New Mom Questions  Baby Schedule Questions  It Gets Easier! Questions  Spouse / Partner Questions

New Mom Questions

Q: Does Motherhood Get Easier...?

A: Ahhh.  I knew this question was coming.

How could I write a book with this “all too familiar” expression about Motherhood and not answer the age old question?

The short answer to this question is a definitive “No!”

Motherhood does not get easier!

The longer answer is that certain aspects of motherhood do get a little easier.  For example, when your baby sleeps through the night, you will definitely start to feel pretty good and might construe those feelings as “motherhood getting easier.”  However, a new challenge will take the place of the lack of sleep.  For example, the baby will probably start teething.  So, while one aspect has gotten better, a new aspect has gotten harder.

And so it goes with Motherhood. Old difficulties are replaced with new ones and this for the rest of your child’s life.  You have no doubt heard the other expression, “small child, small problems, big child, big problems” Same idea!

Q: What are those first few days like after having a baby?


A: Truthfully, those first few days are sheer hell!  Just kidding.  Truth is, you are going to feel a little shaky.  You just had what is essentially surgery (actual surgery if you had a c-section), you are tired, you are sore (I remember it feeling so strange that my arm muscles were really sore until I flashed back to the pushing part of labor when I had the hospital bed rails in a “kung-fu” grip), your emotions feel a little out of control (spontaneous crying), you will probably have a bit of an adrenaline rush, and you may just be starting to realize that your life has been changed forever.  The best advice I can give is to take it slow.  Just like any other life-changing event, the best way to handle it is to take it one moment at a time and let it all sink in.

 

As far as the actual operations of those first few days, there will be a lot sleeping both on your part and your baby’s part.  Generally, a newborn will sleep most of the time, and feed when he is awake.  This is the time when you’ll be adjusting the mechanics of feeding the baby whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.  You’ll probably have many questions about doing either so don’t feel shy about calling the pediatrician when you have questions. (Even if you call many, many times) All new mothers have questions and feeding is the area that seems to cause the most worry at first.  Little by little you will start to feel a bit more confident about your new mom skills.  You have entered a wonderful world where the minute you get used to something, it changes.  While change can be a little scary at first, the flexibility you learn will come in very handy! 

 

Those first few days at home with a newborn are fascinating.  (The days that are never shown on “TLC’s: A Baby Story.”)  It seems there is no one to share the deep dark secrets of those first few days.  In that vein, I chronicled the first three days of my third child’s life in my book. If you are looking for more detail on those first three days check it out.

Q: We are always telling moms to "take time for themselves." Easier said than done.Do you have any suggestions for how a mom might do this?

A: A mom's first step in finding time for herself is to locate some babysitters that she is not related to before the birth of the baby especially if she is planning to stay home.A mom's many responsibilities cannot be eliminated; rather, a mom needs a means of escape by having a capable replacement, preferably a replacement who will also do a load of laundry or the dishes.I encourage the use of babysitters that the mom is NOT related to give the new mom some freedom with her choice of outing without judgment. Save the relatives for the emergencies!

Q: Why are mothers so critical of each other?

A: Maybe some women feel better about their own choices if they criticize the choice of other women - just a theory. In any case, you are right.  Mothers do seem to be very critical of each other.  This has been very clear to me lately as I have been reading many reviews of “motherhood” books on Amazon.com.  Some of the reviews are scathing.  I can’t believe in this day and age there are still mothers out there who do not understand that this experience we call “motherhood” is different for all women.  Why not embrace the great ideas of all new mothers?  To suggest that another mother is “selfish” or “not a good mother” because she does not breast feed for the allotted amount of time, or thinks about herself at times, or goes back into the workforce is unfathomable to me.  All new mothers are members of the human race.  With a few exception of a few truly sick individuals, the largest percentage of mothers would put their lives before the lives of their children, no if ands or butts about it.  I have an idea.  In this discussion of “new mother ideas” let’s go with the premise that all mothers are going to take care of their children to the best of their ability.  The way a new mom chooses to take care of her children is what is going to make her unique and she in entitled to that choice.  So, all of you “your way or the highway” people out there, Lay off!!



Baby Schedule Questions

Q: You talk about a baby schedule on the website and in your book.  Do I have to use a baby schedule?

A: Absolutely not.  Using a baby schedule is completely optional. Whatever works for you is the goal here.  I mention the baby schedule so often because it seems to be the number one question asked by new mothers today.  Just because a new mother asks for the schedule does not mean she uses it.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the schedule?

A: Sure, the original schedule that I was lucky enough to receive after I had my first, had a very basic direction – feed the baby every four hours during the day.In addition, the directions were simple, wake the baby to feed during the day and feed last bottle at around 10:00pm.Moms today have found that by using these guidelines along with a bit of flexibility can help their newborns sleep through the night a little sooner.

Q: Is a Baby Schedule Unnatural?

A: Not at all - a study performed in the forties found that when newborns were left to "creating their own schedule" after a few weeks they generally develop a pretty consistent schedule of eating every 3 - 4 hours.  This makes sense doesn't it? It is up to the new moms to start to recognize the cries of her newborn and what they mean. Namely, a cry may not always mean hunger, especially if the baby has been fed a hour before.

Q: What is the Secret of the Baby Schedule?

A: The Secret of the Baby Schedule can be yours for just $19.99!  Just Kidding.  The secret of the baby is the realization that a baby's sleeping and eating habits are related. The key is to feed at regular intervals and put the baby down down a nap at regular intervals.



It Gets Easier! Questions

Q: How did you gather all the information that is included in the book?

A: Although the book does include personal experience much of the book is a culmination of the advice and experience of hundreds of other mothers who were generous enough to share their insights with me over the years. The mothers I spoke with came from all generations, all walks of life and both east and west coast, as I lived in both PA and the San Francisco Bay Area over the time I wrote the book.  I would seek out and talk to mothers wherever I could find them.  This started, of course, as way to for me to survive new motherhood.  I needed help! I started with family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Then, as I began to get more involved with the community and sign up for “Mommy & Me” –type programs (YMCA, Community ballet, and Community sports) I would talk to whoever happen to be near me.  This phenomena we call “New Motherhood”, you see, was so fascinating to me.  Whenever I would see a new mother I had to strike up a conversation.  “What is your experience like?” “Are you enjoying motherhood?” Eventually, I would talk to complete strangers, (yes, I realize that now I sound like some kind of “new mother” stalker) even in airports and on planes when I would fly across the country.  If the woman happened to be a little older I would ask “How did you do it?” – (Hence, the book “Siblings without Rivalry” in the reference section of the website) If the woman was younger, like the gal I met in the airport restaurant alone traveling with two little ones.  I would bow to her and commiserate about how rude other women could be when they see a new mother whose baby can’t seem to quit down on an airplane. “Don’t they (other women) remember what it is like to have a baby?”  (Hence, “strange older women reference.” in the book) These informal interviews were like a lifeline for me.  They proved to me again and again that I was not alone and that my frustrations were perfectly normal.

Q: Why did you name the title of the book the way you did?

A: I knew that the phrase “It Gets Easier, I Promise” would resonate with a lot of new moms.  Although, these words can be soothing at first, and let’s face it almost every new mother has used these words to placate other new moms when the going gets tough, I felt that  the words always left me, personally, wanting more.  The words started to make me want to punch somebody out.  The words “It Gets Easier” made me feel that I had no control to make motherhood any easier, I had to simply wait it out.  I didn’t want to wait it out.  I wanted to be proactive and find a way to help my son sleep through the night, eat well, and take good naps so that quite frankly, I could be a better individual as well as a better wife and mother.  Once I started talking to other mothers, life became a little easier.  I certainly knew number one that I was not alone, I wasn’t incompetent, and that I was a good mom.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A: After delivering my first child, I brought him home and looked around for his mother.  I was so unprepared for motherhood.  I went from working in an office to being home 24/7 with a cranky baby.  I truly thought motherhood was just going to “come” to me and that I was going to love it.  After a couple weeks of trying the vague “feed on demand” direction that I got from the hospital, I decided to shun all the books and head to the real experts, other mothers! Through this research/interview process, I was given a baby schedule from the sixties typewritten on an old corona!  The schedule worked!  I had begun to make motherhood a little easier.  Where was this information when I needed it?  I wondered.  Since it was so helpful to me, I decided to write down what I had learned from other mothers to help the new mothers who would come after me.  As a new motherhood issue would come up, I would interview and ask questions of any new mother I could find, relatives, neighbors, friends, gals I met at the playground, doctor’s offices, the YMCA, even strangers on planes.  Finally, I put together the “new mom manual” that exists today – the manual that deals with the new mom issues that all new mothers face with honesty and humor.  Hopefully, it provides new moms with the tools they need to make motherhood a little easier as well as a well-deserved laugh…instead of having to wait for motherhood to get easier!



Spouse / Partner Questions

Q: Why does my partner walk around like a caged animal every time my baby cries?

A: I'll let you in on a little secret about men.  They hate the sound of a baby crying.  Hate it, Hate it, Hate it!  If you think that a newborn baby's wailing is horrible, times your anguish by one hundred and that is the amount of angst that a man will feel at the sound of his baby crying.  If you are upset because you SO (Significant Other) is bouncing off the wall for those first few weeks home from the hospital with a newborn, please know that you are not alone.

Q: My husband seems to be working later and spending more time on the lawn than he ever has. Does a lawn grow quicker with the birth of a new born or is he trying to escape?

A: No, a lawn does not grow more quickly after the birth of a baby.  And yes, your husband may be trying to escape, but look on the bright side, at least he still comes home after work!  All kidding aside, it can be very frustrating for a new mother to see her husband shirking his partnership duties in the name of "work." It's not that he doesn't want to help.  It is more likely that he doesn't know quite what to do. He's going through an adjustment himself and trying to deal with all the new hats that he needs to wear, just as you are going through an adjustment.  Guys cope with change differently.  Many men try to avoid change at all costs.  You are not the only woman with a husband who is acting like an escaped convict, temporarily loses his hearing at night, and suddenly has a "major project" at work.