7 Moms Share Their Best Advice for New Moms
Being a new mom, whether it’s your first or third kid, is hard work. It can feel like you’re outnumbered, overwhelmed, and overworked, especially when it comes to your basic needs like sleep and showering. I talked to some first-time moms about the best advice they’ve received, and what they’ve learned from their own babies.
1. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
For a baby with an erratic sleep schedule, this may seem like a big ask, but taking naps when you can is important to keep your energy levels up. You may not be able to sleep for more than an hour at a time, but just lying down and resting can do wonders for your stressed out mind and body.
2. “Don’t forget to take care of yourself.”
Taking care of yourself means you can take better take care of the baby. This means eating well, and eating often, and also staying hydrated. Especially if making breastmilk! Find a way to shower, and take a few minutes for yourself every day. It will help you stay positive and feel more “human.”
3. “Don’t be afraid (or embarrassed) to ask for help.”
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “it takes a village”. So whether you’re a single parent or part of a team, you don’t have to shoulder all of the responsibility alone. Ask for help with running errands, cleaning the house, and feeding yourself. If you need five minutes to yourself, don’t be afraid to ask your visitors to hold or watch the baby while you take care of yourself. You’re only human, and if you’re a first time mom, you’re probably still learning the ropes. And that’s okay; that’s what friends and family are for.
4. “Take it day by day (or week by week).”
The minute you get used to how your baby act and reacts, your baby will change it up again. Make it to week two and then the schedule will change, then tell yourself you just need to get to four weeks. Then the baby’s schedule and quirks will change again. Just remember that if you’re in a tough patch, it will pass, as it’s a constant ebb and flow as the baby (and you) adjust. Just take it day by day, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. It’s all a learning experience!
5. “Remember: they are still growing.”
As your baby grows, so will their personality. You’ll have to remind yourself that when you think you’re talking to someone who can understand the reasons why you want them to sit still or eat breakfast or avoid walking into walls, they won’t care about your logic. It’s the baby’s world, and you’re just living in it, and the sooner you except this, the less frustrated you’ll be with their stubborn streak and independence.
6. “They are always watching (and learning).”
Babies learn from your facial expressions, your body language, and your actions. They are going to be unsteady on their feet, and fearless with their escapades, so it’s best to brace yourself for the many bumps, bruises, and scrapes in the years ahead. It’s also important to learn how to react to these little injuries; if you panic, so will your baby. If you pick them up, brush them off, and tell them they’re okay, lo and behold, they will be. This advice also translates into behavior. Babies are always watching and take cues from you, so if want to teach good behavior, model it for them.
7. “Don’t be afraid to make noise.”
Once your baby finally falls asleep, you may feel the need to tiptoe around the house, hushing raised voices and muting the television. But your baby is often just as exhausted as you are, and when they fall asleep, they usually won’t wake for anything. So don’t be afraid to vacuum, clatter dishes, talk to your family and friends, and generally make as much noise as you like.