Walk into any bookstore and you’ll see shelves upon shelves of parenting books telling you how to prepare for baby’s arrival and how to care, feed, diaper and bond once your little one arrives. But many new moms will agree that some of the best guidance isn’t in any book, but comes straight from the mouths of experienced moms who have been there, done that.
That’s why a baby shower is a great place to get tips, tricks and advice on what’s coming and how best to handle it. Some shower hostesses put out a blank book where everyone can jot down their words of wisdom to be read later by the new mom. Others have their guests pen them on blocks, cards or pieces of paper to be read at the party and then compiled and presented as a precious gift.
Here are some words that have helped:
The best shower advice New Jersey mom Jennifer Mermans was given actually led to a career change. “I knew I was going to quit my career as an attorney and an older attendee at my baby shower strongly encouraged me to maintain my identity as a professional,” recalls Mermans. “She emphasized that my world would change drastically as a new mom and she encouraged me not to lose sight of who I was as an individual. She urged me to surround myself with like-minded moms.”
But after the birth of her son, Mermans had difficulty finding those moms, as well as local information for new parents. “I felt lost in a new world of diapers and bottles and naps, so I started collecting resources for my life as a new mom—where to find the best playgrounds, pediatricians, lactation consultants, classes and more. I decided to share it with other new parents in the area. Before I knew it my company was formed, and I discovered a second career that fit perfectly in my new life,” says the founder of PrincetonKIDS and PunchBugKIDS, parenting resource services.
Tiffany Mason of New York decided to re-design her life as a working mom due to some advice she received at her shower. “My godmother said to spend as much quality time with my baby as I can, because you can never get back that time,” Mason says. "And to nurse for as long as you can.”
“She knows that I work full time and I'll be traveling a lot next year, so she shared with me the importance of establishing a healthy attachment with my baby," recalls Mason. "After hearing her wisdom, I've decided that I will be bringing our newborn with me while traveling for work. I'll bring either my husband or mother-in law to help look after the baby while I'm in meetings. I'll just step out whenever the baby is hungry so I can nurse him.”
Like most moms-to-be, Jennifer Cornet, a Virginia mom of newborn twins received lots of advice. Some gems came from older sister, also the mother of twins:
- “Always feed them within 30 minutes of each other, even if you have to wake one up. If you don't, you'll be feeding them around the clock and that's no fun for anyone. By doing this, I was able to get the babies on a schedule.”
- “If one is crying, don't take them out of the room, even if the other is sleeping. This helps them learn to drown the other out. Now if one wakes up, they don't wake the other, which is awesome.”
- “Not everyone can be happy at the same time, and that's okay. You can't hold both at once, or feed them, or console them. Sometimes you just have to take it one at a time. I had to tell myself this over and over again.”
Her mom also passed along another great lesson that sometimes you just have to let babies cry. “When the twins were first born, their crying would actually make me sick to my stomach and I had to do everything in my power to make it stop," Cornet says. "But with two you sometimes have to let one cry while you are tending to the other. Sometimes, you just have to let them cry while you go to the other room and have a ‘you’ moment. It can be very overwhelming to have two babies, and if all three of you are crying at the same time it isn't good for anyone.”
Sometimes simple is best. That’s what Imani Razat a New York City mom found out with two pieces of advice she received. Number one: “Take each contraction as it comes,” she says. “You'll freak out if you approach labor as potential hours of pain vs. focusing on getting through one contraction at a time. This really helped.”
Number two: “It's your baby. No one will know your baby the way you do. Follow your instincts. Mom really does know best. "