From the moment you find out you’re pregnant (and probably even before then) you have people offering all kinds of advice, regardless of whether you ask for it or not. But where do you turn when you actually do have questions you want the real, no fluff answers to? And what do you ask?
Many women love imparting advice, they just don’t know what advice to share so they go down the route of saying things like ‘sleep now because once the baby comes you’ll never sleep again’ which is kind of useless advice, and doesn’t exactly make you feel good about your new venture into motherhood.
So, why not channel their desire to share advice and ask some real questions you actually want to know the answers to and seek out advice from moms you’ll actually want to hear?
The next time you have an experienced Mama wanting to share her advice, ask one of these questions and listen to the answer. There can be some real gems in what they share.
(It should go without saying, but just to be clear, you should seek advice from a medical professional regarding any medical concerns you have. While your Great Aunt Moira may swear by a little whiskey on the gums to help soothe a teething baby, this is not good medical advice.)
1 – What Did You Do To Help Settle A Sick Baby?
The first time your baby gets sick can be stressful and worrying for any mother. Sometimes a little sniffle or runny nose doesn’t need a doctors visit, but you’re not sure what to do.
Asking an experienced mom what to do with a sick baby can offer you a wealth of knowledge. From sitting in a steamy shower with your babe to help their sniffles clear, through to ways to break a fever, Mamas have been dealing with sick babies for years and can offer all kinds of advice.
It can also be comforting to know that you’re not the only mom to have freaked out over a sick baby. I’ve been a Paramedic for almost 10 years and still stressed that I was missing something with my baby girl when she had the sniffles at 3 weeks old. Turns out I’m just a normal mom.
2 – What Helped You Recover From Birth?
While I had full faith in the medical experience of my male obstetrician with my first delivery, I have to admit, I found it difficult to listen to some of the advice he gave considering he had never experienced childbirth and didn’t have a uterus or vagina to understand what I was going through.
I mean, I’m sure he understood that it felt like my insides were going to fall out, but he hadn’t ever actually felt it himself.
Sometimes we just want to hear it from someone who has been there and done that.
Mamas are amazing at figuring out ways to cope with recovery from birth and their advice (while sometimes may be a little uncomfortable to discuss) could be the one ‘thing’ that helps you in your recovery.
3 – What Was Your Favourite ‘Can’t Live Without It’ Baby Product?
If you’ve ever been to a baby fair or some sort of baby expo you’ll understand that there is a contraption or product for just about every possible situation when you have a baby. Everyone is telling you about their products and why they will make your life so much easier, but often these gizmos that promise the world just end up in the corner of the room.
Don’t worry about searching online for must have baby products… ask the experienced moms you know what their ‘can’t live without it’ baby product is. For the record, mine is the Manduca baby carrier – I purchased it when my son was a baby and it’s still going strong almost 6 years later for baby #2.
4 – How Did You Cope With The Boredom?
This might be an unpopular opinion, but oh my gosh having a newborn at home can be so boring. I mean, there’s only so many hours in a day you can stare lovingly at your baby without needing an adult conversation of some type.
Newborn babies sleep, a lot. And when they’re not sleeping, they’re feeding and pooping. While it might be a different story when you have older children to take care of as well, spending all day with your baby can make you go a little cray cray.
So, what do you do to cope? Check in with your Mama friends who have been there, I’m sure there will be some Netflix recommendations, as well as other advice like journalling or reading books too.
5 – What Were Your Quick Healthy Go-To Meals?
Cooking with a newborn can sometimes feel like an Olympic sport. There were honestly some days when it felt like I was starting to cook dinner at 2pm and we didn’t eat until 9pm. It’s exhausting.
Quick, healthy go to meals can be a saving grace when you don’t have the time, patience or mental ability to cook a meal for the whole fam. Ask any mother and I’m sure she can give you at least 2 or 3 of her favourite go to meals that take next to no time and are super easy to make.
Bonus points if the leftovers can be frozen for another day! Winning.
6 – What Was Your Favourite Book/Resource?
If you’re here reading this then it’s safe to say you’re the kind of person who likes to research and read in an attempt to prepare and understand motherhood. Or perhaps you just like to be entertained (I’d like to think I’m an entertaining kind of person).
Either way, over the years moms develop favourite resources and find books they love and swear by. Rather than wading through trying to find something amazing (like The Empowered Mama), as other moms what they love.
Caitlin recommended this book to me by Pinky McKay when I was stressing about my baby’s sleep and now I recommend it to everyone who I think would love it. We also love TED Talks and we created a post of all the ones we recommend.
7 – What Do You Wish You Had Done Differently? And What Are You So Glad You Did?
I don’t know any Mamas out there who don’t have at least one or two things they wish they had done differently with their babies, but the problem is we are so quick to criticise ourselves.
While it’s good to reflect on what we would do differently (because that’s how we learn), it’s also important to acknowledge the things we did that we are so grateful for.
For example, with my son, I stressed so much about my milk supply that I ended up chasing my tail in a constant battle of increasing and decreasing my supply (long story for another day). I wished I had just trusted my gut and fed my baby like I knew I should.
But, I am also so glad that I managed to maintain my milk supply when I went back to work and the only way I was able to do this was with a good quality pump and a plan on how to pump efficiently in the time I had.
These pieces of advice are where our idea of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ really comes from. While some advice can be a little unwanted at times (like the strange lady who came up to me when I was pregnant and told me that walking in flat shoes would make my baby’s feet flat…) most of it is given with good intentions and a sincere hope to pass on our knowledge to others.
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you really want to ask, and if you feel you don’t have anyone to ask, then you can always jump over on Facebook and ask us. We are always happy to help and chat all things motherhood.