Stop Second-Guessing Yourself--Baby's First Year: A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting (Momma Said)

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9780757314674: Stop Second-Guessing Yourself--Baby's First Year: A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting (Momma Said)

Jen Singer, the Internet's favorite Momma, gives hilarious, straight-from-the-hip advice for surviving the first year of motherhood

You're so sleep deprived that you can't muster up the energy to shave both legs on the same day, and the only grown-up you've talked to all day is Oprah. You're looking forward to taking the baby to the pediatrician, because after all, it's an outing! And you think colic should be a four-letter word. Don't worry. Seasoned mom and Internet favorite Jen Singer has been there. She shows moms like you how to find the humor and the help they need for surviving the expected and the unexpected during Baby's first year. Plus, she's gathered insights, coping tips, and valuable perspective from the thousands of moms who visit MommaSaid.net every day. With Stop Second-Guessing Yourself―Baby's First Year, readers will find new ways to embrace the roller-coaster of new parenthood, and enjoy the laughs along the way.

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself―Baby's First Year includes humorous sidebars, self-quizzes, and real-life anecdotes from moms who have endured the new-baby trenches.

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About the Author:

Jen Singer is the mother of two boys, hostess of the frat house for fifth-graders, and the author of the Stop Second-Guessing Yourself parenting series and You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either). She has written for or served as a resource in various media outlets, including The New York Times, The CBS Evening News, CBS The Early Show, Good Day New York, Parents TV, USA Today, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Good Housekeeping.com, American Baby, Parenting, Parents and more. She is the creator of MommaSaid.net, the back fence of the Internet and a Forbes Best of the Web. She is the creator of "Please Take My Children to Work Day," an annual holiday for stay-at-home moms which has been officially proclaimed by governors nationwide.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

You Mean, I'm in Charge Now?
Adjusting to Motherhood One Diaper at a Time

Three days after I brought my son, born five weeks early, home from the neonatal intensive care unit, we were socked with a spring storm that piled eight inches of heavy, wet snow atop our house, the yard, the street, and the wires outside. As a result, the power went out, oh, about every time I needed to feed my newborn. No problem, right? I'll just nurse him in the dark. Except I was using an electronic breast pump because my preemie had gotten his share of bottles in the hospital and, like a fraternity boy during rush week, preferred to chug. No matter how much I tried to get him to latch on to my breast, he wanted nothing to do with it, fussing and crying through power outage after power outage. And frankly, I cried, too.

Every time the power came back on, I'd rush to pump some more breast milk before . . . poof! The power went back out. Then I'd call my husband at work from our bedroom, where the only landline phone in the house is located, and ask him to find out if it's safe for our newborn to sit aside a fire in the fireplace with me. Then I'd call again to ask him where the matches were. Then the power would come back on, and I'd hang up after shouting something about 'breasts' and 'electricity' and 'damn tired,' a combination I'm sure he never imagined his wife would utter back when he got down on one knee to propose marriage.

Eventually, the snow melted, and the power stayed on long enough for me to pump enough breast milk to get us through the afternoon. When it was all over, I laughed about it, but when I was in it, I was frazzled. There was nothing in the baby care books called 'Pumping Breast Milk During a Freak Spring Blizzard.' But I'm not sure how I could have prepared myself, anyhow, outside of installing a generator in the yard. When it comes to parenting babies, sometimes you just have to wing it. Other times, though, it helps to have a heads-up from someone who's been there.

My brother's wife was that someone. Allison had become a mother just sixteen months before me, and she'd already endured colic (clearly, it's in my family's genes) and mysterious rashes and figuring out which way the diaper goes on. When I brought Nicholas home from the NICU, Allison told me that I was lucky because the nurses had put my newborn on a feeding schedule―a feeding schedule that he ditched his very first night at home in favor of wailing every ninety minutes. Yet Allison proved to be a big help many times when I was confused, lost, or just plain weepy from postpartum hormones.

Whether you have your own Allison or you're pretty much on your own to figure it all out, no doubt you're dealing with the smack upside the head that is going from not being a mother to being a mother or from adding a baby to your growing brood. What's a momma to do?

Oh, My God! I Am the Mother!

I don't think that the enormity of new motherhood hit me until I nearly called my mother in tears as my newborn's colic began to set in for the very first of about a hundred very long nights to come. I couldn't calm him (or me) down, and my husband was away on a business trip. Alone, scared, and frantic, I thought about calling my mother at 11:00 at night for advice. But before I could reach for the phone, an overwhelming thought came over me. I blurted out, 'I can't call my mother. I am the mother!'

A few years (and two colicky babies) later, I got a phone call from my neighbor Janet soon after she had brought her own firstborn home from the hospital. I heard the baby wailing as soon as I picked up the phone. Janet barked, 'Come over here and tell me if this baby has colic!'
I knew how she was feeling. She wanted to know if she was going crazy or if the incessant, inconsolable crying she was enduring really was as bad as it seemed. If I deemed it colic, it meant that she wasn't a miserable failure as a mother. I knew from the frightened tone of her voice and the baby's panicked crying in the background that it probably was colic, but I went next door to check it out anyway. I proclaimed her newborn colicky and then sneaked back home to air out my nervous system.

I had become Janet's go-to mom.

I'll get to the basics of baby care in the early days of motherhood in Chapter 2, but first, I want to give you the same reassurance that I gave Janet: becoming a mother can indeed feel like you've been blindsided by a 1972 Buick Electra. (I know, because I have been blindsided by a 1972 Buick Electra―and also by the demands of motherhood. They produce the same feelings.) And yet, there's likely something that's going to continue to make you doubt yourself and your mothering skills. Somebody, somewhere―whether it's a relative, friend, neighbor, or a posse of moms on the Internet―will seemingly have no problems dealing with motherhood, as though they were born for the job. They will make it look easy with their fuss-less babies and their ridiculously quick return to their prepregnancy weight and their lack of circles under their eyes.

A good friend of mine appeared to be one of these mothers. Her daughter, born a few months after my son, slept so much I called her Rip Van Emma. My son? Not so much. It was just one of the many things that ate away at me, along with the baby powder commercials featuring oh-so-perfect moms and happy-happy-happy babies. And then my friend came over one night with Emma, and all that changed.

Her baby had a horrible case of reflux―to the point where every ounce of breast milk or formula she put into her baby came back out. I witnessed one of her baby's regurgitations, and it was spectacular, like a cross between Linda Blair in The Exorcist and a Las Vegas fountain show. And suddenly, I realized just how hard motherhood actually was on her, even if she was getting plenty of shut-eye at night.

Sure, there will always be moms who breeze through the baby's first year as though it's the easiest thing they ever did. But if you're not one of those moms, or if you ever have moments (or maybe months) where you're doubting your maternal instincts, remember Emma and Janet and me and know that you're not alone.

©2010. Jen Singer. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Stop Second-Guessing Yourself--Baby's First Year. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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