I did a Q&A on my Instagram story earlier this week and got a ton of questions regarding motherhood and all things baby. I was trying to find a mix of questions to respond to that weren’t just baby-focused, but at least 95% were. I figured I could do some of the frequently asked questions here so you can opt in or out, depending on the relevancy for you.
Here we go:
WHAT NON-REGISTRY BABY GIFTS DO YOU RECOMMEND?
If you can, I would get something off the registry. It’s what mom picked out and noted as a need/want. Even if you want to gift something else, I would still pick at least one thing (even if it’s something small!) off her registry. (PS Here is what I registered for. An LL Bean Zip Top (must be zip top for baby ha) with long handles is a nice gift that can be personalized and kept for years and years to come. And I also personally love gifting (and receiving) baby shoes– things that are a little expensive that I wouldn’t normally buy myself but will be put to good use. Toddler Hunter Boots are super cute (and look great on bookshelves until baby can fit into them), these Ugg booties are great for cold weather, and you know Jack (hmm me) love the velcro top cribster Converse sneakers. You can’t go wrong with books, either– the Little Blue Truck series is a favorite of ours.
WOULD YOU MAKE THE SAME STROLLER CHOICES AGAIN?
YES. I think the only difference I would make is to register for the travel stroller, too. It was really hard to imagine traveling when I was pregnant during the pandemic. Here is a post with the strollers and car seat we have.
WHY DIDN’T YOU GET THE DOONA?
I had quite a few questions about the Doona and why we didn’t get one. So I can’t say that we wouldn’t like it, but I originally didn’t get one because I had heard from friends how quickly babies outgrow it. Once the baby outgrows an infant seat, the Doona is done! With the Nuna TRVL, the car seat pops in without any adaptors, it self-folds with the click of one button, and the actual stroller can be used with kids up to 50 pounds. So there’s just a lot more longevity to it! Our car seat can be used without a base so I’ve never wished for a Doona.
SWIM CLASS ESSENTIALS?
WHAT’S SOMETHING THAT JACK HAS DONE TO MAKE YOU SMILE RECENTLY?
He started laughing pretty early, but now he belly laughs without prompting by us. He will see something funny and then just get into these laughing fits. It’s hilarious!!! Currently, he thinks everything that Teddy does is extra funny. All Teddy has to do is walk into the nursery and Jack will start belly laughing, head tilted back, and he will put his hands across his chest like he cannot handle the situation. The other day, he was laughing so hard that he tipped backwards and kept laughing. Somehow I captured the whole thing on video and I’ve gone back about fifty times just to rewatch it….
WHAT IS YOUR AIRPORT PROCESS WHEN FLYING WITH JACK?
I kind of go into the details of flying with Jack in this post. Jack is now eight months old (🤯) and we’ve had even more flights under our belts. I really, really maintain that every baby (and family) is different so you have to do what works for you. I’ll share some of the things that have worked for us.
1) Keep low/no expectations. I actually try not to think about anything beyond the step we’re currently in. It helps to stay very present because (especially now) flying is unpredictable. I could think of a hundred scenarios in my head and then an entirely different thing will end up happening. It’s easier to just take things as they come. I also keep an “easy breezy” mindset and just… be okay with whatever happens.
2) I nurse on demand in general, but I do it even more so while flying. Fussiness? Let’s nurse. Boredom? Let’s nurse. Not napping? Let’s nurse. Now that Jack is eating more and has a bunch of teeth, I also love these teething crackers– they definitely help him chew to pop his ears and it doesn’t require me breastfeeding.
3) So we’ve done morning and afternoon flights. I think I’d always take the flight that makes the most sense for our traveling day and not actually focus on his nap “schedule.” Again, too many variables. Instead of tailoring the flight to his naps, I try to tailor his naps to the flight. For our last flight from Atlanta to NJ, there was a delay and I just kept Jack awake and occupied in the airport praying he would take a long nap on the flight. We sat at the gate for a while and he started getting more and more fussy so I knew he was tired. He wasn’t falling asleep on his own (overtired!), so I nursed him for two minutes and he was out like a light. I did a careful transfer back into the car seat and that was that.
4) I know this isn’t always an option for every family, but I think I will always (if possible) buy the baby his own seat and bring a car seat. For us, it feels like the safest choice. And as an added bonus, he is comfortable on his own and my hands are totally freed up!
ADVICE FOR A NEW MOM NERVOUS ABOUT GIVING BIRTH?
I will say this a million and a half times, but therapy. Work with a therapist. It was one of the best things I did for myself before giving birth. I was able to work through a lot of my fears with her and it helped tremendously. It’s nice (maybe even crucial?) to have a judgement free zone to express any and all concerns you have!
Beyond that, my biggest tip is to not be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself. Before, during, and after giving birth. Looking back, my most positive parts about giving birth was when I spoke up for myself (“I don’t think this position is working.” “Can we turn down the epidural, I need to feel more while pushing.”) and the least positive parts were those where I didn’t advocate for myself (like not asking for a solution for leaking amniotic fluid for over 24 hours, not being more vocal about getting moved out of a spillover room, not feeling comfortable asking for more food after giving birth, not saying no to certain things in retrospect, etc.). I was very concerned about being a “good, easy patient” instead of thinking, “I deserve basic good care.”
ANY BREASTFEEDING TIPS?
If you haven’t found a lactation consultant yet, highly recommend. I wish I had met with my LC before I gave birth so she could help me with tips and get me properly fitted for a pump. And then we would have had a relationship so I could meet with her right after giving birth. If not that, then I wish I would have met with her right after giving birth. I naively didn’t realize all the ways LCs can help. I didn’t love my experience with lactation consultants in the hospital. (This is apparently a common sentiment now that I’ve been DMing with a bunch of you guys! I felt very rushed and very overwhelmed by them in the hospital. My best breastfeeding help in the hospital came from one nurse who was a mom of seven!) I assumed LCs were all like the ones I experienced in the hospital (pushy, judgy, and inpatient, tbh), but no! If you set up appointments with lactation consultants outside of the hospital, I think you’ll be so, so much better off on your feeding journey– even if you choose not to breastfeed!
HOW DO YOU DO NAPS ON THE GO?
We follow wake windows vs a nap schedule. It just works better for our family and lifestyle. A big part of this is that Jack falls asleep in the car every time we drive. I try to plan errands/driving around when I expect naps– either leaving him at home while Mike is working (for errands) or planning long drives for optimal nap windows. Not going to lie, I feel like I spend a lot of my brain power thinking about Jack’s sleep and wake windows doing mental math trying to plan and coordinate. He’s happiest when he’s well-rested so I try to optimize it, but I’m also realistic in that my life can’t revolve completely around naps. Sometimes life has to happen and it’s okay. I love the Nuna Pipa RX carseat we have because I can pull the dream drape down for darkness, but honestly probably only do it 50% of the time (and it’s mostly to keep other people from poking their head into the car seat for a peek at the baby 🥴). Jack sleeps well even if it’s light and noisy if he’s tired.
BEST GIFT TO GIVE A NEW MOM?
This is a really popular question and I’ve actually been thinking a lot about it because it’s asked so frequently. (I see it in a lot of Facebook groups, too.) If you’re local, I think the BEST GIFT you can give the mom is texting her and saying, “I am going to Target this morning. Send me your shopping list of things you need (grocery, baby, personal) and I will drop it off contact-free on your porch.” You can also text her partner for a list. I’d recommend not dropping off food she’s not expecting, shipping anything that needs to be refrigerated (or unboxed even), or offering to just come by to “hold the baby.”
If you really feel compelled to gift food, I would go for non-perishables or dropping off her favorite coffee on the porch (and being okay if she says she can’t have guests at the moment). And if you want to send something for mom or the new baby, I would wait a few weeks when the dust settles and mom has had a chance to come up for air.