Questions I’d Like to Ask a Mom Friend

Gideon is napping on me, and I am hungry.

One of the great conundrums in my life right now is this: Gideon is crying so I sit down to nurse him, and then he promptly falls asleep on me. If I stir, then he will wake up and be cranky, and it will take another half hour to get him settled again. But I am hungry, thirsty, have a crick in my back, and my cell phone is dying.

I have gotten better about trying to make sure I have a snack, a glass of water, and some form of entertainment within reach most of the time, but sometimes I just need to feed him, and I don’t realize he’s going to fall asleep on me for several hours when I sit down. Thankfully, my laptop is fully charged, so here I am, typing up all the questions rattling around in my head that I would very much like to ask a Mom friend right now.IMG_1865

1. How important is tummy time, really?

Gideon loathes tummy time. We still work on it a bit every day–I have realized that he is more amenable to lying on his stomach when he has just woken up from a nap or had a diaper change, and he likes it better if I prop him up on the boppy or changing pad, but he still has very little tolerance for it. I have tried toys, getting down to play with him, and music but he still doesn’t enjoy it. My question is: how much tummy time should he really be getting a day or is this is it even necessary? IMG_1843

2. How bad is it if he watches an 8-minute video?

Today, when I was researching how to get my baby boy to do more than five seconds of tummy time, I stumbled across this video. Everyone was extolling the fact that it chilled out their babies within seconds. So when I tried tummy time with Gideon, I propped him up on the boppy, and let him watch this video. It didn’t surprise me when he really enjoyed it, because he LOVES contrasting colors. He is always staring at anything black and white that he can find. What did surprise me is that he kicked away, and watched that video for eight minutes (which is about sixteen times as long he has ever been content during tummy time). He was not only content, but also held up his head most of the time. I have never seen him hold up his head during tummy time so well! I felt so proud of him for doing tummy time,  but then I felt guilty that he was watching a video at all. Is it wrong to bribe him to do tummy time by watching this video? Is tummy time that important? Do I need to get more fun toys for him instead?

3. How do you get everything done?

Gideon has just begun to get into the beginnings of a routine. He generally goes to bed at about the same time–between 8 and 9 o’clock every night, he wakes up about every three hours throughout the night to eat, and he’s up for the day between 6 and 7. Then about an hour later, he goes down for his first nap of the day. The rest of the day still really varies, and there has only been 1-2 times when he has let me set him down to sleep, and actually stayed asleep longer than ten minutes. He sleeps for hours when I am holding him, if he is in the car seat, or if he is in the baby carrier. I have gotten better at getting some things done–but I feel like as soon as Saia is home to hold him, I am just rushing about like a crazy woman trying to make dinner, clean something, do laundry, catch up on blog work, pay bills, etc…until I fall into bed exhausted when G gets cranky. How do other women stay on top of their housework with a baby? IMG_1407

4. How do you handle watching him grow up?

With every day that passes I am so aware that his baby days are slipping by. Maybe it is because so many people have told me that it doesn’t last long, maybe it is because he has gotten chunky so fast or maybe I am just inclined to melancholy–but I feel so sad that he is getting older. I love him so much, and I feel like it is all going too fast, and he is only three months old! I just love holding him, snuggling him, his little hands clutching my shirt. How do other mamas handle, with grace, watching their babies grow up?

5. How do you fit in exercise?

Every month, I write down the goal to exercise daily. I was so looking forward to being able to exercise again, and once my midwife gave me the go-ahead I was giddy! I walked a lot at first, which is exactly what my weakened body needed, but now the temperatures in Nebraska are plummeting, and taking Gideon on a walk is no longer a viable option most days. How do other mamas do it? Get up early? Stay up late? Incorporate baby into the workout?

6. How do you handle the mommy guilt?

I already feel guilty about some things in his short life (see #2). Every time I set him down I feel guilty. How do you deal with mommy guilt?IMG_1674

7. Does he need an expensive baby gym?

I worked really hard this past summer to find tons of used baby items. I saved us so much money by going garage saling every weekend, and I’ve been so relieved to have most everything we need on hand. But now that he is beginning to understand toys, I am wondering if I should buy him one of those fancy baby gyms like the Baby Einstein Gym. Does he need this for his development? Will he love it? Will he hate it? Is it a waste of money? Do other babies all have baby gyms?

8. How do you bundle your little one up for cold weather?

Now that it is getting colder, I’ve been struggling with how to keep Gideon warm on our outings. If I put him in his little snow suit, he is toasty warm when we are outside but when we transition into the car or a store he quickly gets too hot. That snow suit is difficult to get on and off, so it doesn’t seem right to just be constantly dressing and undressing him. Should I be dressing him in more layers?

Do you have an answer to one of these questions? 

11 thoughts on “Questions I’d Like to Ask a Mom Friend”

  1. Pingback: Questions I'd Like to Ask a Mom Friend Vol. 2 -

  2. 1. Two of my three kids hated tummy time, no matter what I did, books, videos, toys, etc. The two that hated tummy time (and we didn’t do it) starting sitting and walking before my oldest, who did tummy time.

    2/6. There are plethora of studies, scientific/peer reviewed studies, out there that tell you, ‘you are doing everything wrong’. Do what works for you, your family, and Gideon. Try and not let all the negative, judgmental comments (including your own) taint the momma-instincts and lean on your support system. It is tough dealing with momma-guilt.

    3. You don’t. I kept reminding myself that they are only this little for so long. This was my anthem when I was up with my kids all night or all day or dealing with colicky babies. Do what you can, ask for help (or make a list of tasks that people can do without asking you). Getting everything completed, gets ‘easier’, really, you gain a better routine.

    4. I can’t really answer that as I have an almost 18 month old daughter, and boy/girl twins who are almost a year.

    5. I am just now starting to get into some sort of exercise routine, which mainly consists of walking and swimming (okay swimming more like once a month). I do use my kids as weights and do squats, lunges, toss them in the air and attempt other strength activities with them.

    7. The answer is no, you really do not ‘need’ most stuff. Every kiddo is different, Gideon may or may not like it. We ended up getting a teepee play gym and that works for us, they use it more now than they did when they were not mobile. For more expensive items, I suggest getting them used or donated, that way if he does not like it then it won’t feel like a big waste.

  3. Hi Mama Bethany,

    Sorry I’m so late in leaving a comment, I truly loved this post and enjoyed reading it so much! I would love to bring Declan over and talk all these questions over some hot chocolate.

    1. Tummy time with Declan was often laying on daddy’s stomach and looking at daddy. Counting it!

    5. Don’t even sweat exercise! Once Gideon starts walking you’ll get plenty! 😉

    6. I’m so unsure. I am trying to battle mommy insecurity. I’m hoping with Baby #2 that I will have my confidence stronger since I’ve already been through it once. With Declan, I am learning each stage as he grows so I tend to doubt myself more than I’d like to admit.

    7. I’d say yes! One of the other comments said as a Christmas gift and that’s a great idea. Declan loved his and it allowed us to have some time apart. When he got tired of playing with mommy and I got tired of playing with baby, it was a safe, fun place for him to explore. “His rainforest” we called it.

    This would be a great series! As Gideon grows, what new questions grow with him. 🙂

  4. Can an older Mom chime in? 🙂 (Ok, Grammie now, but I still remember young mommy days.)
    1. Tummy time was not “done” when mine were little. I held them A LOT. As they got older they enjoyed rolling onto their tummies and finding the toys. Don’t stress over it.

    2. 8 min. video. No worries. And you incorporated the dreaded tummy time with it. Good on you Momma!!

    3. Getting things done… LOL Oh honey, don’t sweat it. Babies are little for just a short time. Enjoy him. Do what you can but don’t stress. As long as you all have clean clothes (nothing said about folding or putting away); are fed (take-out or frozen pizza anyone?); and the house is clean enough for your health & sanity (dust bunnies make great pets); you are doing fine. In time he will take more regular naps or get old enough to help. If it really bothers you; see if you can trade baby-watching with a friend for an hour and speed-clean or ask a high school kid to come over and watch him while you clean.

    4. I was so mixed in my feelings when they were little. Wanting them to grow up to the next big advancement and yet wanting to keep them little and snuggly and “all mine.” It’s a normal feeling. Enjoy each day, each feeding, each sleep. And if you don’t enjoy each one, don’t feel guilty because little babies are hard work!

    5. Don’t worry about exercise. Or if he is happy for 10, 20 or 30 mins at a time now; you can do 10, 20 or 30 mins of stretches; yoga, running in place. There will be time for a more scheduled work-out soon.

    6. Guilt is from the devil. God gave you mommy intuition. You won’t hurt him. And as for putting him down or letting him cry or not doing tummy time or letting him watch that 8-min video. All good. You are doing GREAT! Don’t let Satan whisper those lies in your ear.

    7. Christmas is coming. Let those loving relatives get the baby gym. 🙂

    8. “Experts” say one more layer than we are comfortable in. Also, a nice warm blankie. We were allowed to use snowsuits & coats in the car seats with ours, now I see so many littles with hardly any warm clothes on because of the new “rule” of no coat in the car seat. Layers, socks & shoes or booties, gloves or hand coverings, hat and try to keep him out of the wind. I always thought of pioneer babies or Native American babies. They survived our winters being swaddled and out of drafts. Fresh air is good, but not frigid.

    All in all, ask God for wisdom; call the doctor if you are really worried, or call your mom. You know your baby the best, so follow your own instincts. You will be the best mommy he could have because you love him the most. PS If you continue to feel sad or melancholy and need to talk; please do find someone to listen. Post-partum blues are real and you don’t have to deal with it alone. **hug**

    1. Oh, Kay, thank you SO much for taking the time to reply to all my questions! This response is a treasure, and lifted my spirits so much!! That is so good to hear that tummy time just wasn’t a thing until recently. I forget that so many of these things that are emphasized as “needs” change quickly. I was stressed out about getting Gideon to sleep on his back when he was first born (he preferred sleeping on his side) until I talked to my Mom who said that they used to recommend that a baby never slept on his back, so it helps to remember that none of this is set in stone.

      Bless you for the paragraph about getting things done. It has been such a challenge to get even minor things done, and sometimes I’ve wondered if I am just failing at something that no one else has struggled with.

      I am so glad that I am not the only one who struggled with watching them grow up. Thank you!

      That is so true about pioneer and Native American babies! I think I am going to buy some extra winter clothing, because I just need to layer him more than I have been!

      Thank you so much for your advice!! You are the best, and have cheered my heart immensely!!

  5. Oh hang in there! Early motherhood can be such a challenge! My husband never seemed to understand the direct correlation with him saying “Peter needs to nurse” and me going to the bathroom-but I ALWAYS knew that there was a strong possibility our newborn would fall asleep nursing on me, so I wanted to get any bathroom trips out of the way first! (I have gone to the bathroom several times with a baby-or toddler-on me, and while it’s totally possible, it’s still not my favorite thing in the world haha). On the Tummy Time: It’s not a big deal. Our little guy HATED tummy time, so we just didn’t do it. His pediatrician said that babywearing totally counts, because it helps a baby strengthen his or her neck muscles, and so that’s what we did. And tons of people remarked on our then-baby’s head control, so I guess it worked!

    On the exercise, I would make a solid goal for myself (2 times a week) and do a simple living room workout while babywearing. JessicaSmithTV on youtube has some good gentle workouts, I used her “prenatal” workout for the first several months postpartum. And sometimes, it would put the baby to sleep! Now that he’s a toddler and sleeping well at night, I just go running in the morning while he sleeps.

    On getting things done: Have you read the book “How to Mange Your Home without Losing Your mind,” by Dana White? It’s so good; it completely changed my perspective with housekeeping and freed up a lot of my mental space (for example, it helped me establish 1 laundry day a week, so the other 6 days I didn’t have to think about laundry-aside from cloth diapers, but those got to be second nature after a while). All in all, though, if no one else has told you I want to say that “You’re doing a great job.” Early postpartum can be a rough adjustment, and some days, even the thought of doing 1 non-baby related thing can be overwhelming! I do think it gets easier over time, and the most important things are taking care of the baby and yourself!

    1. You are so wise, AnneMarie, to be prepared before you sit down to nurse! Ha ha! I am about half the time, but I just need to realize that there is always a chance that he’ll fall asleep. That is so good to hear that your pediatrician said baby wearing counts! Phew! I baby wear all the time, but I never thought about the fact that it was helping him develop his neck muscles, too. Thank you!

      I will check out JessicaSmithTv, I love finding workouts on youtube, but I’ve had a hard time figuring out what I should do first, post-C-section. A prenatal workout sounds like just the place to start.

      I will order that book! I do listen to Dana White’s podcast, which I LOVE, but I’ve never read the book.

      Thank you for the encouragement. This adjustment has been hard, so I really appreciate the help and kind words!!

  6. I love this! And to be fair I still have so many questions of my own especially for moms of twins. So I am no expert. I stressed about tummy time a lot with Rebekah because she hated it. But from what I’ve heard and found personally, babies will develop just fine. Encourage it when you can but don’t stress out about it or beat yourself up if he doesn’t do a ton of it. I’m a lot less worried about it this time around. Joseph loves it and I can’t keep him off of his tummy. He even rolls himself to his tummy to sleep now. Daniel is the opposite. About the only time he will roll is if I put him on his tummy and he wants to get on his back. He hates it. Joseph has built up a lot more strength from being in his tummy, which is leading to him becoming much more mobile than Daniel. But unlike with Rebekah I’m not worried. I know Daniel will get there! Daniel hates putting pressure on his legs but the doctor has checked it out and isn’t worried. He will get there. Don’t stress about the video. I was super worried and careful about TV and phones and all of that with Rebekah. And while I try not to make it a daily routine, she does get some TV time. Which also means the boys get some TV time because they are fascinated by it. I think the biggest risk it poses for babies and parents is that when babies and toddlers are set in front of it they are getting that instead of interaction with the parents. Babies and toddlers won’t learn as much from TV as they they will from real personal interactions. Human interaction for the win! But don’t worry–it happens. I am sure you’re spending plenty of time cuddling him, reading, singing, etc. Mom guilt is awful. I still struggle with it though not as much as I did with Rebekah. I will say becoming a mom has helped me learn to have more grace for myself and others. It was easy (and dumb of me) to judge others as parents before I had kids. But now I strive to extend more grace to others and myself. As far as getting things done, it gets a little bit better as they get bigger. But then it also gets harder because they will be pulling toys and everything out all around the house LOL. They gain more independence which gives you more time but they also make bigger messes… I really have no answers for it since I am still in the thick of it! It pains my heart when I see how quickly all of our kids are growing up. But it is a frequent reminder to cherish the moments of the day. I never thought about buying the baby gym either. When Rebekah was almost 4 months old her grandma bought one for her. She used it quite a bit and we have definitely gotten our moneys worth out of it because the boys, especially Daniel, love it. The best thing about it is that it encourages them to lift their hands up more, grab and learn to use their hands and fingers. It also teaches cause-and-effect. It was cute to watch our boys figure out “oh if I kick the bar this shakes this or if I hit this it makes noise…” it’s a good investment because you can use it with future children. Bundling babies up is a conundrum because they’re not supposed to have coats on in the car seat. Easy layers and safe placement of blankets are my tactic. Great questions! I’m excited to read responses from other moms as well.

    1. Oh, thank you for your reply, Nathana! I value your advice so very much. It must be so fascinating to see the differences between your twin boys! That makes me feel so much better about TV time. You are absolutely right, the danger is in replacing human interaction with the television. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but it makes me feel so much better about him catching glimpses of screens now and then. It is so easy to judge other people until you are in their shoes, isn’t it? I am glad I’m not the only one who struggles with the housework/baby balance! I am looking forward to him gaining a bit of independence, but at the same time I am dreading it because I do love all the baby snuggles. I just found a jungle baby gym on a local buy/sell group, and I am picking it up today! It really helped to hear what a great asset it is for you. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it would be good for his development, too. So that really made me want to pick one up. He is just getting to the point where toys have started to hold his attention, so I am starting to see a need for a baby gym. Thank you so much for your response! It has really helped. I wish we lived closer together so we could get together and talk!

  7. Oh my goodness. All the first mom feels. First, here is what we use to keep our babes warm through winter in the carseat: (not an affiliate link) 😉 For all three of the first ones (I have to get my hands on another for baby number 4 here). 🙂 No, to all of your “do you need” questions. No, you don’t NEED anything. I LOVED our jungle gym, because I felt like at least he had something to do while I was working… But you don’t need one. A movie isn’t going to hurt him AT ALL. It’s just dumb that that’s on moms. I don’t exercise…haha! I take as many walks as I can, and now that my oldest is 7, he is INTERESTED in exercise, so we can find simple things to do together. Tummy Time: I have NEVER been good with our babies and tummy time. We would hold them on our shoulders a lot, and I feel like mostly it’s about head control, and since their heads were there by our shoulders, it presented them the opportunities to exercise those neck muscles and we didn’t need so much tummy time. My niece would SCREAM on her tummy, so she never, ever had any, and she’s almost walking now…It’s a lot of things that the “experts” say, but can’t actually know for YOUR baby. You know your baby best – God made you his Mama, no one else. As far as Mommy guilt goes, order “Lies Moms Believe”, the author addresses that in the book. Good luck, mama! <3

    1. Thank you, Kayla, for that link to the carseat cuddle bag! I’ve never even heard of such a thing, and I am so relieved to find something that will keep him warmer when we are out and about. I just found a jungle baby gym on a local buy/sell group, and I am picking it up this week! So excited to see if Gideon will like it. He has just started getting interested in toys, which is so fun to watch! That is so good to know about tummy time—I feel like he has really good control of his head from just us holding him, and carrying him in the lillebaby carrier, but I didn’t realize that counts too. I am ordering that book, too, because my goodness it has been a battle to not give in to that mommy guilt some days. Thank you so much for your help! You have raised my spirits, immensely!

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