Raising Kids on a Shoestring

Sally's Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for New Moms
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10. Don’t…

be quiet while the baby is sleeping.

If you get them used to quiet, they’ll sleep only when it’s quiet! They don’t expect it, so don’t start it. The same angelic child under whose crib I used to vacuum during naptime 10 years ago can now say from the backseat, “Bye, Mommy, I love you,” at 5 a.m. in the airport drop-off lane without breaking a REM cycle.

9. Do…

be nice to your piggies.

Just because you can see your feet again does not mean that you should try shoving them back into your pre-pregnancy shoes right away. Just as round is a shape, slippers are shoes. Your feet will thank you.

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8. Don’t…

spend so much time

capturing the moments on film that you miss them. While pictures are wonderful ways to relive the memories of babyhood, you can’t replace them with the actual experiences! Keep it simple. Place a few disposable cameras around the house wherever Baby is likely to be. Then, all you have to do is reach, snap, and get back to canoodling. Or enlist a friend to take photos.

7. Do…

be selective

with your baby gadgetry. Diaper Genies – yes. These little wonders keep your house from smelling like, well, a diaper. Baby wipe warmers – no. The warmers are not portable. The harsh reality of room temperature wipes is going to set in on the first diaper change away from home. Do we really want to come unraveled on the diaper deck at the store?

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6. Don’t… listen to

Mom, Grandma, or Aunt Myrtle

when it comes to letting your baby “cry it out.” Babies cannot be spoiled by love – period. Until they are 10 months of age, they are incapable of emotional manipulation (you know, the kind your offspring will use on grandparents to gain most anything found at the toy store). Studies show that babies who are responded to quickly and consistently actually cry less than babies left to cry. So, if Baby’s crying, pick her up and find out what she needs. There’s plenty of time for “tough love” later.

5. Do…

invest in quality foundation garments.

Gravity doesn’t take maternity leave – ’nuff said.

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4. Don’t…

feel guilty

about withdrawing from the world for a while. You’re adapting to having a new person in the house and establishing a new family. That takes precedence over everything! So, turn off the cell phone and computer and take the time you need and deserve in your own little protected mommy-baby bubble.

3. Do…

invest in

dozens of cloth diapers. These little gems come in handy for everything. They can be used as burp cloths, changing pads, teething relief (soaked in water and frozen), and breast pads in a pinch. After babyhood, they’re great for dusting, polishing, and drying the family car, without scratching.

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2. Don’t…

try to be Supermom.

When Baby sleeps, sleep. Other responsibilities aren’t going anywhere – and babyhood only happens once. Newborns don’t have a lot of awake-time, so don’t waste a moment of it being groggy because “that laundry just had to be done.”

1. Do…

trust your instincts.

Remember, while you may be new at this, so is

the baby. So relax, Mom. Believe in yourself.

You’re gonna be great!

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By FFL Vice President Sally A. Winn
Originally published in 2003