Joy is a friend and colleague. She is also a trusted consultant and contributor to A Baby Moon Company. She has mentored many mothers in her community, worked as a night time baby nurse and most importantly is the experienced mother of seven children. Joy and I have discussed numerous parenting topics on many occasions. We focused on the topic of a new baby in the family and sleep in the following discussion. Her beautiful words of wisdom are worth a thoughtful read. Hopefully, her valuable insights will help inform your own early parenting journey.
How would you suggest first time moms prepare for the transition to being a mom?
Joy: I think the best preparation for motherhood is to understand that physically and mentally you have to slow down, even when there seems to be so much to do. Assume your plans will be altered or cancelled depending on who your baby is when she arrives! Knowing that the time you have to learn your new baby is precious and fleeting gives some perspective on the importance of just enjoying the transition time and just being still with your new little life. Count his fingers, touch her toes, smell his breath, kiss her belly, take your baby all in! Spend time in quiet. As you prepare for your new arrival, remember that you have a unique opportunity to introduce your new little love to ALL things. In preparation, you can imagine and decide what type of world you want your baby to first experience.
Do you have any tips for them to prepare for the sleep routines of infant?
Joy: In relation to the quiet early days of birth, your baby will in many ways meld to your habits and feelings. Relax and rest with your baby early on. For one thing, it’s the sweetest love you’ve ever known to cuddle next to your sleeping baby. For another, it lets your baby know what breath and heartbeat feel like when it’s time to rest. These physiological memories will carry over into nighttime comfort and good sleep.
You also have 7 children. How have you navigated sleep routines with your own infants? children? and older kids?
Joy: Creating an environment of peace has always helped with our bed time routine at home. We take warm showers or baths, gradually turn down the lights, sprinkle pillows with chamomile, sing, then hum our bed time melodies, stretch and yawn together, observe the dark together until there is nothing left to do but breathe. Once little bodies stop moving, they start to take deep breaths and then sleep. This seems to work for all ages, but it is more challenging when everybody is not on the same schedule. Even so, as my children grow older, they still recognize and welcome the sleep queues I give in the evening, as they ready themselves to sleep, they feel relaxed and restful.
Do you have one piece of advice for new mothers:
Joy: Our physical environment may not be perfect. Try as we may to create the most beautiful, quiet, soft, fragrant, and sweet experience for our newborns, life does not always cooperate. This is what I can offer as advice, universally , to new mothers at the very basic level: prepare to give yourself completely to the newness and awesomeness of this baby. Her first impression of you is forever etched in her heart and in her subconscious memory.