I must admit something. When I was about to became a mother for the first time, I was terrified. As an only child and someone who hadn’t spent much time around babies in general, I knew nothing about what it was like to take care of a little one.
Well, let me just say that that changed quickly. I did tons of research before I had my twins, but the real lessons I learned from doing. Babies are fast teachers!
Still, there were some extremely important tips that I wish I would have known. Here they are, and I truly hope they help you on this new phase of your life.
Tips For Brave New Moms
- Be prepared with appliances and supplies before the last few weeks of your pregnancy.
Having a baby means going on lots of shopping sprees. Fortunately, if you have a baby shower or two, you’ll get a lot of the supplies and appliances that you’ll need there. But whatever else that you need, make sure that you buy it before your due date and ideally, a few weeks or months before that.
Necessary items include a crib and sheets, a stroller and car seat, diapers, baby wipes, bottles, a good breast pump, breast milk storage bags and of course, baby clothes. You want to make sure that your nursery is prepared as well. All of those things will need to go somewhere, after all!
Make sure you have an adequate supply of yoga pants and comfy breast-feeding tops beforehand.
Yoga pants are an absolute must. Your body will be tender during the first few weeks after birth, and yoga pants are the best. Baggy sweatpants have a knack for making new moms feel like slobs, but cute yoga pants can make you feel like a goddess while still keeping you comfortable.
You’ll want comfy breast-feeding tops too. These have panels that can be turned down or pulled to the side so that you can easily breast-feed without having to take off your shirt completely. Look for these clothing items in comfortable, natural materials like bamboo and cotton.
- Let your baby guide the way.
You’ve read all the books, and your signed up for all the mothering email blasts. You’ve watched the how-to videos and gone to the new mommy classes. Your friends have given you all of their advice, and your own mother has been telling you hers as well.
But every baby is unique, and you should know that going into this thing. Once your baby arrives, you’ll be surprised to see that your little one does not breast feed the way that your friend’s baby did. Your baby might not cry for the same things that most babies cry for. Your baby may like falling asleep to talk radio. Who knows?
Just make sure that you listen to your own darling little one, and try not to have an agenda. You can do all the planning and scheduling that you want, but ultimately, it’s best to be ready for anything.
- Breast-feeding is going to be tough, but it will happen in time.
Your baby will not likely latch onto your breast right away. Breast-feeding is by far the best way to feed your baby, and it’s important that you’re patient and don’t give up.
Some of the frustrations that new moms face when trying to breast feed include the uncomfortableness of the act. You’ll love your baby more than you can ever imagine, but it still hurts when they gnaw at your chest. A breast-feeding specialist or nurse will be able to help you with the initial techniques, but often, it just takes time.
- Don’t forget about dad.
Moms are often so wrapped up in their own relationships with their babies that it’s often not surprising that dad gets left out. But it’s important that he is included.
The father of your baby needs to form his own special bonds with your child, so it’s good that you step out of the way sometimes. It’s also important that the two of you spend some alone time together. This may not happen right away, but try to make time for a date out or at least a nice dinner at home together as soon as you can.
- It’s okay to be overly protective of your baby at first.
Everyone will want to hold your little bundle of joy. Fellow moms will tell you it’s perfectly fine to take your baby out and about as soon as you like. You and your baby will get invited to parties and other events.
In reality, it’s okay to be protective of your baby for the first few months. In fact, it can be smart not to overexpose them right away. Trust your gut, and don’t do things that you don’t feel comfortable with.
- Figure out how to make time for yourself.
Being a new mom will be amazing and delightful, terrible, uplifting, horrifying and immensely frustrating. That’s a lot of emotions and feelings wrapped into one part of your life.
To keep your sanity, make sure that you make time to do things for yourself. Even if it’s just an hour or two watching your favorite TV show or a quick bath before everyone wakes up, this time is important for you.
Likewise, don’t forget about taking care of yourself physically. You’ll be consumed by keeping your baby healthy and in perfect condition, but don’t let yourself go. Continue to eat right, exercise and pamper yourself. Going for a run, putting on some makeup and ironing your clothes is not wasted time. That stuff’s important.
- Keep up with your friendships, and get out of the house.
Just as it’s important to keep up your relationship with your husband, it’s also important to keep up your friendships. Yes, your friends will likely come to see you and your baby, but try to make time to see them by yourself as well.
Go on lunch dates or even just out for coffee. Stay in touch with them via text, email, the phone and social media. Doing so will help you retain connections with the outside world, and this will help your psyche as you battle the blues that are often associated with being a new mom.
- Ask for help when you need it, and realize that you will need it.
You’re going to need help on this journey, and admitting that as soon as possible is important. If you can, call on your own parents or your in-laws. Aunts and uncles and friends can also help you, and if you only ask, they’ll be glad to pitch in.
- You won’t get it perfect every time, and that’s okay. Forgive yourself.
Finally, remember that no mom gets everything perfect every time. It’s impossible. If you can remember this and keep a sense of humor throughout this experience, you’ll be okay. Just be easy on yourself!
Becoming a new mother means starting a whole new phase of your life. During this time, you will almost become a new person, and you’ll feel so much joy and love for your new little human being.
What’s most important during this time is to let that love be front and center. Keeping your perspective during this new part of your life will help you get through the frustrating and difficult times. Prepare as well as you can, and then trust yourself and your instincts.
Finally, as you go about your preparations, please don’t forget to check out our guide to the best cribs. This is one thing that you absolutely must have before your baby arrives!
Good luck and once again, congratulations, new mom!