When it comes to life with a newborn, some things never change, as these matriarchs explain. Learn their tricks.
1. Talk to Baby all the time
"Even before your child is born, talk to him through your belly. Share a story about your day. The same goes for after he's born. Have a conversation about the things you do when you're together and what you did when you were apart. Sing to him and let him hear noises. With my first, I thought I had to have a quiet room, but you don't. The more you interact with your baby and the more you have him interact with others, the better."—Phyllis Morris, 87, Fresno, California. Mother of 8, grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of 18
2. Be confident
"Take help when people offer it, but always remember that you're the mother. You're in charge. Trust your maternal instincts, because you know even more than you think you do. The best advice I can give is something my own mother told me: 'Your children won't remember if there's dust behind the toilet, but they'll remember you getting down on your knees and playing with them.' Oh, and whenever my babies got diaper rash, I relied on Udder Butter, an oil farmers use on cows so they don't get chapped and sore from milking. It worked like a dream!"—Suzette Shaeffer, 76, Fresno, California. Mother of 3, grandmother of 8
3. Care for colic
"I had colicky babies. To soothe them, I'd warm a water bottle, put it on the floor, and place a towel over it. Then I'd lay my fussy baby over the towel and massage her tummy. It really helped move all that gas. Or I'd pick them up and walk around with them and pat their back and their bottom very softly and quickly. Doing this seemed to alleviate their discomfort. It was an old tale my mother told me, and it worked."—Audrey Bernas, 74, Joliet, Illinois. Mother of 4, grandmother of 9
4. Have fun!
"Sometimes, as a mother, you feel the need to tend to every little squeak and squawk, which can totally absorb your time and energy. But don't be so uptight, structured, and focused on the baby that you can't have fun—even after the birth. Strike that delicate balance between caring for Baby while also communicating and connecting with your partner, because that creates a better environment for your child. Parenting is a new adventure and experience that you're doing together. Finally, remember that each child is different. You can't treat them like a pack."—Vivian Parker, 75, Portland, Oregon. Mother of 8, grandmother of 16, great-grandmother of 8