- Real moms share advice for Kate on what she can expect with new motherhood
- One of the biggest tips for a new mom: Sleep when you can!
- Moms advise duchess on how to get Prince William to do his share
- When the going gets tough, Kate can remember this: Motherhood does get easier!
After my short journey home from the hospital with our newborn seven years ago, I hit my first breaking point. Breastfeeding was not going well and so we hired a "lactation expert" to come to my rescue. I viewed my initial inability to breastfeed as nothing short of failure as a mom!
For the record, I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding and know there are lots of great and supportive lactation experts and consultants -- but sadly, mine was not one of them. When the lactation guru had me sit in my dining room chair naked from the waist up, and forcefully moved my breast around like a piece of meat to find the exact position for the "latch," I knew this was not the way breastfeeding was supposed to go.
I shrieked something to that effect and politely asked her to leave.
Oh Kate, I hope that doesn't happen to you, but if it does, know you are not alone. As you bring home your bundle of joy, who also happens to be third in line to the throne, and prepare for your first days as a mom in front of a worldwide audience, we offer you this: real advice from moms on 10 things that could make you slightly crazy during these first magical -- and exhausting -- days. Read on and remember, we've all been there and lived to tell about it!
1. Get used to smelling like... baby spit-up
"Gone are the days of fine perfume, at least until you know whether the baby is sensitive to it," said mom of two and Washington blogger Stephanie Dulli, who also warns Kate about the burning sensation she will feel when she hears a baby cry on television. "That's your milk. Breasts don't care if it's your baby or not," she joked. "Hear baby? Fill up!"
2. You still look pregnant
If you think right after you give birth, your body will return to normal, you will learn how wrong you are! Kim Como, a Long Island, New York, mom of two and co-host of the blog 2 Moms on a Train, remembers feeling "so thankful" to have her favorite maternity jeans and oversized sweater at the hospital and equally thankful it was just her husband taking a few pictures of their new addition. "At least I could control it a bit," she remembered. "Honey, take pictures waist up!"
3. Beware of the sleep deprivation
Amanda Rodriguez, a mom of three from Frederick, Maryland, and host of the blog Dude Mom, said the biggest thing for Kate to worry about is sleep. "Seriously, lack of it will turn you into a zombie faster than you can say royal baby," she joked. "Find a way to sneak it in. Tell Prince William to take the baby on the other side of the palace ... if you have to but make it happen."
4. Check for what under fingernails?
Your baby's poop, said Lisa Nee, a mom of three boys from Madison, Connecticut. "I remember going to the grocery store and realizing I had poop under my nails left from a messy midnight changing cycle." Kate, don't freak! Keep reading!
5. Realize breastfeeding takes time and patience
Cybele Weisser, a Manhattan mom of two, said what made her insane during her first days as a mom was discovering how much time it took to breastfeed and how hard it was. "On day three, I believe I actually said the words, 'I'd rather be in labor again,'" she told me. Amanda Rodriguez encourages Kate to "do it alone" if she plans to nurse. "Away from the husband and the cameras and the mother-in-law, as lovely as she seems. It's the one time I got to be silent and bond with baby without someone standing there waiting for a turn to hold him," she said.
6. Don't think you're horrible if you can't breastfeed
"Not everyone makes a ton of milk and if you don't, don't feel bad about it and get depressed and think you're a horrible mom," said a mother of two who preferred to stay anonymous, remembering how she endured a "never-ending" cycle of breastfeeding, pumping and giving her boys bottles since she couldn't produce enough milk. "If someone had told me that different moms make different amounts of milk, I think I would've fared better after the first baby."
7. Beware of the unsolicited advice
We all get it -- from our parents, our in-laws, even well-meaning strangers. The challenge, Kate, will be to smile and keep doing it your way. Shandley McMurray, a Canadian writer and mom of two now living in London, said, "One woman told me to put a hat on my 2-year-old 'before she froze to death.' It was 59 degrees out. Another warned me that my daughter would poke her eye out if I let her use a fork to eat her hot dog," she remembered. "It's a miracle my children are still alive."
8. Be prepared for the ridiculous nicknames
No matter what you and William decide to call your son, Kate, your family and friends will have their own ideas about exactly what he should be called. Beth Engelman, a single mom in Chicago and co-founder of Mommy On a Shoestring, said when her 7-year-old son, Jackson Robert, was born, family members started to call him a host of names. "Jacko, Jack-Ro, J Bob and AJ, which is short for Action Jackson, and yes, that ridiculous nickname was created by the baby's dad!," she said, offering this advice to Kate. "Just smile and repeat the baby's real name. You might have to do it 100 times but eventually they'll get the hint."
9. Get William to do his share
A prince and heir to the throne changing diapers? Why not, says mom of three Samantha Ettus, founder of Working Moms Lifestyle, who believes sharing parenting duties is the best way to ensure an equal partnership in the raising of a child. She offers this advice to Kate: "In the first week, make an excuse for (William) to be alone with the baby. Find a reason to have to run out and leave him alone with the baby so he has to," Ettus said. "And I always like to say, 'Catch him doing things right' so try not to micromanage him. So long as he's keeping the baby safe, he's doing a great job. Use tons of positive reinforcement."
10. The world will feel like a different place now
Becoming a mom, said Sarah Walton, a New Jersey mom of two and founder of Better Way Moms, changed her more than she could ever have imagined. "I can no longer watch any kind of violence. I can't ride roller coasters. ... My disdain for bullies shocks me and the desire to have my child be kind can make my eyes well up with tears," she said. "You will now see the world through the eyes of a mother, and no one can prepare you for that."
Finally, Kate, when it's 4 o'clock in the morning, and you can barely keep your eyes open, and you feel close to tears for no reason at all, and you are wondering if you are truly made out to be the mother you hoped you could be, remember this -- relax. "It's going to get easier," said mom of two Maryellen Mooney of Long Island, New York. "Although you feel like you can't catch your breath now, someday, your baby will be putting her own clothes on or fixing himself a snack, and you'll say, 'Where did the time go?'"
That's exactly how I feel about that newborn whom I finally figured out how to breastfeed. Seven years later, she's heading into the second grade, her sister into the first grade, and my story about the lactation expert with the poor bedside manner makes me laugh instead of cry.