Unfortunately for new moms, a baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual. And unless you happen to have much younger siblings, or you’re a midwife, you’re probably scared to death about the birth of your first child. We’ve spoken to some veteran moms who have already been through the fear and excitement of having kids and asked them what advice they would have appreciated knowing before they had their first kids. Here are some pieces of advice more precious than gold to new moms from moms who’ve already been through it.
The First 3-5 Months Will Be Extremely Hard, And That’s Okay!
After you’ve had your child and bring him or her home, you are going to be in for a tough few months. You will be sleep-deprived and delirious. Your sweatpants will be stained, your teeth unbrushed, and your hair greasy. And you know what? That is absolutely 100% okay! Don’t be too hard on yourself, just accept that it will be this way for a short while. In the blink of an eye, it will be over.
When Your Baby Naps, You Should Nap Too
You’ve barely had a moment to breathe during the last few months, so when the baby finally goes down for a nap, the first thing you think is to try and get some of that laundry done or organize that closet you’ve been wanting to clean. But no, the best thing you could possibly do when your baby finally takes a nap is take one yourself. Your body and your mind will thank you, and the laundry can wait until you’ve had some rest.
Go On Walks With Your Baby As Often As You Can
It’s nearly impossible to find time to exercise when you have a baby to take care of 24/7. Get yourself a good quality stroller and take a 20-minute walk during the day (when the weather’s nice). This is great for both you and your baby, as you will keep your body moving and your baby will benefit from the fresh air and the new sights, smells, and sounds around the neighborhood.
Take A Little Time For Yourself Each Day (Even If It’s Only 5 Minutes)
It’s easy to find yourself wanting to spend every waking second with your new bundle of joy, and that’s understandable. But you need to give yourself a little “you time” every single day, even if it’s only for a few minutes to check your Facebook or text a friend. This will make sure that you don’t lose yourself and that you still remember you are your own person, baby or not.
Talk To Other Moms So You Don’t Feel Isolated
It can be very isolating and lonely when you come home with that new baby. Especially if you are a single mom or your partner is at work all day, you will start feeling like you are all alone in this. That’s why it’s important to reach out to other moms in your situation to get advice, compare situations, and just have someone who understands you. You can join a Mommy and Me group if you don’t know any new moms yet.
Read To Your Baby A Little Each Day
Reading to an infant baby might feel silly, but it’s definitely a good idea. Even if your child isn’t following along with every word, you are helping him or her start to connect the words on the page to the words coming out of your mouth. Studies have shown that children who are read to from an early age have an easier time learning to read later in life.
Go Out To That Restaurant Early On
A few weeks after giving birth might not feel like the right time to go on a dinner date or get brunch with some friends, but that’s actually the best and easiest time to do it. Newborn babies don’t move and don’t need as much as an older child (we promise it’s true). So load up a bag with enough food and diapers, and go enjoy yourself. Don’t wait.
Don’t Waste Your Money On Cute Baby Clothes
Yes, it’s extremely tempting to spend all of your money on the absolutely adorable clothes, shoes, toys, and accessories they make for babies these days…but don’t do it! You’ll soon realize that the best kind of baby clothes are those you can get on and off your child quickly and easily and can be tossed in the wash haphazardly when it inevitably gets dirty. Not to mention your baby will grow faster than the speed of light, so one week that cute shirt fits, and the next it’s too small.
Sometimes Your Baby Will Cry For No Reason
Some days it won’t matter if you’ve fed, burped, cuddled, and completely indulged your child, he or she will just cry. Maybe there are growing pains or he or she is just having a hard morning. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother, and it’s perfectly ok to let your baby cry for a moment (safe in his crib) to collect yourself and take a breather.
These Difficult Stages Won’t Last Forever, And You Will Miss Them Someday
Some days will be really hard and you will want to cry and just give up. But although bathtime is a nightly struggle, one night will be the very last bathtime and you will truly miss it. Try to find the joy of being in the moment (even if that moment makes you want to scream) because when it’s over, it’s really over.