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 thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.