Mom Life

Five Things Every New Mom Should Know

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If you’re a new mom or expecting, here are five key things you should know as you enter this crazy thing called motherhood.

Five Things Every New Mom Should Know

1. This isn’t your new normal.

Having bags down to the floor, hair that hasn’t been washed in several days and a screaming baby in your arms is NOT your new normal.

I had moms tell me that things would only get harder…really?

Now I know I haven’t been through the terrible twos or the teenage years yet – I KNOW those are going to be REALLY hard – but it gets easier in so many ways.

Believe that.  Hold on to it.

You will get there, I promise.

2. Do what’s best for you, and you’re doing what’s best for your baby.

When you become a mom, you naturally start putting your needs last because there is a totally dependent human being relying on you.

As you begin to navigate motherhood, remember that whatever is going to help you will in turn help your baby.

It’s not being selfish.

When you make choices that help you be a more balanced, happier mom, your child only stands to benefit.

Quit doing things because you think you ‘should’ do them.

If something isn’t working, change it and feel good about this change because you are doing what’s best for YOU, which will be best for YOUR FAMILY.

3.  Be a ‘YES’ person when people offer help.

Accept the help while it’s available and being offered.

“Yes” you want that meal, or “yes” can your friend come over so you can take a shower, or “yes” can your mom help you write thank you notes.

Be a ‘yes’ person when it comes to people offering help.

For some family and friends, they may not know what to offer, so TELL them.  Set expectations.

Before my sister delivered her first baby, she sent a mass email to our family about her expectations for meals, when we could visit, etc.

At first I just laughed at her typical type A+ personality, but she was SO smart!

She set expectations and got results, and in turn made her life so much easier.

4.  It’s absolutely OK if you’re not enjoying this time.

You are not abnormal or destined to be a terrible mother if you aren’t ‘savoring’ every moment.

Before you became a mother, did you cherish every second of your life?  Doubtful (if you did, I want to know your secret and you could probably make millions selling books!).

Life is hard. Kids are hard.  But when the moments are good, they feel so much sweeter than before having children.

Just because you don’t enjoy certain things about being a mom, it doesn’t mean you are missing out on anything or not cut out for motherhood.

Moms that are empty nesters are always nostalgic and talk about ‘not missing out on the small moments’ because they are reflecting on that time of their lives.  I guarantee when they were in it, they were losing their minds too.

You’re going to like certain moments – eventually maybe a lot of moments – and those moments are going to be amazing.

5.  Rest, rest, rest.

You’ve probably heard the advice, “sleep when the baby sleeps”.

If you’re like me, I can’t nap in the middle of the day.  I’ve never been able to.

So, when G was first born, I felt like I should be doing something – I cleaned and organized and exhausted my energy instead of just resting.

If you can’t nap, just rest.

Watch TV.  Read.  Snuggle with your baby.

Enjoy the quiet time when you get it.

Be horizontal…REST.

15 Comments

  1. Marie

    February 24, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Great list! I think #4 is so important for new moms to know, because it goes against everything they are being told. With my first baby, I felt so sad and guilty so often because I was not particularly enjoying my baby those first few months. He had colic and never slept. He never wanted to be put down. And everyone I talked to told me to soak up every second. To relax and enjoy him. To watch out because this time was going to fly by and I would miss it so terribly when it was gone. I would go home and cry every time someone said it to me. I wasn’t enjoying him enough!! But then he got bigger, and he started to smile, and he quit crying every second of the day, and I could enjoy him – not every second – but I could enjoy him.

  2. Sarah

    February 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

    My oldest had colic and acid reflux, and those newborn months were HARD.

  3. Jeannine

    February 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Yes. To all of them. So much. I would also add, don’t read so many parenting magazines and articles online. They’ll make you feel like a failure at every turn. There a million ways to raise a child, and everyone thinks theirs is the right way (even me). I’ve had to learn to back off the parenting advice and just find my own way, and I’m so much happier.

  4. Lisa R. Petty

    February 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I wish I had a list like this when my now almost 17 year-old son was a baby. I HATED my life. I wasn’t sleeping, and I felt like I was put on earth to clean up excrement. I also learned that you have to change a boy’s diapers quickly. There was not only the flying mustard poop to fear, but a fountain of urine. I don’t miss it. I love him so much more with each passing day, as he gets more independent. 🙂

  5. Loriann

    February 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I have a 7 week old little boy, my first. This is a great list. For me, I’ve just been trying to be pretty chill about everything. Women have been doing this for years and Ibtry to remind myself that when I feel overwhelmed. I need to trust me and not be concerned with other people’s views.
    But here’s my greatest piece of advice that nobody told me:
    Learn to do everything you do well with your right hand (or left if left handed) with your left hand! Practice while you are pregnant. I find myself with a baby in my right arm nursing for ever and my left hand feels useless, I can barely text or even turn the page on my kindle! And opening a drink? Nope. I suck with my left hand! Lol.

  6. Bethany Bauer

    February 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    The best advice I ever got, and the one piece I pass on to every new mom is: don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. That’s YOUR baby and YOU know him/her better than anyone else out there, so as long as you aren’t hurting him or putting her life in danger, any kinks will work themselves out. There’s a learning curve, to be sure…proper latching techniques for nursing, how to buckle the carseat properly, etc…but some sleep through at 8 weeks, some at 8m…some love the crib and some climb into your bed until 4…if it works for your family and your child is healthy and happy, people can take their “SHOULD”s and pound sand with them. (My mum is a big SHOULDer…it was hard to throw off the “rules” and decide that something else worked better for us. And what worked when there were two doesn’t work for us with four, so I’ve really become a lot more flexible as a parent over the years.)

  7. Stephanie Carlson

    March 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    That “sleep when the baby sleeps” is SUCH BS. When my daughter was an infant, she didn’t nap for more than 25-30 minutes at a time so instead I took that time to eat my lunch or read a few pages of a book so thank you for saying that just resting at the time is just as good.

  8. Tatyana

    March 31, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    All 5 are so true. The one that resonates the most with me is #2. When so many people around me were saying “breast is best” and I was not able to breastfeed, I started saying “healthy mom is best” in response.

  9. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for reading, Stephanie! I had the hardest time getting Baby G to sleep that once he finally was asleep I was just too wired – and then he would wake up seemingly just as soon as I put him down. Ugh – I don’t miss those days…

  10. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Tatyana, thanks SO much for sharing your experience. I lost my supply due to the stress of HELLP and PPD; every where I looked I saw the pressure to breastfeed…I even had a pediatrician tell me that my baby was going to be sick from now on because I had to stop breastfeeding. Well THAT has not been the case at all, but that’s besides the point.

    I LOVE the “healthy mom is best”!!! That needs to be a new mantra we put out there.

    #2 was written exactly for the reason you are saying…I was trying so hard to keep my supply going and there was nothing there. A healthy mom means a healthy baby and family…

    Thank you so much again for your post.

  11. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Hahahaha, this is SO true!!! A great piece of advice. Thanks for reading!

  12. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Lisa, I totally agree with loving him more with each passing day. I think it just gets so much better. The beginning is so tough and reading how you felt only helps me feel less alone in how I felt!!! Thank you!

  13. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Great piece of advice, Jeannine, thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Ugh…I have so much respect for moms that had babies with colic…it was hard enough with Baby G and he didn’t have colic! Thank goodness those newborn days are over!

  15. Britt Nielsen

    April 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for reading, Marie! I had the hardest time when people told me to enjoy it because it was going to go so fast. For me, it felt like every day was a million years! We made it though, thank goodness!

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