'Neh' and other random mom-vice / by jen geigley

The mom life. I usually feel like the last person who should be giving advice in a world full of advice-givers. But if there are any rookie moms reading (or new moms-to-be), here are a few little things I've learned along the way from my two kids. And like anyone else, I learn something new all of the time. It goes without saying that every kid and mom and baby are different, so this is just my two cents about a few random things.
Baby whisperer. Not even kidding. There is apparently a universal 'cry' language that all newborns use. All over the world. If your baby's cry sounds like the word 'neh' with a strong 'n' sound, it's a hungry cry and they want to be fed. If they're crying with an 'eh' or 'o' or other vowel sound, it means stomach trouble or too hot/cold or they want to be held or need to be changed. I swear by listening for the 'neh' cry ... both of my kids have made this cry really clearly as newborns.
Fingernails. Eeek! Please don't try to use nail clippers on teeny-tiny newborn fingernails. It always ends badly. Use a nail file instead. Trust me. Bloodbath. Those fingernails are paper-thin (and sharp) but clipping them is oh-so-tricky.
Don't be afraid of the pacifier and bottle. Throw them in the mix right off the bat. Yup, even if you're nursing. This is just me, and it probably goes against advice that lactation consultants will give you, but my babies have done so well with this and we never had any problems with 'confusion.' When they're tiny babies, it seems like they'll suck on anything, so I let them get the hang of nursing and then I introduce the pacifier and bottle during that first week or two. It's later on that they get picky and may only want to nurse instead of taking that bottle you pumped ... say, on the one night you really, really want to meet up with girlfriends for margaritas. And that's just sad for everybody.
Eat. Play. Sleep. Feed the baby, keep them awake for awhile, let them sleep, repeat. If you have time. These days, trying to keep a strict schedule is not easy when we're keeping up with Lo's activities and school drop-off/pick-up times. But even if you are anti-schedule, you can make this work and still be super flexible. The baby learns what to expect and you will have better luck with planning out your day, too.
Diaper bags don't have to be diaper bags. There are tons of high-end diaper bags out there that are fantastic. But my best go-to bags are always messenger bags, whether I'm carrying a baby around for the day or not. They have that fantastic big back pocket, perfect for a diaper changing mat and wipes. And plenty of interior/exterior pockets for bottles, sippy cups, My Little Ponies, etc. My all-time favorite is my Moop messenger in gray canvas and I carry it everywhere.
Take photos. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's easy to lose track of all of the fun and fast changes that take place during a baby's first year. Especially if you have more than one kid. Sometimes it feels like time stands still, but that little person is growing at hyper speed right in front of your eyes. So fast that you just might miss it if you're not careful. Mark down a monthly 'photo shoot' day on your calendar. Put your babe near a window to snag some natural light and take a crapload of pics with favorite blankets, outfits, etc. It may seem redundant now, but you won't be sorry you took the time to do this down the road (when all of those tiny t-shirts look impossibly ... tiny.)
Write it down. This is another thing you can tackle monthly. Open up a Word doc (or even write yourself an email) and make monthly notes about your little one's accomplishments and developments. Take five minutes and type up a list of what your baby is into right now and significant 'firsts' that have happened over the past couple of weeks. It doesn't have to be complete sentences and you can write whatever you want. Later, when you pull out that baby book, you'll have lots of material to work with to fill in all of those blanks.
And last but not least, the best mom advice ever given to me. Listen to your baby. You'll do the right thing. And if what you're doing isn't working ... do something different. You've got this.