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Meet new mom Christina Blakely, mother to six-month-old, Olivia. She and her family are over-the-moon about the newest addition. We met Christina during her photo shoot at the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to find out more about being a new mommy!
What about being a New Mommy has surprised you the most?
I am surprised at how much I worry. I worry and wonder about the future. I’ve never been a person to worry and dwell on things. Now that I’m a mommy I think about how I’m going to raise my kids to stay safe and how I will provide for them so that they can have every opportunity possible to be successful in life.
Parental separation anxiety is real! Those first few times I left her with my mom, while I had to go to work, were so hard. I felt guilty, and I just thought about her all day. I even scrolled through pictures of her while I was at work. What really helped me cope was using FaceTime during my breaks so that I could check on her and see her little face. Also, on occasion, I would spy on them with our security camera that’s mounted in our living room.
How was the transition going back to work after maternity leave?
After a short maternity leave, I went back to work to my former management position. It only took a few weeks to realize that I wanted to be home, so I took a sales position so I could work from home. The decision was a hard one because really enjoyed being in an office surrounded by my co-workers (friends). In addition, my mother stays with us during the week to care for Olivia so I can focus on work during the day.
Working from home does have its challenges, but I make an effort to find time for myself during my lunch break, and after the baby goes to bed each night. I have a YouTube channel (Miss Chriss Mommy), where I feature DIY videos, and talk about the daily challenges of being a new mom.
Where do you go to for advice or do you have any favorite resources?
As a new mom, I mostly go to my mom and friends for advice. I also use an app on my phone called “Baby+” to track her growth, how much she should be eating, and also the various milestones that she should be reaching. There’s also a guide with tips on sleep training methods, and tons of other tools. My favorite tool is the “white noise” feature. I used the “womb sounds” in those first couple months to help lull her to sleep.
Do you have any “ new mom hacks” or tips to share with other new moms?
Establishing a nightly routine early on was our saving grace. We bathed Olivia every evening before bedtime, which would relax her and allow her to fall asleep easily…and stay asleep!
What are a few items you can’t live without?
Nested Bean Swaddles! I was able to swaddle her really tight. I also credit that to helping her sleep through the night. Also, I love Burt’s Bees Baby Bee 100% Natural Diaper Rash Ointment is by far the best ointment I’ve used on Olivia. I like that it’s all-natural and highly concentrated. A very small amount goes a long way. Also, it doesn’t rub off easily onto her diaper. If used right away the redness or rash is gone by the next day.
Lessons learned as a new mommy…
Breast-feeding is hard work physically and mentally. Sometimes your body doesn’t produce enough milk to feed your baby. And that’s ok. At first when this happened to me around the 8-week mark, I was pretty frustrated with myself. Naturally, I looked up ways to increase my milk supply. I tried taking supplements, drinking teas, and eating milk-producing foods like nuts, seeds, & greens. I even baked special “milk cookies” that contained ingredients like brewer’s yeast to try to help increase my milk production. After about 4 weeks with no success, I made the decision to feed exclusively with formula. If you are having a hard time with breast-feeding, don’t be hard on yourself. Breast-feeding is wonderful for so many reasons, but when it comes to a hungry growing baby, fed is always best.