Last night I gave my sister some (unsolicited) advice, which she seemed to appreciate. And here is what I shared with her:
1. The first night at home: I warned her that the first night home is always
2. Nighttime: I told her to make sure Luke understands that nighttime is for sleep, by keeping lights low and noises to a minimum. Sometimes these little dudes and dudettes think it's okay to party at nighttime, rather than go back to sleep after a diaper change, feeding or comforting. And Luke being premature means he may not get the whole sleeping thing as quick as full-term babies. I also recommended that they begin a nighttime routine and stick with it, because he will eventually learn what nighttime is all about... and that is sleeping.
3. Breastfeeding: Like his cousin, Luke is struggling to latch and remain awake during nursing sessions. My sister is pumping and would like to do so for at least a few months. I reminded her that when pumping becomes a burden and takes away from your enjoyment of Luke, that's when you need to think about supplementing with formula. Obviously I encouraged her to breastfeed Luke, but I wanted to provide some support in case it doesn't work out. Formula feeding your child is not the end of the world, no matter what anyone tries to tell you.
4. Post-partum woes: After you have a baby, your body does many strange and uncomfortable things to adjust. No one ever warned me about these things (I'll spare you the gory details) and I wanted to let my sister know that these things are all normal... even if they are gross and uncomfortable.
5. Take care of you: I reminded my sister that it's important to take care of yourself even though you're a new mom. Sometimes we feel the need to wash dishes or make dinner rather than take a nap or even a shower. I told her that a happy mom helps make for a happy baby.
6. Freebies: I told her to take anything that is free from the hospital, pediatrician or OB. Whether it's formula, bottles, diapers, blankets, thermometers, sucky ball thingys or mesh panties (lol)... if it's there, you need to take it! And if it's not offered, then be sure to ask! We received several cans of formula, multiple packs of diapers and breast pump supplies from the hospital. When the NICU nurses learned I was going to be pumping (a lot), they totally hooked me up with storage containers, nipples and other spare parts.
I think my sister appreciated my advice, or at least I hope she did. This mom gig takes some getting used to and it's a huge adjust. All the advice in the world can't prepare you for what is about to happen. It's all about survival and finding what works best for you, your child and your family. Being a parent is a roller coaster ride, with twists and turns, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun!
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2