I’ve suddenly found myself in several mom groups on Facebook, and there are a few things I need to address, because some of the questions I see on there—while are legit concerns, just make me giggle (or sigh). I hate throwing out the word “advice,” because what do I know? Not only that, but advice should always be taken with a grain of salt, but for the sake of getting this out there, here’s some advice for first-time moms.
So new mamas, here are some thoughts from a mom who’s been there, done that, and about to do it again.
Take a Chill Pill
First of all, RELAX. You’re going to screw up, and you and your baby are going to cry (possibly a lot) those first few weeks/months, but you’re also going to be a good mother. How do I know this? Because you care enough to ask.every.single question that comes to mind.
But seriously, just chill. I know it’s hard to turn off all of the questions and thoughts running through your brain, but just focus on a getting through your pregnancy. And if you have a worry about something, write it down, think about it first, and consider asking your doctor (if applicable), instead of running to an internet forum. You may find the answer is a lot less complicated than you’re making it out to be.
Find Your Tribe
Speaking of those questions: find your tribe. Whether that’s one person or a small group of other new moms, but please, please, please try to stay off the group boards on Facebook. When you ask a simple question, state a common concern, or inquire into something, you’re going to get 50 different opinions from women you don’t know, and trust me: you’re going to be way more confused than before, and with the confusion may also come judgment. If the internet is good for anything it’s judging others, and I see it time and time again in these Facebook groups, and it makes me so sad.
So where do you find your answers? Find your people and ask them. Not sure where to find your tribe? Start with some local mom’s groups (in person!), church, and even long distance friends who just recently had a baby or is in the same pregnant-boat as you. If you see a new mom, ask her! If there’s one thing moms love to talk about (especially while we’re out in public with other grown ups), it’s our kids and things we’re doing.
Step Away From the Price Tag
You don’t need every brand new thing under the sun. There will always be some new, cool gadget out there, but do you really need to spend $200 on a bed for a bed for your baby? Nope. While you’re saying no to that, pass on the wipe warmer, too. Trust me, when you’re wiping a butt in a Target parking lot, it’s not going to be warmed up for him, so just get your kid used to a cold wipe sooner than later.
Hit up yard sales, consignment sales, friends, and baby resale stores. Babies are EXPENSIVE, so save money when and where you can. There’s no shame in going used—almost everything can be washed and sanitized, and you’ll just have extra money in your pocket to spend on beer and/or coffee…two things you will definitely need after the baby’s arrived.
Cabin Fever Blows
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!! I see this time and time again, where new moms stay holed up in their house because their little one hasn’t had all of their shots. Mamas, you need sunshine and a walk around Target. Yes, your precious one will be out in the world and could maybe, possibly catch something, but just wear him close to you or keep her covered in a car seat. Think about it this way: when moms have second, third, fourth (and so on) kids, do you think they stay home for 2 months to keep away from germs? NOPE. We’re out there the very next day* taking someone to school or picking up groceries.
*Okay, maybe not the very next day, but break that cabin fever and get out there sooner rather than later!
…And don’t get me started on those shopping cart covers*. I’m pointing fingers at myself for this one, but one of your first trips out will probably be to the store, and if your new little human is going to build their immune system, let it start there. Sure, wipe the carts down with those sanitizer wipes, but then let them hold onto the cart. If you’re truly concerned about germs, wear your baby!
*I know, I know, “But they’re so cute!” Yes, yes they are, but there’s a very good chance you’ll use it for a month—if that—and then realize you now have a giant piece of cloth that you spent decent money on that you don’t need anymore.
Feed Your Baby
Feed your baby. If you’re going to breastfeed, awesome. If you’re going to formula feed, awesome—do it and own it. Just feed your baby. If you do breastfeed, know that it may be natural, but if it’s your first time doing it, it’s not natural. It’s awkward and there’s totally a learning curve.
Also, breastfeeding will hurt. Not only does it hurt (until you both get the hang of it), but don’t be surprised if it feels like a thousands needles are hitting your boobs during your first few showers (nobody mentioned that to me…thanks, friends), or when you wake up with milk all over you after you take a nap. And even though you can now sleep on your stomach (woohoo!), you may not want to, because….OUCH!
Clean Yo Self
And last, but certainly not least…don’t forget about yourself. I’m not talking about “me time” where you run off to Target and stroll the aisles alone for a half hour in la-la land. That will come later (like around 3 months in when you actually, desperately, need a break). I’m talking about hygiene.
True story confession time: when I had my first baby I went an entire week without showering and I didn’t brush my teeth for three days. WHY?!!!! I don’t even know. Life can certainly become overwhelming when you’re caring for a new little human. Don’t be like me. Sleep when your baby sleeps, yes, but also, take a shower and refresh yourself when your baby sleeps!
Do you have any advice for first time moms now that you’ve been there and done that?