Being a first time mom is so hard, actually just being a mom is hard period.
Before being a mom you had so much freedom and you were able to do what you wanted pretty much when you wanted.
You had days off and you could do things without much planning, besides planning around work.
You were able to actually get some sleep and not feel like a zombie walking around and you had time to get dressed up and pamper yourself.
Now our lives consist of poopy diapers, constant feeds, crying babies, exhaustion, and never feeling like you have it all put together.
But there is something about seeing your baby grow up and hit different milestones.
Right now our baby is almost 5 months and he is laughing, sitting up, putting things in his mouth, and trying new things.
It’s so fun to see his excitement when we go on walks or when he hears the word dada and sees his dad.
Or when someone else is holding him and I pop up in his face and start talking to him and he smiles so big.
When he cries and the thing that calms him down is snuggling with you, and then he falls asleep in your arms.
Seeing the love our babies have for us makes all of the long nights and stressful days worth it.
As a first time mom there are many things that I am experiencing and learning. I guarantee that I don’t have it figured out and I will never claim that I do, but it’s cool to see the growth I have made as a person.
My hope is to help y’all feel prepared as a first time mom, and if this is your second, third, and so forth this list may help you as well!
First Time Mom Tips
As a first time mom I have loved reading so many different tips and tricks because you can never learn to many things. Of course take everything with a grain of salt and implement things that you feel are right for your baby.
I’m a part of a c-section facebook page and there are 30 thousand members on this page so I decided to ask them their favorite first time mom tips and I added quite a few of my own.
Of course every mom is different, but I hope that these inspire ideas for yourself.
Don’t Compare or Be Too Hard on Yourself
First and foremost don’t compare yourself to any other mom. Don’t set overly high expectations and become too hard on yourself!
Picture this you imagine your life all put together, house clean, baby never cries and is always smiling, husband is happy, and everything is done and taken care of.
Often we see on Facebook or Instagram moms that look like their life is all put together and perfect.
Now trust me this will not be the picture all day every day. Photos are just a snapshot of time and heck it may just be the one corner that is clean in their house where they take the photo.
Your baby will cry, your house will be a mess, your life will be in shambles on occasion, not everything will be taken care of, and your marriage will not always be perfect.
Often we compare ourselves to other moms because we feel like we aren’t doing enough. We are comparing our weaknesses to their strengths.
I know when I’m walking around I see moms that have makeup on and the cutest outfit and I’m walking around looking like a troll.
But at least my baby’s needs are fulfilled and I am working on filling my needs.
Please don’t compare yourself to other moms. Remember that you are doing the best that you can in the moment and that is good enough. You are good enough!
Ask For Help
I had to really ask for help right after I had my baby and boy was I so grateful that I pre-planned for that help!
I had an unplanned c-section and it was so hard to do basic things.
I was so grateful to have my mother in law at our house the first week after we had our baby.
Now that he is a few months old I don’t need help with daily things, but I do need little getaways from him.
My husband and I try to go on dates and if we didn’t have the help from family or friends that would be impossible to do.
Sometimes you also just need a nap, even if the baby isn’t sleeping. It’s important to ask for help so you can be the best mom you can be.
So suck up your pride and ask for help because your sanity is so beneficial to be able to feel like a prepared mom.
I know for me when I get a little help I feel like I can be successful in other things and be able to be the best mom to my baby.
So put away your pride or feeling like you are a burden and ask for some help mamma! You need it!
If You Are Struggling and Alone, Talk To Someone
DON’T SUFFER ALONE!
There are so many changes and things going on when you are a mom. You could be struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety.
You could be feeling overwhelmed, or angry.
You could just feel straight down about yourself.
Find someone to talk to please. This will help you so much while you are struggling with all of the crazy postpartum hormones and emotions.
I remember the very first night we came home with our baby I felt so overwhelmed, I just balled in my husband’s arms and told him I couldn’t be a mom.
He reassured me and made me feel like I could do this.
Since then we have talked about things when we feel like we are having a hard time.
Your person to talk to may be your spouse, your best friend, your mom or dad, or just a neighbor. Most importantly find someone you can talk to about your struggles that you can trust.
It’s Okay To Cry and Feel Overwhelmed
I swear every mother has cried at some point for feeling overwhelmed. Me it’s at least on a weekly basis!
If you haven’t had your baby yet or haven’t cried yet, trust me you will and it’s okay that you do.
As a mom there are so many things on your plate and it is a hard thing to do, but you can do it!
Just let out that cry and move on.
Self Care is a Must
I realized this tip a couple months after having my baby. I worked hard on dropping the baby weight so when I accomplished that, I slowed down on my self care.
My self esteem, energy, and confidence all lowered and my family life was suffering because of it.
Now I work harder on my self care because I feel happier and I feel happier around my baby.
Here are some self care ideas that you can do:
- Read a book
- Hot shower/bath
- Go on a walk
- Take a nap
- Eat some ice cream
- Drink wine while you cook dinner (seriously many moms do this!)
- Get your nails done
- Skin care routine
- Face mask and bubble bath
- Foot soak
- Watch your favorite tv show or movie alone
- Outdoor walk
- Lift weights
- Bike ride
- Dance with your hubby
- Crochet or Cross-stitch
- Go to the bathroom by yourself
- Go on a date with hubby or take yourself out
- Get a massage
- Have sex and orgasm!
No matter what your self care routine is taking care of yourself will help you be a happier mom.
Sleep When Possible
This may be a hard one especially if you are the type of mom that wants your house in order.
But it makes life with your baby so much easier if you try to take a nap when they nap. Now if you have multiple kids there are some tricks you can try.
You can tell them that if they wake you up they have to help you clean the house. Have your hubby or a family member watch the kids while you try to sleep.
You could also put on a tv show and nap during the tv show that your kids are watching.
Nonetheless take a nap whenever you can!
Wear a Belly Binder
This was so crucial for my healing after having a c-section and many moms who don’t have c-sections also swear by them.
“They allow you to engage comfortably in daily activities. Many women are unable to exercise or continue working during pregnancy due to pain and discomfort. Wearing a belly band can help decrease discomfort and allow participation in daily activities, resulting in physical and financial benefits.” (Source)
For me wearing a belly binder helped me move around much better because I literally felt like I had no abs.
I would have to pull my body up with my arms and it was so hard to walk around, but when I wore my belly binder I could get up and do things that I wanted to get done a lot easier.
No matter what kind of birthing experience you have belly binders are a great way to help your body feel back to normal and help with swelling.
Postpartum Hair Loss
The first week after having my baby I thought I was a lucky woman not having postpartum hair loss, but then another thing hit me!
My hair was coming out in chunks and I even balled my eyes out once because of it. I know pathetic right!
Trust me every woman will have some sort of postpartum hair loss, but it too will pass! It may take a few months, but you will not lose chunks of hair forever.
Breastfeeding is Hard on Your Body
Feeding your baby is just plain hard. Breastfeeding and pumping is hard on your body and you always have to make sure that you are getting a good amount of nutrition because it’s getting passed on to your baby.
I know personally formula feeding can be difficult too. When we watched my nephew for a couple of days it was so hard to hear him screaming his head off, try to warm the water in a bottle warmer, shake up the formula but not too aggressively so we didn’t have a lot of bubbles.
And don’t get me started on all of the cleaning of bottles, and pumping parts! It feels endless!
I currently breastfeed and it is hard on my body and super exhausting because I never get a break. But on the plus side it’s easy to whip out my breast and feed him.
Most importantly no matter how your baby is fed as long as your baby is getting fed is all that’s important! Fed is best!
Postpartum Anxiety is a Thing
Parents.com wrote an awesome article on what postpartum anxiety is, how to recognize it in yourself, and how to handle it.
They stated “Postpartum anxiety disorder is a cousin to postpartum depression (PPD) that affects about 10 percent of new moms, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The telltale signs are excessive worrying, racing thoughts, and feelings of dread.
“Some worry is adaptive. Anxiety is a natural response to protect one’s baby, and often that’s expressed with hyper-alertness and hyper-vigilance,” says Margaret Howard, Ph.D., director of postpartum depression at Day Hospital at Women & Infants’ in Providence. That’s why, according to the Mayo Clinic, 89 percent of new parents find their minds racing: What if the baby suffocates? Or slips under the water during a bath? What if someone breaks into the house and snatches her?“
For me I always worried about if my baby was alive and breathing when he was sleeping. He slept in our room and I would walk over several times in the night and put my finger under his nose to make sure he was breathing.
I felt like I was going crazy, but I just had to keep reminding myself that he is okay, I eventually was too tired to remember to check.
Y’all should most definitely read that article because it is very informative and it’s helpful to know how to cope with it.
You may feel other things that make you super anxious and if it’s too much for you please get some help and don’t suffer alone.
Trust Your Instincts
You are a mom for a reason and I’m sure that you love your baby more than anyone else possibly can besides your partner.
But there is a certain bond that moms and their kids have.
When you are raising your baby you need to trust your instincts and trust your partners instincts.
You will have so many moms question what you do and when you do it. Trust me it will happen.
I’ve already had several crazy experiences with this and my constant thought is that I love my baby more than they do and I trust myself and my doctor on what I need to do.
Trust that you know best for your baby and unless it will endanger them ignore people who are trying to tell you what to do or research what they say, unless you like their advice then for sure take it!
Everyone Will Have an Opinion On Your Baby
My oh my everyone is going to have an opinion on your baby, but don’t take it to heart!
I have a couple people that question things that I do all of the time. Man that makes me sound like a bad mom.
Here are some examples so y’all understand: My doctor said that our baby as eczema so we have switched up the body wash and lotion to help with our babies eczema.
We do live in a dry climate, but someone told me that his skin is just dry. In my mind I’m like nope thats not the case because this eczema wash and lotion has helped with his eczema. Plus our doctor knows the difference between dry skin and eczema.
Or we put our baby in a door jumper, watching him the whole time, sooner than another person put their baby in so they called us out on it.
There are certain things like that. And this goes back to trusting your instincts and that every baby is different.
- You may want to breastfeed, pump, or formula feed. You may use cloth diapers or disposable.
- You might decide to wait on solids till 4 months, 6 months, or longer.
- You may have your kids watch tv at 2 months or much later.
- You may decide to have animals around your baby or not.
- You may do the cry it out method, rock your baby to sleep, or feed till they sleep.
- You may do certain things with your baby sooner than other people chose to.
No matter what you choose someone will question you. Take what people say with a grain of salt and if you have any concerns you can talk to your doctor, whom you should trust.
Don’t Overstress About Milestones
Don’t overstress too much about milestones unless you bring it up with your doctor and they are concerned.
If your doctor is concerned they will give you a roadmap or suggestions to help your baby.
Whenever you look up different milestones most of the time they are in ranges because not every baby is going to start the same thing at the exact same time.
Your baby may not sleep, crawl, or walk as early as some others, or they may do it earlier than others.
Just don’t overstress if your baby isn’t quite where some other moms baby is!
And if your doctor has concerns please don’t stress about those concerns, just do what they suggest and try to stay on track.
A stressed mamma makes it harder to enjoy the time that you have with your baby.
Sometimes Babies Just Cry
Babies just cry, even if you have done everything that they need, sometimes they just cry.
If you have fed, changed, snuggled, or burped them and they are still crying here are some other things you could try:
- Check that your baby doesn’t have a fever which would be above 100.4
- Rock or walk with the baby
- Go outside with the baby
- Sing or talk to your baby
- Try swaddling and shushing
- Offer the baby a pacifier
- Take the baby for a ride in a stroller
- Hold your baby close against your body and take calm, slow breaths
- Give the baby a warm bath
- Give a baby massage
- Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby’s back
- Try playing with your baby or distracting them
- Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat
- Do some skin to skin
- Take your baby for a ride in the car seat
- Play music and rock them
- Put them in a baby carrier and wear them around the house
- Run the vacuum, I know this sounds weird but sometimes it helps
Make sure that if you are feeling overwhelmed or upset at the baby, please pass them off to someone or put them down in a separate room till you are feeling more calm.
I have felt upset with my baby several times, I’m sure every mom has and its okay to put them down.
You are not a bad mom if you get upset and need to put them down or pass them off.
Plus it won’t kill them if you set them down for a little bit.
The Newborn Stage Will Pass
Surviving the newborn stage is a struggle and it feels like it will never pass, but trust me it will.
We just got past this stage and now we are in a whole other world of struggles, but at least we made it through the newborn stage!
The newborn stage is hard because you are feeding every couple hours, recovering from giving birth, constantly going to doctors appointments, trying to keep your house clean and things taken care of, and if you have other kids it makes it a whole lot crazier!
You will get to the point where your baby isn’t so needy and you feel much better.
You can get through this mamma!
Take Lots of Videos and Pictures
Take lots of pictures and videos with you, dad, and the baby.
This is something I regret not doing as often when our son was a newborn. When he was a newborn we took lots of pictures of him, and I took a few with him, but I don’t have a lot with him and his dad.
The past month I have been trying to be better with videos and make sure that I am snapping pictures or videos of him with his daddy.
Those pictures and videos will be so cool to look back on when your kiddo is grown up and you can show them the different milestones they made.
And worst case scenario if one of you or both of y’all pass away those pictures and videos will be all that they have. Or if y’all live a ways apart they can look back on memories.
It’s so helpful that we have cameras at our fingertips so utilize them!
I heard a while ago that a mom made an email account and wrote yearly letter on their child’s birthday and saved photos on the email.
Once their kid turned 18 they gave them the email and password.
We just use the family album app and we will share the link to our kid when he is older.
Don’t Hardcore Stockpile Diapers
We luckily got so many diapers from our baby shower that we haven’t had to buy any and we are on month 5!
We have many more diapers in the larger sizes too, so hopefully we won’t have to buy any till he is at least 9 months old.
Don’t go too hardcore on stockpiling diapers though because you could stay in one size forever and quickly go through other sizes.
What I would suggest is put aside the amount money for diapers that way when you need to change size you didn’t buy 700 of one size and only use 400.
If you do get a ton of diapers like we did, I used the small packages first then went to the big boxes, unless I thought he was going to be in the same size for a while I would mix it up.
Luckily when we used up all of the diapers in that size he was ready for the next size. We only returned one big box and swapped it for a larger size.
The nice thing is if you don’t open up the box you can switch it for different sizes at the store, so just pay attention to how your baby is growing and you can predict somewhat if you should use a small package or a big box.
You Don’t Need Fancy Clothes for Newborns
Oh man when we had our baby shower we got so many newborn sized clothes it was crazy! And we got a lot of fancy clothes that were so difficult to put on.
Frankly our newborn lived in zipper sleepers and onesies.
We still don’t even put him in the super cute firm clothes. He still lives in onesies because they are so easy to put on, easy to take off for blowouts, easy to change diapers in, and easy to pack.
So yes the fancy clothes are super cute, but you will more likely only use them for photos or special occasions.
If you are the kind of mom that uses fancy clothes all of the time, more power to you because it’s too hard for me!
Don’t Spend a Lot on Toys
Have you ever heard a mom complain about all of the toys they have for their kids and the kids play with them for a week or a month and then totally get bored with them?
Or do you see those funny videos of babies choosing the remote, car keys, wallet, and regular household items over all of the bright and colorful baby toys.
I hear this all of the time with some of my other mom friends and I feel bad for them because it can be a huge waste of money or it can make your house feel super cluttered when you buy all of these baby or toddler toys.
I’m of course not saying to not buy any toys at all, but what you can do is either donate some toys when you buy new ones or limit the amount of toys you get your kids.
That way your house doesn’t feel overrun with baby stuff everywhere.
I hope that these tips will help you and also that you take them with a grain of salt!
Do what works for you mamma and love on that little baby!