My friend is having her first baby this upcoming November. A few days ago, she asked me if I had any advice for a new mom. And of course, the first thing I thought when deciding what advice to give her was..
What do I wish I was told?
When I was in her shoes, awaiting the birth of my first child, wondering what motherhood would be like, what do I wish I knew then?
If only I knew what I know now. As a mother of 2.
So here’s my list. I could’ve kept going, too. But we’ll start here. 18 things I wish someone had told me when I had my first baby.
(These are my personal opinions and come from my personal experience as a mother. Your opinions may be different, and that is totally fine! 🙂 )
1. Babies don't need that much stuff.
Honestly, this might just be my opinion, but babies do not need that much stuff. Sure, they need a lot. But there’s so many things we bought before Grant was born that just turned out to be a waste of money! (We never used our wipe warmer, never used our diaper genie, newborn shoes, etc..)
When it came down to it, we just bought way too much stuff. Half of which I realized was pointless once I actually had my baby here with me. It was just extra stuff I didn’t need.
(If you do use any of the items above, that’s fine. But you can’t tell me there’s nothing ridiculous you bought for your baby that you later realized you didn’t “need“)
2. It's okay to ask for help.
When I brought Grant home from the hospital, I was so afraid to ask for help. I didn’t want to feel like a failure, and I certainly didn’t want to burden anybody.
But I needed help.
I was a new mom, still learning how to care for this tiny human, and on top of it, I was trying to recover from actually birthing this human!
It’s okay to ask for help! It doesn’t define you as a mother. You are still amazing! With help, you can be amazing and still recover as well as keep your sanity!
3. Breastfeeding is hell. But it DOES get easier.
This one is kind of a double.
First thing I wish I was told: How hard breastfeeding actually is. People put so much emphasis on labor, that nobody prepares you for nursing. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it’s hard. It hurts. It’s a lot.
But it does get easier. Which is another thing I wish I was told.
I don’t care if you choose not to breastfeed your kid. That’s totally fine and I don’t judge that. But if you want to nurse them, and are struggling, just know that it WILL get easier. A few weeks or months in and you’ll be a pro!
4. Postpartum depression is real.
It’s so taboo to talk about, because nobody wants to scare you. And don’t be scared. But be educated on this. Watch for the signs, and know what to do if it hits. Let your partner know, too.
Postpartum depression is so real. I was one of the people who thought it “wouldn’t happen to me”.
But in reality, postpartum depression hits 1 in 5 women. You can get through it. But the knowledge for what to do if it effects you is important.
5. You will feel a "shock" once you bring baby home.
When I brought Grant home, I actually felt a shift in my universe. Obviously my entire life had changed, but it was so strange how I actually felt the shock. I even had to take a minute to sit down to take it all in. I remember the exact moment it hit me.
6. Take advice with a grain of salt. You don't have to please everyone.
Once you become a mom, everyone will have an opinion on how you’re raising your baby. It’s annoying, but it’s true.
Take advice with a grain of salt.
Even if it’s family, just remember that you don’t have to please everyone and that is your baby. Advice, when it’s well received, is nice. Don’t get me wrong. But we all know there’s a fine line to where someone is just flat out telling you how to raise your child. I don’t care who it is, you don’t have to please them.
Raise your baby the way you intend, mama.
7. Taking care of baby means taking care of yourself!
Don’t put your health on hold just because you’re a mom now.
Previously, I mentioned that I didn’t want to ask for help, knowing that I needed it because I was recovering. Well, I should have taken that recovery a lot more seriously.
I overdid it, big time. I tried to be supermom while needing time to heal, and that led to it taking even longer for me to heal. Which made me feel like a failure.
Take care of yourself. You are not a failure. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
8. White noise is a life saver.
White noise will help baby sleep through things! Which is wayyy better then them waking up at the sound of a pen dropping. Trust me, nap time will be way better if your baby is used to sound! My boys have a fan in their room that makes noise, but there are white noise machines that can help as well!
9. Being a mom can be lonely.
Mom life can get lonely. And there’s a chance you will lose friends who just don’t “get” it because maybe they aren’t parents, yet. That’s not always the case, I still have some awesome non-parent friends. But there for a while, mom life can get pretty lonely. Surround yourself with a great support system.
10. You will 100% learn a love you never knew existed.
Okay, this one people do kind of tell you. But you still won’t truly understand it until you have your baby. This love is truly like no other.
11. Always keep extra outfits in the diaper bag.
Poop happens. Spit up happens. STAY PREPARED! Maybe even pack yourself an extra change of clothes, too! You never know!
12. Your hormones may be worse postpartum then they were during pregnancy.
Right after having a baby, you are all out of wack. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but I can almost guarantee I was more hormonal the 2-3 weeks following birth then I was my entire pregnancy! Crazy!
13. Prioritize your spouse!
A new baby can for sure change a relationship! In both good and bad ways.
But something that is so important is going easy on your spouse. Don’t forget that you are a team. And don’t forget the love in your own relationship. It’s easy to focus strictly on baby, especially for the first bit, but remember your spouse needs love to!
14. Colic will go away! Stay strong.
Be strong and stay patient! This too shall pass!
15. Newborns aren't as hard as everyone makes them out to be.
If we’re being totally honest, toddlers are harder than newborns. Yeah, I said it. And some may disagree.
But newborns really aren’t that bad. I mean they eat, sleep, poop. That’s it. Sure, catering to those few needs causes lack of sleep for you. But really, they aren’t that bad.
Now toddlers? Terrible 2s? Good luck. (Jk, they aren’t awful. Don’t freak yourself out! But I do think they come with their own set of obstacles much different then newborns)
16. Every baby is different. Don't compare!
Try not to compare your baby to others. They are all different and develop at their own rates. Just because your friends baby hit milestones at a certain age doesn’t mean yours will. And there is nothing wrong with that.
17. Everything is going to be okay.
You’ve got this. I promise.
18. You are a rockstar.