What I Wish I Knew Before I Had a Baby

by
LAURYN

ALI LEVINE! She’s here today to talk about all the things she wished she knew before having a baby.

Ali is a total spitfire. Ali & I met when I was on her podcast Things We’re Too Lazy to Blog About with her friend Amanda Lauren.

We met at Amanda’s house & immediately I liked them both. We had a super fun interview where Michael & I talked about working with your spouse, boundaries, grounding, blogging & Instagram tips.

Ali gave me the most amazing tip to see Dr. Berlin when I was pregnant, so naturally we had him on the podcast recently. It’s a good one so be sure to check it out if you’re pregnant, or just interested in pregnancy & fertility.

Anyway, Ali & I have stayed friends over the years & I watched her star in the Bravo show Stripped. She is also a mother so I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to The Skinny Confidential to share some things she wished she knew before having kids.

Without further adieu, let’s welcome Ali!

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Hi everyone! I’m Ali Levine, TV personality, celebrity stylist, podcaster, & mommy influencer. I’m a mama to my daughter Amelia Rei who’s almost 2 & have a baby girl on the way in May! Adding to my mini fashion tribe!

I’ve been a celeb stylist & fashion expert for many years & was named the IT girl of Hollywood quite a few years back!

I was on the hit show Stripped on Bravo & was quickly forced into resetting my realities & priorities in my career & life.

Shortly after, I got pregnant with my daughter & my whole world changed, for the better, but wow did it change. My brand transitioned & I changed as a person in many ways after a traumatic birth, postpartum depression & finding myself again in my personal life & my career.

So these tips I am sharing with you come from my heart & own experiences. They are things I wish I knew before I became a mama.

Find Your Tribe.

Making new friends & finding your mom friends is important. I had no idea how much I need that, especially as a new mama. It’s almost like dating all over again & finding that right match! It’s like trying on your favorite outfit & finding what seems fabulous!

Mom groups, mom friends, people with similar mom views as you, etc., is so important.

There are many reasons it’s important to find your tribe. First off, I love my girlfriends that don’t have babies. They are amazing, but there’s just something you feel like you can’t talk about or vent fully because they just can’t relate.

Ex: The pains in my vagina, my c-section scar, my boobs leaking, wearing adult diapers… all the things!!

Your friends are amazing but if they didn’t just have a baby, then they have no idea what you’re going through, even if they are the most supportive! You really need some fellow moms to lean on when you need them.

Trust your gut/intuition.

You know that thing we all feel inside of us, it’s usually your gut or intuition trying to tell you something? Well, that multiplies when you get pregnant & especially after you give birth.

You’re going to have millions of opinions thrown your way. More than you could ever imagine ( or want )! Trust yourself, trust your baby. That’s the best way to make decisions because you’re going to have make SO MANY from the minute you become pregnant & especially once you officially become a mama.

The reason I say this is because you will have a million opinions thrown at you, everyone has an idea, a tip, something to share! And that’s cool & nice to a point, but only YOU know what’s right for your baby & there’s no one way to mother. That’s really important to learn early on so you can block out the noise & just do you & focus on your family.

Breastfeed, formula, sleep train, swaddle, vaccinations or delay? Cord clamping or not… this list can go on forever, so don’t make yourself crazy. Do your research, trust your own gut &make your own decisions.

Give yourself grace. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!

If you’re going to write anything down, please let it be this tip.

Motherhood can be tough, & mentally & physically draining at the best of times. It’s easy to beat ourselves up. I do it all the time- get down on myself, think I’m not doing enough, etc.

These thoughts are so normal & all of us need to allow ourselves grace! AND OMG especially in the first year of having a baby.

Ugh, this one really hits me emotionally as I type it! I wish someone would have said to me, “this is going to be Hard AF!! And you’re going to have to give yourself lots of grace!!”

You’re going to feel crazy, you’re going to feel out of control, you’re going to feel a love you’ve never felt, your hormones are going to be insane… all of this is totally okay & you have to allow yourself grace! You have to forgive yourself for all the things you feel, you have to tell yourself good thoughts & not go down the rabbit hole.

Of course for some this isn’t as extreme as what I went through, but it’s one thing I really wish I knew: GRACE!!

Don’t expect your body to ‘bounce back’ because I say, FUCK the bounce back!

Now this doesn’t mean give up on your body, but please explain to yourself that you just created a human for the last 9 months, so don’t compare your body to someone else’s.

Your body takes time to heal & recover, no matter what kind of birth you had. Be grateful your body created life & give yourself time to let your body heal during postpartum.

I truly hate the term ‘bounce back!’

What does that even mean?! Our bodies stretched & carried a baby for 9 months, give or take, & we created life & birthed that life! Our bodies are just supposed to look amazing right after? Excuse me???!!!

All the questions like, “omg, are you back to your pre-pregnancy weight already?!” UM, NO!!!

And if you decided to breastfeed, definitely check that off as a big NO! You’re eating so much to survive & produce for your baby!

Your body is not going to be exactly the same, most likely, & that’s ok. Your body gave you your baby! I had a really hard time with this & I wish someone would have told me that my body is going to change no matter what. Vaginal or c-section ( which btw, no one ever mentioned the possibility of a c-section or what that would do to my body & the relationship I would have with it )!!

Birth plan- DO NOT be married to this plan!

Birth preferences prioritize what’s important. But try not to be hell bent on it like I was.

I believe that when you are married to a plan, it’s really hard when your plan goes out the window. It makes it even harder to let go of it & get past it.

In my opinion after my traumatic birth, creating a plan only sets you up for extreme heartbreak when it doesn’t go that way.

Have your preferences, know what’s important & most importantly, let go & just let your body & the baby do their thing. I wish I was told that in my first birth & I will be definitely taking this with me into the second birth.

Your fashion doesn’t have to go out the window- Create your uniform.

Being a stylist & fashion expert, I realized it was really hard for me to get dressed & out the door before 3pm. It was a constant struggle to get out the door & do anything for that matter.

Having an idea of a uniform in my wardrobe helped me not feel as overwhelmed & flustered. Whether it be a tee & jeans, or leggings & a top, maxi dress, whatever. Just a go-to that makes you feel confident & comfortable.

Being a celeb stylist & fashionista & not being able to wear a lot of what I wanted, especially after a c-section was really hard & really defeating.

I wish I had set myself up with different wardrobe options from the beginning so I didn’t feel defeated & didn’t judge myself so much when getting dressed. Those times in the mirror were quite detrimental for my mental health & there was constant negative talk!

Speaking of confidence, you might feel like you ‘lost yourself.’

Or in my case, feel like you were mourning the death of yourself.

It’s completely normal to feel this way when you become a mom. So much changes, not just with your body, but your life & your hormones are crazy & everything just feels out of control. But I promise you it’s temporary & you will find yourself again ( if you feel this way ).

Remember you just created life! Nothing feels normal! And if you need help navigating, that’s ok too. Postpartum specialist, therapists, all of them, are totally okay & necessary for many. They were for me & there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Again, this is my own experience, but after going through it, I have to share it. I never knew I’d go through postpartum depression. 1 in 7 moms do! Never thought I’d be part of that statistic. So I think it’s really important to share that there are many ways to get help & that if you’re having weird thoughts, & it’s more than the ‘baby blues,’ you can seek help.

Having a postpartum plan & team in place is so important! Even more than things for the baby. Your mental health needs to come first!

Drop the ego, drop the facade.

We are all in this together. Whether you look amazing or like a hot mess ( myself most days ), just know that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have hard days & lose your mind. It’s ok if you can’t get out of your pajamas all day.

And when I say ‘drop the ego,’ I mean drop it for yourself. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you don’t be real with yourself, lol! Have patience with yourself & love yourself.

Just know this shit is hard & you have to laugh at yourself, not worry so much what you look like & embrace the chaos. As I’ve gotten further into this journey, the easiest time I have as a new mama is when I embrace the chaos, enjoy my baby girl & mostly go with the flow.

Don’t fight it, just flow with it. Some days will be better than others, some days will feel unmanageable, that’s okay!

Breastfeeding: Do it or don’t.

It’s totally your call. You decide what’s right for you. All I’m saying is, it’s not easy for most. It’s not some magical fucking journey & it does hurt, & it does exhaust you.

Obviously, we are all different. For me breastfeeding meant pumping in the beginning ( because my milk was 10 days late ) & feeding Amelia with a Doppler of my pumped milk. It took her almost two months to latch successfully.

Most babies don’t latch on their own so get a lactation consultant/ help if you feel you need one! Now we are still nursing 21 months in & I never thought I would be, now it’s ‘magical!’

To each their own. Feed your baby the best way you & baby can manage. I’m all for breastfeeding if it works for you. Mama’s milk is incredible if it’s the right fit & just know it’s not easy, but you’ll get there if it’s meant to be.

Baby wearing.

If you get tired of constantly holding your baby, or you just need a break, but babe wants to be on you, baby wearing is your best friend. Whether it’s a wrap, a shirt, a carrier, whatever your fancy- it give you breathing room & lets you be hands-free to be able to get work done when you want to/need to.

Multitasking at it’s finest!

Self care- Pour back into your cup, mama!

It’s so easy to get depleted & give & give & feel that ‘mom guilt’ for wanting to do something for yourself, but trust me, you need to & HAVE to.

I’ve had to learn, the more I pour into myself, the more I can pour into others. A walk, a nap, a bath, massage, a hike, meditation, nails done, seeing friends for a glass of wine, whatever it may be, POUR BACK INTO YOU!!!

That’s how you’ll be the best to yourself, your partner, & your family & friends. Really can’t stress this one enough & wish this was taped on my mirror: always pour back into you.

Do things that make you feel good, do things that make you feel like YOU. Find your happy spots & fall into them hard, especially in the beginning. It’s not selfish, it’s extremely important!

Mom shaming – Please don’t shame yourself.

Sadly there is some heavy mom shaming & judgement in the mom community. I don’t know why but there is!

Know that you were chosen as your baby’s mother & do what’s right for YOU ( &/or your partner )! Don’t shame yourself because of others & don’t question yourself.

This is why your mom tribe & your support system is crucial & key in the beginning of motherhood, in my opinion. Find the ones that support your decisions no matter what!

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Hope you guys loved this post from Ali! Be sure to follow her on Instagram. Her posts provide tons of value.

Until next time,

x, lauryn

+ scope how to have a baby & still live your life.

++ check out this post on modern parenting & an incredible birth story.

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