) by the time they were 6 weeks old. This isn’t because I was “scheduling” their feeds – I fed totally on demand. They just naturally adopted a schedule that’s said to be more common in formula fed babies. 

          • FoyUpdate

            From what I’ve read, formula does take longer to digest if it is based on cow’s milk because it has more protien.  Human milk has more sugars.  It would make sense that formula fed babies go longer between feedings.

          • Jw Vanbeek

            Hello people:  Here’s a news flash – every single baby on the face of the earth is an individual, from birth to death, and so are the parents.  Every single situation is different.  Every parent needs to choose the best for them.  Leave them alone, and keep your opinions, (because that’s what they are) to yourself.  Thank you (from a mom who wasnt able to breastfeed for long, and feel absolutely no guilt!

      • Berdie

        I did not sterilize bottles or heat formula to “perfect” temp either. I figured the dishwasher got them extremely clean since it gets so hot, and I used powdered formula, so I just made sure the tap water temp was reasonable, generally tepid. My mom thought I was nuts, particularly about the not sterilizing. I figured if a stray germ managed to find its way onto the bottle between the time I washed it and the time I prepared the formula in it, that would help to develop their immune systems. They were not newborns -both of my kids started on formula at 3 months because my milk dried up. I did prefer breastfeeding, it was more convenient, free, and I had few difficulties with it, until I rather suddenly simply couldn’t do it anymore. But I never once felt guilty about switching to the bottle. Why on earth would I ever feel guilty about not letting my children starve?

    • Babymomma

      I just want to add this for fun, in case there is someone else going through what I went through so they don’t feel alone, because sometimes I still feel really guilty.  Both of my kids have been way easy to breastfeed (don’t hate me yet, keep reading).  They latched great and I almost always had enough milk.  With my little boy, his reflux was almost unbearable and the amount of laundry I was doing daily and my constant worry about how much he threw up finally overcame me.  I switched him to a special formula and our lives have been night and day different. He is much happier and so am I, mostly.  I still feel guilty that I didn’t just stick with breastfeeding because it actually worked well as far as the actual function of breastfeeding goes.  I just hope I’ve done the right thing, but it gets really difficult for me when I hear often how breast milk is best, yet my son didn’t tolerate it well but was still thriving.  It almost makes me mad that I’ve been able to nurse so well, yet it still didn’t “work,” for us.

      • Meghan’s Mommy

        My baby has bad relux as well – we even have her on reflux medicine twice a day and have since she was about a month old.  Even so I have had to be on a very retricted diet due to her intolerance for dairy. I have had a pretty rough time eating when I can’t have any dairy, and there are several other foods I avoid because they seem to cause her discomfort, but I have to say I have lost a ton of weight so I try to focus on that and remember that I am doing it for her and that it isn’t forever.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with switching to formula if your little one has a lot of sensitivity like yours and mine so – it is a personal choice and I think we both are doing what is right for us. 

    • Corrie

      yeah it is painful. I’m glad I tried (feel like I can do anything now) but it wasn’t for me. It RUINED my boobs. Wish I had never done it but… Oh well. Good sacrafice for my little one.

      • Juliekraemer

        Your boobs would have been ruined anyways…  pregnancy and gravity.  Don’t say that breastfeeding ruined them.  It’s part of birthing and growing old that your boobs are ruined. 

        • Lindsey

          How do you know her boobs would’ve been ruined?  Sometimes breastfeeding IS has harsher effects on breasts than bottlefeeding.  

    • Nora’s Mommy

      I’ve been in pain breastfeeding for 7 months, so it does not become painless for everyone. But I am doing it anyway, as it’s best for her.

      • Juliekraemer

        Really, there shouldn’t be pain.  At first, yes, but that should go away quickly – - no more than a few weeks.  Do you think your baby could have thrush?  That would cause continued pain to you.  I would check it out with either a doctor or a lactation consultant because you should not be having pain at 7 months.  

      • EH

        With my second and third babies, I breastfed them and it was painful every time until I stopped nursing at 15 months and 13 months. I went to a lactation nurse several times with both kids. The pain did lessen after a couple months but never totally went away. There was just a problem with their latches that never went away. Don’t feel bad you aren’t the only one. Sometimes it just goes that way!

      • Meghan’s Mommy

        I am at 6 months and it is still painful for me as well.  Part of the problem is that my little one gets distracted easily and pulls away without letting go first  – OUCH!!  This is a pretty normal occurence at most of our feedings, no matter how quiet the room is, but I am sticking with it for now.

    • Anonymous

       Hitler was breast fed.

    • Guest

       Josette, although some people were offended by your statement, I felt your post informative and nonjudgmental.   For those who were offended, they may need to read more closely or certainly less emotionally. 

      You are right that breastfeeding  is not for everyone.  But everything you said is true.  It is more convenient, at least FOR ME.  I think it wouldn’t be inconvenient unless you are away from the baby a lot.   I work from home, and it is easy.  Baby is supplemented with formula when I leave her with someone, or if she acts hungry still after she is finished at the breast during her last feeding or if she is fussy–no guilt here, this is what works for me!  And her! 

      Any doctor who tells you formula is BETTER for baby is a quack(unless there is another underlying problem, like a milk allergy, gerd, etc.).  It is better for the baby in SO MANY WAYS.  I think many moms let the truth of this fact create guilt with them, when ANY amount of breastfeeding they were able to accomplish should be celebrated!    And what they accomplished should not be overshadowed by any guilt from switching to formula!

  • emilyn

    This is a fantastic post.  My daughter (also named Madeline) is 7 months old now.  Here are a few additional things that have helped me:

    1. Don’t compare you’re baby to other babies (including babies authors use as examples in sleep books), especially older babies.  There were a lot of other people with babies around me when my daughter was born and far too often I would think “why isn’t my baby sleeping that long?” or “why isn’t my baby going that long between meals?” 

    2. Middle of the night feedings are rough in terms of sleep, but so nice for snuggling.  I learned to appreciate that those times were just me and my baby, with no other distractions or things that had to get done.  Don’t get me wrong though, I wouldn’t want to go back to that now (I’m very content that my daughter is sleeping through the night on most nights).

    3. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it.  It’s also okay to tell people no when you need a calmer atmosphere for your baby (similar to your #9).

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      Great name. ;)  And great advice!  With a new little one I too often get into the trap of comparing my kids to each other (oh no!).  As in, “But his sister was saying like 20 words by this age!”  With lots of grace and deep cleansing breaths – we’ll all be just fine. :)

  • Tthornhill

    I would add…
    11.Sometimes the first year goes into the second year and almost into the third year before light begins to shine at the end of a tunnel. Lose expectations once you add a baby to the mix of life they all should be tossed out the window.
    12.Mothers support eachother, love eachother, we are not in competition. Just because your child slept throught the night since birth and another moms child doesn’t - does not mean the other mother is doing something wrong. 
    13. Love yourself, this is a job/life calling like nothing you have ever experienced before. There are no easy answers, quick fixes but in the end it will all be worth it!

    • Guest

      I especially like your #12. It’s very disheartening to see mothers argue! As moms, we have the most important job in the world! It is stressful, emotionally and physically draining, and neverending. Moms have so much to worry about as it is, and anyone who is doing their best to raise a child should be supported, rather than lectured about their every decision. Education is one thing, but there are so many moms putting other moms down. So support each other!

  • Stephanie

    Breastfeeding isn’t suppose to hurt if you’re doing it correctly….just sayin

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      I’ve heard this a lot – but I just don’t know – both of my kids had an AWESOME latch, but I was still pretty sore for the first two weeks!  After that, you’re right – pain free!  (Unless I went for too long without nursing.  Ouch!)  :)

      • New Grandma

        I’m sure I breastfed my two correctly (they grew a lot) and I’m very sure those cracked bleeding nipples for a period there definitely hurt! Not to mention when they test out their gums by clamping! Well done, great advice.

        • Chelle P.

          I wasn’t going to say anything because I don’t want to be one of THOSE moms, but I was thinking that breastfeeding never hurt me at all, never even a little bit (my guy is still going at it at 18 mos.) but then new grandma reminded me about the clamping….YOW!  He still does it sometimes when he’s distracted or surprised and it’s quite the experience now that he has a mouthful of teeth :)

          • Gwen’s mom

            My daughter bit me a couple of times hard enough to break the skin, but the poor thing wasn’t doing it on purpose. However, she is 25 months old, and I’m 8 weeks pregnant – the pain of nursing with pregnancy boobs is enough for me to throw in the towel. I know I’m going to miss it, but I’ll be doing it soon enough again!

    • Forhim76

      It does. I had a lactation consultant. Did it properly. Still hurt till I toughened up. Maybe some just have tougher skin there than others…

    • blue eyed boy

      I would have to disagree, sometimes it still hurts.  I visited with multiple lactation consultants and they both said my little boy had a great latch and everything was good.  I tried every position, and it still hurt for the furst 8-10 weeks.  Then it got better… until that first tooth came in… then it got better, and luckily the subsequent teeth didn’t cause him to use me as a teething toy.

    • you have how many(7)

      I’ve heard this many times.  As a mother of 7 all breastfed.  Each was different.  Sometimes I had enough milk, sometimes not.  One child really easy, little pain, another couldn’t wait to be done and cracked and bled for months.  Some breastfed for 14-15 mo others 8.  Each mother and each child is different.  We all want what is best for our children.  That will be different for each child and mother and NOBODY but you can know what that is.  Your child is Yours not theirs.  Your decision, not guilt required.

    • Deb

      Each breastfeeding experience is different depending on the child and mother. Just sayin.

  • Danielle6175

    GREAT article.  A “pearl” I learned the hard way is this:  If at all possible; avoid making ANY MAJOR life decisions for the first 2 years after you’ve had a baby.  Everything physiologically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and so on is adjusting and being taxed on a new level.  It’s very easy to not “see the forest through the trees” in this phase and take a swan dive off a cliff you were never intended to base jump.  

    • Courtney Mykins

      Ugh wish id known that. In 2 years I’ve had 2 kids, gotten married, and bought a house. And most of the time I’ve fellt like I’ve been having a SEVERE identity crisis. So yeah, one thing at a time.

    • just another mommy

      I completely agree with this, and you are right if its possible. Unfortunately its not always possible. My husband got deployed to Afghanistan two months after our son was born. So here we are two brand new parents, family coming to visit, friends coming by, trying to see all our friends before they had to leave and trying to move out of our house. Sometimes life really just wants to throw you curve balls when you are already stretched too thin. One thing that I really recommend is, if you can’t avoid the major decisions, or life changes, make sure you have that support system. I was blessed with my sister-in-law/best friend who came out the day before my husband was leaving to help with the house and with the baby. The day my husband left she helped me with all the last minute stuff and then personally drove us to her house to stay for a couple weeks. She was the light at the end of my tunnel. (Besides baby, he got me through everything) But she was such a rock. Because here I was a young mother 1500 miles away from my own mom and she swooped in and helped even though she lived almost 3 hours away. She helped me get into a routine for myself to keep my mind off all the things that could happen, and when mommy just needed a break she was there to help. And you’re support system doesn’t have to be other mom friends, although they are great to have because they can relate, my SIL wasn’t a mom she was just my best friend. You’re support system should be anyone that you can rely on and that is willing to help you in any way. That’s what best friends are for, and Mom’s. My mom flew down shortly after to help me move back in with her for the duration of the deployment. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, or a bad mother, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. In fact, in my opinion you’re doing something right. Sometimes Mom gets so overwhelmed that she can’t see straight, don’t be afraid to put baby down and/or ask someone else to take them. Take a few minutes to cool off, go for a walk. Baby wakes up in the middle of the night for a routine feeding, but thinks its time to hang out instead of going to bed? I don’t know about you but I let my husband sleep because he worked hard hours as a marine and had a decent drive to work every morning, but let me tell you when baby thought it was party time at 3am and I was at my wits end, I woke him up and asked him to please take the baby for just a little bit, so I could cool off because we’ve been at it for almost 2 hours. And he always did. You’re support will come from many people, know who they are so you can call them in the middle of the night if you have to. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, as much as we’d like to, we cannot do everything. Mommy’s need time outs too. 

      My son is now a healthy, happy, and extremely witty 3 year old. Daddy is also home and out of the Marines. And our support system has only grown since we’ve all gotten home. Because Mommy still needs a time out every once in a while, and so does Daddy. In fact, so does baby.  ;-)

  • Delicia

    I was sitting with a friend at yet another band concert for one of our teenagers.  We both sighed and laughed.  She looked at me and said, “I am so ready for my kids to be grown.”  I assured her that I was too!  Is that horrible?!  I told her not to misunderstand me.  I would step in front of a moving train for my children, but this mothering thing is hard work, and I am tired!  I am ready for my mothering skills to be put to the test as they progress to responsible and kind young adults.  Other moms just don’t tell you how incredibly hard it is physically, emotionally, and mentally to be a parent.  They also don’t tell you how very rewarding it is when all of your hard work pays off.  I am ready for that day.   Thanks for the post on the first year.  It brought back bittersweet memories of my babies.

  • Happy Mother, tired Woman.

    Remember, no child or parent is perfect.  We all learn and grow at different rates.    Don’t let other parents tell you your child should be doing such and so at this time or is doing another thing too soon.   My Mother told me children will put their full energy into learning one thing at a time and other things (like house cleaning) will have to wait.   They all get there eventually.  

  • Nicolemc02

    I found your blog via pinterest…read things to tell your teenage daughter….then clicked to this post. Absolutely what I needed to hear. I’m a mother of two (4 & 2) with one on the way. I cried, literally. Your attitude is like mine, but it was great to hear it from someone else…I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok. So…thank you.

    • Kprestera

      I cried too! Mine is due in approx 6 weeks!

      • Becky

         Congrats! Mine’s due in 9 weeks! Just what (and when!) I needed to read!

  • Blog

    My first time breastfeeding was tough for a couple weeks but VERY convenient. The second time was an absolute breeze. Everyone has a different experience every time, but everyone should try it:)!

  • Nancy J

    The best tip I ever got when my girls were little was :  If they’re crabby, put them in water.   Essentially, when they are crying or fussy and you just can’t seem to soothe them often times a warm bath will do the trick.  I think the change of environment just sort of snaps them out of it.

    • FoyUpdate

      I do that for me! If I am crabby, put me in a bathtub.  It’s one of the reasons I’m considering a waterbirth.  Wather is soothing.  :)   I’ll have to remember that for my kid as well. 

  • Terri

    Great post! I learned #1 the hard way, because I rocked my first to sleep and never put her down until she was totally asleep. Imagine my surprise when I was visiting a friend and she laid her daughter down in about five min.! My daughter wouldve never fallen asleep on her own. Boy, did I change my ways with my second. I would actually move her bassinet with one hand to vacuum under it with the other. That child could sleep through anything!

  • meagan

    im a momma of a four and twelve year old and its good to remeber :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=741663220 Audrey Ellen Cook

     Your words are beautiful and so true. Well said Mama! I would add only practical advice:
    1. Don’t buy any baby/pregnancy items new. Wait until after your shower (if you have one) then use the power of social media/friends/family/church groups etc.  to put the word out about what you need. Whatever hasn’t trickled in for free, buy used. Spending loads of money to buy things your beautiful precious child will poop, pee, and spit up on is ridiculous.  Your child won’t know the difference. The things that survive can be passed on to bless someone else! Planned obsolescence is detrimental to the earth and our wallets. Splurge instead on some lovely clothes for your post baby body, because you deserve to feel and look good, plus you won’t poop or pee on them:)
    2. If your child has a blankie or precious lovie of some sort, try to have it be something that you can buy/make two of. One to wash, one to use or misplace.  And swap them out regularly so that they are equally worn, rumpled, smelly and loved. Try not to let them know this though, then when they sneak theirs off to college, you can secretly take the other one out of a trunk and hug it every so often;)
    3. LILY PADZ (how apropos!) If you are planning to breastfeed, this is the one thing to buy new. Get some soft absorbent nursing pads for those first few tender weeks, and then Lily Padz will be your best friend. You won’t ever have to look like you have tobacco cans hidden in your bra, or have one slip out into your armpit and work it’s way down your sleeve…http://www.lilypadz.com/
    4. I share your crib sheet method but take it one further, layer waterproof pad, sheet, waterproof pad, sheet. That way if there is wetness in the middle of the night you can whip the top two layers off and not have to fumble around in a state of half-sleep. I actually do this with my own bed, matress pad, sheets, matress pad, sheets. I only own two sets, I keep the other set of pillow cases folded and stuck between the mattress and box spring. That way they don’t take up space in a cupboard and I never have to fold a fitted sheet. I’ve watched Martha Stewart’s tutorial and I still can’t get it right. I wash the top set once a week and if I don’t get them put back on by the end of the day, no biggie, it’s already made!
    5. Don’t read too many parenting books until they are older and have specific challenges that you really need help with. You will be hormonally predisposed to obsessing and there is TOO MUCH INFO out there.  The only essentials for baby rearing are : Secrets of The Baby Whisperer (and her follow up toddler book), Super Baby Food, Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breasts, and Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott (easy to read a page or two at a time while nursing, read it aloud so your baby can listen to your voice, made me laugh and cry in a good way.) Obsessing over how you are parenting your baby is just time you could be spending cuddling and rocking, or sleeping!!! You are genetically designed to be your child’s mother, and they your child. Trust that you are the best person for the job, and they are the best person for theirs, you will know what does and doesn’t feel right.
    6. Find Mom friends, join a group if you can. You will need your comrades in arms. If you have a hard time finding them, don’t be afraid to approach another new mom you see at the store and see if they could use a Mom friend. Chances are, they could. But also, don’t leave behind your friends that don’t have kids yet, make a point to go out with them. Try to remember that even though motherhood changes you forever, it doesn’t obliterate who you were before, just augments and enhances it. Don’t lose sight of yourself:) Easier said than done, but it bears saying. A lot.

    Okay, I think I’m just rambling now. Off the soapbox. Keep up the good work all you mamas out there!!!

    • Charmed

      I love #2 & #5! Mine are 18, 10, 8, & 7, and I wish I had read this 18 years ago. :-)

    • EH

      GREAT IDEA with the sheets on your own bed. My husband gets mad all the time because I am always fumbling around the night I do our sheets to get the clean ones back on!

    • Lindsey

      Except for diapers.  Please buy new diapers. :)

  • Lulu

    I would add:
    11.  Do what works for you and your baby.  Every mom and every baby is different.  So what if Sally Jane down the street sticks to a schedule??  If that doesn’t work for you, find what does and do that.  Your baby and your circumstances are different.
    12.  Make choices you can live with.  Whether you choose to vaccinate or not, nurse or bottle-feed- just make decisions that you are comfortable living with.  Some issues can become very passionate and heated when you discuss them with others.  Everyone thinks their way is best…and it is- for THEM.  Weigh both sides of everything.  And if someone has an issue with the way you do things, refer back to number 11. :)

    • NewMom

      So true, Lulu, on both accounts. Looking at the back-and-forth above from those advocating breastfeeding and those who tried and could not (and in some cases, unfairly beating themselves up about it). Clearly, what you contribute is relevant and wise. 

  • Tthornhill

    It makes me sad the pressure we as women put on ourselves. To breastfeed or formula feed, cloth or diaper, cry it out don’t cry it out. We LOVE our children and want the very best for our babies/children. I breastfeed our first it drained the life out of me. I pumped in between, took medication, met with lactation consultants all becasue I wanted to give her the best. Little did I know until our second baby that I didn’t make enough milk, so I took domperidone to increase my supply. This came through my little milk supply resulting in seizures in our newborn.  To give her the best, partly for me and the other part due to the pressure that breast is best I unknowingly put her at risk. So for the mothers out there that can’t or just don’t want to, be proud of yourselves. We all want healthy, happy babies and with a lot of hard work and love will all succeed!!!

  • Coffeegrlkac

    I love your honesty and transparency. I wish I would have known about this blog when my girls were infants. It is so refreshing to see others mom’s being real about the baby experience. It’s not perfect and all bliss. Having a baby is challenging in so many ways. It seems like there is this unrealistic idea that motherhood is blissful and perfect. And if your not having the perfect experience some thing is wrong. So not true! Becoming a mother was one of the most challenging experiences I have been through, but one of the best.
    I have three girl spaced 15 months apart. So I am very busy, but I really enjoy watching them grow. My life wouldn’t be complete without them.

  • Donnamarie60

    I’ll add enjoy these sleepiness nights….the sleepiness nights you’ll have when they are teenagers driving will be much much longer!!!  

    Every single year, every single stage is a blessing.  Smile through each one!!  

    Donna (mom of 23 year old daughter and 19 year old son)

  • momsrcool2

    I just love this article. What I would like to add is that so many mothers think or feel that the birth of a child means that their world has to stop. So many women do not finish their education or quit their job. Always remember that are are going to grow up quick. Dont leave yourself incomplete after your children are grown. Continue to improve yourself and take note that you can be mom and an educated woman with a gteat job at the same time.

    • Molly

      I quit my job and I don’t see it as my world coming to a stop. I see it as being blessed that my husband is able to support us so I can raise my baby myself I stead of paying strangers to do it while I’m away all day. Not meant in a nasty tone, BTW. Just my 2¢ :)

      • vanessa

        I also quit my job AND I postponed/prolonged my graduate program.  My world certainly didn’t stop; it just changed.  You are right, momsrcool2, they grow up quickly.  I will have plenty of time to head back to work and get more education later.  I waited my whole life for these little people, so I am going to soak them up as much as possible, while I can.  Every mom has to do what is right for her and her family: keep working, get an education, or stay home.  Do what works for you.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/17randomness17 Ashley Abbott

    I’m not a mother, and I’m only in high school, so I don’t really know anything about this, apart from watching my mom with my two little sisters, but I find this list very true, and I was reading some of the comments and people are referring to all sorts of studies and whatnot, and I just want to say that you really have to remember to check out the study before you believe it.. Some studies turn out to be disproved, or not a good study in the first place. In Quebec there was once a study that the MMR vaccine increased your child’s chance of autism. A lot of people believed that, and didn’t give their kids the shot.. Then it was disproved, and (big surprise) there was a mumps outbreak, shortly followed my a measles outbreak. So take everything with a grain of salt. Another thing I wanted to remind you guys is that everything your child learns comes from many many factors. Just because a child is breastfed doesn’t mean they’re going to be smarter than the child who was formula fed and read to every night, and who’s teachers were met and grades encouraged, if they were just left to do what they pleased with their school life. And do try not to compare, my sisters (6 and 3) are read to every night and lied with until they fall asleep, and my cousins (6,5 and 2) will sleep if you leave them alone. It seems so much more convenient to me, but there are other aspects in which my mom seems to do it the better way. Everyone’s different, and everyone was born to reproduce, so most of the time your way is a right way.

    • Lydia

      Ashley Abbott!  You are wise beyond your years!!

  • Ada

    Love this! I would add, there will always be an over zealous mom or dad that just “knows” that how you are doing it is wrong and how they are doing it is right. I have found that it is good to listen with an open mind and take what you can from the conversation, and don’t add any comments. Especially the really zealous people, because you will never change their mind and they may push you to loose yours on them! Lol. There is nothing so personal as raising your children. I am  a single mom, and goodness knows I don’t do everything right, but at the end of the day if I made more right decisions than wrong ones, and I learn from the wrong ones…then I guess we’ll both be ok!
    I breastfed and cloth diapered, and at 12 months when he was still up every 2 hours to nurse, I totally let him cry it out. In a week he was sleeping soundly through the night. I know there is so much controversy, but it worked for us and now we are both well rested each day which makes me a better mom! I used to feel like people would judge me, but honestly, all I care about is how my son’s little life is, no one else with a disapproving comment was there for every feeding for a year still working and paying bills and breastfeeding him. That was me, his mama :-) Life is good! And sleep….ah sleep is the currency of motherhood. I trade all sorts of things for the good stuff! lol.

    • Lburgbandmom2011

      “Sleep is the currency of motherhood”… Love that!!!

  • 2withcolic1withmilkallergy

    Sorry to disagree about #8 – just because we tell you that we wish we could go back in no way means we think it was easy! For me, at least, it means that they do grow up so very very fast and that sleeping (finally) baby turns into a sullen teen into a new bride in what seems to be a nanosecond.  And then you’re a grandmother. (I am actually tearing up as I write this!) 

  • Jane

    #3. So WRONG!!! There are LOTS of other people in that grocery store. PLEASE be RESPECTFUL.  yes, babies cry, but I can’t tell you how many time i have had my ears blasted and the new mother does NOTHING. Thank you.

    • MarineGurl020412

      Being respectful can both ways. You don’t know if that mom is single for WHATEVER reason (deployment, widowed or simply single) and the grocery shopping still has to be done. Perhaps the child is colicky and will scream no matter what or perhaps that child is special needs….

  • A-mom-hurt-by-breastfeeding

    I’m a new, young, mother. My little girl is almost three months old. I agree with everything you’ve said here. And a lot of the comments too. All I wish to add is my story, I hope you don’t mind.

    I hold such a resentment to any one who says breastmilk is the best and raises IQ and all this other stuff. As though any new mom didn’t already know those things. A lot of people, sometimes not knowing it (Like my daughters father) Put so much pressure  on how good it is,  that they imply that by not doing it, you are a bad mother. No, they don’t always mean to. But they do. My biggest problem with adjusting to motherhood was the breastfeeding. No one told me anything about preparing your nipples for breastfeeding while your pregnant. And from what I’ve heard, it’s extremely important that soon to be moms do this. My mother did not breastfeed because though she was going to, she didn’t produce even colostrum. There was nothing there.  I had decided from the very beginning to breastfeed my baby. It was better than formula in many ways, I didn’t have to worry about bottles, and there were no risks like there are with formula. But Breastfeeding was the hardest thing I have ever done, and still is.  I’m still dealing with the mental damage that breastfeeding caused me. It didn’t only hurt when she was latching on, or during the 15-30 minutes that she was eating. It hurt all day long. And worse, all night long. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach, or even my side. And sleeping on my back, I could never get any restful sleep. And due to a friend giving her a pacifier so she could have time her, rather than giving her back to mommy to eat my little girl started gumming at me rather than sucking, which only made my cracked and bleeding nipples hurt and bleed more. And my little girl, there was no getting her on the boob before she started freaking out and crying, the moment she was awake she was freaking out ready to eat. Even after only half an hour. Just latching her on at that point was stressful. After two weeks, it didn’t matter how calm I started out, I spent every feeding time crying and losing my mind. I couldn’t believe the things I was thinking. I hated baby, and I hated everyone else for not having to go through what I was going through. And worst of all, I hated myself for not being strong enough to do it with out problems, and for wanting to stop. But I kept on trying. Someone ended up giving her some formula because I was so broken down. Afterwards, she didn’t poop for two weeks. The doctors told me she was lactose intolerant, and not gaining enough weight. So I needed to be feeding her even more. Or start feeding her formula. We had to go to a specialist because she wasn’t pooping. And then had to start giving her suppositories. She was having all these problems because I wasn’t strong enough and gave her formula. Everyone kept telling me that breast milk was the best, and she wouldn’t be healthy enough or smart enough without it.  I wasn’t making enough milk. I met with lactation consultants. I started drinking tea that was suppose to help, and started pumping in between feeds. I once sat in the back bedroom while the front room was filled with people visiting, and for two whole hours non stop nursed my daughter. By the time I was done, everyone was gone. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to say hi. I was pumping and nursing round the clock, and it still wasn’t enough. The doctor kept telling me she wasn’t gaining enough weight. we had to put her on a special formula, and even while giving her formula I was breast feeding and pumping. Trying to get her as much breast milk as possible. I tried an SNS Device trying to get her to suck more on the boob in order to help make more. But she wouldn’t take it. And she just kept gumming at me. My nipples still cracked.  After two months. I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so worn down mentally I no longer wanted anything to do with anyone, or anything, least of all babygirl. I was ready to grab a small bag of some clothes and leave. Just leave my baby and her dad and never return. In the end, I just couldn’t make enough milk, no matter what I tried to do. And baby had quickly unlearned how to latch.  It’s only been a few weeks, and I still feel horrible. Every time I give her a bottle I hate myself for not being able to give her the best. For being the reason she has all these digestive problems and has to have some special disgusting smelling formula.  I don’t look forward to going to WIC and telling them I am no longer breastfeeding. I know from my past interactions with them that they will judge me, and think less of me for no longer nursing. I tell others she is only on formula and It’s so easy to tell that they too think less of me. Especially moms who breastfeed and have been doing it so long. I still have not healed from the experience, and I have a unfortunate feelings that it will be a long time before I truly do.

     I think it’s important that people, and other moms, know just how hard it can be for some moms. So they know to be a little more aware of what they say, how they say it. It can be very detrimental to a new mother, rather than helpful. 

    • Mlburks

      Hugs to you. I was there and even though it was 12 years ago, I could cry from the memories. It wasnt until baby #2 when I tried all that and more that I realized I just did not make milk. Them I let go and was able to just enjoy my baby. It will get better and you will forgive yourself.

    • Bambi

       Dear hurt mom,
      Please don’t blame yourself. You did all you could do to make breastfeeding successful. Sometimes, even when we do things the right way, it doesn’t work out. Often, we moms are not able to give our children the best, even though we may know what the best is and  desperately want to give it to them. Then we have to question why it is so important to go for the best and not just good.
      You are a good mother. You are not the reason your little girl has digestive sensitivities. Some kids just do. Just like some kids have awful birthmarks. Not everything that happens with your baby is your fault or your husband’s fault or anyone else’s fault. Stuff just happens. Ask any mother of a child with disabilities.
      Since you are just three months into motherhood, you should also be aware that this is the worst time for post-partum depression. I dealt with this, myself. Please get some medical help. There is no shame in realizing that because of the crazy hormone stuff going on your body has depleted some very important chemicals in your system. Just a few months to a year on an anti-depressant can help you be the mother you want to be…strong, healthy, and joyful (even if you are running on coffee and Dr. Pepper.)

    • Amanda_ludholtz

       Please don’t blame yourself for any issues you had with breastfeeding, or any digestive issues your daughter may have.  You tried, that is more than some people do (and I am not judging them, just saying give yourself some credit!) Your baby girl will be fine with formula! You may not be able to make enough mile for her, and she may have an allergy that makes it so she can’t digest what you give her.  Neither is your fault! I hope you are able to heal, physically and emotionally, from this soon.  The hardest thing I find with motherhood is the stress of being responsible for making the “right” decisions.  Sometimes the decisions we end up making don’t fall into what we thought the “right” category would be.  I hope you daughters father understands the situation and is helping you realize that you are a great mom!  I hope things get better soon!  

    • Molly

      Hurt mom,
      You are very brave. Please talk to your doctor because you don’t have to feel so depressed. Your baby loves you and she will be fine. *hugs*

      I struggled horribly with breast feeding, too. It is so hard! I totally understand.

      I hope you feel better soon.

    • Lydia

      To A-mom-hurt-by-breastfeeding,

      I have devoted my career to studying development.  I teach infant and child development courses at a university setting, I have my masters in child development, and I am less than a year shy of my PhD.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn but I am trying to tell you that I am confident you have done ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong.  You are clearly a warrior.  You tried everything you could and, in the end, chose mental health over breastfeeding with was absolutely the right decision.  Your baby is SO lucky to have a mother that is so extremely devoted to her well-being.  It is so much better to have a happy mother who is not breastfeeding than a COMPLETELY stressed mother who is. 

      Also, although breastfeeding certainly has its advantages, formula these days rocks.  It is SO much improved from what it used to be and your baby will still benefit from the amount of breastfeeding that she did receive. 

      As for WIC, you show know that some mothers who use WIC don’t even bother breastfeeding because they get the otherwise-very-expensive-formula for free!  No one will be shocked that you stopped breastfeeding after a couple of months.  And if someone DOES say something, tell them to mind their own business!  It’s your decision, it’s your life, it’s your baby and you have to trust yourself. 

      Lydia

    • Naomi

      To a mom hurt, I can relate to your story in so many ways. My son just wasn’t getting enough to eat, I was nursing him all day and all night, he wouldn’t sleep unless I nursed him to sleep and then he would fall asleep on me.I wouldn’t move him. I wasn’t getting any sleep, not enough to eat or drink, and I started spiraling downward physically and emotionally. I ended up going to the emergency room because I was getting so weak I thought I was going to die. They just smiled at me and said this is normal for having just had a baby. After about 6 hours of waiting they determined I was dehydrated and gave me fluids then sent me home. My mother in law came to help and suggested giving the baby formula. I was strongly opposed to this, but after seeing the pediatrician I gave in. I refused to give him a bottle (my husband or mother in law would). I still tried everything to nurse and get my milk supply in more strongly. This took me down a really dark path emotionally. I felt like a failure. I resented him. I felt alone and that nobody cared that I was still recovering and had so much new responsibility on top of that. It got to the point I had anxiety about everything and couldn’t function. I couldn’t eat, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, hold my baby, without extreme debilitating anxiety. I couldn’t leave the house or see people. I was paranoid that my husband and mother in law would have me committed. The only thing my husband could do to get me out of bed was threaten to take me back to the emergency room. I started taking antidepressants, but the recovery was very gradual. My mother in law stayed and took care of the baby for a month and when she left I was extremely scared. We made it one day at a time. Things gradually got better and better, but my milk supply never did. I still nursed him every day in the morning until he was 1 year because I couldn’t let go. I always followed it up with a bottle. I knew that was his real food.
      With the birth of my daughter my husband thought we had agreed that we would not try to nurse. It was too much pressure for me. He could help with the night feedings if she was on formula. Turns out I wasn’t ready to give up so easily. I thought maybe this time would be different. We argued in the hospital and when the doctor came in she asked me why I was crying. I explained we were having differences of opinion about whether or not I should try to nurse exclusively. She gave me some excellent advice that really changed the way I thought about nursing. First: even at its very best, nursing can be really hard. Second: we don’t live in a third world country, if your baby is hungry, feed her. Give her food. It doesn’t have to be from the breast. There are excellent baby formulas out there. It is food. Feed your baby.
      I still tried to nurse her every day until 6 months, but again, that was for me, not for her. I think she got about a teaspoon of my milk each day. Again, even without this added pressure to nurse, even on antidepressants, I found I couldn’t eat, get out of bed, take care of myself or my baby. I had post partum depression and I couldn’t put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. My babies are now 6 and almost 3. I still put pressure on myself, but I have an incredible husband who helps me through. We are still traumatized when it comes to having to care for a newborn. I feel the anxiety creep up when a baby cries in my arms. We’re not sure we can go through this ever again.

    • Blndbmb

      As a mom who breastfed and does suggest it, I am equally offended by constantly being reminded that not everyone can do it. We know that, it doesn’t stop us from advocating it. I’m not the kind to sugar coat it and say its perfect and wonderful for every mother, but if someone asks me, yes, I will say it absolutely is the best choice for the baby & I would say, at least try it. In my opinion, those who don’t even try, are selfish.

      • TexasMama

        I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are in any position to tell us non-breast feeding moms what is best for our babies. My daughter is 2, and for about 2 weeks I breast fed her. It was the most painful thing I went through, I remember telling my husband that it hurt worse than any part of my c-section (which was also very painful). My glands got so clogged up that I was taking 4 hot showers a day just to release the pressure. Pumping hurt too bad, and she would eat a full meal, and 15 minutes later, be hungry. And by the time she was 3 weeks, she was on cereal bottles. And my child (who is Caucasian, like myself and her father) has been able to count to twenty in Spanish and English, and say her Abc’s perfectly, since she was about 20 months. So I’m sorry, but I think each and every mom can decide “what’s best for our babies” on our own.

      • NewMom

        Blndbmb (if that’s your real name), 

        I am wondering how your response is appropriate to an exhausted mom who’s been through her own personal hell trying to do right by her child. And I am also a bit confused how you are “equally offended” when no one had personally attacked you when they themselves were speaking up and standing up for themselves and other moms just like them by saying that breastfeeding is not for everyone. When we see discouraged moms, let’s try to lift their spirits instead of kicking them when they’re down, yeah?

        We’re all just doing the best we know how, as I’m sure you are.

      • Lucy

        No, YOU are selfish.

    • Marygraham

      I had problems breast feeding. Both my girls ate formula. They are 10 and almost 8 years old now. If my older one had a higher IQ, we would need a special school for her. She is brilliant! And, beautiful, creative, loving and kind. My younger one would not breast feed for anything. She is bubbly, funny, friendly and smart. They are little stars and your baby girl will be too. Stop beating yourself up! If you saw your baby girl treating herself like you are treating yourself, you’d try to knock sense into her. Don’t let anyone judge you. You are being harder on yourself than anyone has a right to be. Formula is fine. She will be fine. Be kind to yourself. She will learn by your example.

    • Kellie Hogg

       Oh, how so much of your post resonates.  You’ve done nothing wrong.  I remember with my first being so determined to breastfeed–trying to feed her every two hours (which took an hour and 20 minutes), sleeping for 30 minutes, then getting up and trying again.  I, too, tried the SNS.  No luck.  I remember pumping for 40 minutes once and getting a total of 1/2 an ounce–which I accidentally spilled on the kitchen floor because I was so tired that I was in a daze and missed the counter trying to set it down.  I remember crying for 25 minutes on the kitchen floor staring at the spilled milk.  I remember wanting to give up on everything.  I remember thinking how much easier it would be without my sweet baby girl.  I never realized how bad I really was feeling.  I had a few wonderful moms who shared similar experiences of breastfeeding failures, after which I started to feel like less of a failure.  I finally came to a conclusion that there is a BIG difference between necessity of formula and a disregard of the knowledge that breast milk is good for baby.  I didn’t choose formula because I wanted things to be easier or because I didn’t care about my baby.  I choose to use formula because without it my baby would have starved.  THAT makes me a good mom.  At the end of the day, you only need to ask yourself “Was my baby fed today?  Is she safe and dry?  Have I loved her?”  That’s all that matters for now.  Take heart, mama.  You have done everything you could and more than most.  Stand up tall and give yourself credit for providing for your baby, no mater how it’s done.  Phooey on the WIC people if they look down on you.  They are not walking in your shoes.  (By the way, though it got easier for a lot of the other moms posting, baby number 2 had to have formula or he would have starved, and baby number three I only made it pumping for two months.  They’re all fine, bright, children.) 

    • Rivka

      My experience was very similar. The only difference is that I embraced bottle feeding and got over the guilt fast (even though I desperately wanted to BF). Food is food, hun. After 4-5 months they start eating solids and then it’s a whole new can of worms in terms of feeling judged – not homemade? too much sugar? too much wheat? organic not worth the price? soy? no soy? meat? no meat? BAD MOMMY! My point is, you need to trust yourself and get over feeling judged, or else you’ll go crazy feeling judged about EVERYTHING for the rest of your kids’ lives (and I’m not exaggerating, someone somewhere will judge you for just any given thing you do as a mother). In the end we all wind up with more or less the same bratty kid (and I mean that in a joking, loving way. My little “brats” are the light of my life). 

    • http://loudlyshy.wordpress.com AdalynLeigh

      You sound like you went through a horrible experience. I’m sure plenty of people will huff about how THEY stuck it out but your daughter was failing to thrive and you were miserable — why waste the time when she’s small and adorable on that? The change in IQ is minuscule and if she’s exposed properly her chances of allergies/illness go down. Formula is not Evil.

    • Beth

      You are so brave, and I have so much respect for you.  Just know that you have to do what’s right for you and for your baby.  People may make comments, but in the end it’s more important for you to be emotionally healthy (not stressed) than it is for your little one to have breast milk.  My mother bottlefed me and I turned out healthy, intelligent, and happy, and I know there are many bottlefed individuals who turn out just fine. If you choose to bottlefeed your little one, don’t worry about effects it can have on IQ and whatnot; it will not make the difference in your baby becoming a genius or having normal intelligence. You can foster intelligence as your little one develops in other ways. Stay strong! I’ll be in prayer for you.

    • AJ

       Poor thing, you sound like you’re going through a terrible experience! Don’t be afraid to burst into tears if you get comments at WIC. Often people don’t realise that you’re having such a rough time. When they see how upset you are by the whole thing you are more likely to get sympathy and help rather than critisim.

      Let go of your guilt. You tried really hard but it wasn’t working so now you’re trying a different way. Not the wrong way,  just a different way.

      A baby has needs but the main need for the baby is to have a healthy and happy mother. By healing yourself you will help your baby the most.

      Just remember  – ‘All things will pass’. Nothing lasts forever, and thats a truth thats both blessing and curse. This bad feeling will go away, the love and enjoyment will come. I promise.

    • Sus

      I would strongly advocate bursting into tears as soon as you tell anyone you have stopped breastfeeding.  
      Its amazing how much support that gets you.  

      Burst into tears at the doctors too.  Then your baby will get the help they need!  Don’t try and present an I’m coping front.   My Doctor told me to remember that the Mum is the most important person in the family and she must get her needs seen to or everyone will be a mess. 

    • Ktorrie

      I was still cracked and bleeding at 2 months, too. I remember crying through feedings, and resenting my husband and even feeling angry at my baby not being able to latch properly and for hurting me – it hurt so bad! You’re not alone. :)

      • Ktorrie

        And I had a nurse and a mom and a lactation consultant all trying to help. Some of us just don’t get it easy and those who do have a hard time understanding, I think. We all do the best we can with what we have to deal with,

    • Jen

      Hurt Mom,
      Man…your words sounded so much like what I was feeling a few short months ago. I had a similar experience. I just don’t produce enough milk for my little guy. In short, after weeks of trying EVERYTHING from food, tea, pumping, pills, etc, little man was losing weight and was in bad shape. I started giving him formula and breast-feeding the tiny bit I had. I felt like a failure and a horrible mother. My heart started changing when I realized that without formula, my son would have died. I started thinking pretty positively about it from then on. I also experience dirty looks from disapproving mothers when I bottle-feed in public. I just unapologetically continue feeding him, choosing not to look up but instead look at my growing and healthy little boy who stares at me and coos while he’s eating. Let me tell you something else while I’m at it. I’m a mental health therapist and during graduate school I learned about IQ testing. Anyone who knows anything about assessments of this nature knows that these tests are culturally biased and are based on past-learning (even though they are not supposed to be). Anyway, all this to say…take heart friend. You tried and it didn’t work out. This DOES NOT make you a bad mother or less of a woman. When I read your post, I thought to myself…what a courageous, honest, and hard-working mother! My next thought was that your daughter is blessed to have you in her life and to be able to learn these wonderful qualities from you. Blessings to you and your new family.

    • eMGo

      Dear Hurt Mom,
      Thanks for sharing your story. Here’s my message to you: You are not alone. It sucks that we couldn’t breastfeed our children when we wanted to so
      badly. My feeling is that we are hurt by that more than our children
      are. Words of support help, but in my experience it was only a lot of time and being kind to myself (and watching my child develop PERFECTLY FINE) that helped me to move past the feeling of hurt and loss.

      Here’s what doesn’t help: getting advice from happy boobilicious mamas or, worse, judge-y “best for baby” lactivists.

      And here’s my message to them: There are lots of women who- DESPITE our prior absolute dedication to breastfeeding, DESPITE a ridiculous amount of interventions and consultations and time and agony-  just, simply, for reasons well beyond our control could not properly feed our babies with breast milk alone, let alone keep our sanity and love our families properly while doing it. I birthed my babies at home fercrissakes, that’s how “hard core” into natural, non-intervention mothering I was. Guess what? Sometimes your body doesn’t cooperate with your politics, your beliefs, or science. We are suffering already, physically and emotionally, more than you can imagine. Trust us that we are doing everything we can.

      But wait, why do we have to defend ourselves to you at all? If you need to believe that I didn’t nurse because I was lazy or vain or gave up too quickly and that my child is going to turn out wretchedly because he got formula, that’s your choice- but keep it to yourself, eh?

    • Silverlightstar

      One, I am sorry that you’re going through such a hard time with your little one! 

      Two, I was in a similar boat, only my daughter was diagnosed with failure to thrive at 9 months (She wasn’t getting enough to eat, and that included breast milk and some baby food; she was constantly hungry but wasn’t gaining enough weight!).  It was likely that my milk wasn’t fatty enough for her, but the hospital refused to administer tests on it and preferred to put her through test after test; let’s just say that I’m angry that I let that happen to her and she’s now almost 3!

      I had to wean her off of breast milk at 9 months old and bulk up her baby food with rice cereal. Sometimes, I still kick myself for not doing as well, but then I see my daughter acting like a typical toddler and the guilt trips stop.

      It took some time (and a lot of guilt to work through) to realize that formula is food and a healthy child is a happy child.  By giving her the nutrition she needs (Formula OR breast milk.), you are doing what’s best for her!! 

      Three, surround yourself with at least a small group of ladies that you can trust; a support network (Whether at church or some other organization that you’re connected with.) is very helpful for the new mom.

      Last (and never least), pray!  Tell God your hurts and your fears; He’s aware of them and wants you to trust Him.  Run to His shelter for comfort (Psalm 91:1-2 is very comforting.)!

    • teachme113

      Every new mom wants to make the BEST decision for his/her child.  And we are all told OVER AND OVER again how important it is to breastfeed.  I will admit, even with my children being 9 and 7, I still look at woman in judgement when they never consider breastfeeding; although I did not breastfeed my children.  I did for about 3 weeks with each of them, but it just wasn’t working.

      My oldest could NOT latch on.  I went to lactation consultants, had veteran breastfeeding mothers try to help, and honestly tried to get help and advice anywhere I could get it.  I still hold some bitterness toward my ex-MIL because at one point when my oldest was about two weeks old and would NOT stop crying she told me “He’s hungry, you need to give him a bottle.  Your breastmilk is not enough!”.  Talk about making a mother feel like a failure!  She didn’t even breastfeed her only child and she was going to tell ME how to take care of my baby?!? (yes, it’s been 9 years, I should let that go…lol)

      Anyway, at my son’s one month checkup, my doctor asked how breastfeeding was going and I explained it was HORRENDOUS!  He asked why and I explained that he just couldn’t latch on and he asked to look at my nipples (as my lactation consultant had done several times, my LC was a mother of 8 breastfed children and told me that based on the HUGE size of my nipples and my son’s tiny mouth, this could be difficult…but I was still determined).  Once he saw my nipples he saw how painful it must be for me.  My son could only latch on to about half of my nipple (I’m not a huge person, 5 feet, 120 lbs…with huge, God given DD breasts) and he was literally gnawing them off.  He spit up A LOT and when he would spit up, he would spit up blood from where he had been cutting my nipples with his gums and was not only sucking milk, but blood as well.  About a week into the blood sucking, I bought a pump to try to get away from him sucking blood.  Because there was so much stress and tears, pumping didn’t allow my milk to flow as freely as it did when he was eating from the breast.   There was no easy fix.  

      My doctor diagnosed my son with colic (oh, how horrible those first three months were!).  We spent a lot of nights with my son buckled into his car seat (perfect position for passing troublesome gas bubbles) on top of the dryer while it was running (don’t judge me, or do, I don’t care…it was the most soothing place for him).  My doctor told me at that visit (while I had tears in my eyes explaining how painful breastfeeding was) that if breastfeeding wasn’t pleasant for me, it isn’t pleasant for my son.  It then clicked!  It had nothing to do with producing enough food (I had PLENTY of milk, and I did feel guilt and continued to supplement with pumped milk), but it just wasn’t working for us.  If a bottle with formula would make life better for BOTH of us, that was the best option for us. 

      And it was!!!  The screaming sessions were fewer because he slept more (formula takes longer to digest) and when he did it, I wasn’t in pain and I could enjoy my son more.  I’ve read several posts on here and can empathize with ALL the moms out there who spoke about crying while breastfeeding.  IF you were like me, you would cry at the thought of the next feeding.  
      For my second, I went into it thinking this time would be better.  It was better in he didn’t develop colic, but he still couldn’t latch on the way he should have.  He went on the bottle after his two week checkup.  I feel absolutely no guilt about my decision to give my children a bottle.  I did not complain when I had to get up to heat a bottle.  It wasn’t an inconvenience, it was what was best for my children; just like breastfeeding was what was best for many moms out there.  

      Many of you have spoken about the “bond” that formed between you and your children and although I do not doubt that, I believe my children and I have a very close bond.  They also have a close bond with their dad (maybe because he was able to take part in those night feedings and grow an attachment to my boys as well).  

      Long story, short.  We do what we believe is best for our children.  And if something doesn’t go as planned, we adapt.  That is our responsibility as parents.  Nothing EVER goes according to plan.  Whether we have a natural birth or a c-section, breastfeed or bottle feed, co-sleep, cry it out/soothe, vaccinations (which I believe, personally, are critical to a child’s’ health)  etc.  We are constantly adapting.  How many parents out there have had this thought about how life would be and then a child gets a diagnosis no parent ever wants to hear?  We adapt.

      I am a teacher and the best advice I could ever give any parent is to love their children and make sure their choices are what they believe is the best for their children.  There are many kids out there who have never felt unconditional love.  Make sure your children never have to feel like that….without love, everything else is trivial.  Support all the other mom’s out there….because you NEVER know what small words of encouragement can mean to them. 

    • Schoonersam

       I am so sorry for your experience.  Being a mom, even just the first few weeks is truly the hardest job in the world (and I hate cliches, but that one is true).
      My thing for the rough days is simply this:  my job as mom is to keep baby alive.  that’s it.  each day at a time. period.  So, at “the end of the day” (as if it actually ends for us), I just looked around at the raging mess my house was and looked at my daughter…Alive? Yup. Good job mom.  Tune out the rest of the commentary.
      That’s the bottom line…the rest will come later.

    • RAS

      Hugs to you and all other moms going through what you’ve gone through. My son is 13 months old, happy, healthy, and smart, and I don’t think that how I chose to feed him made as much of a difference in that as the fact that I made a choice that was right for both him and ME. I feel like a lot of the debates that moms get so worked over (breast vs. formula, jar food vs. baby food, working vs. staying at home, cry it out vs. going in) the more important thing to remember is that happy mommy equals happy baby. If you are comfortable and confident, your baby will feel happy and secure, and that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?  As moms, we are too judgmental, and I think so much of it comes from being insecure.  I think we ( and I include myself in this!) jump to judge other moms because we’re worried about whether what we’re doing is right. We need to start being more supportive of each other, minding our own business, and doing what’s best for your own families. You are doing a great job and your daughter is so lucky to have a mother willing to go through all that for her. Give her a bottle, get some rest, and don’t let other moms make you feel bad about your choices.

    • Gael

      I’m so sorry about your horrible experience.  I, too, had sore and cracked nipples with my first baby.  He had trouble latching on because my nipples were inverted and I hadn’t known that.  I also didn’t know the best way to hold him or how to get him to latch on properly.  But I learned a lot from La Leche League, and thankfully, my problem never got as bad as yours.  One thing that helped, although it’s not really recommended and I don’t know if you can even get them any more, was a “nipple shield” that the hospital nurse gave me.  It was like a bottle nipple on a glass ring that fit over my nipple.  It gave my nipples a chance to heal while still feeding my baby.  I also tried different ointments until I found one that helped.

      When you have a new baby, your emotions are so much more intense than ever before.  You are doing the best you possibly can for your baby.  Continue to love her, and before you know it, you’ll be worrying about something entirely different and all this will have faded into insignificance.

      My kids are in their 30s now, and I most regret yelling at them when they were growing up.  We all have things we wish we could do better, but we’re only limited human beings, not perfect angels.

      God bless you.

  • Erin

    My advice? Go with your own mommy insticts in most cases. You should read a book, ask a doctor, and call your mom… but at the end of the day, nobody knows your baby better than you do. Learn to listen to what your baby needs, and trust yourself.

  • Mom and Nanny

    It’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve been a new mother and I’ve recently been blessed by the even-better experience of grandmotherhood. I have to agree with all Kate’s points except that breastfeeding is enormously inconvenient. I remember, and see it again with my daughter, that it is quite the opposite.
    Breastmilk is always ready, the right temperature, the right amount and easily digested. There’s no expense, no sterilizing, no getting up at night and no trying to heat bottles when you’re out and about. There’s less spitting up and less constipation. It is by far more convenient than using fomula and bottles.
    But it may still not be the right choice for all new mothers. To paraphase Julie’s #11, don’t judge. Maybe mom’s exhausted and dad or parents are able to help if baby’s bottle fed. Maybe cultural differences make it difficult to nurse in public. Maybe baby’s crying alot, as many do, and the people who should be supporting mom are of the opinion that baby’s ‘starving’. Maybe it just hurts too much.   
    Sarah’s comment is bang on… if a mom chooses formula instead, her baby will be just fine.

    • A-mom-hurt-by-breastfeeding

      I got that one a lot. Baby is crying, so she must be starving. Give her to mom to eat. Even though mom just got done 15 minutes ago feeding her for an hour and is on the edge of breaking down.

  • EJ

    Lots of good stuff in this article. I breastfed my baby for 4.5 years. Great experience. She is soon to become a mother herself, which means I will be a grandma! I am so excited for this to happen!! The best advice I was given before she was born was from my sister: “Sleep when the baby sleeps” and when your breastfeeding baby bites, quickly and gently squish the face into your breast instead of trying to pull the baby off. A moment of not being able to breath causes baby to stop sucking and open their mouth. Works every time, and is painless. “Babies don’t keep” enjoy them, love them, and tell them everyday for the rest of their lives that you love them.

  • Deblazio

    Breastfeed, schmestfeed.  It’s been a breeze for me and I ain’t lyin but we have had our moments..  I have three three and under and you hit the nail on the head. My favorites are:
    Sometimes Babies Just Cry.  Yep.  Take a deep breath and if you have to put em in the crib for a minute or ten they’ll live.
    PRAY.  Then pray some more.  Pray with the kids, the spouse, yourself, your mom friends, anyone and everyone who will pray with and for you, take em up on it.  In the end it’s all about what’s goin on between your heart and Jesus.  But all the accountability you can get is super helpful.  Keep it real.  When you say or do something you regret, pray in front of your kids.  They will see grace and it will make you all stronger.

    • Owen’s mom

      I agree with praying. When my son was 3 his teacher told me he grabbed her hands and they prayed that “everyone would be nice to each other today”. I’ve also heard him praying a few times for God to help him calm down when he was angry,or praying for someone that was sad. He also prayed for God to make him into an octopus so he could pick up his toys faster. Praying together has definitely helped him develop empathy and learn that mistakes are ok.

      • Silverlightstar

        I love the fact that he prayed to become an octopus so he can clean up after himself quicker. That made me chuckle. :)

        It sounds like he definitely has his sweet moments. 

  • Wendy

    Just want to say. I had 3 daughters . Nursed each one, some with more ease than others, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for a life time of inconvenience. Now my daughters are grown and nursing their babies and my heart is filled again as I see this precious baby bonding to her /his mother as she gives him food for the body and soul. That might sound corny but its true.

  • Owen’s mom

    I absolutely agree with you on everything! #1 was the best parenting advice I ever received,from my mom who had 5 kids. Now I’m a single parent,in college full time,and night time is pretty much my only free time,I’ve even hammered nails in the wall and he hasn’t woke up! I’d like to add not to be so concerned about keeping everything sanitized. My son’s dr was mine when I was a kid,he retired at the age of 90 and practiced for over 60yrs. He said it’s highly unlikely your child will get sick from germs in your own house and that kids NEED to be exposed to them to build up their immune system. Also,don’t hold your kid all the time and you don’t have to pick them up everytime they cry. My son screamed like the world was ending everytime I put him down(fyi-that’s how babies cry about EVERYTHING).So instead of picking him up,I’d lay in the floor with him and teach him how to entertain himself and eventually he stopped doing it. 

  • Lburgbandmom2011

    Brava! As a veteran mom (mine are 19, 15, & 11), I tell new moms these two things: 1) you will receive lots of unsolicited advice. Smile and say, “that’s something to think about.” But always do what is right and best for your family. 2) Don’t get too comfortable with any routine before baby’s 3rd birthday. They grow, they change, you adapt. Sometimes overnight. Don’t get bent out of shape over it, or you’ll be fussier than the baby. Just live it.
    Excellent post. Wish I could have read this about 19 years ago!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021422284 Samira Roseblood

    I breast fed for the first 3 months I’m rather shy so yeah it was a little inconvenient to have to stop and find a secluded place to sit down but I would have had to find a place to sit down or a place to get water to make a bottle anyways so not too much different and a blanket was perfect it didn’t hurt too badly either once we got the hang of a proper latch which only took about 3 days I would have continued, but she got teeth and I went on birth control that she wasn’t old enough to handle yet I was a little afraid of being bit 

  • Jnbsweet

    This is a good list! I do have to say bf’ing was tough at the beginning but I found it mostly convenient. As for #1, I tried to “keep living “but my daughter is a light sleeper. The furnace kicking on will sometimes wake her up so I don’t think it’s stupid to tiptoe around or whisper. In my case I would rather keeps things semi- quite and have a well rested, much more pleasant 13 month old! I don’t like to ” shut down the house ” but it’s that or a crabby babe and mom! I sometimes think that because we live in a mostly quiet environment she is stirred more easily.

  • Tough Momma!

    This isn’t as relevant to the first year (love the tips by the way and sending the article off to the new moms that I know)…but here is my advice: when your toddler is just becoming mobile and on, if they get hurt, don’t sprint over to comfort them. There is a difference between a “I fell down and need a hug” cry and a “Take me to the ER” cry.

    If you run over and pick them up immediately after any kind of boo-boo, then there are a couple of things happening. 1- They will cry more often and at smaller things which means that YOU will. E chasing them around, trying to comfort them instead of sitting back, taking a well-deserved break as they toddle along. 2-They don’t learn to take care of themselves and toughen up!

    If you see them fall or bump their head or pinch their finger, etc and you know that it isnt life-threatening, look away, take a deep breath and dont let the kids see that you saw them fall down. Let them cry and then pick themselves up and find something else to play with!

    I have a 3 year old and a 20 month old-they are tough and when they fall, they get right back up and keep playing. They have skinned knees and a great attitude. Best part? They have an independent spirit and I can relax and enjoy watching them play instead of hovering over them.

    It is hard to do; picking them up would make me feel so much better too. But to me, it is the hard things and not the easy ones that make you a good parent.

  • momof4

    I disagree with this:  “It hurts like the dickens for a while, it’s exhausting, it’s enormously inconvenient.” I breastfed 4 babies and it was super convenient, never had to make bottles, buy formula, worry about how I was going to get the temperature right or listen to crying while waiting for a bottle to be ready. My sister had twins and we are forever making bottles, warming bottles, washing bottles, that’s a lot of work. My family travels a lot and the older kids have activities, it was never a problem for me. And the hurt does go away after a few weeks for many women, just don’t want that to scare people off.
    As far as exhausting, I though it was relaxing and refreshing (gotta love those let-down hormones).

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  • a few more…

    I agre

  • mother of 4

    Keep your marital bed a kid-free zone! 

    Mother of four, happily married.

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      OH MY GOSH – YES!  

    • Bev

      That’s so sad! I’m in my twenties and I have precious memories of crawling in my parents’ bed during a thunderstorm or nightmare. I loved knowing that I was welcome and could go be safe and comforted with my parents ; I would have been spent many upset nights had I not been welcome.  And I know it never negatively impacted their marriage.  They always welcomed me (and my younger sister when she was young too!).

      That being said, to each his or her own, but don’t knock letting children snuggle with you.  They’re only that age for so long, and I’m personally very much in favor of parents letting their children come cuddle with them on dark, stormy nights.

      • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.durapau Danielle Durapau

         i think she was more referring to parents who co-sleep all the time with their children. it can put a strain on a marriage not having any intimate time alone without baby. though some couples have no issue with it. it’s certainly not for everyone.

  • Rachaelcudlitz

    When our twins were infants and we were the walking dead, occationally my husband or I would feel this sense that we were incapable of raising these babies. The saner one of us would look to the despairing one and lovingly say. “Don’t worry, we’ll get through this…. Drug addicts do it all the time.” It became our mantra. It’s not PC I know, but it’s funny and it was a reminder that we, despite all of our failings, were capable of raising the buggers. Their fifteen now, and trust me the mantra still gets good use. Our kids are awesome and infuriating, just like they were when they were babies, toddlers, twins, etc. But we have all survived….so far.

    • Meh O606

      I love this!!  I’m totally stealing your line “drug addicts do it all the time”.  I can’t wait to hear my husband laugh the first time I say it to him.

      I guess my addition to the list would be keep your sense of humor.  You’re going to need it!.  Mine are 12, 10 and 6.  We laugh all the time; sometimes to keep from crying.  Or strangling someone.  Parenthood is the best job and has brought us so much joy, but it is HARD.  Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.durapau Danielle Durapau

       LMAO! i am also totally using the “drug addicts to it all the time” line! to my husband and especially to myself! i get stressed out too easily and with my husband gone for a new job for the next two years, i get depressed real easily too. but i think this might help, actually! lol

  • Skaldi79

    I guess I fall into veteran status, as mine are 11, 9, and 6.  I used formula and breastfed my eldest and middle child, as no matter how I tried, I couldn’t pump enough for breastfeeding alone. My youngest was solely breastfed. They are all equally healthy. No, it wasn’t easy at the beginning. It hurt like hell for a couple of weeks, but I was determined and got through the pain. From then on, yes, I wouldn’t have opted for a bottle.

    I would add that know that as Mom, your rules and opinions supersede others. If the babysitter won’t  put them on their back, or granny doesn’t listen, etc, don’t be afraid to assert yourself. It goes along with #9, advocating for your baby. If you know what you are doing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They might mean well, but people who aren’t even parents can say things that can undermine your self-confidence. You know best. It’s your baby/child.

    When we stand there oohing and awing over your tiny little one, saying how easy it was, no it isn’t really that we mean it’s easy, but rather in many ways it only gets harder. There’s a simplicity and certainty when your baby is little that you love each other implicitly. As time goes by, the challenges change. It isn’t easy to muddle through life sleep deprived, to figure out how to get little bit to go the heck to sleep b/c you are one neuron away from cracking, or to have to wear a wardrobe that hides the stains and the milk that leaks if you don’t pump or nurse on schedule. Then again, even on 8 hours of sleep, juggling school projects, tantrums, self-esteem issues, life questions, and the logistics of everyday life are daunting. From the time that period is missed until your child is a grown-up w/kids of their own, it never gets easier. Whether you have the most supportive spouse in the world, are single, or have navigated the minefield of divorce, cut yourself some slack. Try your best, for that’s all that can be asked of anyone.

  • Ackochhar

    I gotta disagree with the one about not being quiet when your kid is asleep. I think if you can pull that off, then your kid was born to sleep through anything (plenty of them are). Kids are unique individuals and you can only take so much credit. As the mother of the world’s lightest sleeper…don’t be afraid to be quiet if it lets your child sleep longer, giving yourself a break. Or invest in a white noise machine. You can’t “train” a baby not to wake up.

  • Guest

    I tell people to keep a journal of some sort, because all of the things that are SO cute that you KNOW you will ALWAYS remember, will be forgotten. Time goes by, and the list of great memories grows and grows. No matter how important something your baby does is, you will forget it by the time they are 18.

  • http://chamberschaos.com/ Chamberschaos

    Great blog post! I wish I would have heard this 4.5 years ago when I was a first time mom struggling to keep my head above the water. Or even a year ago. I have 4 kids ages 4.5, twin 1 yr old girls, and a 3 month old. I’ve had to learn these things the hard way, but have passed along these words to new moms as well :) Thanks for reminding me! 

  • http://meganplopper.com/ Megan Plopper

    Don’t forget to take some “me” time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CharityFJ Charity Faith Johnson

    I just finished my first year of being a mom and this is my advice… Enjoy every moment you have with your baby whether they are crying or laughing.  Always be in the moment, this way you won’t feel as if they have grown up too fast, you were there every moment you could be.  Working mom’s, don’t feel like your baby won’t know who you are just because you don’t spend that 10 hours a day that you have to spend working and commuting, with them.  You still still spend more time with your baby than any other person, he/she will know exactly who you are (this was hard for me).

  • Guest

    You said:  Motherhood is the most precious, wonderful thing I’ve done with my life to date.  It’s also the hardest.
    I’m glad you said, “to date” because let me tell you why all of those “elderly mothers” say “enjoy it while it lasts”. It’s not because they have forgotten what it’s like to be sleep deprived. It’s because they have experienced more in life than they hope you ever will. Some have buried their babies and would give anything to be sleep deprived by a crying baby instead of sleep deprived because they can’t stop crying. Some have been caregivers for their own mothers who have dementia and insomnia, and don’t even remember that they had a daughter. Yes, being a new mother is hard, but buck up sister because there are going to be times when you, too, will be wishing to have those baby years back.  :)

  • Bhamgreenparent

    Everyone’s breast feeding experience is different. For me I had no major issues with either child. Yes, you may be a little sore the first few weeks as you both adjust to breast feeding, but it should not be painful. If it is, get to a lactation consultant immediately. For me, we discovered at 2 weeks that my son had a tight frenulum and that was causing pain during nursing. Babies use their tongue to feed. It was smooth sailing after that. Also, it can some mothers weeks for their milk to come in. My advice is to not let any horror stories about breast feeding hinder you from doing it. Everyone’s experience is different. Most woman have no issues breast feeding, after all that is what God designed the breast to do. I have heard horror stories from formula feeders too – constipation, has, reflux, etc. For those moms like the ones who shared their story here, who gave their all and still had issues, you cannot beat yourself up. the most important thing for any baby is to have a loving and caring mommy their to meet their needs. If your feeding method is preventing you from meeting the basic need of love and care then make a change. It also does not need to be all or nothing. I have known mothers who let daddy give one formula bottle after a few months so to give a little break. For me, my babies were efficient at using and it was way more convenient to nurse than wash bottles. You can learn to nurse in a sling, laying down, use a nursing cover so you can still be part of the party and not go into hiding at feeding time.

    I would also add that a routine is more important than a schedule. Kids can’t tell time, but they can remember the order of things. If you do bath, book, prayers, bed type routine every night, it will help things at bedtime.

    • Anonymous

       I get so tired of hearing “It should not be painful.” Well sometimes it is! Even with a lactation consultant and proper latch, sometimes it just IS. We all know everything, don’t we.

    • July

      I appreciate your comment. I find these comments very disenheartening as a woman who is looking forward to trying to breastfeed her baby (I’m very pregnant right now, so the countdown is on :) ) and it’s nice to be reminded that for a lot of women, it ISN’T that hard, and that if it is, there’s something wrong that might be fixable.

      I definitely think only mom knows what’s best for her baby in order to balance her needs and baby’s, but I don’t like the negativity that often surrounds breastfeeding.  I know it’s going to be tough at the outset and I’d rather have information and encouragement to continue than all the negativity and a “well, it doesn’t matter anyway!” attitude.  Then if it just doesn’t work for us despite appropriate help and support, I hope I can avoid feeling guilty, because none of us should feel guilty when we make INFORMED decisions for ourselves and our little ones!

  • e.

    Fantastic fantastic post.  One thing a dear friend told me that changed my life was that no one is as in love with motherhood in the first 3 months as they remember.  After you have 4 solid hours of sleep you have a much better outlook on the whole thing.  So don’t worry if you just don’t see what it’s all cracked up to be by day 2.

    As for breatfeeding… can of worms here I know.  I nursed my daughter till her first birthday.  I had TONS of milk.  It came easy to both of us.  I was able to nurse her and then still pump 20 oz a day to freeze until she was about 6 months old.  But I hated it.  It was not a bonding experience.  I had so much milk she was done in about 4 minutes, one side was all she needed.  It was not some lovely bonding sit and snuggle and cuddle and blah blah blah.  It was dinner and then she was done and we would keep playing.  I’ll probably nurse again if I have another child, just because it’s cheaper and I seem to have the milk to feed an army.  But it was not some wonderfully spiritual bonding experience.  It was just something my baby needed.  Like a new diaper.  And it took about as much time to accomplish.

  • Rhonda

    I suppose I would add only this:  It’s ok if you don’t want to let your baby cry.  My babies are now 26, 24, and 20.  I had the most wonderful pediatrician when the first two were babies.  He told me to feel free to not “let my baby cry” for the first six months.  So, whenever they cried, I picked them up, saw to their needs, loved and comforted them.  Of course, all the people with advice said, once you’ve made sure they are fed and dry, it’s ok to just put them down and let them cry. Well I didn’t want to do that; it wasn’t my instinct, and I was so thankful I had my doctor to back me up!  I totally agree with what you said about being an advocate for your baby.  You are the mother and if you don’t want your baby passed around to all kinds of people in all kinds of places, that is perfectly ok.  When our oldest was about 3 or 4 months old, we walked into a party, and there were lots of new faces.  She completely freaked out, and I immediately said, “Sorry, we have to go,” and we left.  I always kept my babies home for the first at least the first month.  We needed that time together, and I didn’t want them passed around from person to person. At my age now, I am hoping I get to be a grandmother someday!

    • NewMom

      Thanks for sharing, Rhonda! I’m a first time mom and feel exactly the same way. It’s hard to say so when well-intentioned friends and family try to assure me that my baby just needs to get used to it. From what I understand, babies are born with different personalities. Some are ok in huge crowds being passed around and others are not. Mine tends to be more sensitive. My parents came for a visit when baby was 3 months and she started to fuss when my parents were dressing her to go out. I wanted to stop them and hold her but held back because after all, they are my parents. Big mistake. Baby started screaming and cried inconsolably. It took me almost 20 minutes to calm her down. Poor thing was so out of her element with just two new people. I regret not speaking up for my child sooner and remember that lesson keenly.

    • Grammie

      My babies are 39,38,34,30 and 21 I breast fed all my kids except number 2. My appendix burst when he was 8 days old, surgery, infection, 10 day hospital stay, antibiotics made breastfeeding impossible.  Needless to say our start together wasn’t picture book. He was a miserable infant. Ear infections, colic, or what I assumed to be colic. He screamed what seemed to be constantly, but I couldn’t let him just cry. As Rhonda said, it wasn’t my instinct. I was advised by many to just let him cry it out, but other people were’nt my baby’s momma. One time when I called the peditrician’s office because his wailing was more intense, a different kind of cry, the receptionist told me that if he didn’t have a fever that he doesn’t have a problem and that the doctor is a very busy man and doesn’t see children if they are just fussy. I fired the doctor!!!! and found another pedictrician – not recomended by family! I got a lot grief from my mother and 2 older sisters about ” spoiling” him” that I’m not letting him learn to deal with it. Deal with it?!!! he was less than 3 months old!!!!!!!! It wasn’t in our family’s structure to tell the “elders” that you didn’t agree with them, especially being the youngest is an very Eastern European Jewish family, but I advocated for my baby! Sometimes you just have to tell people to kiss off and do what you feel is right for your baby and you. That baby is no longer a miserable infant. He is even potty trained and educated. A leader in his community, an engineer in management, a husband, a craftsman, an locally recognized entertainer and a great uncle and son. All this, just like his breast fed siblings – who are no shlucks either.

  • crazy working mommy

    This is so perfect!!  As a new mom “in the trenches,” I would add the following:

    Don’t forget to nurture the relationship you have with your spouse/significant other.  Make it a point to date each other and be with each other and make each other a priority.  THE most important things you can provide for your baby is a healthy and stable parent relationship.  It will affect their lives in ways you cannot imagine. 

  • Let it out

    Cry. As often as you want or need to. Don’t bottle it up, you’re a new mom with little sleep and hormones still going back to normal. 
    As a kid my mom cried whenever she wanted. If she was happy, if she was sad, if she saw a Hallmark commercial haha. I never really understood until I had a child myself. Now he’s turned 1 and my body and mind have “turned back to normal” and I still cry whenever I need to.

  • Askmamaem

    Love the advice about the breast feeding, and all the responses from ladies who didn’t or couldn’t. My daughter (now 3) was 5 weeks early and my son (now 14 months) was 8 weeks early. My body never kicked in to release the milk. I tried so hard, and had lactation specialists and nurses and doctors and my mom, friends etc trying to help and giving me pointers. But after just a few days with my daughter, and about 2 weeks with my son, it was evident that their hunger was more than I could force my body to produce in order to soothe them. So we started with formula, and they are very happy and healthy kids! I can’t even tell you how many times I was rudely judged and nagged or lectured by even complete strangers when they saw my kids with bottles. Some women just CAN’T do it. Your way is your way. Telling a mother that what she’s doing by bottle feeding is unnatural or will lead to horrible things is wrong anyway, but most people don’t consider the fact that she may be physically unable to make it happen, and that she already feels like a miserable failure without your input.

  • Leah

    Love #9.  It can be tough to follow through, but momma actually does know best.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2XR25MW2TQILDZFF2XLNIG5LQI Suz

    Great list.  #1 – I did that a lot as a newborn.  But now at 15 mons I find there are times we have to be quiet so she’ll go back to sleep after she wakes.  If she wakes up and hear’s noise, she’ll say “come get me!!” (well it’s more like WAHHHHHH!!)

    #2 – My baby was dressed up nice almost every day :)  I always want her to look cute!  Cute could be a sleeper, onesie, or an outfit, but I rarely put her in anything ugly :)  Formula stains can be cleaned (

    #3 – This reminds me of my friend.  She gets so upset when her baby cries and apologizes that the baby cried the whole night.  The baby will barely wimper and she’s doing everything to try and calm her.  Meanwhile, I didn’t even notice!  I think she is the only one that hears her baby cry.  But yes, my 15 month old, you can be sure everyone hears her now :)

    #9 – This is great advice.  I’ve always believed we will do what is best for baby regardless of what everyone else thinks we should do. 

    This is a bit of a tangent but it is to Askmamaem – I can’t believe you were judged so much!  No need to explain yourself to people like that – just tell them to go away!   It is a culture of bullying around the US lately.  For the record, I formula fed my daughter, my mom formula fed all of us, and my sister ultimately ended up formula feeding her 2 kids.  My siblings and I, and our kids are all doing wonderful.  They are smart, happy, healthy and don’t have  illness or allergies or all that other stuff people claim will happen if you formula feed.  Oh, and they are also very skinny.  2 out of 3 have always been in the lower % for weight.  People try to say that all Formula Fed babies are overweight, or unhealthy, or not as smart.  I beg to differ.

  • Carianne

    On Breast feeding….do what you feel is best for you and your baby whether its bottle or breast. If its bottle don’t be guilted about it by other people. My son was born by emergency c-section, I  lost lots of blood and was very weak, some of the nurses were so persistant that I breast fed. I was exhausted and emotional and stressed out trying to do what they were telling me I could not enjoy my first precious moments with my new baby. I had one great nurse say to me, its ok you can supplement I’ll get you a bottle, she said sometimes we expect too much from our new and young mothers, you have been through alot the most important thing is for you to enjoy your baby, and do whats right for both of you.  So I bottle fed him, he’s rarely sick and he is a very smart and athletic kid. I breast fed my second child  and she’s smart, however  not so athletic  and gets more colds then he does. So do what works for you and your baby, don’t worry about what other people have to say about it.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2XR25MW2TQILDZFF2XLNIG5LQI Suz

      I hear often about people saying nurses and doctors pressure them.  I am grateful I didn’t have to deal with that.  The doctors we dealt with in the hospital and now never seem to judge what choice each mother made in that area.

      Glad your children are doing well.  I’m sure they will both be smart.  Girls aren’t always athletic as boys anyway :)  Colds could come to any baby – BF or FF depending on exposure and what is going around.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2XR25MW2TQILDZFF2XLNIG5LQI Suz

    After reading comments, I have another item I would add to this list.  My #11 would be…

    Don’t be so Judgmental!  I cannot believe there are people out there that get attacked by strangers because they didn’t BF or didn’t use cloth diapers or whatever the case may be.  I never once had anyone Judge me (at least not to my knowledge) for the way I choose to raise my baby.  In fact, many people would come up and tell me how cute and adorable she was – even when she had a bottle in her mouth!  

    (btw – many mothers pump now-a-days so how do you know that bottle is Formula anyway??  Unless you are a judgmental jerk who just assumes you know it all….)

    Anyway, I thought about it and I could never imagine criticizing someone for something like this.   For example, I decided to make my own baby food.  I’m no expert, and it’s not always 100% all natural, but my baby has never had a jar of food.  However, many people I know feed their baby only from a jar.  I have never once (and would never) say to them that they were awful.  If asked, I would tell them how I prefer homemade b/c it’s cheaper, I know what is in it, and I can make it any texture or combination, etc.  Instead of telling them the BAD stuff about jar food, I tell them the GOOD stuff about homemade food.

    Mothers on the net, and even in comments here, often focus on what is BAD about your method, even if they have no experience in the area.  When I hear people saying all the BAD stuff that happens to Formula Fed babies I want to tell them I myself am a prime example of how none of that is true!  Don’t sit there and try to tell people why Formula is BAD if you yourself never used it!  Just like I’m not going to tell anyone Jarred food is BAD.  Millions of babies eat formula and are doing great, millions of baby eat Jar foods and are doing great.  There are more factors that go into your childs development than just these issues that keep coming up.

    The worst way to try and change someone’s opinion is to tell them everything that you think they are doing wrong.  All that does is lead to arguments, defensive behavior, and people losing respect for the mean mothers.

    • Leia

      VERY well said! I know this is just one example, but my younger sister was bottlefed & fed jarred food (when she was born no one was making their own yet – seems like an amazing idea!), and she is now a happy, healthy teenager whose IQ is literally in the genius range. She’s good at sports – some more than others- brilliant, spunky, and overall an all-star!  I too was bottlefed & fed jars of food, and I’m not super athletic, but I tested in the genius range on an IQ test, attend an elite college, and am very well-adjusted emotionally & socially. 

  • Sara Theisen

    I would love to give you a BIG HUG right now! This just made my day!! As a veteran to a 22 mo I can totally relate to ALL of this! Thank you!!

  • Sarahmclaughlin_84

    I don’t feel that saying “breastmilk is best for baby” is in any way attaching others mothers for not breastfeeding. I believe people are just trying to inform everyone that it is and it’s natural. I think women that breastfeed get attacked for doing so in public which infuriates me. If someone gets offended by the statement breast is best or anything like that they are just feeling a bit guilty or regretful for not trying a little harder!

  • http://chrissyrenee79.blogspot.com/ Chrissy

    I love this.  I shared it with a soon-to-be mom! :)

    The only thing I disagree with is that breast feeding is enormously inconvenient.  I bottle fed my first-born but breastfed my second and third (plan to breastfeed my 4th when I have her within the week!), and I actually think breastfeeding is far more convenient!  I’m not saying it’s better or that I care how moms feed…this is just my opinion on the convenience! :)  

  • grammy

    I think you have pretty much said it all….and very well I might add.  As your children grow…so do you…with wisdom.  You finally see….that a clean house, or clean white shirt on a child…really aren’t important.  Trust me…the dust bunnies will still be there…but children grow…and no longer want to be held or rocked…until we become adults…I would give my right arm…to be held again by my parent…as an adult when you cry….what is the one thing you want most…someone to HOLD YOU!

  • Mkearl

    Thank you for sharing this, I am week 1 into year 1, and let me tell you this article had me crying and laughing. This past week has without a doubt been the hardest one of my life. It has also been the most rewarding. And I would  agree, breastfeeding DOES hurt like the dickens!!! I’m glad to hear from other moms that it is only a temporary hurt. Thanks for sharing!

  • Trishy

    Veteran mom of 4 here, including a set of triplets. This is all great advice. I especially like the part about advocating for your baby and letting the dirty house BE. (The comparison of houses is also a nasty habit we moms have.) I also use the rule of, Is this going to matter 10 minutes from now, 10 hours from now, 10 days from now, 10 months from now, 10 YEARS from now? For instance, taking my kids to Dairy Queen for dinner won’t matter in even 10 days when I’ll be able to make up for it with plenty of other healthy meals. Not making my kid stick out a team sport s/he’s not especially enjoying will have ramifications 10 years from now when s/he needs to understand the importance of commitment to a team/family. I used to carry a little card in my wallet next to my kids’ picture that said, “There is no one way to be the perfect mother, but there are infinite ways to be a good one.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.durapau Danielle Durapau

       haha! finally a mom with multiples! my first pregnancy was with I.D. twins! (yeah i know, i’ve already been told by another mother with triplets that i was a coward. HAHA!) and i now also have a beautiful baby boy!

  • Tammy

    This is so wise and wonderful.  I still belong to an online forum for moms that started back in 1996 when our babies were little and we were stay-at-home-moms seeking support and companionship in a working-mom world.  We’ve raised our children together, and many of them went off to college this year.  You’ve just summed up in one post what we learned from each other over our first decade together.  We survived the diaper and breastfeeding wars (cloth or paper?  breast or bottle?) as well as the public schooling vs. homeschooling debates, and then moved on to faith vs. reason and liberal vs. conservative, etc.  I don’t think we left a single controversial subject unthrashed.  What we came to was this:  There’s no one right way to do things for our families, because no two families are alike.  What counts is love and sacrifice and goodwill and forgiveness (forgiving yourself as well as others for not being perfect).  Those are things all good moms have in common.

    What Kate said.

  • Zipme2007

    On changing the crib sheet, I have always layered sheet, the. Mattress protector, then another sheet. My babies were spitters and peed out of their diapers almost every single night… All three of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorra.douglass Lorra Douglass

    you will have a sex life again!!

    only thing I would add.  ;)

  • Jarransmommy

    I’m a mother of 3 (10years, 23 mos, 6 mos) i have been pregnant or nursing for the last 2.5 years., i never sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time. I’m exhausted. my house is a mess. i used to always keep things fairly neat and clean. i used to try to be super mom…wanted to cloth diaper, make baby food, follow all the rules. I’ve learned its ok to “break the rules” (although there really are no rules to parenting) its ok if my baby eats from a jar. its ok to let my 2 year old watch tv sometimes. its ok if he goes to bed without a bath because I’m so exhausted i don’t feel like giving him one. its ok that my dishes and laundry are piled sky high. there are toys in the floor. dust on the stuff and spit up on the furniture. this is my life. I’m a mother of 3. one day, they will be grown, and my house will be clean. i will have little laundry and little dishes. but they will be grown. and i will miss them.  the little poem was on my shower invitations. i have to recite it often.

  • Sus

    Listen to the advice and do what enables your family  to survive and be happy.

    Babies shouldn’t cry f or hours on end.  If they do keep going to doctors untill you find one that will find a solution.  There is always one!  I was fobbed off by far to many doctors with my first and let him cry and be in pain as they advised.  Didn’t accept that with my second, paid lots of money to a paediatrician who gave baby medication and special formula which resulted in a calm, happy baby with no ongoing health problems unlike his older brother who has clinical food aversion.

  • Marita

    Just want to add. Chiropractors are wonderfully helpful to
    1. colicky babies. They have a 90+ % success rate.
    2. Breastfeeding problems. From not latching, to latching and not drinking or drinking preferably from the one side. It is often just a re-alignment or a stiffening of muscles in the neck that causes this and can be sorted in 2 – 4 sessions.

    I speak as a mother of six wonderful children.  From the peaceful, non- crying, marvelous b/feeding baby, to the crying, irritated, fussy, non-latching baby.  I think I had the whole range now.

    I like advise. I just keep filing them all in my memory for if I might need it.  You just never know. ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferbuehrer Jennifer M Jones Buehrer

       I agree… my chiropractor did so much for all of us!

  • Charleigh’s my angel

    My daughter was born 11 weeks early weighing only 2.5lbs. I tried to pump breastmilk for her as she was not allowed to eat for about the first week. However when she did start eating the doctors had her on an every two hours feeding schedule. I had to keep pumping for her though as she was fed by tube and wasn’t put to breast until she was about four weeks old. Because she was so tiny she was not strong enough to get a good feed from the breast and still needed supplementing with what I had pumped. So my schedule consisted of spending half an hour trying to get her to stay latched on then half and hour trying a bottle of pumped milk then cuddling for half an hour before putting her back in her isolet to go pump just to finish and have to start the whole thing over. Needless to say I was exhausted and my milk was drying up fast. Because I was running low on the stores I had created when she was first born I was starting to stress. The doctor though told me that the most important thing was not bottle or breast, but the love she gets before during and after feedings. Another bonus that formula had for us was that I could get higher calorie formula to help her gain weight. After she was discharged she was strictly formula fed. She is now 19months old. Has caught up to her “term” friends her age in size, she is smart as whip and even her daycare provider comments on how she never seems to catch what the other kids in daycare so nicely pass around :) . What matters is that she is one the most loved babies by everyone that meets her. We also picked her up when she was crying. She spent I think about the first six months home strapped to my chest for kangaroo care and now at 19 months she knows how to comfort someone else when they are crying or upset. You’re always going to have some telling you that they did it a different way and it worked great for them and some of the suggestions are good, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. You ultimately know in your gut what is right for your child and family with the lovely mothers intuition. Not every baby is the same and not every family is the same. As long as you feel you are doing what’s best for your child, it can’t be wrong. Have confidence in both yourself and your decisions.

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  • Allison

    Thanks so much for this!  My daughter is now 2 (and as loud as I think she is, LOL!).  I only regret that I didn’t read this 2 years ago, but I still linked to it on fb so maybe it will encourage someone else.  I appreciate the reality balanced with grace that you write with.  I can’t think of anything to add right now but I’m sure every woman can add to it in an individualized way.  Blessings to you!

  • Kris10carrie

    I loved reading this blog…it was the comments below the bothered me. ALL research shows that breast is best for babes. I understand some moms need to use formula for medical reasons, but I don’t agree when moms use it for “convenience”. Why would you put loads of fillers and artificial ingredients (no matter how “natural” they say it is) into your perfect Little newborn whose body was DESIGNED to have mommy’s milk? I am still exclusively nursing my 8 months old and yes, sometimes it’s inconvenient but I make it work. Motherhood should be a selfless and sacrificial act in the best interest of the little ones. Breastfeeding IS so much healthier for the mom and the baby! That’s the way God designed it.

    • Sandra

      I think it’s great that you make breastfeeding work. I happen to agree that it is best but back off the bottle feeding moms. It’ s not up to you to tell them how to raise their babies. 

      Come back when yours are grown and tell us how you did on making every aspect of motherhood a selfless and sacrificial act. 

      When you achieve that, then maybe you’ll have some room to pass judgement on others. Until then, do the best you can for yours and let other mom’s do the best they can for theirs.   

      • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.durapau Danielle Durapau

         Bravo Sandra! VERY well said to a self-righteous mother who never experienced any of the true, non-medical, issues with breastfeeding!

    • Lauren

       Breastfeeding was not healthier for my daughter.  She did not gain weight well until we switched to formula at 3 months.  The stress and frustration associated with doing everything I could to nurse, pump, get my child to latch and suck (she wouldn’t), seek help from a lactation consultant, etc… drove me into PPD, so it was not healthy for me either.  I am thankful the Lord gave me the wisdom and discernment to know when enough was enough and trust that my baby would be ok.  She is now a healthy kindergartener and nobody cares whether she was fed breastmilk, formula, or a combo, all that matters is that she was loved and fed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=110801168 Laurie Van Peursem Raubacher

      I too had your same exact strong feelings about how someone should raise their child. Then God gave me my second. Oh boy did God have a sense on humor. Everything that I thought was the best for ALL children was all of a sudden not. Not for my second.   
      My take away? Each and every child is different. Each mom is best for their own child, because they know their child. Each mom’s decision is made for their family, who’s intricacies are only known to them. I am ashamed for thinking that I knew what was best for them. They can do it as well as me or you. It may be different, but it is what is best for THEIR family.

    • Schoonersam

       I exclusively breastfeed my  10-month daughter, with more than my fair share of pain, but I don’t think everyone should. 
      Three things I know:

      1)The biological (or divine if you look at it that way) design of women’s reproductive systems while the same in general, is imperfect and produces vastly different results with each woman, making each woman’s child-bearing (or desire/ability not to) experience different in ways we cannot feel or understand ourselves. 

      2)Mental health is WAY more important to physical well-being than we ever thought before.  If a woman is in too much pain, either physically or emotionally from the trauma of  breastfeeding (and let’s not kid ourselves, the whole process of pregnancy, birth and life post-natal is a traumatic one – not necessarily in the negative way, but a trauma nonetheless), than that will affect the child negatively as much as, if not more than the difference between breastmilk and good, healthy formula. 

      3)The bottom line, the desired result,  is a healthy, growing baby, period.  Perhaps the selfless act is to put aside one’s ego and  preconceived notions about what makes “a mom” (I know many women who beat themselves up and felt less than motherly for not being able to produce enough milk or having to go back to work), and just get the nutrients into baby and get them growing and healthy.

      It’s wonderful that it worked for you and for the other BF’ers here, but until we’ve walked in the shoes of another mother…

    • Mindypitts

      At 7 months, your baby’s body will become depleted of the iron he/she absorbed during pregnancy, and breastmilk has no iron…so starting a small helping of a fortified cereal, a powder multi-vitamin, or a veggie with iron would be good for your 8 month old. I’m a huge breastfeeding fan and am currently nursing number three…it’s just FYI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferbuehrer Jennifer M Jones Buehrer

    wow… I read all the comments!  ok.. all you all need to go back and read the very first comment from julie… number 11. And yet still, It’s crazy how political the breastfeeding topic is.  The formula feeders are offended by the breastfeeder’s ‘opinions’ it seems and visa versa.. I’m a breast feeder and have had mastitis (4 times in the first 6 months), eczema (both nipples at the same time),  a rare case of a type of chicken poxs (for over 2 weeks), and when i went back to work I couldn’t pump! I’m still breastfeeding… FOrmula was never an option and my baby is chucking up nicely. HOWEVER! I DO NOT DISAGREE that formula is the best option if you cannot breast feed for any reason! If my baby was not thriving I would formula feed. I  know that more than half of the population formula feeds.  All the studies are stupid.  No one can really prove anything. Everyone is different.  I get the craziest advice from mothers young and old.  Most I disagree with… but that’s it… I disagree and move on.  I don’t judge or criticize or even take it as them thinking I am a bad mother… even though it is easy to do…. It’s our instinct I think.. like Tigers with their cubs… and we have the stripes to show it.  This was a super cute blog post!  I enjoyed it tremendously. ANd guess what.  I had my baby at home and he has never ever seen a doctor. *GASP* I’ve heard all the negative feed back there is… But I have no regrets. GRRRRRowl*

  • Ava’s Mum

    Motherhood is SO HARD. And I can’t stand the women who pretend it isn’t. Thanks to all the honest women out there. Can we just agree to support each other and not judge – whatever the “issue” is? Everyone is doing the best they can. My daughter is about to turn 3 and I still have days where I want to crawl under a rock and never come out. This is why kids are so incredibly cute when they’re having a good day. That is the only thing that helps us survive!

  • Ellen Bragdon

    I have 3 little boys…. the youngest being 7 months old. I fought pretty hard to breastfeed my first. It was brutal, but we made it through. I breastfed the older two until 14 months, and I enjoyed it after the first 3 or so. =) That being said, breastfeeding is not a hill to die on. It just isn’t. I was breastfed, and my husband was fed nearly expired formula. Guess which one of us went to a top 10 law school, made Law Review, and clerked for a U.S. Supreme Court justice? It wasn’t me. Give it a rest, people. Sure, try and breastfeed. It’s a good thing. But it isn’t something us breastfeeders should be pushing. There’s enough mommy guilt going on without adding more.

  • Mollyfee

    I agree about the not judging other mothers…  Just to add I think ” I remember when mine were that little.”  “Enjoy it while it lasts.” Is an important thing to tell new moms, I recently had my 2nd child and because of medical reasons this will be my last child.  You never know what’s going to happen so enjoying every second possible with your child during every stage of their life is so important… Never never take your baby for granted.

  • Diana

    I have to say that I am a veteran and current mother… and I breastfeed both of my children. It didn’t hurt, it was never inconvenient, it was always much, much, MUCH easier than mixing a formula bottle. It’s not exhausting, it’s relaxing. The one thing you got right in that statement was that it is magical. (I know for some women it hurts, but it’s usually because the latch isn’t right.)

    Oh, and cloth diapers were wonderful too. Not a hassle at all. When you’re doing as much laundry as I am, an extra load every couple of days isn’t even noticable.  ;)

    So please, while you’re trying to be honest and comfort new mothers, don’t discourage them from trying some of the best things they can do for their babies.

    • Anonymous

       It may have been that way for you, but for a lot of us, it wasn’t that way. So please please please stop judging us when we say it is hard.

  • Music

    Great to read! Thanks! I’m a mom of two (one age two and one age: 21 days) and it just feels good to read these things and know you aren’t alone and aren’t doing things ‘wrong’.  

  • Maggiepulley

    The only thing I would add is enjoy it.  Take the time to enjoy how wonderful/hard beautiful/sweet it is to be the mother of a newborn, or an infant or a toddler.  Take the time to rub their soft skin or kiss their pudgy cheeks or smell their milky breath and really take it in.  This might sound like it goes against your #8, but it doesn’t.  Motherhood is hard.  Really hard.  But each hard stage ends eventually and you usually look back with nostalgia.  Enjoy it now.  Even if you’re so tired you can’t see straight.  Of course, no one is walking around in a blissed out nirvana-like state.  But try to enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

  • LynniaG

    I think I love you..thanks so much for this. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/zuwkeeper Teri Zuwala

    #1 was the best advice I got when I was pregnant with my first. To this day, my 3 can sleep through ANYTHING! Storms have woken my husband and I up and the kids are oblivious. One of my dearest friends was silent when her daughter was sleeping and to this day you have to be absolutely silent or she will wake up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775164495 Frances Drew

    agh it made me cry but every bit of it is so true. this is wonderful advice… real advice for new mommys everywhere

  • www.lovebeinganonny.com

    Fabulous!

  • sunshine

    great advice!  I know people will disagree on two things – breast feeding and co-sleeping.  :)
    I think mom’s should always go into mommyhood with open expectations – i wanted to breastfeed, but was open to formula feeding if it didn’t work out.  I ended up having to supplement in the hospital with formula because my baby was sick and my milk was not coming in yet….i felt horrible, but at the same time, her health was soooo much more important, thankfully the hospital worked with me and the help of the lactation consultant, we used a SNS and i was able to nurse and get her the formula at the same time….we’ve been nursing 8 months strong and it has been wonderful.  It’s hard at first, but i was never in pain….maybe my experience is rare, but it’s not all painful and crazy.   And as a mom who bf her baby, i get judged from those who don’t as well – the judgement goes both ways, unfort….i wish it wasn’t that way…we should all just be happy that we have babies to love. 
    I’d like to add, that you have to do what works for you as a mother.  I co-sleep for some of the night and let me tell ya, the first 2 months i’m not sure i would have survived….i was sooo sleep deprived and baby did not sleep at night (she had night/day mixed up), hubby worked 3rd shift…it was hard and she came to bed with me a lot, i learned how to nurse laying down and that was a life saver.  She still nurses about every 3 hrs or so, so after 2am, she comes to bed with us….it’s what works for me – i have to work, i have to function and i have to sleep…so if that helps baby and i sleep better, then so be it.   Not everyone agree with it, but again, you got to do what works for you. 

  • http://slackersaver.com/ Sharla

    I have a 9-month-old. I already miss the tiny newborn days. However, I definitely remember thinking when she was about 3 weeks old, “Why do so many people have more than one child? The first time people don’t know what they’re getting into, but I don’t know if I could do it again.” My memory of that time is highly revisionist already, but the first couple weeks really is that hard.

  • Kayceeedmonds

    I breast fed for 1 day and lost my milk. My daughter is now 3 just turned 3 in February. She can already write her name and my name(Bllayr,mommy) she can count to 10 in Spanish and count to 15 in English. She can also read small books. So honestly people that say kids that weren’t breastfed aren’t so smart please come say that to my face and come watch my 3 year old show you how a formula fed child does it!!!

  • Charlene_honaker

    I’m an old mom and you’ve got it in a nut shell!  Wish all moms I know could be as level headed as you.

  • Melissa R

    Thank you for sharing this. I needed to hear this today. I have a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a 6 week old . . . yeah, life is very stressful around here especially since we just moved last week! It’s so hard not to get stressed  making sure everything is put away and organized and clean all the time. I’m gonna print and frame this list so I can see it all day long!! Maybe I’ll keep some of my sanity and in the meantime, enjoy my children!

  • Melissa R

    I would also add don’t be afraid to put your child in the other room and shut the dorr if the crying becomes too much. As I said in my previous comment, I have 3 children and my oldest is only 2 1/2 and there are times when they crying from all 3 becomes overwhelming. My husband is gone to work 13 hours a day and I don’t live near family and have not made any friends. Needless to say, I’m pretty much alone in this parenting thing right now on top of being exhausted from having a new baby along with all the emotional issues from hormones! I have – more than once – put all 3 of them in their beds and shut the door. They share a room so they eventually stopped crying and entertained themselves and I was able to go in my room and shut my door and have time to calm myself down before having to deal with them again.

  • guest

    Don’t feel guilty aboout going back to work.  I have a month left before I will have to go back to work, and my first child will have to be watched by someone who is not a family member.  And I feel horrible about it.  I keep trying to tell myself that I have to go back to work for the money and the insurance, which will both keep him healthier and happier, but I rue the day I go. 

  • Momof2

    So .. For the moms who are so so agianst formula apparently breatfeeding comes natural to u because apparently u lactaid like a cow.and when u have a baby cow for example 8lbs (and up) they need milk.because not all of us produce like a dairy farm.and if u can breast feed more power to u.but. Please don’t judge the ones who can’t.Second for all of u moms that say that a CSection is the “easy” way out.Yea ..I don’t think so try having a POOCH forever and an incision that sometimes takes 15 months to heal.last but not the least organic, really ? I understand certain things but some of u have to get a grip on reality not all of us have “organic” bank accounts.but none the less no mother is perfect – I have 2 under 3 yrs old.oh yes and there BOYS……I do what I have to do to keep my sanity.and they love me just the same.So relax mix the formula to get a nites sleep,csection or natural (its giving birth,its a marvelous thing)and give your kid some NON organic mac and cheese they will love u for it :) ……

  • Nicole Nicole

    #9 is so completely dead on. What a lovely post.

  • Kdrotar

    I’d like to add something to number 8 – It’s not easy, but also don’t do things that purposefully make it harder on you.  If something isn’t working out, try something new.  Don’t feel like you need to subscribe to some parenting style that isn’t working for you.  Don’t be bullied by the “other moms” into how you need to do things.  

  • Jennygirltherat

    Eating a little dirt is good for them.  You have to exercise an immune system to make it strong.

  • Julie Damdar

    i stumbled upon your blog via pinterest – this was beautifully written – thoroughly enjoyed it. 

    Julie (mommy of an 18 month old)

  • Slaybaby58

    For our new Mom’s…

  • Lani Derrick

    Amazing post!

  • Anonymous

    My mother gave me some advice about nursing that helped so much and I wanted to share.  She reminded me to “prepare” for it months ahead.  Everytime the  mom to be showers she can rough up her nipples with her towel.  That’s it.  By the time your baby comes you are ready.  I know there are more problems to nursing than this one but by doing this you eliminate sore and cracking nipples.  Best wishes to all. 

    • MarineGurl020412

      I just want to say that this has been proven incorrect. Yes I am sure in some instances it has helped but you don’t actually know if you had not done this if you would have cracked/bleeding nipples or not. I have nursed 3children to some degree and each time was vastly different in terms of comfort levels for me.

  • Schoonersam

    Thanks for writing this, it’s a wonderful post and I look forward to reading more (got here via the ‘Teenage Daughter’ one – love it).

    Here’s my two cents:  My daughter was born in June of 2011 and one thing that was repeated to me ad nauseum was, “sleep when the baby sleeps”.  This is fine advice, but it MUST be taken with a grain of salt, because unless you have a massive support system of people who will hold/mind/feed your baby while awake, you won’t actually be able to get anything else done.  And I’m not talking about doing dishes or laundry (that stuff can totally wait – even the cloth diaper laundry can wait), I’m talking about eating, showering, talking to your friends about how you feel or about non-baby things.  It’s very hard to do those things while baby is awake (though a good wrap carrier does help a lot) and lying down to nap with a growling stomach never worked for me.  And I had to work hard to not feel bad for not going right to sleep the instant she dropped off.

    And in regards to the previous breastfeeding discussion…we all know the science, but the bottom line – and I think Kate addressed this well – is WHATEVER works for you is what you need to go with.  For me breastfeeding, though relatively smooth now (though there are still fuzzy-eyed nights when I wish someone else could feed her), was a brutal affair (engorgement is no fun) and remained so (fun times with my old pal thrush) for much longer than I was told it would (much like the discomfort of my first trimester).  But we have never really used a bottle because frankly I was lazy and regarded the inconveniences of bottles (getting her to take it, sterilization, etc.) to be more work for me than the inconveniences of the boob (being the only one that could feed her, teething fun, etc.).   I always pictured myself as the chick with the unlabeled bottled of pumped milk that got lost in the back of the fridge going rancid and wouldn’t you know…it wasn’t the fridge, but the dang “insulated” pocket in my diaper bag.  Oops, I guess the insulation only works for so long – less than three weeks in my experience:).

    Anyway, no judgement is a really good mantra (maybe unless I see mom sucking on a cigarette and blowing the smoke into her newborn’s face – do I get to judge then?).

  • Kbrainwater

     This too shall pass and love them like there is no tomorrow.  Remember too that a calm mom, makes for a calmer baby, there is a reason the nursemaids of the 1800′s got a pint of ale as well as being paid..

  • Ajones

    I very much enjoy breastfeeding, but it is inconvinent when youre out, or someone is over that you dont want to watch you breast feed. When its just me and my husband, I feed her where im sitting. If someone is over, I have to go upstairs because I dont want to flash them my boob. Im a first time mother, and I enjoy every second im with my baby girl.

  • Herdofnoni

    very well said… we all are just doing the best we can with what we have… getting some helpful tips from other mums is always a good idea..but it donesnt mean you have to use them.. you have to figure out what works for you and your baby alone..everyone is different. every baby is different… the factof the matter is we have to choose from all the options what is best for you and your baby. period!….
    i am a mum of 4 beautiful children( 2 boys 2 girls) who are now respectively 17,15,12,10… i breast fed them all till 2and a half years of age. i would never give up those special cuddle moments for the owrld. but i also never would want to make any mother feel inferior if she couldnt breastfeed. any moments you spend cuddling be it bottle or breast are preciouse moments..
    all my children also co-slept with us until aprx age 2…. i never had to get up in the night. they found what they needed and we slept on.

    there is one thing i will say…. NEVER give up a chance to hold your baby….. the dishes will still be there, the laundry can wait.. but a baby left unheld, uncuddled, left to cry it out,.. is a wasted baby.. you wont get that cuddle time back.. ever!.. for the first 2 years of their life .you are the center of their universe,,,, two years is a very small sacrifice in the scale of time….very soon after independance kicks in and well.. mums are left the wayside to worry…
    so cuddle cuddle cuddle.. hug and hold.. the world can wait…

  • Krista200143713

    Thanks for this article. It made me feel normal again!

  • Nonamemamma

    A note to readers and posters…please, please be careful when you make judgments about women not breastfeeding.   You do not know their experience.  I had every intention of breastfeeding my now five month old child; however, life doesn’t always go as planned.  I take medication that I cannot stop and was told I would be able to breastfeed while taking it.  When my child arrived six weeks early…that all changed.  Long story short, the medical advice was that because of his immature organs it was too risky to breastfeed while on the medication.  I argued, I cried, I pumped and saved the milk hoping the doctors would change their minds, and I was so, so, so sad.  Each time I gave my child a bottle, the guilt would consume me and thoughts of bonding, intelligence, immunity, obesity, etc.  raced through my mind.  It was VERY difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to do it.  It was shocking how many people felt it was their business to tell me why I should be breastfeeding (like I didn’t already know), offering unsolicited advice, telling me to talk to a lactation consultant, to call such and such a doctor and all the while asking highly inappropriate questions.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing what medication I take-especially with acquaintances and perfect strangers-so please do not ask or make assumptions as to why a woman is not breastfeeding.  To be honest, it really is none of your business.  It was a good reminder to me (and it should be to others) that you must not judge unless you have walked in another’s shoes.

  • Abw303

    I can relate to number 9 so well. I STILL regret not being a stronger advocate in the first few months. My partner still does not understand this and did not advocate for me and baby either. There are times I missed out on holding my baby or let him get overwhelmed because I was too timid to say no. It has created an irreconcilable rift between me and a family member. Next baby I’m definitely going to grow a pair and speak up because only you know whats right and its on your conscience that it rests. Do what is right for you and baby no matter what others may think!

  • Nanny for new mom

    After witnessing first-hand a new mother’s experience, there is no way I’m breastfeeding my future baby. It’s so inconvenient- The mom can’t work more than 3 hours at a time because she has to come home and listen to him cry/ eat, and if she’s late, I have to try and calm him while he’s screaming from his hunger pains. And I don’t think a bottle would be any worse than her milk. She has digestive problems, and I think it’s causing his acid reflux. Personally, breastfeeding just grosses me out and anyway- I love my boobs. I’m going to do everything I can to prolong their perkiness. Women shouldn’t be expected to give up SO much. Having the baby is intimate enough for me. My baby will respect me and love me for being exactly the way I am, and I hope she will learn from me to never let someone take away your happiness. She’ll be just fine, and so will I.

    Happy mommies are the best.

  • Tina

    I just wanted to thank you for this. I’m not a mother but I just suffered through a miscarriage, my first pregnancy. And although in my head I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, my heart didn’t believe it until know. The Lord knew I needed to read this today. xx

  • Sonseray3

    I would add: don’t pray, it does nothing. Use your two hands to actually DO something, or if someone is praying for you, ask them to do the laundry or cook for you instead. Much more practical AND tangible.

    • Kitty

       you can pray while doing something. I don’t think it’s necessary to put religion down.

  • Veteran Mom

    Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love; love for yourself and your baby. For these things bring peace. That’s all that matters for a baby to flourish and grow.

  • Meredith6809

    Thank you for writing this. I just had my first baby 5 days ago, and a good friend sent this to me. I have read through many of your blog posts as my newborn has slept beside me, crying and laughing in my hormonal stupor. My whole word has changed as I now worry in a sleepless state about managing time with grandparents, going back to work, keeping her safe and being a good wife. Your honesty has inspired me to be true and forgiving to myself. One of the only things that I am completely sure of is that there is no love greater than the love I feel right now. Your writing is a gift, thank you again.

  • Qwinkly3

    1.  Do not take the word of your family doctor or pediatrician as gospel, unchallenged. 

    I’m not talking about serious health issues, but in the other areas like sleeping through the night, letting your baby cry once the sun is down, how soon to stop breastfeeding, etc.  The training of doctors is woefully deficient in nutritional information to start with, and breastfeeding is a hot button full of biases.  Always get second opinions from the “other side” of an issue, weigh the two sources and think!   Seriously, if you were thinking of getting a Dell computer, do you really think that the Dell salesperson is going to give you a non-biased salespitch?  If you really want the dope on a Dell, you’d have to call up Gateway (or whoever) and have that salesperson tell you why NOT to get a Dell.   In medicine, this is truly what “informed consent” must be – an unbiased and true depiction not only of the advantages, but also the risks of what is advised.  As for crying it out, this is NOT medicine at all, but parenting !  The doctor advising you might not even HAVE children.  Look at more than one side of an issue and make a decision thoughtfully, not as dumb obedient sheep.  Doctors’ advice on important MEDICAL issues is a whole different matter.  A good question to challenge your doctor with, using the most respectful tone you can muster, when he/she gives parenting advice you disagree with is:  “Is there any MEDICAL reason for this advice you are giving me just not about this issue?”  And then, “If I choose to not follow this advice, what potential pitfalls may I encounter, and what should I watch for?” 

    2.  I heartily disagree with the notion that breastfeeding is “enormously inconvenient”. 

    Having a tiny tyrant who has to eat. right. now !!!, even in the middle of the night  is what is enormously inconvenient.   Bottle or breast.  If your parenting is structured so that you, the mom, will be the one giving most of the feedings anyway, then breastfeeding is SOOooooo much MORE convenient than running out at 2AM in a blizzard because you just dropped the last of the powdered formula all over your dirty kitchen floor the day before you went grocery shopping.  No bottles to wash, less burping, fewer food allergies (for life!).  And breast milk doesn’t stain clothes like formula does.  If you will be away from your baby somewhat frequently, then either pumping milk (yeah, an inconvenience) or using both breastmilk (live from you) and formula (when you can’t, or don’t choose to make the time to pump ahead and stock up) can work for some.  As for breastfeeding hurting so much – do not let this go on for very long without getting help !  It is “not supposed to” hurt much (didn’t say it didn’t, just not supposed to).  Call your La Leche League leader ASAP, day or night.  The sooner you find out if it’s a positioning problem or whatever, the sooner you fix the problem.  Being in pain for weeks then takes much longer to heal if you don’t seek out expert help ASAP.  I’m not slamming lactation consultants per se, since they mostly didn’t exist when I was breastfeeding, but……  I’m more suspicious of someone (particularly if they don’t have kids and didn’t nurse) who is MAKING MONEY on the back of their advice.  A La Leche League leader (LLLI) is a VOLUNTEER who exists ONLY to help nursing mothers.  No kickbacks, no salary.  Lastly, formula tends to cause your baby to demand to eat a little less frequently.  This can seem like an advantage – but it’s only from the parenting side – your selfish side.  It is not that the baby is “more satisfied”.  The realer truth is that it is much more difficult for your tiny baby’s system to process this false food than breast milk.  Not such an advantage from his little point of view, I think.

    3. Grandma Harness was both right and wrong.  Her point was not to get all upset that babies sometimes cry a lot.  But her words should be changed.  It is “dangerous” to say to all parents that “sometimes babies just cry.”, because of the too-common, but erroneous notion that babies cry For No Reason.  There is ALWAYS a reason.  Do you like your husband saying you are complaining for no reason, or upset or crying for no reason?  There IS a reason.  With babies, it is far truer (and safer to say to someone new) that “Sometimes babies cry for a reason we can’t figure out, even if we’ve tried everything we can think of for a cause and every soothing technique has been tried.”  THAT’s the real truth.  Think of your own self – your body and the stresses of your life.  Even your doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with some things, although you still know you hurt.  Or with life stress, maybe your family, or you yourself, can’t figure out why you are in such a bad, stressed, overwhelmed mood.  Denying there is a problem (sometimes babies just cry) doesn’t mean there is no problem.  For example, sometimes babies have gum pain before other other teething symptoms show up (drooling, chewing, etc.).  My kids both had ear pain LONG before the doctor could tell they were working up to an ear infection.  Babies are sometimes just overwhelmed by their world and either need to be held, or are inconsolable for awhile.  Like when a woman says, “I just need a good cry.”  Doesn’t mean this woman wants to be put in a wooden cage (crib) and shut the door and ignored no matter how hard she screams for someone to hold her or understand.  If grown women know this phenomenon, why don’t they realize that tiny humans hurt this way, too?I think this is why God doesn’t let humans (particularly babies) hear our thoughts.  So that, when you’ve tried everything you can think of to get the baby to stop crying, you will still stay near them and hold them, even if in your thoughts you are thinking of drop-kicking that squalling brat from off your rooftop if it doesn’t stop screaming “for no reason”.  (It’s perfectly OK to have those thoughts…just do what your baby needs.)

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  • Shanosh

    It always bothers me when I read in the comments people’s negative reactions to another’s opinion. We all have opinions and ideas on what is right and wrong. That is how we make decisions. So, if someone has a different opinion than you, who cares. You don’t have to feel judged or guilty. You have control over your own feelings. Like others, I am of the opinion that breastmilk is “best,” but when my sister chose to use formula I didn’t question her decision. I don’t think she is a bad mother. I just mind my own business and concentrate on what I can control, my life.

  • Glynis

    It’s fine with me (not that anyone put me in charge to be The Judge) if a mother or a family chooses to formula feed as “their” best option.  Breastmilk is a superior food, hands down, scientific fact.  But formula isn’t likely to wipe out the human race either.   What’s not OK with me is the too-common phrase “can’t breastfeed” or “didn’t work for me”, or “tried to breastfeed”.  There are FAR fewer women who ABSOLUTELY can NOT breastfeed than you think.  Touting this phrase around has an effect on others that perhaps you don’t realize.  It’s like when the first person in your family or friend group gets divorced, it makes everyone else think of this as more of an option.  It’s catchy, like suicide is contagious, too.   It’s fine to say, “I gave it my best try, given the information I had at the time, and decided it wasn’t my preferred option.  I have my reasons.”  If more mothers learned HOW to breastfeed – particularly BEFORE giving birth, and had immediate support available 24/7 for the first few weeks (the problem weeks), then there would be far fewer mothers feeling like they “failed”.  But gee…. where do you find some education like that, and 24 hour support that you can afford?  Oh Wait !  LA LECHE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL !!!   This is a non-profit support group for breastfeeding mothers and it’s free.  Girlfriends, get educated ahead of time – to prevent problems.  Then ask for help ASAP at the first symptoms of problems – pain, poor latching on, other questions.  Don’t go trying to muscle through for days or weeks.

    Many of those mothers who are “claiming” that they CAN’T breastfeed, if you strapped them down and forced them to admit honestly – many of them did not have the right education for breastfeeding.  Some tried hard to find it and didn’t find it, and quite a few also didn’t BOTHER to learn about this most important aspect of new parenting – uh…. feeding the little thing !

    There is a similar correlation in our society with people whining about how both parents HAVE to work/be employed.  Poppycock to very many of them !   Force them into the truth and they’d have to admit that they have to both work to maintain all the LUXURIES they wish to still have.    Cable TV, TV at all, Air conditioning, cell phones for everyone over 3, cell phone -plus house phone, internet, car with leather seats and air conditioning and CD player and movies, their entertainment budget – going to real movies instead of using ones from the library, lights on in every room of the house for hours. Prepackaged food, wasting food.  And a whole bedroom for every child – complete with TV, internet, etc.  These are NOT “NEEDS” but luxuries.  Seriously, how many people have you ever met who have STEPPED DOWN a house level, to better meet the needs of their children during crucial parenting years?  How many have you met who drive hubby to work so they can have just one car per family?    It’s OK to CHOOSE to work, just usually DISHONEST to say that you HAVE to.

    • Stephanie

      Your post literally made me sick to my stomach.  It was rude, snarky, and hateful. I will NEVER contact  ”LA LECHE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL” because now I am left to assume they are like you.

      Just a few points:
      Breastfeeding does not work for many EDUCATED women.  It just doesn’t.
      Many women can’t breastfeed. It could be from medication issues, not producing enough milk, excruciating pain, or many other issues. 
      How dare you compare feeding the little “thing” to suicide? Heartless.
      Some people with low income jobs DO have to work so they can “feed the little thing”.  Sometimes one job is NOT enough.

      This was the most arrogant, hateful post I have read. Please, reread your post as a mom who is on medicine and can’t breastfeed, a mom whose baby won’t latch on after working with multiple professionals, or a mom whose husband’s job alone doesn’t provide enough income for food, shelter, and healthcare.

  • Cheryl

    Kate, this is all so wise and true.  You’ve said it quite eloquently, and maybe with baby dribble fresh on your shoulder!  Badges of honor.  Your words are also true for our 8 year olds, and our 18 year olds.  It’s easier and harder at the same time.  It’s all a balancing act.  As a mother of teenagers, remember, “NO” is not a dirty word.  No means, NObody else loves you like I do, and NObody else has your best intentions at heart.  So, NO, you cannot stay out until after midnight, and NO, you cannot wear that to school, and, NO, I am not made of money.  All balanced with YES, supper is at 6 and I expect you to be at the table, and YES, I’ll be at your volleyball game, and YES, Mom loves you, xo. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QYJ2FMOFHSIWL7KYMQ4BEO4BUM Andy

    I just wanted to tell you that a friend sent this to my wife. We’re going to have our first in 9.5 weeks. This was particularly comforting and encouraging. Thank you so much. I sure hope you continue with more awesome help. The books just don’t quite paint it this way. 

  • Dawn Olson

    Wow, this is amazing. Thank you so much for putting this together – don’t us moms have such a need to be ‘given permission,’ about so many of these things? Thanks for giving it.

  • Vonkannondaycare

    grandmother of 16 and mother of 6 suggest that hug that baby and love them.  As soon as they are able to move on their own begin to let go.  They will always come running back if you don’t control too much.  Foster independance!  Always remember that if you cannot control their behavior at two you have no chance when they are 15.  Love your babies they grow so fast just be proud of all they learn and let them know you are proud of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=63209796 Vanessa Robertson

    Hi thanks for this. After 8 years of marriage and an ardent no-children policy we’ve decided to do it (against all rational and logical thought) so I loved your post. I’ve heard some of it before (Well number one at least), but I know there’s a lot that I don’t know and I’m glad you’re sharing!

  • http://www.alifesetfree.com Marianne

    #9 Advocate for your baby TOTALLY resonates with me! My firstb0rn son was also born just before this past Christmas and yesterday at Easter everyone, including his little 3 and 5 year old cousins wanted to hold him, even when he was crying. I sat close by tortured, wanting to take him back, but didn’t because i didn’t want to be “THAT MOM” that’s so overprotective and clingy. But your comments make TOTAL sense! My poor baby does not HAVE to be passed around when he is upset and it’s OK! He wants mommy and it’s my job to make sure he has mommy when he wants me back.

    Thank you for this! I can relate to all your points. Congratulations on your beautiful new baby!

  • Lbitsas

    If the baby blues last longer than a few weeks and seem more intense, talk with your doctor about whether or not postpartum depression is at play. It’s real and it often goes diagnosed. 

  • Mrskohlenberger09

    What a great arts….

  • Joy Ricks

    Advice my grandmother gave me.  Regardless of what stage your child is in, enjoy it. The next one is worse. 

  • Kitty

    Wow, people like to assume they are being judged, that’s observation. Among my other observations, as I am not yet a mother, simply a Sunday school teacher, camp assistant and babysitter, I would add: don’t be afraid to leave your child with someone else. By all means, be an advocate, especially when they are still really little, but let them be comfortable with people other than mom. Based on my experience, it will make the dance classes, sports, preschool etc. in a few years easier for both parent and child, and will give you a chance to get out with the spouse or the friends now and then.
    Along those same lines, don’t be afraid to start fostering independence either. I am not saying let your newborn scream without comfort or leave your 6 month old to their own devices, but children can explore a bit and cry it out earlier than I think some (not all) parents think. I remember being sent to play by myself as early as 3 or 4 years old and I learned to entertain myself. I would definitely not consider myself  to have been coddled at all either and having moved away to university this year, I now really appreciate having to help cook clean and do laundry not to mention be resourceful and find my own way around sometimes (again, at an appropriate age, your three year old doesn’t need to be Dora the Explorer). I have worked with kids that I can tell have never been more than arms reach away from Mom, and it is really hard to help them adjust to a class-like setting without parents when parental presence is all they’ve known for the first 5 years of their life.
    Again, there is a distinction between fostering independence and negligence, to echo everyone else, do what works for you, absolutely. However in my own (albeit unexperienced in terms of parenthood) opinion, helicopters are not helpful.

  • Ahoscheit

    I would add not to judge yourself to much, My son was born via emergency C-Section, not my plan AT ALL (UN-medicated water birth was….haha), then I had planned to breastfeed exclusively, but learned after a few days that I did not produce enough milk, which is due to the shape of my breasts and totally out of my control, so I breast fed what I could and supplemented the rest. I had also planned to use cloth diapers, which lasted about 1 day until I realized…mmm I should probably own a washer and dryer if I am going to do this. anyway, so far little has been the way I thought it would when I was pregnant but my son who is now 14 months is happy and healthy and I learned that things don’t always go as planned, but that dosent make it any worse.

  • Jan

    I would add:
    -Don’t evaluate everything you do in terms of ‘parenting fail’ or ‘parenting success’. It will make you crazy. Instead think in terms of ‘this worked’ or ‘this didn’t work, next time I’ll try…’
    -If your doctor says something and you can’t shake the feeling that it is wrong, get a second opinion.  
    -If you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Put your baby down in her crib. Leave the room. Call someone. If you feel that way frequently, or if you feel like hurting your baby or yourself, call your doctor.

  • Glynis

    Those of you who are claiming that vaccines contain aborted fetal cells – seems like you’re grotesqued out about that, or that that is harmful in itself.  Or maybe you have other objections.  If fetal cells are not harmful in this case, and I have no knowledge whether they are or not, then what’s the harm?  Let me explain.  IF… IF we keep voting that it’s just fine to waste human life MURDERING children because a woman with questionable morals just can’t keep her legs together and gets her 9th abortion, rather than considering adoption…. IF it’s “OK” to have the youngest of our “children” RIPPED to SHREDS and sucked out into a bucket, then hey, might as well make good use of the murdered carcasses.  Heck, considering the THOUSAND of poor darlings who never got the chance to help mankind in any other way, this is a good thing.  Or if not to grind up their twisted off limbs into vaccines, then hey, just use them as food fodder on farms to feed PIGS !  Let Baby Susie become PIG SLOP !  Unpalatable idea?  (Pun intended.)  WHY?  You people keep saying (and voting, and financially funding) that Baby Susie is not a baby, only TISSUE.  So what’s the problem with the free pig fodder idea?  Saves room in LANDFILLS, too, from all those ROTTING fetal carcasses !!

    You who are objecting to vaccines having aborted BABY cells in them – HOW DO YOU VOTE?  DO YOU ALWAYS VOTE PRO-LIFE?  OR ARE YOU HYPOCRITES !

    • Sara

      Glynis, I appreciate your passion for this topic. However, it’s hateful words like yours that turn people away from being pro-life.  Pro-life individuals, such as myself, are often stereotyped as being judgemental, harsh, hateful, or close-minded. And posts like this one only serve to further that stereotype. Bashing others isn’t going to solve anything, it just makes everyone unhappy.  And it’s definitely not going to convince a pro-choice individual to become pro-life.

      On a side note, fetal tissue isn’t used in vaccines.  Two were used to develop vaccines 50 years ago, but they are not used to make vaccines used today.  I’m not saying this is morally right or wrong, I’m just clarifying that fetal limbs are not put into vaccines.

      Also, a lot of women who get abortions are not sluts like you implied.  They may be rape victims. Again, I’m still pro-life and not saying that abortions are okay, I’m just stating that not all women who get abortions are women with no morals and no self-control.

  • Kristin

    Am I the only who’s noticed that Julie added “Don’t judge other mothers” and yet, for the most part, this comment board has become a “tit-for-tat” (pardon the pun) regarding views on subjects as wide-ranging as abortion and breast-feeding?  My goodness, I don’t think our female ancestors worked hard to create equal rights for women just so we could become a bitchy mean-girls group.  If we don’t respect each other, and each other’s choices, then how on earth can we expect our children to respect each other?  What works for you works for YOU.  What works for her works for HER.  Save the judgment.  Lend an ear, or a hug, instead.

    • Barbarian72

      I agree.  However I think the major problem is that we have forgotten how to respectfully disagree with someone.  If someone else does not share the exact views as the person initiating conversation, then they are a hate-monger and they lash out as if you had just punted their newborn child like a football!

      • Christina

        Your comment is so true and so right and just what i’ve been thinking of lately. There is so much anger just because we don’t know how to respectfully disagree with other people’s opinions. People either want to force their opinions down your throat or hate you. I am going to bring this up at an informal gathering and see if anyone lashes out at me, proving my point.

    • Michelle0723

      Thank you. That is spot on. I miss having friends who will share in the highs and lows of parenting without judging me as a parent.

  • PTE

    Amazing to me how a great little article meant to support and reassure women that we’re all in this together and we’re all doing the best we can ends up getting derailed by a vaccination and breastfeeding debate.  You guys missed the point completely!  I’m getting so tired of the fact that no one can even mention those two subjects in passing without a debate ensuing…and then the judgement begins.  Thank you, Julie – the first commenter — who got it and thank you, Kate, for writing this and reminding me I’m doing the best I can :)

  • Misindependent83

    I am so thankful I found your blog through pinterest by clicking on this post. As a first time mommy of a now 7 month old your honest words are the most beautiful things I’ve ever read! Thank you thank you for eloquating these mommy tips!

  • Elena LaVictoire

    As an older mom with kids from 6 to 22 I’d like to say that it’s not that the older moms who coo at your babies and toddlers have forgotten what it was like to be in the sleepless stress of raising babies and toddlers – it’s more that we’ve seen the big picture and realize that those irritants, struggles and annoyances don’t really matter in the bigger scheme of things – and we wish we would have realized that more clearly at the time – and we’re hoping that perhaps you will – while at the same time knowing that you probably won’t. 

  • MrsBlue

    I stumbled upon your post in my internet wanderings, and I found it practical and interesting and quite cute. :)   I do feel inclined to interject my opinion though–from the “other side of the fence”–and state that number 8 is just your perspective and isn’t entirely truthful. My hackles were even a little raise, so to speak, when you stated that all the chipper mommy bloggers out there were “liars.” I’m a mother of a 16-month-old, and I truthfully have had the most fabulous pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experiences. My entire pregnancy was a breeze, I felt AMAZING and beautiful and energetic; I had an all-natural labor, NO sweat; I breastfed like a champ, hardly ANY pain except for a little soreness the first week; had a little one who slept GREAT from day one; I found breastfeeding to be immensely convenient, food on demand with no need to carry around supplies and formula everywhere! None of this is to brag, mind you. It was just to point out that many of us mothers DO in fact remember what it was like having an infant when we sigh dreamily over someone else’s little one; we ARE being down-to-earth honest and are NOT lying by omission when we write those chipper blog posts. Experiences differ greatly, just thought I’d tell the “chipper blogger mommy” side of the story. (And I have many friends who have had similar experiences to mine, so I may not be the “norm,” but I know I’m not a fluke.) That being said, I find your writings charming and entertaining and will definitely be returning. :)

  • Ladyrcarlo

     I have 4 beautiful children.  I bottled fed the first 2 then wanted to
    try nursing the 3rd with help from a friend in the La Leche Club.  It
    worked out for about 6 months and then he started to cut teeth.  That
    ended it for me. What I did find interesting is that my husband said he
    missed out on being able to bond with the baby at feeding time due to
    the nursing.  But what and however you do it having kids is an adventure
    and you will find out what what works for you might not work for the
    next.  Just be there to support each other.   Oh but now I have a question for the people who nursed!  How are your children’s teeth?  Every Mother in my circle of friends, their kids have all had teeth problems.  All my kids got their teeth around the same age the only difference is that 3 weren’t nursed and one was.  That was the one who was nursed.  Am curious to hear……………..

  • RJC

    I have 4 beautiful children.  I bottled fed the first 2 then wanted to
    try nursing the 3rd with help from a friend in the La Leche Club.  It
    worked out for about 6 months and then he started to cut teeth.  That
    ended it for me. What I did find interesting is that my husband said he
    missed out on being able to bond with the baby at feeding time due to
    the nursing.  But what and however you do it having kids is an adventure
    and you will find out what what works for you might not work for the
    next.  Just be there to support each other.

  • Guest

    As a new mother to be I found this post very encouraging but the people that posted very saddening. For some reason people think that because this is the internet and no one can see them, that gives them the right to be rude. Well, newsflash, it’s not. The  way that people have responded to this post for that most part and to one another has been hateful and rude and really shows what our society is like these days. It’s depressing and it’s only going to get worse.  We need to pray for our country.

  • Melissaj376

    What in the world is inconvenient about breastfeeding? No mixing, no warming, no making your screaming child wait for his food, no bottles to wash, diapers that are far more pleasant to deal with, and that doesn’t even begin to touch the health benefits for baby AND mom. And if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong, PERIOD. It’s pumping that can get tedious, and it’s a shame that in this country we don’t value families enough to give women proper breastfeeding support and ample maternity leave AND we still have morons like Barbara Walters going around saying breastfeeding in public is indecent.
    That’s my rant. Other than that it was a great post.

    • EDC

      If you have inverted nipples it hurts like hell for a long time, even if properly latched. 

    • Lindsey

      You’re not always doing it wrong if it hurts. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons.

  • california bike lover

    great post.  We are expecting our first baby in September and I don’t know anything! help!! :)

  • Redsoxslc

    Love it!

  • Elbe

    All I can say from this new mom is Thank you!

  • SLH

    Well said Kristin.  It’s so unfortunate that some women have to take themselves so seriously they end up missing the point completely.  Take a deep breath ladies, it’s fine to have opinions, even strong ones, but there’s always the option to take the high road and agree to disagree.  I thought this was a great article. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheRightSideofN Cindy Gaddis

    I had a friend many years ago with her first baby in her first year. Me, I was on number 5, who was also in his first year. I remember my friend would tell me she worried that she was doing this wrong, or people were thinking she should be doing this other thing. My advice to her: You only get to have your first baby once. You’re figuring it out as you go. You’re not going to do anything horribly wrong that will ruin her life. Do what makes you happy and feels right to you. When a day comes that you no longer feel it’s right, change it then, and only then. Don’t worry about all the people who think they know better. Tragically, within the year, my friend died in a car accident. I was glad she raised her daughter HER way, because you just never know. It took me years to get over her loss, as she was one of my first young moms I mentored in that way.

  • Andi Nicole

    Wow. Reading this was exactly what I needed to hear right now.  All I can say is THANK YOU (through tears)    :)

  • Anjeny

    Good job, Kate.  May I add to the new moms, nap whenever your baby is napping.  If you have older kids, put on their favorite show, set out some snacks & drinks on the table, lock the door and take a nap with your baby.  

  • Wendy

    As a first time mum I have enjoyed this list, especially the one about the cute clothes – I am going to be sure to dress my girl in the cute dress I got her tomorrow I think!

    I have noticed that many of the comments are about the “breast vs bottle feeding” discussion. My personal experience with breast feeding is very positive and I am very thankful that everything went so well, I know it doesn’t for many other people.

    I think when discussing such topics it’s good to assume that people are wanting to do what is best for their baby. And sometimes making those calls is difficult. Sometimes what is best for the mother is best also for the baby.

    It sounds to me you could sum up most comments with. Most woman want to breastfeed their children, some struggle to do so for different reasons (you can read all the comments to see many different reasons) and we are to be thankful that there is a good alternative for those babies and their mums.

  • A Grandma of 14

    If babies came with instruction  books, I would wager that would   be the best read book in a new mothers library.  Just for the record, they don’t.  They never have, and they never will.  You can read every piece of literature out there on babies, and in so doing you will find that they each have variations on the ”best” way to do everything.   You will only become compleatly confused.  BUT over generations.  Our ancesters managed to successfully raise their children using one magic ingredent,   LOVE.   Let your instincts be your guide.  Listen to that little inner voice, and maybe call Grandma, when the task seems overpowering.  You will soon learn when your  baby just needs to exercise her lungs, and which cry means, change me, feed me, or I really am hurting.  

  • Lil_navy_mama

    my only adcvice goes to new moms that need to use daycare sooner then later.  I acctually gave this advice earlier this year.  Remember it’s harder on you then it is on the baby, and you only need to call for a check in at lunch, cause your daycare is probablly as busy (or more so) then you are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Pawski/560135820 Jess Pawski

    I absolutely love this article but I have to say that my youngest daughter was born right before Christmas and I loved that my family was so excited to see her. It was awful weather when she was born and I was bummed about not a lot of people coming to visit me in the hospital, so days later when Christmas arrived, I was relieved to know that we were loved and most of the postpartum crying left that day. My family also knew when to stop passing her and let her and I have some alone time. And take pictures!!! LOTS of pictures!!! I know I’m crazy when I say this but my oldest daughter did not get enough pictures of her when she was younger.

  • Heather

    As my fourth child has come along 14 years later than my first child I can honestly say it is harder now than it was when I had three ages 4, 2, and a new born because of the demands on your time to care and spend time with and support all your kids in seperate activities. It has taken about 7 months to feel more balanced and to just accept the fact that I cant be in 2 places at once and for the older kids to not feel upset about it either. The other thing I’ve dramatically learned js don’t compare yohr baby to any others and don’t let others upset you when they do. Remembering that every baby is different and on they’re own schedule will help keep those negative thoughts at bay. Thank you so much for thks article, I really needed a reminder today.

  • Gael

    99.9% of this is spot on!  For me, however, breastfeeding was the most CONVENIENT way to feed my babies.  Always ready, the right temperature, nothing to buy or prepare.  And no dealing with stinky formula poop or worrying about allergies.

  • Thecoffeyhouse

    After reading what I thought was a great article, I’m disheartened to see how many of the people leaving comments have totally missed the point. This article isn’t about the pros and cons of breast feeding and/or whether or not we should be vaccinating our children. It’s about loving your kids and not getting too wrapped up in the little things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. My kids are now 4 and 7 and I look back on the baby days with a combination of fondness and a sense of relief that I don’t have to go through that again! Occasionally I’m asked by friends who are having first babies if I have any advice to offer and it’s always this…do your research and trust your instincts, I have yet to meet a mom that purposely made a poor choice. There will always be those who want nothing more than to point out all the things you’re doing wrong, but I think most of us would find a lot more comfort in having the support to encourage us to continue doing the best job we can because, guess what? That’s all any of us are capable of! Good job moms, keep up the good work and remember, no one is perfect.

  • Young Mama

    The thing I hat the most is the moms who always say “well my baby did this first and that first”. I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were having a competition with our babies. Some babies take a little longer to do things, others are fairly fast at learning. This doesn’t make any baby dumb though. I’m just tired of hearing this, sorry.

  • http://tessadiaries.wordpress.com/ Tessa’s mom

    I couldn’t agree more!

  • Kandphart

    I would add that it’s ok to take some (not too much,but some) away from your baby. I used to leave baby with daddy while I took the dog for a walk. I love my baby but I truly treasured those 30 minutes to myself.

  • Pbhaynie

    As a mother of 10 children I just want to say “Thank you” for numbers 1-10 above. Fortunately, I have a mother and a mother in law that were kind enough to teach me these things. I love number 6 the best. My mother in law taught me that if a baby’s needs are met, sometimes crying is exercise and is good. No one likes to listen to a baby cry, but sometimes its ok. Set a timer and go through all the diaper checking etc every 5 minutes if you must but soon you will be able to tell when its just a fussy cry, not a hungry or hurt cry. They do sleep oh so soundly after a good healthy cry.
    And thank you for number 9. I remember how hard it was not to let people hold and kiss and cuddle my 4 day old at Thanksgiving dinner. A more sane person would not have gone at all. My Mother in law told everyone that no one was holding the baby today. I was so grateful for her wisdom. It gave me permission to protect my new baby the way I really wanted to.
    And can I add… Should one of us lose a baby in miscarriage, let yourself grieve. You will get comments like “You’re young, there will be another chance…”   I never expected to be so sad after a miscarriage. I cried, I mourned my loss and my mother in law reminded me not to let myself go down the road of guilt and blame. It doesn’t go anywhere good. Grieve and acknowledge your loss so you CAN move on.
    And from a mother that hasn’t forgotten how hard a baby is, thank you to all those sweet people who sent me meals and helped me clean and picked up my kids or gave them rides and to my teenagers who helped me through many long tiring nights with a colicky brother. Truly a gift.

  • Judystephenson44

    If there’s one word I would attribute to a new mother, it would have to be “cherish”

    Cherish every moment, no matter how difficult life may feel at the time.  One day, you will wake up and your little one will be all grown up.  So cherish this time of your life, you both need it more than you know!  And journal all those special moments, for when you are older, you will surely need to be reminded of all the joy you had experienced and moments you had cherished.

  • LizPlascak

    This reinforced my desire to stay childfree.

  • MommyofCharles

    Mostly agree with this… One thing I didn’t was the part about breastfeeding.  I breastfed my son for over 9 months straight with little complications.  Yes, it did hurt at first, but not really long.  It was not enormously inconvienent.  JUST THE OPPOSITE.  No bottles to bring, no formula to mix, no cans to open, no mess!  Plop on and wait for the fill up.  :)   It was the best closest experience I ever had with my son.  Until the little guy decided one day to start biting on me and laughing afterwards…that is when I knew he was going on cow milk.  LOL  I am a true advocater for breastfeeding!!  Dont let this suade you at all……you can do it…by the way, I am a A cup, I really had no problem.

  • Sw4jesus

    I’m a mommy to six. My youngest being six months and my oldest 12 years. I was encouraged by your words. So true. I’m a veteran mom but a new mom too. I may have six but its my first time having six. It’s my first time having a baby with five other kids that need me too. I thought these tips were great.

  • Kik

    I would add that virtually all babies have “gas” issues. I think the best advice I received was from my pediatrician who said that all babies are gassy. They always are. They’ll outgrow it. It’s not something you’re eating, it’s just that their system is new and needs time to figure out how to work. 

  • Annie Leonard

    I would add’ Trust Your Instincts’ to your list.  You will know when something is really wrong, when your baby is sick, when enough is enough, when to say yes and when to say no.  Your instincts are vital, learn to listen to them, you will need them as you raise these individuals who are your children and they bring you new challenges every day for at least the next 20 years.

  • http://twitter.com/MhwshB MahwashB

    I’m really glad I’m not the only one who has been trying to snap new moms out of a strange reverie that marketing gimmicks are sending them into, especially near about the time they’re complaining “Come out already!”. I used to think I’m some kind of monster for saying things like this on my blog – and I’m so glad that someone else has written almost the exact same thing and has gathered so much positive response!

    Love the post and love the blog. Keep up the good work! :)

  • Ladymsh

    I love the new mommy suggestion and what to tell a teenage daughter.  I have THREE daughters who are 37, 40, and 43 and we did manage to get through the teenage years without too many gut wrenching events.  I am blessed with 9 grandchildren and the last two (twins) are less than a year old.  I shall share the new mommy suggestions with my daughter.  (Her husband is deployed and she is doing a great job!)

  • aysma

    Wow. How disappointing to see mothers bicker back and forth about breastfeeding and vaccination issues. Arent we ALL mothers, and females at that? Shouldnt we all respect eachother for the decisions the other made? And mind our own business???? I dont think the author had that in mind when she was asking what to add. How ridiculous. Shame on all you Mothers. To those who didnt have anything to say about it (but I’m sure wanted to), my hat is off to you :)
     

  • guest

    Crazy how parents can take a molehill and turn it into a mountain.  Wow.  The comments sadden my heart.

  • LC

    I wish we could be honest about how difficult it is to raise children, but it seems to be a taboo issue.

  • Brittanileighan22

    Perfectly said.

  • Meg

    I will be totally off topic from other posts and say that I loved your advice! I don’t have children yet, but I know enough to understand where you are coming from and I am glad that I read it early enough to apply it to my first. I really liked the one about letting them wear the cute outfits and not worrying about them getting dirty because I love monogrammed, seersucker, and ruffles but always fear the stains! 

  • Shi

    As a mother of six daughters within 10 years (no multiples), I can relate to this article quite well. It’s time we stop judging each other and just do the best we can.  I was one of the lucky ones who had pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding come easily to me.  Not everyone has the same luck, so let’s stop judging and start encouraging and supporting each other instead.  Motherhood is hard enough without dealing with the judgement of other mothers.

  • Michelle Ristuccia

    #3 Made me laugh because my boys were both truly as loud as I thought they were. I would hear other babies cry and think, how does that wake up their mom at night? Haha! But I still found that most people have the common sense to realize that babies can’t help but cry sometimes, and that mom can only quiet them or get them out so fast.

  • Jill

    Wish I had this list about 8 years ago. This is one of the best, most useful, most practical lists I have ever seen for a new mom because all the information above is correct (at least in my experience). Well done.

  • patsarfar

    I love your post, I would add, as a mom, dont forget to take care of yourself, do things that you love to do. because as much as you love being a mom, dont forget the woman you are. Also remember you are your childs first role model. If you dont want them to swear, smoke, lie etc. do not do it in front of them. That doesnt mean you have to be perfect. But if you dont put your things away, dont expect that your child will put theirs away. They will copy everything you do. If you wont try new foods, dont think they will.

  • http://twitter.com/cup_cakeNinja Leigh

    After all the reading, complaining, and heated debate… I’m just not going to procreate. Problem solved and hard decisions avoided. 

  • Amy

    Accept help. People like to be around new babies. They want to help. If someone wants to bring a meal, or help do your laundry, or mow your lawn, or sit with your baby so you can take a nap, let them. It is good for your baby to be around other people, and it is good for you to have a break. I had a 12 year old girl who was fascinated with my twins. She loved to come over after school to hold them. By the time they were two, I had a well-trained babysitter who loved them nearly as much as I did.

    Don’t worry so much. Your kids only have you as parents. You will make mistakes. But overall, your kids will love you. As a foster parent, I am always amazed at what kids have lived in and found “normal”. Believe me, if you are really trying, and you love them, whatever you are doing is going to be fine with them until they are about 12. Then they will question everything anyways… But that is for another post…

  • http://consideringloss.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    I know this was written a year ago, but I just stumbled across it  now and wanted to say thank you so much!  I laughed and I cried…being now 7 months pregnant with number 2 and raising a 2 year old I would say you were right on!  I’ve been a little bit terrified remembering what a newborn was like and thinking about continuing to raise a toddler with no extra hours in the day, but this post was (strangely) really encouraging.  It’s going to become my new standby to have read at baby showers.  :o )

  • Yourstruly1216

    I actually just cried reading this. (My son is 1 so no hormones to blame.) This list was so candid and honest. I love it!

  • Ginger

    As a mom of 4 ages 12-20, I am amazed at what God has done in spite of all I didn’t do right (I had the best of intentions).  There is GRACE for those times when you feel like you just can’t and for when you wish you had done it all differently.  You love your kids more than anyone else and, if they truly believe that, they will be just fine.

  • Hallsheridan

    I’ve learned not to stand over my husband if I wanted help in the future. His way wasn’t my way but it worked and our daughter is happy.

  • Vdelallama

    This is such an amazing post. Thank you so much! I’m a new first time mommy of a 3 month old and I cried when I read this. My friend it to me at the perfect time. Such a blessing reading it has been.

  • Elsbeth

    It’s a wonderful article, and I’d only disagree with just one of your points — 

    Breastfeeding, itself, should not be either inconvenient or painful.  Anyone who has had to purchase formula, get up and heat a bottle to _exactly_ the right temperature, wash and sterilize bottles and artificial nipples, and then cope with the allergies many babies develop to it and the “nipple confusion” that occurs when Mama tries to switch between breast and bottle, knows that nursing is soooo much more logical, healthy, and convenient.   Besides, instead of having a screaming, frantic, wide awake infant in the middle of the night, the breastfeeding mom simply gives her baby the comfort and nourishment of her milk — right away, before her baby has time to get upset.  Oh, and Dad?  He doesn’t have to rouse out of a sound sleep to heat that bottle.. It comes at exactly the right temperature.  

    Sore nipples are  usually a passing phenomenon that can be ameliorated by preparation during pregnancy.  (Contact La Leche League for suggestions.)  

    As for the frustrations and anxieties of being a new mother, many of these are lessened by the production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “mothering hormone.”  Oxytocin is produced while nursing your baby.  

    Loved the poem — That’s a good one!

  • Tracy

    I think this is a wonderful list that can bring us mothers back down to earth and make us feel like we don’t have to have and do it all, all the time! Though I do beg to differ on part of #8 I myself am a full time working single mother (as in I drive an hour and half to work and then back home after an 8 hour shift) with a father that is only around when it’s convenient for him and his social life.  I decided when I was pregnant to use cloth as a means to save money and dammit I’ve been using cloth for over 5 months now and LOVE IT!  I would Never go to disposables in a million years.  My house may not be Martha Stewart approved but who gives a $#@!  Anyway, My point is that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to doing and don’t let anyone make you believe differently.  

  • Fexy27

    I think this is a wonderful artical. I am not a new mom. But some of those feeling are still there as a mom with two now. The second time though is more stressful on the body but you are more confedant it you abilities of your babies needs. Good luck with you baby girl.

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  • Lholly14@gmail.com

    omg enough about the vaccines. You guys seem to have completely missed the point.

  • Debbie Strandberg

    If you cry (which both babes and moms will do at times) … “Cry and Pray.”  It is amazing how God is able in those impossible moments… just because we ask in prayer.

  • Deborah Strandberg

    If you cry (which both babes and moms will do at times) … “Cry and Pray.”  It is amazing how God is able in those impossible moments… just because we ask in prayer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debsden Debbie Strandberg

    If you cry (which both babes and moms will do at times) … “Cry and Pray.”  It is amazing how God is able in those impossible moments… just because we ask in prayer.

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  • Coriwatts

    thanks so much!  my friend sent this to me, and i have never needed to read something so much right at this very second!  my daughter is 15 months and my sweet, adorable baby developed a mind of her own over the past 2 weeks.  she won’t let me change her diaper without squirming away…poop and all.  she pitches a fit any time i take something from her that she doesn’t want me to take.  i love that i am able to stay at home with her, but sometimes lately, i am so overwhelmed.  i don’t know how people do it with more than one.  my favorite line is “…pray a lot….”  just today, i was on my knees as she pitched a fit….it was all i could do at that moment.

    oh!  and thanks for the reminder that the housework can wait.  i’ll hold her a little longer next time, and cherish all of these moments….even the fits.  p.s. i think it’s unfortunate that people used the comment section for a debate about vaccinations.    

  • Dperreault

    I love the honesty of this post, and hope that all new moms…daughter, I’m talking to you…read this! We never said it was a cake walk!

  • Earlygirl1965

    I am the mother of 3 grown sons (or at least they THINK they are grown!) 24, 21 and 21…yes twins. And I DO remember the sleepless nights, walking the floors, breastfeeding for an hour, sleeping an hour because my babies needed to eat every two hours. (6 weeks premature) I also remember the nights in the hospital, trying to give equal time to my oldest son…the split lips, black eyes, scraped knees and elbows, fights between brothers…but my best memories are the sweet hugs and kisses, the I love you Moms, the laughter, shrieks, and tripping over cars and trucks. I gave up a lot to be at home with my boys, my best advice to new moms is to not forget to take care of yourself while enjoying the good the bad and the bloody :-) Absolutely the hardest job EVER is to be a parent!

  • AmyH

    The best advice I got at a baby shower was, “Dads don’t do it wrong, just different.”  I learned that if it wasn’t going to hurt the baby, I should let it be and let Daddy do his dad thing.  I am thankful and today my 11 year old prayed in thanksgiving for his “wonderful dad.”  I couldn’t agree more.

  • Mnh143

    I would add In the first months…sleep when your baby sleeps…you are exhausted. The cleaning and laundry can wait. This is what my mother told me when my first child was born and I was trying to stay ontop of chores. She told me the best way to take care of my baby is to take care of myself. Dont forget to eat, shower, and sleep when they sleep. Your house may be a little messy but you will be less cranky. Plus when people come to see the baby they are there to see your baby and you not your house. They really do understand.

  • Lacy

    Thank you for writing this! I’m always looking for moms who will be honest and admit that this is TOUGH! I’m a new mother of a beautiful, healthy and spunky 4 month old, and I had an extremely trying first 3 months. I didn’t feel connected to my daughter, I’d had a c-section and hated my body, and I missed my old life with my husband and my dog. Not to mention my husband had to work 60 15-hour days in a row without a day off so I was alone with this little helpless baby who would NOT stop crying or sleep no matter what I tried! Thank GOD for our families! My parents and in-laws completely came through and helped us through it! For the first 2 weeks we were home with her, my mom or my mother-in-law took shifts and stayed at our house to help us, night and day. I spent many nights crying on my mom’s shoulder, telling her I hated being a mother, that it was too hard and my daughter hated me. (She doesn’t hate me, as it turns out! She loves me very much!) I am so thankful that we have such supportive people in our life. 

    Basically what I would add as advice for new moms (and I have told many new moms this!) is not to be ashamed to ask for help! Don’t feel bad about asking someone (that you trust) to please watch the baby for a little while so you can sleep/take a shower/eat a good meal/have some  YOU time. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child and it doesn’t mean you are a bad mom. It means just the opposite! To take care of that precious, totally dependent child, you have to take care of yourself first! Their help literally saved my sanity and helped me realize that my daughter wasn’t screaming because she was mad at me or deliberately trying to drive me insane. She was just communicating. So moms out there, ASK FOR HELP! Take some time for yourself! 

  • runningafter3

    As a mother of three active boys (14,12 and 10), my advice to new moms is always the same - if its working for you: great and don’t change a thing.  However, if you’re persevering just to having bragging rights at your mom-tot group,  remeber there is no medal of honor for moms who breastfeed (co-sleep/stay at home,etc) the longest. 

    Whether you choose to co-sleep, or use disposable diapers, return to work or stay at home, at the end of the day, all that matters is what works for you, your baby and your family. 

    And remember, no child EVER went off to college still sleeping with his parents, breastfeeding or wetting their bed.  Eventually, they WILL grow up. 

    And EVERYTHING happens in phases.  This too will pass, so just breath. Step outside for a second if you need to.  Eventually you will be the mother of teenagers cooing over newborns.

  • Mater Infero

    In regard to your point number eight…

    You’re calling enthusiastic moms liars? That’s bold of you to put that accusation and assumption that ALL moms who are chipper, glowing, and positive about their mothering experiences are liars. Yes, motherhood is tough, but seriously, I would probably make a ton of moms cringe if I told them that my eight week old son is waking up in the middle of the night ONCE. And that I’ve never not been able to figure out why he’s crying or unhappy, with or without help. Why? Because my mother of nine children has been giving me golden advice along the way. I’ve been following it. And ultimately, I’ve learned to read my baby AND have a happy baby.

    Don’t you think we as mothers could make it ten times more complicated than what it really has to be? And how many times do moms try to work things out on their own instead of asking other experienced women for help? There were so many times when my baby’s habits were changing and I didn’t know what was going on or what to do. I’d weigh all my options and in the end I would call my mom. Sometimes its hard not being able to admit that you don’t know what your baby is asking for, but putting your mommy-ego behind you and doing what’s best for your baby could be the best thing for both of you.Yes, motherhood is hard. All the sacrifices we make and serving we do. But aside from that, I’ve been able to make my baby a really happy baby. Yes, we have our moments of misunderstanding, but for the most part, he’s doing so well. There’s never been a night where either my baby, husband, or I haven’t gotten sleep because our baby was constantly crying. I understand that part of that can be the personality of our baby. But what if the fact that I have a very happy baby, who’s on a schedule, who isn’t being overfed, who can get out his energy through playing, takes good naps, and only wakes up once in the middle of the night at eight weeks is because of the system my mom has taught me to give my baby…. what if that makes me feel like a glowing mother, who can be chipper and talk and share about my experiences… You’re seriously going to have the gull to tell me I’m a liar or liar by omission? Many of your points were great, but this universal statement and loss of logic was very disappointing.

  • Laure

    I have a 6 mo. old.  It is ok to cry a little (or a lot) on occasion (or every day).  It is ok to have a glass of wine.  It is ok to have a bath at 10 PM when they go to sleep.   Just remember that you are absolutely adored by another human being.  More than your mother loves you.  More than your husband love you.  Only God loves you more than your child. 

  • Alpha2omega6

    My mom had that poem on my wall as a baby :)  

  • Emily Kongs

    What a great post. As a new Mommy of a 7 week old, this post was much appreciated! Especially the part about your body.  ”Your body has done a nearly impossible thing – give it some grace.” -What a great way to look at it!

  • Bucsbabe225

    Wow! My little boy is six weeks old and nursing on my left side as I type with my right hand. And I am a teary mess after reading this. The advocate part is so so true. Sometimes you just gave to tell well meaning family and friends no. I already have had more experiences like that in the last six weeks than I can count. Thanks for the wonderful advice!!! Very well put!

  • April Weed

    I linked to this post on my post today.  This post definitely helped me, so I wanted to share it with others.  THANKS!!! 

  • Kerri

    I also think that mothers should not judge their babies or other babies based on how theirs developed, every baby developes differently, faster, slower… You’re baby is amazing now matter what month they crawl or say dada

  • Jcb2482

    I dont agree with everything stated here but the author is trying to be encouraging to new moms.  She is not aiming at offending someone. Her heart is in the right place and that is what matters.

  • LauraLMeyer

    Kate, I am a childbirth educator and I just love this article. I would like to hand it out to my classes. Do I have your permission to do so??

  • umm aisha

    I am a new mom as well, just gave birth to a beautifuil and gifted girl, may God almighty protect her, and im enjoying every minute with her…im breastfeeding so far and i must admit it was challenging in beginning and painful first few days, but it definitely got easier and is enjoyable now and i hope to continue breastfeeding until she is 2 years old if we (my baby and i) are both able to do so…but i wanted to share this with all mothers and future mothers, we dont need to judge each other for what choices we make whether to breastfeed or bottle feed or mix, as a Muslim mother who gains wisdom from our scripture, i came to find out that God in numerous passages and verses in Holy Quraan mentions and recognizes challenges of motherhood and commands appreciation and love and kindness to ones mother due to hardships and challenges faced throughout pregnancy, labour, and guess what…He even mentions breastfeeding…God in Quraan reommends (not obligated by the way) to breastfeed one’s child until two years if a mother wishes to do so…i found that comforting and amazing…God, although created this milk in my breasts for my child, only recommends breastfeeding and although He knows is best for mom and child to breastfeed, God almighty with His infinite wisdom and knowledge, recognizes that it may not work for EVERY mom-child, so if our creator understands and permits other options, then we too should understand and not judge each other! For me that was a moment of sigh and deeper appreciation for my creator! Also, in a custody case at time of first Caliphate Abu Bakar, father wanted to keep his child and so Abu Bakar ruled that mother keeps child and his reason was: “she is most worthy of keeping her child because she knows what is best for him and would be most compassionate/loving to him” So yes, every mother knows what is best for her child and is most compassionate to her child whether she breastfeeds or not…the mother is best judge of what is best for her child!

  • Shellie

    Every mom, new or veteran needs to take time for herself. It is not selfish, but needed. The break (even a short one) can help mom deal with tough situations more calmly and the baby will be more calm as a result.

  • Pokey1202

    I read this blog as a soon I be mommy and liked it. I read the first comment and liked it. Then the comments seemed to move away from what the writer intended ad into some criticism of some mothers ways to raise their children. I think every one does the best they can and raises their child the best they see fit one does not need to agree with their methods they can choose to raise their children differently. I agree with first comment of “don’t judge yourself against or allow people alto judge your ability to raise your own child. I respect all the vetera mommies that came before me. It’s a hard
    Journey but a rewarding one

  • Jennifer

    This blog is great! I’m a first time Momma due in March, and this definitely gives a lot of insight. Thank you for posting this!

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  • Charis

    I would add (coming from a mom of 4, 2, and 11 months) that it took me til my 3rd to finally, literally, break down and get a ‘mother’s helper’ one to two days a week. I pay her $20 for 3 hours to come and just HELP me. She’s 15 so she’s responsible enough for me to leave and get some groceries or for mercy’s sake just take a walk, but let me tell you, if she named her price double that I would pay. Scrounge up your money, humble moms, and pay for help! Make them vacuum while you’re on your errands, make them fold your clothes, and if you don’t go anywhere it’s great just having an extra hand to load the dishwasher or to start dinner or play with two of the (naughty) kids so you can have the happy 3rd around while you sweep. Also, YOU MUST DATE YOUR HUSBAND DURING THIS TIME. If you can’t afford to pay a babysitter and go out to eat, pay a babysitter and go to a park close by and just be alone together for two hours. It works wonders for us haggard parents!

  • Christina Russell

    Wow. This post actually made me cry. My daughter just turned a year old and I STILL worry I’m “not doing it right”. THANK THANK THANK YOU for posting this.

  • Silverlightstar

    She may be referring to herself on that, Charmed.