For something a little different with this post I did a Q&A with my mom to compare answers from being a first-time mom now versus when she had her second favourite child thirty years ago (my older brother). Keep reading to see what I found out.
How did you find out you were pregnant?
Mom: We were trying to get pregnant so basically I skipped my period and knew. And then when I was far enough along I went to the Doctor and got a pregnancy test. They had store-bought pregnancy tests at that time but they weren’t that accurate so I didn’t want to waste the money when I could just wait a month and go to the doctor. I did have a feeling before I skipped my period because my gag reflex was heightened and I would throw up just from brushing my teeth in the morning.
Me: We were also trying to get pregnant so as soon as I started feeling anything different about myself I had a good feeling. My boobs got bigger right away and I started getting nauseated by certain foods too. Then we took the early response test as soon as we could and we found out!
Did you find out the gender? How?
Mom: No. We could have found out but we wanted to be surprised. It was definitely becoming more popular then to find out what you were having but it was probably 50/50 and there was no such thing as a gender reveal party.
Me: Yes we found out. Gender reveal parties are huge right now and there are so many different ways to do them. We popped a black balloon with pink confetti over our heads and it was so much fun. I found a lot of people my mom’s age were surprised I found out or recommended against it but I’m a big planner so I always wanted to know what I was having.
Did you use an OBGYN or Midwife?
Mom: OBGYN. Family doctors were delivering babies just before then but when they stopped because of insurance purposes you had to go to an OBGYN. Midwives were not very popular and I don’t believe they were delivering in hospitals at that time so it could be riskier for some people.
Me: Midwife for me. Nowadays midwives are more popular and can deliver at hospitals as well. They have a good rapport with nurses and doctors at the hospital so if there’s ever an issue they can transfer care right away to the on-call OBGYN. I just found the extra care they gave was amazing, our appointments together were longer and more in-depth and they provided better postpartum care including home visits for the first two weeks. I also had a million questions and they answered all of them patiently.
Did you take a birthing class?
Mom: Yes we did however they were very popular, basically everyone went to a class if they were having a baby. They did basic how-to stuff about babies, breathing exercises for delivery and what to expect. I found it very helpful. But you had to pay for them and they weren’t cheap. Your dad was a little bit clueless still sometimes.
Me: Yes. There were some free ones available but we ended up paying for one that our midwives recommended. It was through a physical therapy office that specialized in postpartum care. They gave us lots of information about coping with pain naturally since pretty much everyone’s goal was to not have an epidural and we used a lot of tips they gave. My husband learned how to do things like hip compressions and how to help me through labour (and he ended up doing great so I guess they worked). I would say birthing classes are maybe not as popular as they were 30 years ago but that is probably because there’s this thing called the internet.
What was the best new product when you had a baby?
Mom: Probably a baby monitor but with sound only. But they would go on a frequency so sometimes you could hear your neighbours which was fun.
Me: I would say the AngelCare Mattress Monitors and Owlet Sock Monitors that check you’re baby’s heart rate and breathing while they sleeping. I didn’t end up using one because we had Baby T in a bassinet next to our bed for the first four or five months so I could check her breathing myself through the night and I had heard it did a lot of false alarms. They seemed to be very popular though and highly advertised.
What is the one thing (product) you would recommend every mom to have?
Mom: I loved having a bassinet because when they were little you could have them right in your room beside your bed.
Me: I agree the bassinet is one thing I would recommend but specifically one that vibrates. I would turn it on and Baby T would go right to sleep all by herself. It shut itself off after about forty minutes but if Baby T woke through the night I would turn it back on and unless she was hungry she would go back to sleep no problem.
What was the best thing you did for yourself postpartum?
Mom: I went and stayed at my mom’s for a few days because I was a mess and I needed the help.
Me: Lots of baths. It was my quiet time to relax and felt so good. I used Shepherds Purse baths that my midwife recommended and also lavender epsom salt.
How did you get your baby sleep trained?
Mom: We didn’t really do sleep training by then but I tend to be a scheduled person so my baby’s naps were always scheduled and they always slept in either their bassinet or their crib. If it was bedtime the baby went to bed we didn’t wait to see what time the baby wanted to go to bed.
Me: Baby T was always a pretty decent sleeper but when it actually came time to try and have her sleep through most of the night (around five months) I just slowly weaned the nighttime feedings and let her cry it out. I also learned the difference between her cries, sometimes she’d have a really desperate hungry cry if she was going through a growth spurt so those nights I would feed her and she would go right back to sleep.
Formula or breastfed?
Mom: Breastfed. There was a lot of pushing for formula but I always found breastfeeding so convenient cause all you had to do what lift your top.
Me: Breastfed. We didn’t have any issues with getting started so I never was pressured to use formula. But nowadays it seems like people are doing 50/50, new moms are encouraged to just do whatever works best for them and their baby.
Did you put your baby down on their stomach, side or back for bedtime?
Mom: Side. You used to swaddle them, roll up a sheet and put it behind them. That was what everybody said to do, what was safest at the time.
Me: Back! Healthcare providers are pretty adamant about that. They admit that in the past it went from stomach to side and now to back. Once she learned how to roll over though she puts herself on her side or her stomach and who am I to go in and wake her up?
When did you start your baby on solid foods and what did you give them?
Mom: Around five or six months and I always started them on powder cereal or Farleys Rusks and bit by bit I would blend and freeze veggies to give them. I very rarely bought baby food. I would only buy big jars of unsweetened apple sauce.
Me: We started around the same time, five or six months. Basically when she started showing an interest in what we were eating and trying to grab it. We started with baby cereal and puréed veggies.
How did your husband do as a first-time dad?
Mom: Um good. He was always a very hands-on dad but he also had to work long days every day. Men were starting to be more hands-on back then, your dad was never afraid to change a diaper. He was always there to give hugs and kisses even though that wasn’t how he grew up, I always give him credit for that.
Me: He did awesome. He’s also a very hands-on dad and wants to spend lots of time with her. He loves it when she snuggles into his shoulder, you can tell he’s already wrapped around her little finger. He does help with diaper changes but will only do the poopy diapers if I wasn’t around or was 100% checked out.
Stay at Home or Working Mom? Which would you have preferred?
Mom: I worked part-time after being off for a year. We worked our schedules so that your dad would also take care of you a lot of the time so the amount we had to use a sitter was minimal. We had my mom too and she would babysit one or two days a week. Working part-time was perfect for me, I don’t think I could’ve managed full time. I enjoyed the little bit of time I had outside of the house. I didn’t need to have a career but I always enjoyed my job.
Me: I’m still off on a year-long maternity leave but I will be returning to work part-time in a few months. If financially I had a choice I do think I would still choose to do something part-time, maybe something with less pressure or something I could do at home. Regardless I feel like I’m ready to have a little break a few days a week. We’ll see if I still feel the same way when I actually go back to work.
What was your biggest fear as a new mom?
Mom: My biggest fear was the baby getting sick with something really serious.
Me: I agree with my mom but also feeling like you’re constantly doing something wrong and you’re messing up being a mom.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to any new mom?
Mom: Take the time for you and your baby that you need and let other people help with the other stuff.
Me: Trust your gut. You know your baby and you know yourself better than anyone else.
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between being a new mom thirty years ago and being a new mom now. We do have the internet that we can google any question we may have, but it seems like these older moms (now grandmas) also seem to know a thing or two. Might as well learn a little bit from them too, we survived after all didn’t we?