I started writing this blog post when I was a few short weeks away from having Alice. I’ve actually been wanting to write this post for a while now but for whatever reason it kept getting pushed to the side. Now, as a mom of two, I’m ready to share my (and your) advice for the first-time parent.
So, you’re pregnant with your first baby and more than likely a little nervous as it is. I get it… giving birth was one of my biggest fears before having Vivienne. You’re just trying to get through the hormones and everything leading up to the birth. Then, you have your amazing baby in your arms and BOOM… it hits you…. you’re a parent. You’re emotional, exhausted, and straight scared that something bad is going to happen. No one can quite prepare you for those first few weeks of having your first baby… but the good news is, it gets easier and hopefully some of these tips will put your mind at ease.
- Whatever you do, remain calm. This is my TOP recommendation for every parent, especially the mamas carrying their precious baby(ies) for 9-10 months. I am a true believer that your baby feels your energy, from before they are even born to present time. This was something that I was really conscious of and made it a priority to act calm in stressful situations (ig. Screaming baby on the changing table, etc.). Of course, give yourself grace when you have a meltdown or two… its normal.
- Ask for help. I know this part isn’t easy. Trust me, I sometimes find it easier to do things myself than ask for help, yet what I have learned is… you baby needs to know how to be without you and so do you. You can only be a great mom when you are able to be the best version of yourself. This may mean, taking a break from time to time and that’s OK. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on the world. Also, your spouse or grandparent can have their personal bonding time with baby. It’s a win win.
- It’s OK to cry. Oh the baby blues can hit you hard. I remember just sitting on my bed and starring at Vivienne while she slept and just crying for no reason. I was so in love and scared all at the same time. Know that this feeling is normal, and it’s OK to cry. If you have any negative thoughts to go along with these feelings, please seek help.
- Read one baby book, then refer to your mom friends. It’s so important to educate yourself on the newborn stage. Throughout my pregnancy, I read diligently my first trimester, tapered off during the second trimester, and embraced the “preparing for childbirth” class at the hospital before delivery. Other than that, I didn’t prepare myself for the newborn stage. My friend Jessica was a month ahead of me and became my go-to for all things baby. I had no idea what I was doing, this included how to even put a pump together! It was great to have someone who was a first-time mom, mellow, and a little head of the game to get advice from. Since there are so many opinions, books, etc. find your person or book and don’t’ confuse yourself. You’ll know what’s right. Try not to turn too much to google.
- You can’t take enough photos/videos. Instagram doesn’t count… keep those videos and photos saved to a drop box folder or an external hard drive. It is the best looking back on old photos and or hearing the baby noises that you forgot about.
- You know your baby best. What works for some people may not necessarily work for you. Every baby and situation is different, so follow your instincts and remember that you know what’s best for you and your family.
- Own your choices. Everyone will have an opinion about your parenting methods. Friends, grandparents, in-laws will more than likely tell you whether you like it or not. Take everything with a grain of salt, listen to those you respect, but in the end, the choice is your own.
- Don’t worry about milestones. This is probably one of the hardest things to do as you may often compare your baby to another close in age. Remember, every baby is so different and will eventually do each stage at their own pace. Vivienne didn’t walk until 14-15 months and I constantly compared her to others that started walking at 12 months or older. Practice makes perfect and your baby will do it at their own pace.
- Take it day by day. As a type A person, it can be really hard for me when things don’t go as planned, this includes schedules, etc. It’s nice to know that the following day is a fresh start and can be 100% different. Try to be go with the flow and just remember, everything will be okay.
- Breastfeeding can be very difficult, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Breastfeeding consultations, prescription nipple cream, and education on how you hold your baby can make such a difference in your journey.
- Put your baby to sleep awake and watch wake windows– an overtired baby is the most difficult to put down for naps.
- You are not the only one who doesn’t know what they are doing. Talk about it. All of it.
- Don’t shut out your partner. Marriage is work as it is, then add a newborn to the mix and a lot can change. Try not to shut out your partner but include him/her in everything. Communicate, communicate, communicate. They are also going through this journey WITH you. Keep him/her involved.
- Every stage is temporary. As soon as you get used to a schedule or phase… everything changes. Prepare for many stages ahead and just go with it.
- Enjoy every moment. “The days are long but the years are short.” It’s a phrase many people say when talking about parenthood but it couldn’t be more true. It felt like yesterday where we first had Vivienne and now she is 2 ½ years old with a baby sister. Enjoy every single moment and embrace each day- the good and the bad and always remember, YOU GOT THIS!
Other advice from followers:
- Remember, you are learning… it’s okay to make mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day.
- During nap time, do the things you can’t do while they are awake like shower, work, rest, eat.
- Pack an extra baby outfit wherever you go
- Don’t open everything you think you need- that way you can return what you don’t use.
- Nothing ever goes to plan- be adaptive and open to everything being unexpected.
- Store brands are OK too.
- The love for your child will get you through everything.
- Zipper pajamas are a life saver- you won’t want to do buttons in the middle of the night.
- The laundry can wait
- Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t head over heels in love at first site.
- Make your husband take photos of you.
- The baby is boss. Not you.
- Naked time does a baby butt good (diaper rash).
- Keep it simple. You probably don’t need everything that people are selling these days.
- Sleep regressions are a thing
- Baby wearing is a life saver
- Look for childcare earlier than you need to
- Buy one or two preemie sized onesies
- Write everything down
- Home grocery delivery