Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good advice

Waaaaaay before I was old enough to even consider having children of my own, I used to babysit for Aunt Constance's kids. She would talk about being a mom, and how she dealt with some of the challenges. Like diaper changing time.

Diaper cover by No affiliation, just a happy customer.

For those who don't have kids, diaper changing is (sometimes) gross, but also can be the source of great acrimony for all parties involved. It seems that (across the board) babies HATE being wet, but they also - confusingly enough- hate the process of getting their diaper changed.

Enter Aunt Constance's sage wisdom from all those years ago. She would sing to her girls while changing their diapers to help make it a more pleasant experience. This has turned out to be completely invaluable information.

While what we're singing might not be *exactly* what my Aunt Constance may have had in mind ("Forget You" by Cee Lo Green, "I'm sexy and I know it"), it TOTALLY works. And that is really what matters.

[SIDE NOTE: I have heard Andrew sing more in the last six and a half weeks than I have in the 10 years we've been together. It's completely charming.]

Add more good advice; Nathania spread the gospel of the wipe warmer. It has made all the difference. Singing + warm wipes = awesome. (In case you're curious, we also use these wipes.) Rachael suggested a white noise app; also great advice.

Most notably, Sean told me to keep living my life the way we already do, and let the baby adapt to us (instead of the other way around.) Fantastic advice!

So, here is your chance to help a new mom. What's the best parenting advice you would give? Lay it on me.


  1. Vacuum during nap time, unless you are knitting or taking your own nap. I did the whole house including under the crib.... amazing, my son slept through all the noise. Don't creep around and be silent. Noise is natural.

    Cherish this precious time with your daughter.

  2. Trust your instincts about your daughter. You know more than you think you do. You will be a great mother because you care. A sense of humor and naps help too. I'm glad you have your Mother close by. Also sounds like your husband is like mine, one of the best! Life will get easier.


  3. Glad to know that Andrew is an involved Dad! The best advice is to know thyself.

    Make sure you have some time for YOU everyday, instead of subsuming your entire identity into being "Genevieve's Mom". You may even have her with you when you are taking care of yourself - go to the library and find something that isn't about parenting, have a friend over who is willing to hold a baby (hint, hint) and talk about non-baby stuff, get a manicure, etc.

    Oh -- and laugh a lot! Even when she does the stinkiest, most involved cleanup project EVAR (of course, only on the days you are short on time), laugh about it. Everyone understands.

  4. I'm a mom of three kids ages 9,6 and 2. I'd say the best advice I could offer any new mom would be to try to relax. I wish I could go back and tell myself as a new mom to my oldest to stop sweating all the details and just try to relax. My oldest was colicky which didn't help the lack of relaxation, but I definely took more time and effort over things that in the long run, didn't matter much.

  5. My best advice is to not take advice too seriously. You are the only mother of this child and the best expert. Say thanks to advice and then decide if you can use it. What worked for my first child was useless on my second.
    I was raised to believe in strength and independence (from a mother of 4 girls!) but as the parent of a strong, independent young woman, I'm feeling it over rated some days.

  6. Live for today-too many times we anticipate the future, 'when she sits up, crawls, walks' and so you don't fully appreciate today. So savor today-right where you both are-it is a perfect place.
    (I still live by this and my four babies are all grown ups!)

  7. The best thing I've come to realize lately, is that these years are a "season". Things can get so upside down when they are newborns, the house is always sticky when they are toddlers etc.... and the two sides to that coin is that these years really won't last that long---meaning both the best and worst parts will be over, so we have to hold on to the precious things and not sweat the tough stuff. This season of new motherhood is a treasure, as are my playdoh covered dining chairs :-)

    My kids are 3 and 5 so we live in a land of finger foods and crayola products. Yeah, I don't get to go out with my husband very often, yeah, I don't get to spend much $$ on clothes or anything else for that matter, but I do get to enjoy and treasure the awesome and rediculous stuff my kids say every day! Like when my daughter says "You are a sweet mommy! I love you MOST!"

    So just take it all in....the good, the bad, the poopy. You've just embarked on a journey that will take you through many different seasons. And yes, one of my more effective self talk statements (thank you Dr. Gemma) is "This too shall pass".


  8. My 9 year old was born Oct 29 and my husband would sing him Christmas Carols to calm him down those first couple of months. I just couldn't do it...I realized quickly that my singing voice sucked compared to DH. Eventually, I got better and did a good lullaby version of the ABC song. Love the photo with the snuggly hair and squeezable arms. Precious!!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  9. My two cents:
    1. Love 'em a lot. The rest is gravy. And,
    2. Your child won't go to first grade in diapers. Don't obsess over the milestones - the kids will meet them when they're ready, and then it will be easy. If they're not ready, it's really hard.

    My kids are my biggest singing fans. Their favorite was "Oranges and Lemons."

  10. There is no way you can ever ever hold or hug your children enough. Cherish this time, I say this as I look at y 6'2" 17 year old son. The time goes way too fast.

  11. Forgive yourself when you get upset, overtired, cranky, crazy, etc. . . She'll never remember that, at times, you were a terrible parent (we all are at some point). I think you've got the love thing down & that's all that really matters.

  12. Best book: Toilet Training in Less than a Day by Nathan Azrin.

  13. Enjoy the little things and write them down. Sleep when you can the dishes will wait. Don't forget about your husband, date nights must continue.

  14. Jasmin, have you seen this? It's about the French way of bringing up children. Not to over-generalize, but French kids are well behaved, respectful to adults, and play independently. Plus, they speak French ;-)

  15. My advice is:
    a) don't listen to mums, who tell you, that her kid(s) are super awesome, well behaved, sleep thru the night from day 3 (and so on) and are always happy. They are lying :) all kids have good and bad days and things come in phases (my mantra: this is just a phase)

    b) things will get easier. It does.

    c) feed the little one before you go to bed, even if she didn't ask for it. She might drink just a little or nothing but if she drinks, it will give you an hour/3 hours more of uninterrupted sleep

    d) go for walks. A lot :) My little ones loved beeing outside and it made me feel good (sunshine plus "excercising" :) )

  16. As a mum of three (13,11,7)my best advice is to be flexible. No matter how well you plan things, sometimes stuff just happens. If you are flexible and relaxed things don't stress you out. I'm sure my eldest daughter wishes I'd learnt that I can't control everything a lot sooner!

  17. First of all, congrats on your beautiful baby. My daughter had her first child this past summer and she swears by "On Becoming Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo. It really works for them. And be sure to cherish every moment (even the fussy ones); babies grow up so fast...

  18. As mom of 3: Babies need to be TAUGHT to sleep all night, and that can begin as soon as they weigh about 12 pounds. Waking at night is for business--changing a dirty (but not wet) diaper. Feeding happens without singing, rocking, etc. unless babykins is ill. Lay baby back down while still awake and give a quick pat and "I love you" and leave the room.
    When you BOTH have more sleep it's more fun to have cuddle time, etc. during appropriate awake hours. (Ask anyone with a 2-year-old who still doesn't sleep through the night if it's still "precious" to rock their baby back to sleep at 3 a.m.)

  19. I used to sing Werewolves of London to my daughter during diaper changes. She loved it. Now that she is 20, I wonder if the song sounds familiar to her! You're doing great!

  20. Be cheerful about poop! Seriously. I had a special song when I changed dirty diapers that I made up about how good it is for your body to poop. It made him giggle and giggle. His whole life my kid has been hearing about how good fiber is, where to find it, and that it gives you good, easy poop. We never had any poop issues with him ever. And when he had surgery recently and had to take narcotic pain medication, dealing with the constipation was easy because we'd been talking about poop his whole life.

  21. She is so cute! What really worked for me was my baby wrap by [Lovey Duds]( They even make some with organic cotton. The wrap is a little fiddly until you get used to it, but it was a lifesaver!

    knitterlydesigns on Ravelry

  22. Sean beat me to it, but that is good advice. I know you love your little one, but don't give up being yourselves and what you do. I didn't revolve my world around my children, but I also kept them on a schedule and didn't take them out if I could help it at nap time. Nap time is very important, mine took two naps a day and one of those was a nice long one in the afternoon.

  23. Just relax. Love your baby, take care of and make time for yourself, and make time for you and your husband and the other significant people in your life.

  24. Have a small emergency bag in the car trunk with a couple of diapers,change of clothes,ect..normal diaper bag contents.That way if you just need to run out for a quick errand you don't have to worry about making sure you have the diaper bag. Also great for when you forget the diaper bag, they make a mess and your down to the last onesie, or the weather changes and you need something a little warmer/cooler. This came in handy even when the kids were older. I kept one short sleeve, one long sleeve, one pair of short and long pants and a sweatshirt in a bag for each my kids for those just in case moments. Think Hanes type. Something to have them in until you make it home. It never took up much room. It came in very handy.

  25. Don't waste money (or space) on crap you don't need. (For us, that includes the wipe warmer you take my advice with a big grain of salt.) The book "Simplicity Parenting" says it all for my advice. I love the Seuss accessories for your fuzzy-headed girl! And I'm loving the advice I'm reading in others' comments.

  26. Hi Jasmine, I have no children so I have no advice but from what I am reading, it sounds like you and Andrew are doing a wonderful job being parents! And,I like your modern soundtrack for diaper changing!

  27. So much good advice!
    I would add, write about her and your new life--a few lines, every couple of days.

    I used a small weekly planner that fit easily in purse/diaper bag. I wanted my children to see what our lives and days were like, and I love looking at it now. When they became older, small notes and drawings from them were put in. It's interesting now --youngest of my three is 18--to see my growth as a parent and how much my husband did with them.
    So, write, just a bit, and build a record and a story for her. Enjoy these precious, busy days!

  28. I've been a Mom for almost 12 years, I have 5 kids including a set of twins and I have one tiny advice.

    Take it one day at a time.

    Sure now they are all grown up and I have to keep a calendar just to keep up with extra-curricular activities, school outings and such BUT.. when they were wee little things, I tried not to think of the next day.

    Today, just today.

  29. First, I'd like to say from the sound of things you're doing awesome already! Relax and enjoy her. Squeeze her and smell her lovely baby smell while you can!
    My third is now a little over a year, and I feel like we FINALLY did the sleeping thing right. So, my advice is - put her down sleepy, not asleep, and let her fall asleep on her own! Put some soft music for her. My boy has a little glow worm that plays music and now he pushes its belly to play music for himself to go to sleep. I know this is easier said than done, but it is SO WONDERFUL now to be able to just give him some love and put him down. Let's me relax and enjoy a little time for myself before I pass out! :)

  30. You've gotten some great advice! I remember talking to you before she came. :) I wish I had taken the advice to live the way we were living and have her adjust more to it but we've gotten there.

    I agree with the person who said a baby can never be hugged, cuddled, and loved too much!

    Enjoy each moment because each stage goes so fast!

    Best advice I got was to not put baby on a schedule! Let her feed, sleep, eat when she wants when she was SUPER little!

  31. Best advice I ever got came from my Mom, mother of 5 (in 8 years, she had 5 kids!) "You can always easily manage one less kid than you have. When you have one kid, taking her to the grocery store is a major production. When you have 2, taking either one alone is a breeze. By the time you have 5, you can easily take any 4 with you."

    I can vouch for her advice being true up to 3....declined personally to check out the 4 and 5 kids version. But it helps explain why the experienced mommies handle things, and it sure made me feel better about being the one with one kid who struggled!

    Your little girl looks darling. The other best advice I got came from a doctor. When I asked for advice, he said: "Babies are to love, not to worry about. Take her home and love her....the rest will come with practice."

  32. In case you need some variety, I give you our favorite diaper-changing song. To the tune of "Let's go fly a kite", the lyrics are, "Let's go change your pants, take off the [insert preferred 2-syllable word for "soiled" here] pants, put on some fresh clean pants, and put your clothes on." Heh. I haven't thought about that one in a while.

  33. Take the pacificer out of her mouth the moment she's asleep: otherwise babies learn to wake up when it falls out and let you know about it at whatever hour. (Took me a few kids to learn that one.)

  34. I'd say try to put them down awake, but sleepy, as often as you can so that they learn how to go to sleep. I held my son constantly when he was an infant and he still needs me there next to him to fall asleep (he's 5), and he will climb into where ever I'm sleeping if he wakes up (which he does every night).

    And as many other people said, cherish the tiny moments. They will be over so so fast.

  35. Here's the best advice I can give (our son just turned 21 and hubby and I celebrated 23 years of happy marriage this past October and I think this proved successful: #1 Sean is right; let DangerMouse adapt to you and Andrew; not visa versa. #2 Don't be afraid to take her out (sort of like #1). We took our son everywhere we wanted to go and he got used to it #3 Don't be afraid to leave her for a night/date out with hubby. Yes, you are her mother and Andrew her father BUT there are others who love the little darling who can take very good care of her while you are out with your man OR out with the girls. #4 There is NO room for guilt in your relationship. You are still Jasmin first and foremost. Since the day Genevieve was born and the cord was cut, she is moving towards independence. Not right away, but in baby steps. Keeping your identity and not keeping Genevieve as an appendage of you is the best thing you can do for you and for her. This doesn't mean your love for her is less. I am basically irrelevant in my 21 year old's day to day life yet I look at him and feel more love than I thought existed in the world. Nothing changes that. #5 Treasure each stage/phase she goes through and celebrate them. Don't mourn the past; celebrate the now. (i.e. when she goes from crawling to walking). Each stage/phase is miraculous because your daughter accomplished them.

    I know this is alot, but these philosophies have served me well. My son, husband and I are all very close and enjoy a wonderful relationship that I do not think is an accident. We followed alot of this in practice. Genevieve will bring you years of happiness; the bounds of which you could never have imagined. And you will understand your mother on a level you could not have without being a mom yourself.

  36. When my son was an infant, I went to a teacher training and learned that the number of words spoken directly to a child from age zero to five have a positive correlation with success in school, mostly in literacy. Good thing her mom and grandmother are podcasters, right? When I ran out of words, I would just sing to my son. Sometimes I would sing the real lyrics and sometimes a made up version just to make myself laugh!

  37. Let your baby/child interact with the environment as much as possible. Babies and toddlers need the sensory input for proper development. Baby Einstein, computers, and television in general is not developmentally appropriate for infants AT ALL.

    Mostly, relax. Somehow, our children grow up happy and healthy. Although I cannot imagine how my children made it to adulthood having been deprived of a wipe warmer. I'm sure that the psychological damage will show itself soon.......

  38. Being a mom of seven children ages 4-20, I still feel I know very little. I got "crunchier" the more children I had, and am enjoying seeing you as a new mom doing all of the "crunchy" things, (breastfeeding, cloth diapers, baby wearing, etc...)

    You have gotten some great advise I'm sure, (haven't had a chance to read it all yet, so sorry for repeats), you have a great mom, and seem like a "well rounded" person, (whatever that means), I hesitate to give "advise" but here are my observations

    -your child is not a robot, and not a miniature you, she is a person, that will hopefully grow into who SHE is meant to be. Safely guide her, hive her safe boundaries, good instruction, example, but don't try to mold her, just keep her safe as she molds. Does that make sense?

    You do not have to earn her love. You have that already, continue to add to that bank, and when the hard times come, you will already have a vast interest stored up.

    Be everything you can for her. It's ok, and needful to sacrifice for her, but that doesn't mean lose yourself, I agree, take "me" time, get your hair done, bubble bath, all that, but not so much "me" time that she's in the wings. As you grow to love, (yes you will love her more) and respect her more, and keep this in perspective, the way to balance this will fall into place.

    last, because I'm rambling, (are you sorry you asked yet). it's ok to make mistakes, not be perfect, and mis the mark on some things. you, her daddy and her, don't beat yourself or her up when these times come.

    Thanks again for sharing with us!

    Dianna (Hishandmaid on Ravelry)

  39. Sorry this is coming a little late, but the advice is really timeless...It never ceased to amaze me how complete strangers would come up to me when I was out and about with my daughter, flat out tell me I was parenting her wrong and tell me how to raise my child. Besides being completely rude (which it is), the fact is, that no one rule works for every child or every parent. You are a team, dynamic and ever-changing. What works today, may not work tomorrow. Only YOU (as parents) will know what is best for your family, so don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. If you really feel strongly about something, trust your instincts and forge onward. As long as it is coming from a place of love, it won't be wrong.

  40. I haven't read all the good advice, and so don't know if it was addressed.

    Remember to keep you and Andrew as a couple before being parents. That is not to say neglect your new little angel. You two need time to be a couple. Make a date night once a month minimum. This will be easy at times and very hard other times as your family grows and changes. It can help keep you united when you see others in the same circumstances crumble.


  41. I watched one of my granddaughters for 2 years. Her favorite diaper changing song? Winnie the Pooh. (I found the words, printed them up, and hung them over the diaper changing table.

    Her cousin preferred Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Them (all 4 verses).

    Lesson: Be careful what song you sing!

    Remember: Any nursery rhyme can be sung to "99 Bottle of Beer" - and the alphabet serves as the chorus. (I would use that to amaze kids when I subbed while waiting in line. "Stump Mrs. Allen" Ha! I was always able to do whatever rhyme they threw my way.)

    Teta Knits

  42. Congratulations by the way!! I guess I have been living under a rock!
    I have no doubt you and Andrew will be some amazing parents!

    The Best I can Give is Trust your instincts.

    When it comes to doctors if it doesn't feel right to you it probably isn't.

    Children are a blessing and they didn't ask to be hear so be the best parent you can.

    Always talk to your child .

    Don't be afraid to give your child chores. I see way to many kids that think there entitled to whatever they want and they don't turn out good.

    Both parent share the discipline don't make one of you do it alone. If you don't when the child gets older that will bite you in the butt.

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