Sometimes it takes a village, a mom village. As moms, we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves, but it’s because we want to be the best we can for our children. So I reached out to my fellow mothers and asked them to share their best advice for new moms.
No matter how much I tried to prepare to be a mom, sometimes it takes experience to learn things you can’t find in a book. Instead of being hard on ourselves, we should support one another. We need to manage our expectations and dissolve the myths we’ve heard before becoming mothers.
So, rock your baby to sleep and give yourself a little mommy break. Here is the best advice for new moms!
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Make Simple Plans
When you bring your newborn home, you’ll still be adjusting to the new mom life. Trying to find time to do anything might seem impossible. Fortunately, Monica Fish, a mother of an 8-year-old and 4-year-old, shares her advice on how to get ahead when it comes to meals.
“On the weekends, I made large batches of food to stock my freezer with meals for after the baby arrived. Pick the things your family likes and can be paired with a pantry or frozen items. Taco filling and Hard Taco Shells or Meat Sauce with Frozen Broccoli and Pasta.,” says Monica.
She also adds, “If you are planning on breastfeeding, have some freezer meal options without tomatoes as if you have a gassy baby that is the first thing recommended for mom to cut out of her diet. Stock your house with Costco size packages of paper plates, cups, and utensils. Make those first 1-2 months as easy as you can on yourself!”
Planning can also be for “me time.” Melissa De Los Santos, a mother of four children (11 yr. old, 9 yr. old, 4 yr. old, and a 2-month old), found a bonus when she was breastfeeding early in the morning. Her best advice for new moms is to “make a list of shows to watch during late-night feedings.”
Melissa says, “The hardest part of the first few weeks for me was waking up every two hours to feed the baby. I decided to make a list of shows to watch, and I only watched those shows during late-night feedings. I found myself looking forward to waking up at 2 am so I could watch the next episode!”
Let Yourself Rest
As moms, we’re all superwomen. But, even superwomen need their rest. Even breast pumping can be exhausting.
Alice Anderson, a mother of a 12-year-old and a 7-year -old, shares her first few weeks at home with her baby.
“I could never have prepared myself for the lack of sleep,” acknowledges Alice and shares, “My best advice would be to rest whenever you can. Don’t try to do everything. The laundry isn’t going anywhere. Prioritize what has to get done, and the other chores can wait.”
Sharon Lopez, a mother of a 5-year-old and an 11-month old, understands the importance of getting rest and applied her experience with her second child. “When I had my second baby, I took all the help I could from watching the baby so that I can get extra sleep and some personal time. We worry all about the baby when in reality, we, as mommas, need to care for ourselves too so we can be functional for the baby if we are not okay with ourselves.”
Enjoy Every Moment
Nowadays, it’s common for homes to have dual incomes. And, yet, there is no denying the feeling of “mom guilt.” Susie Q, a mother of children now in their 20s, shares her thoughts on the matter.
“Find the right balance for you between your family and your career. You can always work more after your children are grown, but they are only young once”, shares Susie.
She also recommends “no matter what your work, you make yourself available to your children. They need to know that they are the most important thing in your life. So, even though I traveled a lot for business, my children knew they could call, and I’d be available.”
Roselie Bartolome, a mother of a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old, says, “becoming a mom has been the most difficult yet rewarding experience in my life.” Chris Mae, a mother of an 18-month old, adds, “so enjoy every moment of it because it goes by fast.”
Accept Things May Not Go Your Way
It can be frustrating at times when things don’t go our way. Don’t be too hard on yourself. But don’t give up as well.
Amanda, a mother of three children (ages 4, 2, and 9-months), shares a funny experience, “Be ready to throw all your ideas and pictures of what this was going to look like right out the window! When we came home with baby number 2, I pictured this loving, cuddling family of four! I didn’t realize I was bringing home a projectile vomiting machine!”
Chihee Kim, a mother of a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old, says, “Don’t feel bad if things don’t go your way.” And, most importantly, Holly Nordenberg, with children ages five and three, emphasizes, “Every baby is different. So try not to compare your baby to other babies!”
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
One of the most common best advice for new moms is not to be afraid to ask for help. I’ll let my fellow mommas take it away from here.
Robyn, a mother of three children (ages three, five, and seven), says, “Take all offers of help. I thought that it somehow meant that I wasn’t a good enough mom if I let someone help me out, but it doesn’t! If someone offers to watch the baby, bathe the baby, get you food, clean your house- whatever it is, then accept! Asking others for help (especially your partner) is an excellent idea.“
Duet Diaper Bag
Maxine, a mother of a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old, says, “You are not alone: but it can feel like you are. New motherhood can be lonely (even in regular times). If you’re feeling isolated, reach out to friends, family, or your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. Don’t try to tough it out. And when it looks like everyone else has it together and knows what they’re doing? They don’t!“
Sue Denym, a mother of a 2-year-old, 4-year-old, and 6-year-old, adds, “Motherhood comes with a lot of anxieties, like feeding, worries about developing a secure attachment, and the feeling that nobody can care for your baby as well as you can. It’s so easy to lose yourself in all the anxieties. Nobody will ever care for your baby as you do, and that’s okay. Nobody will care for you like you do, either.”
Trust Your Instincts
I believe becoming a mother changes you. Your priorities in life change, and nothing can never replace your love for your little ones. There is a connection between your children that is unique. This advice was the most popular among my fellow mothers.
Subarna, a mother of a 6-year-old, shares, “A mom, new or experienced, knows their child much better than anyone else. We as a mom learn each day as our kids grow each day. We have our different journeys. Every mom is the hero of their own stories.”
Amanda Bagnas, a mother of a 2-year-old, shares, “I realized that what worked for me was the best way I could parent and ignoring everyone else’s self-imposed opinions. It helped me chart my path and made me feel less guilt whenever I made decisions for my girl.”
Regina, a mother of a 5-year-old, says, “Trust your instincts! There is no right way to raise a child. One of the best things I did was stop reading parenting books. They gave me so much anxiety! They left me stressing over things I didn’t even know might happen and how I might deal with them. I just roll with things as they come now, or look up specific questions as they arrive.”
Michelle, a mother of three (4-years-old, 2-years-old, and 6-months-old), says, “Listen to your God-given Mama intuition, cues from your body, and to try everything if you want to—even if you ‘fail,’ it really is all okay.”
Caroline, a mother to a 3-month-old and an almost 2-year-old, says, “Try not to stress out, and remember that you know what’s best for your little one regardless of what others might say or think.”
She also shares this personal story: “When the health nurse came to visit a couple of days after my son’s birth, she was concerned about the amount of weight he lost. She started freaking out, saying I was starving him and made me rush him to the hospital.
Her reaction made me so upset I was crying uncontrollably; I couldn’t understand as my son was a happy, healthy baby. He was eating, sleeping, and wet/dirty as much the newborn resources all say are normal.
The doctor couldn’t understand why the nurse sent us there as my son was a healthy baby at the hospital. It turns out the combination of me being borderline diabetic during pregnancy and my milk coming in a bit late was the reason for his weight loss. It was completely normal and even expected. The moral of the story is follow your instincts, you’re the mom, and you know what’s best for your baby; don’t let anyone make you think different!”
Samantha, a mother to a 6-year-old and pregnant with another, also shares her story says, “My daughter was four years old when she started presenting symptoms of diabetes. My mom’s instincts knew something was wrong. I scheduled an appointment for her pediatrician and went in that afternoon.
I am so glad that I listened to myself because I was right. At the hospital that evening, my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We spent five days in the Pediatric ICU and learned that if untreated or if we had waited to “see if she develops an ear infection,” my daughter could have died. Plain and simple, my advice for new moms is not always to follow other moms’ advice. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. And always follow your instincts.”
To all the mothers out there, I salute you.
Though the hard days may be many and good ones may be few, the great days will always outweigh them all. No matter how much we wish our children to be a certain way, they will be who they will be.
And, we will still love them the same.
So, let’s not forget to love ourselves and give ourselves a pass at times. As our children grow, we grow as mothers as well. Every day is a new experience.
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