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Bringing that new baby into the world is going to change your life forever. Being a first-time new mom can be overwhelming and stressful, but it really doesn’t need to be. Here are 14 tips on how to survive life as a first time new mom.
Even though motherhood isn’t necessarily very easy, actually to be quite blunt, motherhood is dang hard. BUT becoming a mother will be one of the best things that has ever happened to you. All of those tough, hard days are so easily erased when you have your most perfect baby asleep in your arms.
When I went to the hospital the night before I had my first baby, I knew once we returned home, we would be bringing a new member of our family with us.
This slightly terrified me. But at the same time, I was so excited too!
Now looking back I can’t imagine or really even remember life without being a mother.
I know for me, during those first few months to a year, I learned SO much. I grew in ways I didn’t even expect, and I was able to learn valuable lessons as a mother.
To be honest, you can’t totally prepare for something you have never done but here are 14 great tips I wish I knew before I became a mother. Hopefully, they will help you feel more prepared and ready for the journey of motherhood.
1. Remember you have never done this before, so give yourself a break
You are a first time new mom so in all reality, you can’t totally prepare to have a baby. Yeah, you can read all the books, blog posts, watch the many different youtube videos and ask your friends and family, but you have to actually experience it for yourself.
By all means, every single one of those outlets of knowledge and help can be so so beneficial and don’t shy away from learning from them, but just don’t be too surprised when you run into some unexpected aspects of motherhood.
Being a new mother is a new full-time job. Except it has much better perks than a boring 9-5 workday.
Mothering isn’t easy. It is exhausting, draining, stressful, tiring, and HARD.
But at the same time, it is beautiful, rewarding, full of love and happiness and there is nothing else to compare it to.
Soak in all those good things and when things get tough, or you make mistakes, or feel mom guilt, remember you have never done this before, so give yourself a break.
2. Nap when your baby naps
Why oh why didn’t I do this more and do it sooner?! In those first few weeks I really wanted my house to be spotless, dishes done, laundry away and everything neat and tidy. Those things really do help me function, but I do wish I had napped more when my baby napped to allow my body to heal better.
Especially in those newborn stages, your body is still recovering. Postpartum recovery care is important and crucial. Don’t take it lightly and really do all you can to look after your body.
Becoming a first time new mom can take it toll on your body, emotions, and mental health. Not only is your body healing from labor and delivery but you will also have some crazy postpartum hormones and lots of exhaustion from being up in the night with your baby.
Not to mention the huge adaption to life you will experience.
Take advantage of the time your baby sleeps and take a nap yourself. I promise you that you will thank me later!
3. Take all the help you can get
Don’t resist help. I can promise you that the meals that will be dropped off by neighbors or friends will be heaven sent. And when your Mom offers to come and stay for a few days and clean and cook, take her up on the offer.
Any help that is offered, say thank you and take it!
For me personally, I hate to put people out of their way and feel like I could be inconveniencing them.
But in all reality, if they are offering, they most likely WANT to actually help and don’t want you to decline their service.
4. Be open with your husband and communicate your needs
Life with a new baby isn’t just an adjustment for you, but for your husband as well. With that being said becoming a first time new mom, well and new parents can be a daunting task.
Communication is crucial, in any aspect of marriage really, but especially in parenthood. Be open with him and allow him to be open with you.
Communicate your needs and be clear on how he can help and support you. Obviously do the same for him too, but you will have some postpartum hormones you will be dealing with.
I remember in those first couple of weeks, being super emotional and dealing with all kinds of mixed feelings and emotions.
I would cry over anything and was super sensitive. Thankfully my husband was there to support me and knew what I needed.
Avoid any frustration in your marriage and be upfront, honest, and clear with your spouse so you are both able to support each other in the best way possible.
5. Write down your thoughts and feelings after birth
Whether you like to journal or not, recording your thoughts and feelings soon after birth can be powerful, rewarding and something you will always treasure.
You will only ever be a first time new mom once, so record all of those new feelings you will experience. Plus, when you look back you will see how you have grown!
I go through stages of wanting to journal and keeping up with it and then I go through stages (or years) of not doing it at all. With that being said, I am so glad I did write down and record my feeling after having my baby. It is something I can always go back and read and be reminded of that special experience.
Memories can fade a little, or we may forget every detail of what happened so keeping a record can be an item of gold to look back on, and maybe even share with your kids when they are older.
6. Go and buy yourself a yoga ball
This handy piece of equipment is almost as important as you rocker. Ok, I know I said almost because a rocker is pretty dang nice to have too.
But in all seriousness, a yoga ball is SO helpful. You can bounce your baby on it, help soothe them when they are fussy and the list goes on.
I spent a lot of those first few weeks bouncing up and down on that ball. I think after a while it started to give me a good workout 😉
Another thing I loved about the yoga ball is that is was super comfortable to sit on. I dealt with hemorrhoids and a lot of discomfort in the lady parts (probably due to my 3rd tear) so sometimes sitting wasn’t the most comfortable.
The yoga ball became my new bestie! Plus, when you let your body recover a little, doing a little yoga (with your ball) can be helpful in regaining some of your strength back. See, it is versatile too!
I told you it was important!
7. Remember there isn’t a one size fits all, do what works for you
This is HUGE! Every baby is different and so is every situation! You can’t expect you and your baby to fit into every mold out there.
Things that might work for your sister’s baby or your friends newborn might not work for yours, and that is ok.
Do what works for you and your baby. By all means, try different techniques, tricks, or ways of parenting but don’t feel worried if you do things differently.
Your baby is most important and find out what works well for them.
As a first time new mom you are going to be bombarded with all kinds of advice, do’s and don’ts, wrongs and rights, you can listen to it all but ultimately it is your decision on how you raise your child, NOT anyone else’s.
If you choose to do things differently, don’t worry. That is your duty as a mother to choose what is best for your baby. YOU know what will be best for them in any aspect of parenting and motherhood.
8. Love your body
You’ve been pregnant for 9 months so it’s easy for you to want our body back, but you must give yourself time and LOVE your body.
Your body is amazing! Birthing another human isn’t a walk in the park. It is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, literally!
You probably have read all sorts on birth, but if you haven’t, I encourage you to. Learning more about birth can really help you appreciate all that your amazing body can do!
Plus, it helps you realize how a women’s body is specifically designed to birth a baby. Trust in yourself and love your body, because it truly is amazing!
9. Don’t starve yourself because you want to lose that baby weight
Along with loving your body, don’t starve it because you are ready for your old body to be back right away.
If you are anything like me, I thought I was hungry during pregnancy, but once postpartum hit I became even more ravenous.
Honestly, I didn’t think that was possible, but it most certainly was!
If you are itching to get back to the gym and back onto some diet, don’t. Give yourself some time and feed your body well.
Especially if you are lactating and breastfeeding you need to make sure you are eating enough to maintain your milk supply and have enough energy to make it through each day.
Now a slight disclaimer, I am not saying go crazy on the chocolate, chips, fries, and fast food. You need to fill yourself up with good food choices.
Smoothies can be a great way to get in those fruits and veggies (spinach is my go-to) but you can also find some super yummy lactation cookies and other lactating snacks and treats.
Don’t worry about that baby fat, saggy belly or extra full boobs, it is all part of pregnancy and postpartum.
You’ll have time later to work on those things if you want!
10. Let your baby go at their own pace
I have to admit, during those first few months, I was constantly looking up and reading about all the different milestones my baby should be hitting.
I felt like as a brand new first time mom, I was anxious for my baby to be doing all the things he was supposed to be doing. I think it is pretty typical for new moms to be a little overprotective and pedantic about everything. I know I was!
While for the most part, my baby did most things when he should, but I soon learned that every baby is different. Babies will do things when they are ready and just be ok with that.
My baby was a late crawler and also a late walker. I remember I wanted him to crawl so bad and I even tried to get him to, but he just wasn’t ready.
He crawled a couple of months later when HE was ready. Let your baby go at their own pace and don’t stress if they aren’t doing every single thing that book says they should be doing each month.
By all means, enjoy those milestones and celebrate them but don’t stress them if they happen at a different time than expected.
Your baby is unique and just soak that in!
11. The most important thing is that your baby is fed and healthy
Now I will say that breastfed is best, but in all reality, fed is the ultimate best. If you can’t breastfeed, have trouble maintaining a supply or have other variables that make breastfeeding not an option for you, don’t have mom guilt.
Remember you are doing your best and if for some reason breastfeeding doesn’t work out, making sure your baby is fed and healthy is your main priority.
There are other options around breastfeeding, you can always try exclusively pumping (I did this) or if need be you can do formula.
Now I will say this, not all formulas are created equal, so it is important to a little research and choose one with the best ingredients.
You can also look into donor milk as another alternative option.
12. Take lots of pictures but don’t forget to live in the moment too
I love to take pictures, and my camera roll is full of thousands of photos of my baby. Before I had my baby, my camera roll was filled with my dog, he quickly got replaced once Thomas came along.
Poor dog, don’t worry we still love him 😉
Take lots of pictures and videos and record those fun memories of each stage your baby goes through. Don’t forget to be in the pictures too, I know I always find myself taking pictures and then I never have any of ME and my baby!
Pictures are great and essential (in my opinion) but don’t forget to actually live each moment as well. You need to make sure you aren’t always living the moments of your baby’s childhood through the lens of a camera.
Find that balance and enjoy those sweet moments.
13. Trust your mommy gut
This is simple and short. Trust your mommy gut, it is almost never wrong. In all seriousness though, that mommy instinct is real and powerful.
Don’t overestimate it and listen to it in all instances. If you have that pit in your stomach about something, don’t brush it off. We have a mommy gut for a reason!
14. Don’t worry when your day is terrible, tomorrow is a new day
Take one day at a time, sometimes that is all you can do in the good ole’ journey of motherhood! Some days are good, like really good and others are bad and there are a few that are even worse!
Just take each day as it comes. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help when you need it. That doesn’t make you any less of a mother.
As a mother, I have come to understand that being a parent is an ever-evolving experience. I am constantly learning and growing. Some days are better than others but all in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I hope these tips will help you as you embark along this new journey called motherhood. Some of these things I wish someone had told me before so I could be a bit more prepared, so I hope they help in you some way or another.
What are you most excited for as you become a first time new mom? What intimidates or scares you the most? I would love to hear how you are preparing to become a mother.