The early days of parenting are intense. I love the word intense because in using one word you can include the wonderful, amazing, overwhelming experience of having a new baby at home.
Often, as our friends and family adjust to our new role, they want to offer us advice and information. This advice may fall short of being helpful because we are all unique individuals.
Let's use the topic of sleep as an example. This is a top concern for expecting parents. I understand. I felt the same way when I was expecting my first baby! It felt like everyone who noticed I was pregnant would warn me about how awful sleep would be after I had my baby.
We could have this conversation about pretty much anything that has to do with your baby. When our favorite people, or even strangers, give us well meaning advice it usually makes us feel worse instead of better. What a bummer!
Picture this - You are outside with your 5 year old and teaching her how to ride a bike. Your awesome kiddo almost has this bike riding thing figured out! You see improvements from the day before, you are excited to keep working on these new skills. Then, a neighbor walks up and tells you how she taught her child. The neighbor explains that her child knew how to ride his bike at 3! So you try it her way, and both you and your child are uncomfortable. You've lost the momentum you had earlier in the day. You start to wonder if maybe you are teaching your child the wrong way? Now you have doubts, maybe you google "teaching your child how to ride a bike," all this when before you were interrupted you were feeling pretty good about your child's progress.
BOOM! I call what your neighbor did an Advice Bomb. The advice, although offered to help, actually undermines your own parenting. Hearing that someone else did something differently when you are figuring it out often adds to your own insecurities and worries.
A great strategy I share with clients is to imagine a Rainbow Shield. This Rainbow Shield comes to your rescue when an Advice Bomb drops. Use this imaginary shield and instead of advice all you hear is "I love you!"
Let's put the Rainbow Shield into action...
A mom in a mother's group tell you how her week old twins were sleeping through the night. Ta da! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Now you can smile and think of how much you are loved!
Your mother in law shares that when she was a new mom she just put her babies in bed and they slept like hibernating bears. Boom! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Your mother in law thinks you are an awesome mom!
All of us reach milestones at different times. There are norms for learning how to crawl, learning to read, riding a bike, and many other milestones. Sleep is the same.
Since we are using sleep as an example of how the Rainbow Shield works to destroy Advice Bombs I'd like to note that most people aren't around newborns much. Our well meaning friends, family, and strangers most likely don't remember what the early days of sleep were really like for their babies. I have four kids and if I'm honest, it's hard to remember much of anything from those early days of parenting. It's all a blur.
As a postpartum doula, I offer information, strategies, and evidence based information to parents. Not advice. If you have a questions for me I want to help you figure out how to answer it yourself. I will help you gain confidence in your intuition, and your parenting skills. After all, this is your baby, and you know your baby best.
Read about how I offered support to a new family in Clinton Twp, Michigan, in my recent post - Clinton Twp Parents recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Share the unwanted advice you've received in the comments so other parents don't feel alone in their experience.
Baby Gear New Parents I've Worked with Love!
I see so many new products every year in my work with new families as a postpartum doula. Some of these are favorites of mine as well, others were new to me but I can see why my client's love them.
Soft, and re-usable Bamboobies breast pads where a favorite for many of my clients.
There are lots of wonderful swaddle blankets on the market today but these are a consistent favorite! The designs are fun and gender neutral. The bamboo fabric is delicate and soft. I've also seen these used as a nursing cover or cute scarf!
There are SO MANY great bottles out there, and not every bottle works well for every baby. This specialty feeding system is for "infants with the following conditions – cleft lip/palate, oro-neuromotor dysfunctions, congenital heart disease, common or rare syndromic sequences and/or craniofacial anomalies," according to the Dr. Brown's website. I've had the pleasure of working with babies with some of these conditions and this bottle is very helpful and easy to use!
I'm a huge fan of The Moby Wrap company and products! I often wear my client's babies in a wrap while mom/dad is sleeping, showering, or taking a break. Once my clients see how much I am able to do with their baby snug in the Moby Wrap they want me to teach them how to use it too! Using a wrap is especially helpful for mothers of multiple babies. Babywearing with any product is wonderful for parents and babies! I highly suggest you try it out!
Modern Natural Baby is a local store in Metro Detroit, Michigan, that offers great cloth diapering options and classes. They created the display window pictured above. It's pretty amazing to see the difference cloth diapers can make on the environment. I used disposables myself since I didn't know anything about cloth diapers as a young mom. Now that I've watched several clients use a system of washing, and seen all the cute cloth diapers available I can see why people choose this option.
Thank you for reading this Top 5 list of products my client's loved this year. I'd love to hear about the products you loved as a new parent! Comment below!
Learn more about how I support new parents as a postpartum doula in this recent blog post Clinton Township Parents Recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Hi, my name is Jill, and I am the After Baby Lady. Thank you so much for being here with me. Sometimes people ask me, why do you call yourself The After Baby Lady? I want to share how I came up with the name of my business.
First, I knew from talking to different people in the community — my family, my friends — that not that many people are familiar with the word “postpartum” and what it actually means. Actually, it’s one of my goals as a doula to help others understand the word "postpartum." The word "postpartum" simply means - after you have a baby. It doesn’t always have to do with depression, which is something that some people think.
I am a certified postpartum doula. That means I work with new moms and their families after they have a baby. I asked friends and family (on my Facebook page) if they could help me come up with a name for my business, to help me to describe what it is that I do. And my friend Kendra came up with The After Baby Lady, and I just loved it. So, I became the After Baby Lady, and the rest is history.
I’m curious if you knew what a postpartum doula was before reading this, and where you learned about it. If you would post in the comments, I would love to hear what you learned about that term. I hope you have a great day, and if you want to see more of my video blog, you can find posts at www.theafterbabylady.com or on YouTube. Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446