Are you expecting? A new mom? Here are 10 first time mom tips that make life with a newborn easier.
By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert at this whole mom thing, but I do know first-hand that being a mom is hard. Especially being a first time mom. No, I’m not saying that life gets easy-breezy after having your second, third, and so on, child. But by that point, you know what to expect.
And that’s why being a first time mom is so hard. There are so many surprises and you can never really know what to expect.
Okay, so someone warned you that your baby would wake several times through the night. But you didn’t know that meant that the moment you drift off to sleep would always seem to be the moment they chose to wake up. You expected that your baby would wake, eat, then go straight back to sleep at night. What you didn’t know was that they would often wake up and want to stay awake as soon as it’s lights-out.
When my husband and I had our son, our whole world was turned upside down. We thought we knew what to expect – we had lots of experience with our nieces and nephews, and we thought “how different can it really be?”. A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT.
Being a parent is a whole world different than being an aunt or an uncle, and my husband and I learned that pretty quickly.
Before having our son I knew I was going to be tired, but I didn’t know I would be so physically, emotionally, and mentally tired that I would cry every time my husband left for work. I didn’t know how terrifying those first few days by myself with a newborn would be.
But I made it through, and I picked up a few mom tips and tricks along the way.
And I want to share those first time mom tips with you.
Because I know that being a first time mom is hard. It’s exhausting, and some days you won’t feel any of that “new mom joy” everyone talks about. And that’s why I want to share these tips with you, to help make your life just a bit easier so you can actually ENJOY those first few months with your newborn.
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DEALING WITH THE GUILT OF NOT LIKING BEING A MOM
When you’re pregnant with your first, countless moms won’t hesitate to tell you how much you’re going to love being a mother. They’ll reminisce about their new mom days and tell you about the joy they felt and how wonderful the newborn stage is.
They’ll tell you to cherish each moment with your new baby because it goes by so, so fast.
So what happens when you have your precious baby and you don’t love life with a newborn? What happens when you don’t love every second and you wish for the days when it was just you and your spouse?
You feel guilty.
And you feel like a bad mom.
But I want to assure you: you are NOT a bad mom for feeling like this. This stage is hard. This stage isn’t everyone’s favorite. You aren’t going to cherish every moment, but I do promise that it will pass. There will be an end to this stage and you will start to feel more like yourself again.
A large part of every new moms day is spent simply trying to get her baby to sleep. Then, just when you think they’ve finally fallen asleep, they wake up and you have to start all over again. If you struggle to get your baby to sleep, this popular book on giving your baby the gift of good sleep, along with The SleepEasy Solution.
WHY IS BEING A FIRST TIME MOM SO HARD
You’ve just given birth and you’re in sheer survival mode. The changes that happen to your body after giving birth are tremendous. Some changes are physical, like engorged breasts and feeling like you’ve been run over by a bus, and some of the changes are mental, like added stress and the baby blues – never mind your hormones being ALL over the map. After giving birth your hormones can go from the highest of highest to the lowest of lows. It’s no wonder why you’re so moody lately!
Some changes will happen in the early days after birth while other changes will happen weeks down the road. Regardless of the changes happening, they are all hard – and they all make this new mom phase even more difficult.
HOW TO LOVE BEING A FIRST TIME MOM
It’s easy to think, before having a baby, that you’re going to love every moment of being a mom. That the good times will always outweigh the bad, and even though you’ll be exhausted, you’ll feel so much joy anytime you look at your beautiful baby.
I’m sure you felt like that once, too. And then you had your beautiful baby and you realized just how exhausting it really is.
You no longer feel like your own person, but rather something that this little baby is constantly in need of. When you aren’t changing, feeding, or trying to get your baby to sleep you’re stuck worrying about whether you’re doing everything right or wrong, and what people would think of you if they could only see how lost you really are.
But it’s okay – because the good news is you don’t have to do it all. And what you DO do, you don’t have to do perfectly. Just do your best to motor through this season and try to find moments to enjoy.
I was able to start actually enjoying being a mom when I stopped worrying about doing everything right, and when I stopped worrying about what other people would think of me.
When I was finally able to realize that this was my baby, not theirs, and I knew what was best for him, is when I was able to find my confidence and stop being so worried all the time.
And that’s when I was able to start loving being a mom.
(Some days are still hard, and I know they always will be, but even the hard days now are far better than the good days used to be.)
Read on to learn the best tips for first time moms with newborns.
10 GENIUS FIRST TIME MOM TIPS TO MAKE LIFE WITH A NEWBORN EASIER
1. Get out of the house
If you were working outside the house before having your baby getting used to staying home, along with all the other big changes coming your way, can be a big challenge for some moms.
One way to make the transition from working mom to stay at home mom easier – even if you’re just staying home for the duration of your maternity leave – is to get out of the house on a regular basis. Nothing makes you feel more trapped than having a baby who is 100% dependent on you and being stuck inside a house all day long.
Go for walks, run errands, visit friends, and take advantage of this time you get to spend not working a job outside the house. I love my car seat/stroller travel system for when I get out of the house with my son, that way if he falls asleep in the car I can put his car seat straight into the stroller without waking him up.
2. Plan your meals
I can’t stand not knowing what to make for supper until it’s time to make something. I like to know well in advance what we’re having for dinner on any given day so I can take the meat out to defrost ahead of time and start prepping the meal if I get any spare time during the day so that making dinner isn’t such a big ordeal right around 5 o’clock.
Meal planning will make your first few months with a newborn SO much easier. This is the meal planning service I would recommend if you don’t want to spend all day planning your meals for the month.
(On top of saving time, meal planning will also save you tremendous amounts of money. My husband and I cut our grocery bill from $1,000 a month down to $300 a month. You can learn how to do it, too, here.)
3. Join a moms group
As much as you don’t want to hear it (getting out of the house with a newborn is enough work. Getting out of the house and visiting with other moms when you’re exhausted? Too much work.), joining a moms group is something that every mom should do.
This doesn’t have to be a formal group of 20+ moms who meet every Wednesday at 9am sharp at the exact same coffee shop, and if you’re late, you’re out.
No, this could be as simple as inviting a couple of your mom friends and their friends out to go for walks once a week or meet up at a house for a cup of coffee.
Just getting out and visiting with other moms is all you need to feel refreshed, get reassurance that you’re not in this alone, and make some friends.
4. Accept help
One of the hardest things I did as a new mom realized that accepting help didn’t mean I was failing. I was bound and determined to do this whole mom thing without accepting outside help, and it took me a few weeks to realize that it was okay to ask for, and accept, help.
If you have someone come over and watch your baby for a couple hours, it doesn’t mean you’re failing as a mom. If you drop your baby off at your sister’s house for the day, it doesn’t mean you’re failing as a mom.
Accepting help will help you avoid getting too overwhelmed. It will give you a bit of a break and a chance for you to catch up on housework, or showering, or just sit down and read a book for 30 minutes.
5. Listen to your gut
Listening to your gut as a mom is super important. You and your partner know your baby better than anyone else, which means you know what works and what doesn’t work for them. But, there may also come times when you don’t know.
That’s when you’ll look for advice, and while some advice may sound reasonable, other advice might not give you the best feeling. That’s when it’s important that you listen to your gut and do what feels right for you and your baby – as long as it’s safe, smart, and reasonable.
6. Keep a baby book
You’re responsible for remembering things like chores, errands, baby care, making meals, paying bills, your husband’s birthday and father’s day. And you’re supposed to remember what time your precious baby was born at, how much they weighed, how long the labor was, etc., etc.
You get the picture.
As a mom, you’re responsible for remembering a lot of stuff. But, as a mom, you inevitably have baby-brain – and things are quite scattered in there these days.
To take one more thing off your plate, use a baby book to write down your babies birth weight, gaining, length, and any other milestones.
(It’s also a good idea to use a to-do list for regular, daily chores. This one has crazy good reviews.)
7. Rest when you can
If you can, sleep during the day when your baby sleeps, but if you have a hard time napping (you close your eyes and all you can see is a list of everything that still needs to be done today… or is that just me?), sitting or laying down and at least having a rest for 15 minutes will help keep your energy up for the rest of the day (and night).
8. Don’t let your baby get overtired
A common myth is that if you keep the baby up longer during the day, they’ll sleep longer at night.
Unfortunately, getting your baby to sleep longer at night isn’t that easy.
And if you make your baby skip naps, they’ll get overtired, and an overtired baby sleeps WORSE than a well-rested baby. (Yup, you read that right!)
9. Follow different daytime and nighttime schedules
Most babies thrive on routines, especially when they’re so young. Starting from birth, it’s a good idea to create routines that you use during the day, and a different routine that gets used at night.
For example: during the day our routine looks something like this – sleep > eat > change > wake > play > sleep, and so on.
At night, it looks like this: sleep > change > eat > sleep.
Using these two different routines for the day and night helps our son know that nighttime is for sleep, and in the daytime you get to play.
Our son also doesn’t like to have his diaper changed, it usually causes quite a fight, so changing him before feeding him at night allows him to settle down from the diaper change by nursing, and makes putting him back down to sleep a lot easier.
10. Use a bedtime routine
Creating a bedtime routine and using it every night before bed will help your baby know that once that routine starts, it’s time to start winding down and getting ready for nighttime.
Our baby’s bedtime routine consists of:
? bath (we use this bathtub which we love since it can sit right on the counter or in a sink so we don’t have to lean over the side of a bathtub)
? feed (a boppy makes nursing 1000% easier)
? prayer (then we pray for our son)
? bed (We use this cradle since it rocks so if he gets fussy we can gently rock him back to sleep without taking him out of his bed.)
After his bath, we do the rest of the bedtime routine in his room with the lights dim. By following the same bedtime routine every night our son knows what to expect next as soon as he starts his bath, and it helps him wind down and relax, which makes bedtime so much easier.
Being a first time mom isn’t easy, but hopefully using these first time mom tips will help make your transition to motherhood just a little bit easier.
Remember, just because you can’t do everything you used to be able to do before having your baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. You’re doing great and you deserve your rest, even if there’s a long list of to-do’s still left undone.
What are some of your favorite new mom tips? I’d love to hear from you?