Tuesday, November 9, 2010


"I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

I ran into a clueless-looking couple in the Target baby aisle yesterday, looking at bottles and other gear.  The mother spotted me pushing my stroller, and asked plaintively "Do you know anything about pumping?"  I practically had to swallow my glee.  A chance to help a new mom!  Woo hoo!

I pointed her in the direction of a few helpful products, and then was on my way.  I was proud of myself for not standing there spewing new baby stories at the poor woman for an hour, recommending products she already had and advising her for situations she had not yet faced, but it was pretty tempting.  After all, you work so hard to learn all this stuff about being a new mom, shouldn't someone have the benefit of your experience?

Except here's the problem with advice: it does precious little good.  People told me all kinds of things when I was pregnant, things which I tried to file away in the mommy area of my brain.  But once I had Maeve, almost all that good information and advice got buried under piles of guilt, worry, regret, and crazy hormones in my brain, never to be resurrected.  I could barely remember what nurses at the hospital had told me about how to feed my baby, let alone others' words of wisdom.

But here are just a few things I wish someone had told me, or that I wish I'd remembered if they had:

*You are your baby's only advocate, so speak up when you think something is wrong.  At worst, you'll look like a crazy new mom, at best you'll be right.

*Be nice to your husband, even when you're tempted to throttle him.  Anyone you rely on that heavily for a midnight diaper change deserves some kindness.

*Having a sick baby is not like being sick yourself, you cannot power through it.  Drop everything and hunker down.

*Be patient with yourself.  Please. You're not going to get everything right on the first try, you will inadvertently wake your baby up or make her cry or not notice she had a poopy diaper for hours.  It feels bad, but it's a big learning curve.

*And finally, Ignore the mommies who claim to be successfully raising their baby based on one baby book.  They are either liars or have such compliant babies that they know nothing of your struggles.

Advice is nice but kindness speaks volumes, so if you know a new mom, bring her a casserole or go clean her bathroom, and you'll have a friend for life.

had no idea what I was in for...!


  1. So true. All of it. If we knew then what we know now. Maybe that will make baby #2 easier?

  2. I don't often have much to give in the way of advice (since I feel clueless about 99% of the time) but I'm always willing to loan Sammy out to those looking to get some hands-on experience. :)

  3. Those are AWESOME pieces of advice!