Essential mom skills

If you’re drinking lots of water (so you don’t whither into dust while nursing) while also recovering from childbirth… let’s just say your bladder might not make it until naptime.

Since we’re almost three months in to this whole mom thing, I am pretty much an expert. I’d like to share a few favorite essential mom skills with you:

Snoozing while being whacked in the face repeatedly

You lie down with dogs while nursing, you wake up with milk all over the place and flailing little hands on your face. Those flailing little hands are reason number 8297194 to never cosleep with long hair loose.

DUDU

The Down-Up-Down-Up swaddle is a lifesaver. I wish someone had sat me down early on and made sure I really understood it. When done correctly, it keeps our extremely squirmy worm totally snug, and helps him sleep for 6-8 hours. These days we usually skip the middle Up — it’s really the final Down-Up that is crucial for a secure swaddle. (Swaddling does not cause SIDS, but swaddling your baby and then putting them to sleep on their stomach is not safe. Please don’t do it.)

Update: a moment of silence for the DUDU and the great sleep I’ve been getting. My almost three month old rolled over from back to tummy fully swaddled yesterday, and then spent the whole day rolling around. As far as I can tell, once baby can flip it is best to stop swaddling, so as not to end up in the unsafe swaddled-on-tummy situation, and because they might not be able to flip back without use of their arms. Do you know different? Please share. But for now, hats off please. You were a good swaddle, DUDU. Rest in peace.

Peeing while holding baby

The good news is, if you’re breastfeeding, your darling little baby is literally sucking all the moisture out of your body, and you probably won’t have to pee that often. But everyone has to pee sometime, and if you’re drinking lots of water (so you don’t whither into dust while nursing) while also recovering from childbirth… let’s just say your bladder might not make it until naptime. A ring sling is very helpful. A soft structured carrier with a waistband (like an Ergo) makes things a little more challenging. And if you’re still wearing your full panel maternity jeans, I’ll pray for you. No judgement — they’re super comfy, I wore mine for a long time. Just good luck pulling them up with one hand. (I also hear you can put your baby down in their crib sometimes, but it took me at least a month to figure that out.)

Dry shampoo

Maybe you were quicker to figure out the whole crib thing than I was, but it can be hard to get a shower even so. Enter the most magical invention on the planet: dry shampoo. I personally have long, fine, straight hair and bangs, and I wash it… let’s go with “rarely.” This stuff is amazing. I wouldn’t say it makes my hair look clean, exactly, but it looks OK when by all rights it really shouldn’t. Either that or people are being really polite and hoping I get it together soon.

Easy cookies

Everyone knows that to be a good mom, you have to make cookies. And because you are both desperately hungry and running short on free hands, you need an extremely easy cookie recipe that does triple duty as snack, desert, and breakfast. And maybe lunch. My go-to is no-bake cookies, with extra oats, peanut butter, and chocolate, less sugar, and substituting coconut oil for half of the butter. They’re sort of healthy… ish. For the substitute-happy out there who suffer from mom brain as I do: please note that honey is a liquid, no matter how crystallized, and subbing honey for sugar means your cookies run all over the place unless they’re frozen solid. Fortunately they’re not half bad that way.

Front facing phone camera

Once your baby is interested in mirrors, the front camera on your phone becomes a super fun toy. It provides hours of entertainment, and also results in the most delightful photos.

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Lightning fast reflexes

You’re thinking for their safety, right? I mean, there’s that too. I mostly use this special ability to lunge alarmingly across the room because I think someone might be about to drop him (spoiler: they’re not). But really you need those reflexes for their bodily functions. Spit up and diaper fluids alike can sometimes will definitely frequently take you by surprise. Especially if you have a boy. One minute everything is fine, then BAM! Pee is on your face. And if your baby is breastfed, just take my word for it: never trust a fart.

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