Hello! I am Dr. Kim Van Dusen and I am The Parentologist! I am first and foremost a wife and a mom. I am also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist. I hope through my professional and personal experience we can collaborate with each other on how to better ourselves and our relationships with our families and our children.
Being a new mom is such a euphoric time but it also can be an overwhelming time without the proper tools. I don’t think any woman is ever entirely ready for motherhood. I thought I knew a lot before my daughter was born three years ago yet I still learn something new each and every day! I speak at a lot of local baby expos and events and get to meet so many expecting and new moms and many of the same questions come up over and over again. There is very common advice like “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “freeze food before the baby is born” or “have others cook, clean, shop, and help you as much as possible” but there is much more than those helpful tools. Moms want and need resources and so I made a list of my Top 10 just for you! Whether you are a new mom or a mom with multiples, this information could help and I hope it does!
Tip 1: Download and use The Wonder Weeks App. This app is a sanity lifesaver for moms/and or any new parent. It essentially is a calendar for the emotional, mental, and physical development for your baby. When you first download the app it will prompt you to put in your child’s birthdate and it calculates the rest. If you are wondering why in the world your baby is so irritable and fussy all of a sudden, check the app and it will tell you what developmental milestone your baby is learning in real time and how you can understand what your baby is experiencing and how you can help them. This app was spot on with my daughter and many other moms that have used it with their children. You will feel so much better knowing that any changes your baby is having are typical and normal and will make you feel at ease.
Tip 2: Be prepared. As a parent, you will worry – a lot and you will be faced with a lot of decisions and challenges. I suggest you research and learn as much as you can from professionals, reputable articles, and other parents before making a decision for your child. When it comes to your child’s wellbeing, safety, and health you want to make sure you know as much as possible before you move forward in any given situation. I recommend buying the newest version of Dr. Sears The Vaccine Book so you can make your own educated decisions on vaccines. This is a very controversial topic and I usually avoid even bringing it up, but many new parents want to make informed decisions and feel empowered when it comes to giving or not giving their child vaccines. This book sells for less than $10 on Amazon and will give you unbiased information on the pros and cons of vaccines and some options for parents that prefer to spread them out a little throughout their child’s growth and development.
Tip 3: Join a social media mom chat group. You will find local and national ones on Facebook. Just make sure it’s a supportive group and not a judgmental group. You will have a lot of questions and want to feel safe and comfortable asking other moms advice from their own life experiences. Just remember that they are not experts and their lens is from their own personal life experiences. Take what you learn with a grain of salt. But definitely get the support you need from other women that are going through the same things as you and or have already gone through it and can share their insight. There are a lot of ways to connect in person, especially if you have friends in the same life development stage, but online you can be a little more anonymous.
Tip 4: Join a social media exchange group. Toys and other baby and childhood items are expensive and some of the time isn’t even played with or used for very long. Many parents prefer to buy gently used items from exchange sites from other trusted moms in their area. Look on Facebook for toy exchanges to get items that are used outside and possibly other big ticket items like jumpers, swings, highchairs and strollers.
Tip 5: Know the difference between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. If you weren’t that emotional during your pregnancy, you will most certainly have hormonal changes once your baby is born. You will cry – maybe even a lot! If you are ever in doubt of your emotions and if you need professional help, do not hesitate to ask your OB-GYN, a family practitioner, and or even the pediatrician. They will all direct you to the right place. If you decide you need someone to talk to on a regular basis, look for a therapist in your area. Baby blues are common (almost 80% of new moms will experience) and symptoms include mood swings, irritability, crying, insomnia, and possibly even some sadness, guilt, and regret. Postpartum depression is less common (about 10-20% of new moms) and the symptoms are similar but longer lasting and much more severe. You may experience suicidal thoughts or not wanting to take care of your baby at all. There is no shame in either of these emotional struggles, so please seek help and or support from others if you are feeling emotional after the birth of your baby.
Tip 6: Have a Plan When you are Overwhelmed. As a new mom you will get overwhelmed. You will cry. You may even want to scream. When this happens place your baby in a safe place like the crib while you regroup. Even if the baby is crying, they will be fine by themselves for a few moments. Chances are you get to your breaking point because they won’t stop crying. I know this happened to me most nights for the first few months during The Witching Hour. My best advice is to go outside and take a few deep breaths. Maybe even make yourself some hot tea or coffee and grab a snack. If you feel inclined take a shower! What’s even better; take your baby on a walk. I often suggest that moms do this sometime between 3-7pm (during the witching hour). Not only will both of you benefit from the fresh air, you will also be getting some exercise and your baby will either fall asleep or be calmly and positively stimulated from the new outdoor environment. The first few months can go very slowly, especially if you are home alone with your little one and it will be about that time in the late afternoon/early evening where you will need a break.
Tip 7: Be Present. Put your phone down. Turn the TV off. Be as in the moment as you possibly can. Children, even infants, know if you are paying attention. Realistically, we can’t do this every moment of the day, but make sure you dedicate time to be mindful and present with your child/children when you are with them. Sure, moms can get a gold medal in multi-tasking, but parenting isn’t a race or a competition. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, limit your distractions during those 30 minutes and only pay attention to your child and his or her needs.
Tip 8: Be Flexible. Be spontaneous. Not much will go as planned. More times than not, they won’t. Learn to be ok with that. If you are like me and are a type A personality that likes to plan and have everything to go a certain way, you will have to let go of some of that. Instead, learn to go with the flow. Learn how to change plans. Learn how to let go.
Tip 9: Try not to Judge. We are all trying our best. We are all busy. We are all tired. Our children are going to stretch us. Our children are going to challenge us. Our children are going to need us to be patient, so why not support each other and show this same type of patience to other moms? They may do things differently than we would. They may have a more challenging child than we do. They may have a different lifestyle than we do. But instead of judging, condemning, and isolating, why not bond together and show support and encouragement? Just because we may not agree with each other, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t struggling with similar parenting woes. Sometimes we don’t need advice or judgment, but an ear to listen, a hand to hold, and a heart to love us.
Tip 10: Take Videos and Photos. The days can be long, but life goes by quickly. As Ferris Bueller said “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” You will have certain memories in your mind until the end of time, but try to get photos and videos of each life stage and milestone because once they are out of that stage, there is no going back. This goes for writing down things too so you don’t forget the cutest and most important sayings and milestones one day!
My bonus tip for pregnant and new moms is to be as healthy as you can for yourself and your baby. I have always tried to be a healthy, fit mama. Whether I am pregnant or not pregnant, the products I consume are very important to me, and I tend to be very particular. I look for ways to get protein as well as vitamins and minerals through the food I eat in addition to my supplements. So when I found Baby Booster: The Prenatal Protein Formula product, I knew it would be a match made in heaven. The best part is that Baby Booster is specifically designed for pregnant and nursing moms so I can continue to use it well after my baby is born!
When I first heard of Baby Booster I instantaneously wanted to try what looked like to be an amazing product. Once I received the product and tried it, I was not disappointed. In fact, I was amazed at how delicious it was and I highly recommend to all pregnant and nursing moms! Baby Booster comes in four delicious and healthy flavors including Tahitian Vanilla, Kona Mocha, Superfruit Punch, and Pina Colada. Each protein flavor is soy free, gluten free, non-GMO, and contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and is preservative, sucralose, and aspartame free. The Superfruit Punch and Pina Colada are also lactose/dairy free! To shop click here http://thebabybooster.com/shop.html
The American Pregnancy Association suggests pregnant women need 75g-100g of protein every day and if you have 2-3 servings of Baby Booster a day, you will have 60% of the daily value of protein your body and baby needs. In addition, breastfeeding moms need an additional 50% more protein, which makes Baby Booster a great, convenient option (especially in getting some extra protein, DHA, calcium, iron and folic acid…all of which are really important while nursing). That being said, each Baby Booster comes packed with 20 grams of protein, 250 mg of calcium, 250 mcg of Folic Acid, 100 IU of Vitamin D, 10 mg of iron (especially good for me since I have mild anemia), 75 mg of DHA, 5 mg of B6, and 4 grams of fiber! And Baby Booster is OB-GYN recommended and approved! Drinking Baby Booster daily helps me get my liquid intake in for the day, too! It’s so hard for me to just drink plain water, but know how important it is to keep my fluids high, so this is a great solution for me!
I tried the Kona Mocha first as a coffee substitute. It tastes like the perfect mixture of coffee and chocolate, which is tasty for any pregnant and or nursing mom! I mixed a scoop of Baby Booster protein powder with 16 ounces of a blend of coconut and almond milk and shook to mix. Afterwards, I added some ice to make it cold. Let me tell you it didn’t last long. It was so good in fact, that I made a second helping later that day.
The next flavor I tried was Superfruit Punch. If I had to pick one flavor as my favorite (even though I love all of them) this one is probably my favorite. It was such a light, juicy drink and I couldn’t put it down after I had my first sip. It was refreshing and delicious I forgot I was actually drinking a healthy protein drink! I mixed one scoop of Baby Booster protein powder with 16 ounces of water. Once it was well mixed, I added ice to make it cold.
I then tried the Pina Colada flavor. One sip of this flavor and you will feel like you are on vacation. It reminds me of being in the Caribbean or Hawaii. If you are looking for a healthy and delicious mocktail, this is it! Sip some by the pool or the beach or honestly for a date night in with your partner! Sometimes when I want to feel fancy, I’ll put my mocktail in a wine, martini, or champagne glass to give me the illusion of having a cocktail without the alcohol. Like the Superfruit Punch, the Pina Colada is also very light and refreshing. I make mine with a scoop of Baby Booster and 16 ounces of water with a little ice to make it cold!
Lastly I tried the Tahitian Vanilla. This flavor is so creamy tasting and mixes so well with other smoothie ingredients. I like to mix with banana, berries, and my special ingredients I add to all my smoothies that include flax, chia, and cinnamon! On its own it seriously tastes like a vanilla milkshake, sometimes I even make one as a dessert!
If you are not sure you want to get the one-pound bag, buy the sampler pack or individual samples of your favorite flavors!
--- Guest Post with Dr. Kim
Read more over on her page: http://theparentologist.com/lets-talk-about-top-10-tips-for-new-moms-baby-booster/