Preparing to be a first-time mom is fun, emotional and exciting! It’s normal to be nervous about the unknown. Every mother becomes confident in time with the help of love and a little on-the-job training.
To help you get more comfortable and excited about your new role, we’ve gathered our best first-time mom tips from the women who have been there. You’ll learn from your big sisters how to thrive during the newborn phase, which baby supplies you need and the items you can skip. You’ll also discover what you can do to nurture yourself and how to keep a better mindset. Once you’re equipped with real knowledge and first-hand advice, you’ll be ready to take on your new adventure as a mommy!
1. Embrace the Unknown
Before you have children, you feel a sense of control. Once your baby is born, this all changes. The illusion of having it all together will quickly fade as your child becomes the center of your universe.
Being a parent helps you realize that total control is a mere fantasy. Whether it’s a diaper blowout on a busy afternoon or an unplanned trip to the doctor’s office, you’ll soon learn that every day is unique. Instead of resisting the unpredictability, let it grow you as a person.
2. Be Patient with Yourself
Motherhood will alter your body. It’ll also challenge how you see yourself. Be gentle with the changes. Remember, no matter how many mistakes you make, you’re still doing great.
Until you actually become a mom, it’s impossible to realize how exhausted, discouraged or lonely you may feel. If you experience unpleasant thoughts or feelings, nurture yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive reinforcement each day. Cut out negative or critical voices in your life and focus on how you can feel whole again. Know that you won’t know everything, and many parenting skills come with experience. Allow yourself to take naps, enjoy hobbies and have a laugh.
3. Ask for Help
When you need a break, ask for it. Taking time for yourself will allow you to rest and recharge. Ask your baby’s grandparents for an afternoon off—or get your partner to help you with care in the evenings.
It’s also important to ask for assistance if you feel down or depressed. Tell your OB-GYN or primary care provider if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of postpartum depression. They know how to help a new mom and can give you the resources you need. You can also chat with your doctor if you feel you need community assistance or help finding a support group.
4. Build a Smart Baby Registry
One of the best pieces of advice for a new mom is what to put on her baby registry. Buying the must-have baby supplies and leaving unnecessary items off the list will ensure you get everything you need while spending less. Along with purchasing a bassinet or crib, a car seat and a stroller, having clothes for your newborn is essential.
In addition to pajamas and cozy sleepwear, bodysuits are a must-have for first-time moms. Pair them with shorts, leggings or pants for a cute and polished outfit. You can also let baby play in them without bottoms for more comfort. For other ideas on what to get a new mom, don’t forget to ask for socks and baby blankets. Other must-haves include bibs and burp cloths, as well as bottles and breastfeeding accessories.
5. Make Your Own Rules
From the time you are pregnant, and throughout your child’s life, you’ll get tons of advice. Some of it will be helpful—and other bits will be completely unsolicited. Don’t let any comments or suggestions rattle you. Instead, listen to them and decide if they work for you and your family.
The important thing is that you and your baby are happy, healthy and safe. Beyond that, you make the rules when it comes to sleeping, feeding and activities. Reminding yourself of this can be very freeing. It will also help relieve anxiety.
6. Find a Trusted Pediatrician
Your baby’s doctor will help guide you through the first year of their life. As soon as possible in your pregnancy, begin finding trusted pediatricians in your area. Seek referrals from your OB-GYN, hospital or fellow moms. Take a tour of a few facilities in your third trimester before making your final decision.
In most cases, you can tell your obstetrician or midwife which pediatrician you prefer. They will come visit you after your baby’s birth for the first checkup. A few days later, you will visit them in their office. A trusting, open relationship with a friendly doctor can make a positive impact on your child’s entire life.
7. Enjoy the Moment
While being a new mom can be tough (and tiring!), remember to enjoy the moment. After all, you’ll never get these precious days back. In a few years, you’ll be missing how your baby felt in your arms.
Spend as much time as you can playing with and cuddling your little one. Take pictures and videos. You’ll look back on your child’s infancy as cherished memories.
Loving Your New Role as Mom
Being a new mom is a celebration. You just completed nine amazing months of growing a beautiful human. Now, you’re ready to embark on the most important journey of your life!
While you may feel awkward or anxious at first, all you need is your motherly love. Being a mom will become easier each day. Once you reach your baby’s first birthday, you’ll be amazed by what you’ve accomplished.