Tips for a new mom

When I was pregnant with my first son, I was clueless about everything having to do with babies. Sure, I had some experience changing diapers, and hanging out with other people's babies, but not for longer than like, 20 minutes at a time.

I was a blissfully happy pregnant girl, because I ate McFrosties and Blizzards every single day for 9 months. And lots of Doriots, until I found out they contained MSG and then oh my God, I never touched them again until after my baby was born. Also, my husband would cook me the most fantastic and oh-so healthy meals. I had salmon at least once a week and I think that's why my babies are now so smart!

We had the perfect nursery. My husband took out the carpet, installed hardwood floors, chair rail, crown moulding, thick baseboards, and painted the room a gorgeous blue and green colour. We had beautiful white furntiure, gorgeous bedding, paintings, and lots and lots of baby clothes hung in the closet and folded in the dresser drawers. I even got a very uncomfortable but pretty white 'nursing' chair for the room. No slider for me - none I saw were nice enough for this room!

I also slept a lot during my pregnancy. I fell asleep during movies, both at home and in the theatres. I fell asleep everywhere. I was so tired all the time. Little did I know my body was telling me to sleep all I could then because I certainly wasn't going to sleep after the baby was born!

I was induced, so before we went to the hospital, hubby and I stopped off at Starbucks for the last time as a family of two. I had orange juice and a lemon poppy seed loaf... yum! We got to the hospital, and it was a fun day, really. I ate pizza for lunch. The nurses were great, my entire family was there, and then I had my baby. Easy-peasy. Better than a brazilian wax, it was. (Yes, of course I had an epidural!)

And my baby was born and my life was forever changed. I could not stop staring at him. I did not sleep for 48 hours. I was petrified to close my eyes.

But I sure wish someone had told me a few things before I had my baby, though...


How I would not be able to sleep for fear of something happening to my baby.

How important Purell would be.

How tired I'd be.

How I would not fit into my regular clothes for weeks. I mean, months. (Okay, years.)

How to burp a baby. I had such a hard time with this!

How to master the perfect swaddle.

How to put the infant carrier into the stroller properly. Took me a few weeks to get this right!

How to give a newborn a bath - that was really hard.

How to not get peed on.

How important it is to take a nap when the baby is napping!

How important a nursing chair would be - ugly or not!

But, you learn as you go, right? And as each day passed, being a mom became easier and easier. In some ways. The tired part has lingered, though.

When my second son was born, the new feeling I had was 'guilt' - guilt for being apart from my first born for the first time overnight. Guilt at not knowing how to perfectly split my time between the two; just your regular mommy guilt.

But things like breastfeeding and burping and swaddling a second child - those came easily to me, for the most part. You sort of forget and then quickly remember how small they are and how to handle them, you know? And you realize that two children? Are very much harder then just one - but perfect at the same time!

What do you wish you had known before you had your first baby? What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had to told you - and what advice do you give moms who are expecting their first child?
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Chantal said...

I don't think anything prepares you for the life change that having a child brings. People tell you but it doesn't click till it happens.

Kathryn said...

So true! Great post. The things I wish people had told me:
1. Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks (but once you get the hang of it it's easier than filling and heating and sterilizing bottles!!).
2. You don't need a lot of "stuff" for the first few months. Babies just need to eat and sleep until about 3 months old.
3. Your baby will out grow their clothes very quickly! So best to borrow from a friend or buy used where possible. When they're very young, they may only wear a cute little outfit once before they grow out of it.

Also, totally agree with you on the rocker!!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

best advice - follow your instincts - they are spot on with your own baby!

H.E.Eigler said...

lovely post! I wish someone would have told me I'd be forever changed emotionally. I can't watch America's Most Wanted without bursting into tears - my daughter is 2 so it's not hormonal. I guess it's a good thing really, the empathy for other parents.

Mommy In Pink said...

very well said post! I had not the slightest clue on what to do when my daughter was born.

I agree with you though, figuring out how to bathe a newborn was a difficult task. And napping when the baby naps, is so incredibly important, who knew?

Great post!

skichik79 said...

every baby is different .. I mean look at me I was lucky enough to have a firt baby that slept 6 hours at a time at night and let me sleep and now my second is on that same patern ... so I am getting sleep and lots of it !

It also depends on what kind of person you are .. I am not a worrisome person so when my baby cries I don't freak out I just try doing everything I read and if that doesn't work I stay calm and just try it all over again ... My hubby gets all freaked out and panicky haha

as for my first born and spending less time with her I am like you .. she's been acting out abit more lately and I feel so bad for her as my hubby seems to lose patience with her alot more and she doesn't understand that she is doing bad things ... I cried last night as I felt like he keeps expressing dissapointment in her and she is just trying to get our attention even though we give her loads ... I can only imagine how my little Livia is feeling ...

Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

I got sick of all of the misconceptions and myths, so I put together a little list myself:

Christy said...

Great post.
My advice: Accept all help. If someone says Can I do something? Say, yes, please bring us a meal we can eat now or freeze.
Buy a miracle swaddle blanket before the baby is born!
Read this book - 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old. We started the training when she was 4 months old because we weren't comfortable doing it any earlier - and it worked in three days.

Lady Mama said...

Spot on with all of those things.

I wish someone had told me:

2. to enjoy sleeping in as much as possible prior to my first baby's birth.
2. that breastfeeding would not necessarily be easy.
3. not to let anyone take any post-baby pictures of me!

Andrea said...

I wish I would have believed that I needed to lose the baby weight before getting pregnant. It doesn't get absorbed when you get pregnant again. I also wish I knew that it would be hard to breastfeed-every time.

I knew that napping was important, I just didn't do it often enough. I'm still catching up!

The best baby item is that sticker calendar where you document "firsts". I don't have scrapbooks done, or baby books completely filled in, but the info is on the calendars.

anya said...

With my first baby, I tried to do it all myself - I don't know what I was trying to prove, because I was exhausted. With my second, I relaxed and didn't worry so much. I also kept my baby in bed with me for the first six months - I hardly lost any sleep that way.

Scary Mommy said...

I love, love, love your take on this! I've been waiting for this post! :)

Rebecca said...

There is very little reading that can prepare you for what actually happens.

But, I do wish that didn't expect nursing to be easy (it wasnt' at first, but soon became wonderful), that my healing afterwards wouldn't be discussed much but was very important! (drinking lots of water, the hunger, the tiredness...)

There are some things that we bought or were given as gifts that we just didn't use much - like the nursery bedding.

My advice though for first time parents? Enjoy it. Gulp up every single minute of it, because it goes to fast...

Chelle said...

I used to never nap when Bella napped--I now know that I was crazy! :) Also, don't beat yourself up if you aren't going to breastfeed, cloth diaper, make your own baby food...just be a loving, caring momma and it all works out in the end.

And what you wrote about expecting you second baby...nobody ever told me how exciting yet hard it would be on my emotions. I sometimes feel like I'm letting Isabella down in a way...and I've been sick thinking of when the day comes for Madelyn to make her entrance and know Isabella will be sooo confused where her momma and daddy are. It really breaks my heart :(

But at the same time I'm so excited for her to have a friend at home, someone to play with and share her secrets with. Plus I can't wait to meet baby Madelyn!

Sorry this was sooo long :)

CaraBee said...

What I wish I had understood and what I tell expecting moms is to get out and do EVERYTHING you want to do when you're pregnant because there's not much getting out after the baby is born. It will be months before you see a movie or go out to eat, so do it before the baby is born!

amanda said...

i sooo wish i would have splurged even more on my beloved chair! i swear beans and i lived in that thing for the first year!!

but you are right - the list is long of things i wish i knew - but you really don't know until you are in the trenches do you?

Lady Mama said...

Sorry I just looked at my earlier post - clearly I can't count today. Duh!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

I prepared for my baby like Armageddon was coming. I cleaned and organized every corner of the house I could think of and I stocked the freezer with weeks and weeks of prepared meals. Many of my friends and family thought I was crazy.

But all that preparing was the best thing I ever did. I returned to a spotlessly clean and organized house which I didn't have to lift a finger in for a couple weeks, other than the basic upkeep. Those freezer meals kept me from going stark raving mad on days when I all I did was breastfeed, eat and breastfeed some more.

But I wish someone would have told me about the possibility that my baby would continue to wake up to nurse 2-3 times a night until the age of one. I am just now making up for the lack of sleep, now that he's two. Yawn.

Amy said...

1. To ditch all the parenting books and do what your heart says.

2. That your baby will do things on THEIR schedule (including and ESPECIALLY sleeping through the night)

3. To buy a babywearing wrap. Man would that have been awesome with my first!

ModernMom said...

I wish someone had told me that nursing was an acquired skill. It takes some practice to get it right!! Once you do get it...ahh. Bonding, easy, wonderful. But it can be a struggle and don't beat yourself up about it!

Great post!

Cave Mother said...

I wish someone had told me:
1. Baby will breastfeed ALL the time. Don't worry, you're not going to spoil it. And its OK to use the breast as a pacifier.
2. Sleep when baby sleeps. And if baby won't sleep alone (like mine), just take baby to bed with you whenever you feel like a nap.
3. Get a soft wrap and carry that baby round the house when you get sick of sitting down. It will stop the baby from crying.

Things would have been a lot easier if I had known this stuff nine months ago.

Mom2Miles said...

I agree with Chantal. People can tell you anything they want, but until YOU are the one experiencing it, it doesn't mean diddly.

I would tell new moms: whatever you're feeling -- good, bad, ugly, indifferent -- it's NORMAL. And also, that everything's a phase and will eventually pass.

When I had my second baby I couldn't imagine ever going anywhere with the 2 of them by myself, it seemed so overwhelming. Now, of course, it's old hat.

Elaine A. said...

I wish I'd known about the boobie leakage. Hey, you asked! ; )

Oh and I knew about the sleep deprivation but you don't REALLY KNOW until you go through it yourself... I always tell new moms the classic line - SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS! : )

Anna-b-bonkers said...

Oh man, I could have written this!
And then along came baby number three and there is no prefect nursery, not even a shared one. No, he gets a towel on the bed to be changed on and a cradle in the corner.

I wish someone had told me that they don't need all that stuff. All they need is a boob and a diaper.

Splitting myself between three has yet to be mastered.

Ah, parenthood.