As a first-time mom, you are immersed into a whole new world of love, selflessness and exhaustion. You have a beautiful new creature in your arms that is completely dependent on you (for the most part). It is an amazing honor to be charged with, but at the same time it is quite a demanding one — oftentimes pulling you in all different directions when you’re sleep-deprived, hormonal and feeding baby around the clock.
You simply try to do the best that you can…despite the many (and often contradicting) pieces of advice well-meaning friends and family feed you.
- Breastfeed vs. bottlefeed
- Cry-it out vs. no sleep-training
- Cloth diapers vs. disposables
- Crib vs. co-sleeping
It’s hard to know what is best or right for you…until you become a mom, that is.
Here are 7 things I’ve personally learned as a new mom…
1. When your baby looks you in the eyes and smiles for the very first time, it really does make every second of pregnancy, labor and the painful recovery worth it.
2. Sleepless nights aren’t limited to the first 2-3 weeks after baby arrives. Baby’s sleep schedule can fluctuate periodically as he experiences a growth spurt…meaning even after baby seems to finally have a good schedule down, there can be nights (or weeks) where he (and thus, you) will be up several times throughout the night. Just expect it.
3. Diaper explosions are bound to happen. It doesn’t matter if you’ve secured the little one’s tush perfectly, they are inevitable. Take a deep breath and make sure you have ample wipes and stain remover available.
4. Everyone will tell you “nap when baby naps” but that doesn’t quite work. Why not? Well, after you manage to do the 50 or so things on your list, you might just need that time for showering, eating or just vegging out.
5. The whole “cry it out” routine isn’t an exact science. Besides the fact that it’s heart-wrenching to listen to the incessant cries of your child, research doesn’t quite agree on this one. Some studies argue that letting babies cry it out is best for new parents, while others point to the detrimental effects it can leave. I’ve learned that you just have to follow your gut: sometimes you will need to pick him up to comfort; other times you have to let baby learn to self-soothe, lest you drive yourself c-r-a-z-y.
6. You’ll do whatever it takes to get some sleep. If that means feeding the baby in bed and co-sleeping, so be it. You might not do it every night, but when you are going on 1-2 hours of sleep at a time, you’ll do what works for mommy and baby!
7. Being a mom is A LOT of work! Yes, motherhood has it’s moments; most of those being AMAZING. But the reality is, there are also many days when you just want to rip your hair out from the stress. Take it in stride and remember it gets better. And if not, tag out, and demand your partner step in!
I’d love to know! What was your favorite piece of advice or wisdom discovered after motherhood?
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.
#7 is a biggie!! There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and taking a break. You need it, and so does the baby.
Yes, totally agree!! Thanks for commenting 🙂
These are all so true! Especially the sleeping, when my oldest stopped sleeping through the night when he was two I was a zombie at work and not very nice 🙂
Visiting from SITS 🙂
Thanks for visiting, Nellie. Sleep deprivation can def make us mothers a bit cranky once in awhile!
Anne Kimball says
Hi Ana, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com).
Great list here. I miss those days of being a new Mom. My kids are all teens now! Enjoy it. The good and the bad.
Thanks for linking this up with the MMM!
Thanks for stopping by, Anne — I’m trying to enjoy it all, but some days are easier than others!
Yep, yep, yep! Love how you captured the good and bad here all together.
Happy SITS day!
Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout says
I have a 3 1/2 yr old and a 5 mo old, and I wholeheartedly agree with #7 – I knew that babies would be a lot of work, but O.M.G. it never ends! They are needy little things, and sometimes no one but mama will do. I’m much more laid back and accepting of it the second time around, but even though it sounds dumb (“babies are REALLY a lot of work”), I always try to help moms to set their expectations better than I did. (Also, the postpartum hair falling out thing? Gross and totally unexpected.)
My son is 6 years of age now and I can still remember the first time I held him and he looked at me – it definitely makes it all worth it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the smells.. I’d like to do it ONE more time before I call it quits on this whole mommy thing and then i’d be set. 🙂 I think another one there to add is the feeling of failure – it’s almost inevitable to feel as though you’re doing EVERYTHING wrong as a mother but I think it’s part of the experience. 🙂 Have a great one and Happy SIS Day Ana! -Iva
Very true Ana, and with each baby comes a kinda different experience.
Congrats on being featured on SITS!
Krystle Cook says
There really is a huge difference in being a first time mom and a second or more timer. With first you are so worry about everything because it’s all new but by the second you are in your element. It really is like those Luv’s commercials (minus the Luvs part).
NEW MOMS – It’s perfectly normal to smell spit-up for the entire first year. Even when there isn’t any around.
another jennifer says
These are great lessons! I never napped when my boys napped either. I’d never get anything done if I did. My older son would take 20 minute power naps. Sometimes that was the only chance I could get to eat a meal!
Nicole Nenninger says
Being a new mom was stressful for me–especially for my first baby. The second came along, then a third–and by the third, it’s “old hat.” The worst part of child-rearing for me (besides my divorce) was potty training. The kids were so resistant to it! Otherwise, despite the inevitable sleepless nights and messy diapers, the whole experience was, well, beautiful. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world, but also the most rewarding.
Christie G. Salazar says
I agree with number 5. I let my first born cry it out for a while and then decided it’s just not my style but I don’t knock it for others who agree to it. To each their own and yes, follow that mommy instinct you were blessed with. Enjoy your SITS day!
Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats says
haha.. so true. But it is all so worth it to hear their laughs and see their smiles. 🙂
I just started browsing your blog and found this gem. How true! Especially #1. Lol, I mean, I nearly don’t remember the bad parts of pregnancy and whatnot. I remember first smiles and tiny hands grasping my fingers <3
Anyway, great post and I'm looking forward to reading more!!!
Oh, I just wrote about #1 today…it’s so true! And being in the midst of being a new mom to a 7-week-old, I really dislike that “nap when your baby naps” suggestion. I understand why people say it, but if you want to do anything other than nurse, change diapers, and sleep yourself, you gotta be up at least sometimes when your baby naps. Even though I’m still so new to this myself, my biggest thing is no matter what you feel, someone else has felt it! Great post, and happy SITS day 🙂
These are some really great and insightful tips …especially from a ‘new’ mother…it sounds like your doing great! 😀
Andrea @ Cloud Nine Chic says
Great post! My little one is almost 6 years old now, and probably the best advice I can give is: Take in lots of information and advice about how to raise a child, then filter through it to decide what will work best for you and your baby. No one’s life experience is the same, and no one’s child is the same as another’s.
Hope you had a wonderful SITS Day, and I just love your site design! 😀
Rabia @TheLiebers says
Sleepless nights aren’t limited to the first 2-3 YEARS! They get fewer and further between, but I think all parents still lose sleep because of their kids throughout childhood and even in to adult hood.
I think my biggest piece of advice for new moms is to just trust yourself. In the end you have to live with the decisions you make, so make sure you are okay with them!
Allison B says
Great list! The advice about napping when the baby naps goes right out the window when a second child. I had such a small window with everyone asleep. I choose to shower and eat during those 30 minutes instead.
Over from SITS