What I Wish I Knew as a New Mother :: Friendly Tips From A Seasoned Mom

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    Once upon a time, a long time ago when I was just 19 years old, I started this whole mom gig thing. I was married, had no idea what I was doing and I was too stubborn to ask other moms for help or advice, including my own mom. My first baby is now 20 years old and yes it makes me feel as old as it sounds! My second is 14 and my third (and last) is now 3 and he is just a little different from my first two as he has autism which makes him extra unique.

    I won’t pretend that I know everything about kids. I am learning new things every day, as we all do, but there are some things I have picked up on along the way that I wish I had known when I first became a mom. I’ve decided to share some of that in hopes that my little tidbits can help others.

    1. When your child is an infant, take sleep safety seriously.

    I know it’s hard to follow the rules. Most of us want to wrap our babies in blankets with little stuffed animals beside them or cuddle and sleep with them in our arms in the bed. I won’t lie, I slept with mine in my arms many nights. However, SIDS does exist and is often used as a diagnosis when the reason for a child’s death can’t be determined. Suffocation is not SIDS.

    There is also this thing called sleep apnea in which I learned my first baby had when he turned four months old and stopped breathing in his sleep. Luckily, he was in my grandmother’s arms and she noticed he was turning blue. It’s a long story but in the end, she saved him. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea and had wear a monitor for the next two years. Doctors called the incident “near miss SIDS” … so my recommendation for you is don’t stress, but definitely practice safety and pay attention to how your child breathes.

    2. If you want your child to be open with you, don’t make them fear telling you the truth.

    A lot of lessons in life are learned by the actual consequences of the action, not a consequence we put on someone. Notice I did not say all. When I was a teen, I didn’t tell my parents anything going on in my life. They were great parents, but I just didn’t have a close relationship with them.

    So I did a lot of bad and stupid things that ended up getting me in trouble when they found out. I snuck around a good bit and I did other things that I definitely won’t mention here (haha). Clearly we are not our kids’ friends, but we also don’t have to be their dictators and jail keepers. There is a happy medium and it’s worth finding.

    3. If you’re still in the baby making years, take time to learn about autism spectrum disorder.

    It has become much more common over the years. As it stands right now, an estimated 1 out of every 59 children has autism. I really knew nothing about it before I had my third child. I was not exposed to it or knew anyone who had a child with autism. This is actually common for many parents.

    However, it’s important to learn about since it’s really up to you to notice the signs early in your child so that, if needed, you can get the early intervention services that they need. The earlier the better as children learn more in their earlier years. Not to mention, those services are free in SC up until the age of three if your child qualifies. Even if your child never displays signs of autism, knowing the symptoms yourself can help you to understand other children and some of the struggles other parents experience. 

    4. Always encourage your child to play with children who are different from them.

    By different, I mean basically all differences; race, gender, special needs, etc. The more they learn about the diversity of their peers, the more compassionate they become which makes them better people in the long run. Learning firsthand about others is imperative for all humans instead of just hearing about them from what otherssay. This may seem like a no-brainer for most of you, but honestly, as a mom with a child with special needs, I can tell you that it’s not as common of a practice as you would imagine.

    I hope these recommendations come in handy for you as you go about your mom journey. What would you add to the list?

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