Posted in baby, parenting, postpartum, pregnancy

Mom Groups: The Good, the Bad and the Weird

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“I’m pregnant and I’m thinking about joining a mom group. Should I?”

Congratulations! You’re pregnant and probably looking for support from others who can relate to what you’re experiencing. Sure, you probably have friends who have been pregnant before, and maybe you even have yourself. But there’s just something about being able to talk to women who are in the same stage of motherhood that you are at the same time. Because let’s be honest…we all look back at our pregnancies and probably remember them differently than they actually happened.

There are a few different kinds of mom groups, and each of them brings something different to the table. Personally, I’ve had experience with three.

The facebook mom group

Very early in my first trimester, about 4 or 5 weeks in, I was invited to join a private group on facebook made up of other pregnant women who were all due around the same time I was. At the time that I joined, there were probably 200 of us.

The good: The women in this group were so kind and supportive. It was great to be able to ask them questions that I wouldn’t ask someone I actually knew.

They also made delivery seem much less scary. A good chunk of them delivered before I did and I just remember looking at their photos and thinking, “holy cow, they look so good!” And after delivery, they’d just be gushing about their babies, not saying how awful it was, so that gave me hope.

When it got closer to my due date I was experiencing some contractions and I asked them how you know the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions and it was nice to get so many different perspectives based on their own experiences.

Our babies are all around 6 months old now and we still post every day.

The bad: During my first trimester I almost left the group. There were several women who experienced miscarriages and being that we were their support, they would often post, in detail, what was happening. It was horrible for them and in a different time I may have been in a headspace to be more supportive, but being that I was pregnant also, I found myself just getting a lot of anxiety and fear that I would also have a miscarriage. It kept me up at night and constantly had me thinking the worst. I was lucky to have a healthy pregnancy, but the stress that comes with being pregnant was definitely exacerbated by being in that group so early on.

The weird: Every group has a weird mom and in this group, they were the pregnancy elitists, as I called them. They were usually women who had given birth before and knew it alllllll.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved having women in the group who had already had kids because I found their experience to be very helpful. But the pregnancy elitists just had a way of acting like it was their way or the wrong way.

The hospital mom group

The hospital that I delivered at had a new moms networks that met once a week. The first part of it was dedicated to going around in a circle and each mom talking about what went well and what didn’t that week. Then a guest speaker would come in to talk and answer questions. The guest speakers ranged from pediatricians to leaders of fitness groups for new moms, to moms who had experienced postpartum depression.

The good: I found this group to be very informational. I got a lot out of being able to ask questions of the guest speakers and other mothers. It also got me showered and out of the house to a place where I felt comfortable bringing a newborn. Newborns are hard because you never know when they’re going to be hungry or cry or just need to be held.

Being a part of this group, I felt comfortable nursing or changing my baby’s diaper. I also knew that I wouldn’t be judged if he broke out in tears for one reason or another.

The bad: I found it difficult to form solid relationships with the other moms in this group. I didn’t go every week because I had a vacation and other plans, and I was only able to go for the 12 weeks that I was off of work. It wasn’t enough time to make anything more than acquaintances.

The weird: The weird mom in this group was the Regina George of the moms. She had been going for a long time and rarely skipped group, so she knew most everyone, but only seemed to like a small group. She would often use time during group to organize meetups, but only invite some of the moms, and be very vocal about how she didn’t want to invite everyone.

The work mom group

My office has a new moms group that has occasional meetings to do mommy and baby yoga, or have a guest speaker come in to talk about work-life balance.

The good: Of all the mom groups, this is the one made up of mothers who can most easily relate to each other. We all work for the same company, in the same part of the state, and we all work. Let’s face it: working moms have some unique stresses – pumping at work, feeling comfortable with your childcare provider, etc.

It has been great to be able to connect with other mothers who can relate to many of my struggles as a mother, but we can also talk about things outside of motherhood.

They are also women that I see on a regular basis, so forming friendships has come with a little more ease.

The bad: I don’t have anything negative to say about this group. It does force you to mix your professional and personal lives, though, so if that’s not something your comfortable with, this might not be the group for you.

The weird: Every woman I’ve talked to who has joined a new moms group at their work has told me about the mom who has stayed in the group a liiiiiiitttle too long. At least at my office, the group is intended for new moms. Meaning, mothers of babies. But there’s always that one mom whose kid is like 15, yet they’re still a part of the new moms group. Perhaps to impart their wisdom? Who knows.

Should you join?

My answer is yes. It’s so important to have as much support as possible, especially as a new mother. Motherhood is hard and often times lonely. Find a network. Ask them questions. Cry on their collective shoulder.

If it isn’t making you feel good, then quit. But it’s worth a shot.

XO Nicoll

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Posted in baby, parenting

How to Treat Baby Acne

My baby is one month old and has broken out with terrible acne. What do I do?!”

Don’t panic. I know it’s hard seeing breakouts on your new baby’s perfect face, but it probably bothers you much more than it bothers them.

If your baby is showing signs that their acne is hurting or itching them, or you’re at all worried, please schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Baby acne is very common and while time heals all things, there are a few steps you can take that may help speed up the process.

Washcloth and warm water

Using a soft washcloth and lukewarm water, gently wipe your baby’s face once or twice a day. This will help clear it of milk, formula, or anything else that may be accumulating on their sensitive skin throughout the day.

Avoid soap

Believe it or not, baby soap may actually cause your baby’s face to break out worse, so avoid using soap on their faces and stick to just water.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is great to use on their bodies during bath time. It’s soap-free and easy on Baby’s newborn skin.

Breastmilk

The power of breastmilk is amazing. After you’re done nursing, try expressing some drops directly onto your baby’s face and gently spreading it over their acne.

Not only can breastmilk help treat baby acne, but some moms have been known to use it to alleviate sunburns, mosquito bites and several other skin ailments.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil can serve as an anti-bacterial, as well as a moisturizer. Try applying a little bit to your baby’s skin and see if it helps.

Coconut oil can also be used to treat cradle cap and cracked nipples from nursing.

Tubby Todd’s All Over Ointment

Even if you don’t use it to treat your baby’s acne, Tubby Todd’s All Over Ointment is a great product to have on hand.

It’s made with natural ingredients and can be used to treat anything from cradle cap to diaper rash to mom and dad’s dry heels.

The ointment is a little pricey ($16 for 3.2 oz), but a little bit goes a long way!

Try not to stress too much about your baby’s acne. It does get better…at least until they’re teenagers!

XO Nicoll

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Posted in baby, parenting

How to Choose a Halloween Costume for Your Baby

“Halloween is in two weeks and I still haven’t picked out a costume for my baby. Help!”

Good news! There’s still time. First Halloweens are fun, but don’t pressure yourself to pick out the perfect costume. When it comes to babies and Halloween, practical is best. Here are some tips:

Check the weather

Not only the weather, but what your plans are.

Do you have older kids that you’ll be taking trick-or-treating? If so, baby may need a warmer costume, or one that can fit a coat underneath.

Live somewhere warm? Then those fluffy, warm costumes may overheat your beach babe.

If you plan on staying inside while your baby is in costume, you have more flexibility, but should still remember that babies overheat easily, so nothing too warm.

Avoid costumes with tails

Baby dinosaurs and other costumes with tails are cute, but don’t expect your little monster to stay in costume for long. If your baby can’t sit up on their own yet, you’ll have to hold them the entire time they’re in costume. If they can sit up, you will still need to take the costume off for car seats, high chairs, etc.

Consider buying a Halloween onesie

You already know to always have a spare set of clothes in the event of a blowout or puke. But why not make it one more festive?!

Halloween onesies can be found at reasonable prices, and you’ll be thankful you have one when your baby is tired of wearing their costume. The onesie pictured below was purchased at Carters.com for less than $10.

Buy online from a company you know

Prefer to buy Baby’s costume online? Do it! But keep in mind these tips:

As tempting as it is to take advantage of Prime and buy your baby’s costume from Amazon, proceed with caution.

Sizes can be hard to determine when buying online, especially if your baby is right around the 6-month mark, as many costumes come in either sizes 0-6 months, or 6-12 months. Buying from a company whose sizes you’re already familiar with can help avoid ending up with a costume that’s too big or too small.

Double check the shipping time and availability of the item. With two weeks left until Halloween, there is still time to get your costume shipped, but verify where it’s coming from and how soon the company can get it shipped. In September I ordered a Halloween costume that was Prime eligible on Amazon, but didn’t realize until after it shipped that the costume was coming from China (I’m in the US) and would not, in fact, be delivered that week. One month later and I neither have the item, nor am able to track it.

Companies like Carter’s and Target have some really cute costumes that generally ship quickly. They are also pretty good about letting you know when items are out-of-stock, so you’re not ordering costumes that won’t ship right away.

Don’t use face paint

We’ve all seen the adorable and hilarious Pinterest photos of babies sporting cute whiskers or funny mustaches for Halloween…don’t do it. Baby skin is extremely sensitive and face paint can not only irritate their faces, but can be difficult to wash off. You also have their busy little fingers to consider…fingers which will surely be in their mouths, rubbing their eyes, and smearing the makeup you so carefully applied.

Enjoy costume hunting and be sure to take lots of pictures! Remember – think practical.

XO Nicoll

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