There is SO much information out there for new parents. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. I was fortunate to come across some really great resources. Here’s my list–which is mostly about eating and sleeping:
- Recipes for Babies and Toddlers: 365 Quick and Healthy Dishes by Bridget Wardley and Judy More. (I have the 2004 edition that I found at TJ Maxx. Below is 2006, but the inside is nearly identical from what I can tell. The biggest differences is that the newer edition includes recipes for children beyond the toddler stage. My favorite part is the meal plan by age at the back.)
2. “Feeding Guide for the First Year” by John Hopkins Medicine Health Library. (This one has charts for each month and was hugely helpful! Just remember that every child is different.Also note that the “ounces” recommendation is for bottle-fed babies; number of nursings is for breast-fed babies. Don’t let yourself stress about how many ounces if you’re breastfeeding. If they’re happy, eating, soiling diapers, and sleeping, they’re probably pretty healthy, even if they’re not at the exact month on the timeline.)
3. “Lists and Schedules” under “Baby Basics” on Cloudmom.com. (I especially found the Baby Feeding and Sleeping Schedule for Breastfeeding a 4 to 6-month old helpful. But she has videos on everything from basics on breastfeeding to bottle feeding to first baby foods, baby care, baby books and gear, traveling with baby, baby sleep basics, breastfeeding tips, etc. Truly a wealth of information from a very knowledgeable, completely judgment-free mama.)
4. “What to Eat and What to Avoid While Breastfeeding” from Healthfulmama.com. (Great chart for us visual learners! See below.)
As far as the “Fennel tea” and “Honey (raw)” goes, a friend gave me “Mother’s Milk Tea” by Traditional Medicinals, and it really grew on me–someone who is NOT a huge fennel or licorice fan–and it worked! I found a 6-box pack on Amazon for a really great price and added it to my Amazon registry to get an extra 10% off.
5. “Five Things to Avoid When Sleep Training Your Baby” on Parents.com. (Sleep traps and cheat sheet for how much sleep is needed per age.)
6. “Pumping Essentials” and “Pumping to 1 Year: Tips & a Cost Analysis from a Working Mom Who Did It” from ThePhotographersWife.com. (I was so nervous about the whole pumping thing with going back to work at 8 weeks, but this site really helped walk through the details. And at 4 months, Kyle switched himself to only eating 4x per day–breakfast, lunch, supper, and bedtime–so I only have to pump during lunch at work.)
7. IdealistMom.com was a huge help with going back to work after maternity leave! My favorite posts were “7 Tips for Postpartum Fashion,” “9 Secrets for a Successful Return to Work after Maternity Leave,” and “How to Keep Breastfeeding after Going Back at Work.”
8. “6 Natural Ways to Treat Infant Gas” from TheStir.CafeMom.com. (The biggest tips for us were the feeding positions and massage.)
9. “Pumping Schedule from NB – 12 MO” from NaptimeTales.com. (Very practical advice and low stress methods.)
10. “6 Tips for the First Month of Breastfeeding That You May Never Have Heard” by BreastfeedingPlace.com. (I also still vividly remember bawling my eyes out that first week home out of exhaustion and frustration, not being able to reach a nurse or lactation consultant because of a random snowstorm, and my husband having to call my sister-in-law to ask my questions then put her on speakerphone to calm me down and tell me I was doing a great job and to try leaning back or lying down so the baby had to slow down and not eat quite so fast. Blessings on her!!)
I am so thankful that I got to become a new mom at the same time as some of my best friends. And I’m thankful for my friends who were experienced parents when I became a new mom. It’s nice to be able to text a friend and say, “Please pray for me today. I’m really struggling with this mommy-hood thing” and know that they are already praying…and that you’re not alone (they either are or have struggled with similar things).
I didn’t have a ton of time to research like I wanted to, and I honestly believe God brought these blogs and books across my path on purpose. I skimmed through On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ecko and Robert Bucknam. I found it largely repetitive and a little too rigid for me, but the one thing that I did take away from it was the pattern: Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat. And that worked really well for us (slept 6 hours by 6 weeks, 9 hours by 11 weeks, 10-12 hours by 14 weeks).
One caution: resist the urge to over-analyze or over-research things that moms have been doing by instinct for centuries. Do the best you can, ask your doctor and friends for advice, and know that God loves your baby more than even you do! And He loves you too, mama!
What were your top resources for those first 12 months of being a parent?