Becoming a mom for the first time is not exactly what you expect it to be. Instead of making sure I had all the best baby products, I wish I knew more about what being a mom was really like. These first-time mom tips I wish I knew sooner are exactly what I needed to hear.
First-time mom tips
Becoming a mom for the first time is overwhelming. There are so many things to worry about. You need to make sure you have all the right baby supplies. All the right postpartum supplies. And don’t forget about all the baby classes like CPR you need to take.
But there are some things about first-time motherhood that people don’t really talk about. And it’s those first-time mom tips that you probably need the most!
But don’t forget to read all about these first-time mom tips I wish I knew sooner, and you’ll be glad you did!
1 – It’s OK if you don’t really like your baby at first
During my entire pregnancy, I was in LOVE with my baby, and I hadn’t even met her yet. I talked to her, sang her songs, felt her every little kick and movement. I was so excited to meet her. But when she was born, and I took her home, something happened that I did not expect at all. I actually did not love my baby at first.
It took years for me to even admit that. She’s 10 now and I can only talk about it because I realized how very normal this is. And when I mention it to other first time moms, I see their faces just relax and almost tear up, knowing there isn’t something wrong with them.
We spend a lot of time fantasizing about what our newborn is going to be like. We buy the best clothes and picture dressing them up. And we imagine all the photoshoots we are going to take them on, or dream about meeting all our friends and having people just go crazy over our adorable baby. But the reality is, you bring home a screaming, pooping bundle that shows no acknowledgment of even knowing who you are.
You are a slave to this newborn you just gave birth to. You feed them, dress them, burp them, bathe them, change their diapers. And for a good 2 months, you don’t even get a smile from them. And sometimes, you are so exhausted, it seems hard to continue caring for this little creature that shows you no affection in return.
For those first 2 months when I felt like I had no connection to my daughter, I felt like a failure as a mom. Like I was unnatural and maybe made a mistake becoming a mom. I mean, what kind of a person doesn’t love their baby? A NORMAL person, that’s who! And I wish more moms would have told me this when I was a first-time mom.
2 – It’s OK to ask for help
Seriously, don’t be stubborn and try to do everything yourself. I remember thinking “I’m on maternity leave, and it’s my first baby… I can handle this.”
What you forget is that your body just went through a very traffic physical thing. Growing a baby for 9 months and then giving birth is like going through major surgery. Even if you had a normal, easy delivery. I had an extremely easy vaginal birth with no complications and a very healthy infant. And yet, my body felt like it had been hit by a semi-truck. No joke.
It hurt to walk some days. Even simple tasks like vacuuming took all my energy and gave me soreness that all the Motrin in the world couldn’t make me feel better.
So even if it’s just coming over to fold baby clothes, vacuuming your house, or making dinner. Don’t say no to anyone who offers you help.
Especially is it’s a fellow mom. More than likely, she's asking because she’s been there and she knows how hard it is. So band together, accept help, and then pay it forward when someone you knew has a baby.
3 – The lack of sleep will seem like the end of the world
I never really understood why new-moms were so tired. They say babies sleep for like 20 hours a day for the first few weeks. So shouldn’t that give you enough time to get everything done and get some rest of your own? WRONG!
Sure, babies do sleep a lot in those first few weeks. But they also wake up like every 2-3 hours. So while you CAN get 8 hours a sleep a day, it’s constantly broken up into 2 hour time increments. Which means you are never really even entering full REM sleep.
So for the first few weeks, you will seem exhausted. And that feeling will seem like it’s never going to end.But it will. The best advice I can give is to just power through it. It only takes a few weeks to a month or two before your baby starts sleeping for 4-5 hour chunks and then longer. Try Dream Feeing your infant to get them to sleep through the night a lot faster!
4 – Mom’s Really do know best
This is one of the first time mom tips I wish I knew sooner that you really need to hear! Moms always know best! No one, I repeat NO ONE, will know your baby as well as you do. So listen to your instinct.
No one else is there taking care of your newborn day and night. You are the one feeding them, changing them, kissing them. you know everything about them. Every facial expression and every body movement. As the mom, you can anticipate what they are going to do before they even do it. So listen to your gut. Take advice from other moms, but understand that some things might work and some things might not.
And if you feel like there is something wrong with your newborn, take that seriously. Moms really do know their kids best and are often the best source of information.
Trust your gut, Mama!
5 – Do all your shopping online
In other words, make life as easy as you can for yourself! The BEST first-time mom tip I wish I knew sooner! Seriously, you can get ANYTHING on Amazon these days. From my favorite baby wrap to all the diapers and wipes you could possibly need.
So why not stock up on all thing baby essentials online? I even started doing my grocery shopping online. My favorite so far is Instacart, and I literally buy anything I need. Do you have any idea how nice it is to have your 40lb bag of dog food delivered right to your front door? Or jugs of milk and water?
The best part is, they grab all your groceries and get it to your front door within an hour or two. So I can think about dinner in the afternoon, order all the necessary groceries online, and have them to my house in enough time to make dinner that night.
And when you have an infant, packing everything up to do a grocery store run is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. Make it easy. Stay home and have everything delivered! Even your clothes!
6 – It’s OK to need a break
Please take extra special attention to this piece of advice for new moms… It’s OK to need a break! And it’s even more OK to actually take one. You are not a bad mom for needing to get away. You are not a horrible person for needing some time to yourself.
I think it’s beautiful that a lot of moms enjoy being with their kids. I definitely enjoy my time with my daughter. But there are just some times it gets to be too much and you might feel like you need to get away and just be yourself for a small amount of time. I can’t tell you how often I hear from moms that they “lost themselves”. And how very true that it for all of us.
I wish more moms could openly share how overwhelming being a new mom really is. That way we wouldn’t feel like failures when we feel like we need a day to ourselves and a little time to not be around our kids.
When I learned how to start taking a break and actually enjoying it… I became a much better mom. Taking a break let me learn how to be the woman I used to be before I became a mom. I also had a chance to refresh myself and come back to my child with a clear head and a lot more patience.
7 – The cheap stuff works just as well as the expensive stuff
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that you do not need to spend a ton of money when you have a newborn. One day I took a can of Enfamil and a can of Walmart brand formula and compared the ingredients. They were EXACTLY the same. My mind was blown. Especially since the generic brand was half the price!
So once I switched (gasp… my daughter didn’t die!) I saved over $100 a month just by buying the generic brand. So obviously I started doing that with everything. Baby food, diapers, wipes, etc.Even most of her baby clothes started to come from Wal-mart of resale stores. And I only purchased name brand things for special occasions like photos or Holidays. I saved a TON of money not buying her baby Nikes or baby Vans. And to this day, I don’t regret it. Lord knows I have to buy enough of that stuff now that she’s older!
8 – You need to take care of yourself
You know on airplanes when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before you help your kids? Apply the same principle to your life. You really need to learn how to take care of yourself. Don’t forget about your own needs. If you love to read, then keep reading. If you need a bubble bath, take one. Or if you enjoy dressing nice and doing your makeup, then take the time to do it each day.
Make sure you eat right, get exercise, fresh air, and spend time with your friends. Do not put yourself last.